Monday, May 25, 2015

The [premlimary] test scores will be announced and spellers will be ranked heading into the [Thursday] semifinals. 
Tim Weinkauf, the lead producer of ESPN's coverage, said he'll take advantage of that change by showing golf-style leaderboards and highlighting the spellers who can work their way into the finals if someone ahead of them falters. 
"I think it allows for more dramatic moments because there will be those certain kids that are on the bubble," Weinkauf said.
I'm assuming that after the written round, everyone's checking the words anyway such that the kids who did perfect (or close) already know it. It's the rest who won't otherwise know how far back they stand: now, basically, there will some kids who know that they've got no realistic chance to advance absent a miraculous decimation of the other kids, no matter what. Why? Because ESPN is again imposing an artificial cutoff on the best kids rather than letting them spell-til-they-drop as in the past. Boo.

As previously discussed: I think it's fair to use a written to cull the group from the initial 285, after two live rounds on Wednesday, down to a reasonable number for Thursday morning. But from there, it should solely be decided on what happens at the live microphone. However long it takes. The kids deserve that chance.


  1. Adam B.9:25 PM

    FYI, ESPN Classic is marathoning Bees for the next 48h; 2003 (Samir Patel's first; also, the "thank you, sir" no-limit Bee) now on.

  2. Bee Fan12:20 PM

    Some things I think were better in that 2002 Bee than now: no test to artificially cut the field from 30+ to 12 on Day 2 (just the first round test to cull from 250+ to 45 or so), no time limit at the mic, no "spellers acting silly" clips every 10 minutes. Just kids spelling from 50 down to 1 with some legit commercial breaks.

  3. Adam B.2:01 PM

    It sucked when spelling happened during the breaks, though.