FROM THE SECOND TSUNAMI ALBUM (THANK YOU, JENNY TOOMEY!), IT'S THE RAPID REITERATION OF A MUSICAL TONE: Today, the 273 spellers will begin their competition with the computerized round. At assigned times throughout the day, they'll be given a set list of fifty words to spell, typing their answers -- with pronunciations and the like being made available. Of those fifty, a preselected list of twenty-five will count for the competition, and as the Rules make clear a speller will be disqualified if "prior to the conclusion of the preliminaries on June 3, [he or she] discloses any portion of the Round One test content to a Web site or individual, including a parent or legal guardian."
So don't leak it to us. Competitors will receive one point for each word spelled correctly of the 25, and then tomorrow each gets two trips to the microphone worth three points each, and if it's like last year it's one round of smiling and success in front of the parents (posts 1, 2) and then something of an abattoir of young hopes. From there, "Spellers' scores are plotted on a chart. Beginning at 31 on the chart, spellers at each consecutive scoring level are added until a sum of no more than 50 spellers has been attained. All remaining spellers are eliminated. All spellers eliminated prior to the semifinals are tied for the same place."
In the meantime, from the archives are our summaries of the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 written/computerized rounds for your amusement. And one more coverage note: we're thrilled to share the news that 2008 finalist Cat Cojocaru will be back again to lend her insight this week.