ROUND SIX: As we move into the next round, I still have the odd sense that words seem...dare I say easy?
I want to remind everyone that because of that hotly debated rule change that occurred last year, the spellers now only spell through Round Six (remember the good old days where we went round after round after round?) after their scores from the written test are added in to determine which spellers become Finalists. It's weird and feels not completely fair to me but I still don't fully understand it or why the Bee chose to make this change but it's happening so we're going with it.
The words are getting a bit crueler. Losing on siriasis isn't going make anyone feel good. It means sunstroke. Poor Faaris Khan. We also lose Mark Kivimaki on Ananke.
Here comes Sriram Hathwar -- this is his 5th time at the Bee. Last year, he placed 3rd. He's another child (like Vanya) that we've watched grow up on this Bee stage. His word quatrefoil doesn't feel like a big deal but I feel for Sai Vishudhi Chandrasekhar who we lose on induciae. In her interview, Sai is breezy and cheerful and determined to return next year. I definitely want to see her again.
10:00 am PST: As this round marches on, I'm mostly sad about the fact that most of these kids are going to make it through. And I would like to see them battle it out to the finish. Instead of being eliminated off screen by a computer test they took earlier. Which suggests that, in some ways, their fates were decided before they even stepped on this stage...
The last speller of the round is Tea Freeman-Susskind who has to spell a cheese. You heard me. A CHEESE. I feel confused and sad and cheated as camembert ends the Semifinal round and we wait for a test to tell us who our Finalists are...
But I do want to cheer and congratulate all those kids who stood and spelled and fought for brainiacs everywhere. Yay for intelligence!
UPDATED TO ADD: Our finalists have been announced and for me the greatest shock is that VANYA SHIVASHANKAR IS NOT ON THE LIST!!