CO-CHAMPIONS: These two amazing young men, Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe, truly could have gone all night. Having outlasted 279 of their colleagues, they went toe-to-toe, round after round, demonstrating their facility across every challenge the English language could provide. There was no reason to go past twenty-two rounds and the limits of the Championship Word List, because neither of these boys was better than the other tonight. Both were outstanding. All that would have happened, had this gone further, was one would have gotten lucky and the other, not—but neither would have been "better" in any meaningful sense.
Of course, that's the cruel trick of the Bee, isn't it? Depending on how the words were allotted, so many of them might have been able to pull that off tonight, including a few who didn't even make it to primetime. Their efforts were admirable, their enthusiasm palpable. We did not want to see any of them err.
After all the nonsense—artificial cutdowns imposed by a network that seems unable to adopt a singular tone of respect for the kids—we were left with two spellers not at war with each other, as Hathwar so eloquently stated, but with the dictionary. And the kids won. That's why we keep watching.