Sage Steele is hosting with Paul Loeffler, 1990 Bee finalist, returning for color commentary. In handicapping the favorites, Loeffler mentions Tim Ruiter and Canadian Laura Newcombe.
Mary Brooks is looking snazzy in a black glittery jacket, and introduces the first speller, Rory O'Donoghue from Fairbanks, Alaska. He goes down on "ostrichism."
I admire Dr. Bailly's ability not to crack up when he is reading the pithy sentences written to illustrate the meaning of the word. "Nepenthe" takes Anjali Nair of Arizona out.
Esther Park correctly spells "scholium," bringing us to Brandon Whitehead from California, who plans to participate in the AARP Spelling Bee later in life. He correctly spells "aleatoric."
Super-tall Jeremiah Cortez approaches the mike next. He's one of those eighth-graders who looks like he's 22. The judges want to ensure that he's pronouncing the end of "consuetude" correctly. He is, and he also spells it correctly.
"Diaphanie" seems to shake Anvita Mishra up a bit -- she begins to spell and then stops, asking for more information. She finally spells it correctly, and finishes with a "Yes!"
Commercial break, promising Canadians and Erin Andrews after the break!
And we're back. Erin Andrews introduces a segment on the spellers' activities during Bee Week. I wish they had had the "Bee Keeper" books when I was in the bee! We had autograph books, but these are glossy with photos and a nice binding.
Barbecue, karaoke, the computerized test, the live rounds 2 and 3, and the announcement of the 48 semifinalists, including some smiles and some tears appear in a nice montage. Erin then finishes by Vanna White-ing the giant cup that the winner will take home.
Back to spelling!
Sarah Gadre is up now, contemplating "phillumenist." She forgets an "l" and goes down smiling. We get a profile piece on Laura Newcombe before she spells. She swims! She dances! She loves origami! She very slowly, but correctly, spells "thalassian."
Second-timer David Phan of Colorado approaches the mike. He misspells "bilophodont." He's greeted at the side of the stage by one of the escorts/huggers.
Brian King, also from Colorado, gets a word meaning "of or relating to weasels." He correctly spells "musteline." The next speller, one of our favorite Bee bloggers is just 10 and yet is a third-time Bee participant. He quickly but incorrectly spells "paracusia."
Grace Remmer gets right to spelling her word, "inconcinnity," and gets it correct! Her lucky shirt is working.
Vaidya Govindarajan is next. He spells "scalare" on the back of his name placard, and is correct. Commercial break!
Erin Andrews has a quick interview with the absolutely adorable Vanya Shivashankar, and we get back to the business of the day.
Caducous, venturi, forzato, all spelled correctly. "Longueur" trips up Michaela Minock from Illinois, but "officinal" and "pongee" seem easy for Gina Liu and Modhura Chakravarty. (Heather)
I’m up! I’m awake. It’s 7:20 am on the West Coast and I’ve just bundled my child off to my sister’s house at DAWN to get ready for school so I can focus on the Semifinals. Yes, my name is Shonda and I’m a Bee-aholic.
I’m jumping in late but right off the bat, I feel better about these kids than I did yesterday. Overall, they are still a cute bunch of kids but the movie star sheen is gone. No little Brad Pitts or Julias to make me nervous that children these days are going to get to be both supermodels AND smart – which would be total defiance of the rules of fairness. No, these are the REAL kids, true kids, kids who spell as a good time, profound and proud in their geekiness in spite of societal pressure to assimilate. These are the kids who will rule the world. Sigh. I love the Bee.
I might love Laura Newcombe most of all right now (I am pre-coffee so I reserve the right to change my mind). But at this moment, with her origami and her great glasses and her ballet and her slow-moving smile, I love her. She’s got a quiet spelling confidence and, after her bio video, one gets the feeling that she’s only this still when she pauses to spell.
There’s Vanya Shivashankar! They’re getting her on TV come hell or high water because the tiny kid and the sister of a champion is money, baby. Here’s the thing though: being tiny and unbelievably puppy-bunny-pixie-cute is NOT a reason to STOP THE BEE AND INTERVIEW HER. IN FRONT OF THE ACTUAL CONTESTANTS. They sit watching, nervous in their chairs as microphone is shoved in Vanya’s face. She is not a contestant – she was ousted. And while I know one day she will hoist a trophy, let’s give the attention to the kids who deserve it – the ones spelling their hearts out today.
Speller 48 is Julia Denniss is spelling “venturi” – which means a short tube that has a constricted middle section forming a…um…well, it has a really long definition but it doesn’t really matter because, for those of you who don’t read the same books as 12 year olds, I can tell you that I am pretty sure that “venturi” is also a word used in the Twilight books to describe those scary Vampires in Italy who don’t like Edward. Or was that the Voltari? Yeah, I read the books. So what? Clearly, Julia’s read the books too because she spells it quickly and easily. (Shonda)
I love the musicality of Jamaican speller Owayne Rodney's voice, and Dr. Bailly's sentence namechecks World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, he goes out on "desipience."
Dr. Bailly wishes Sonia Schlesinger a happy 14th birthday, and OMG, she is given the word I misspelled in 1983 to end my run at the Bee! She, however, gets it right.
Cachepot poses no problem whatsoever for Maryland’s Emily Keaton, and we’re at yet another commercial break.
41 of 48 semifinalists remain. Lanson Tang’s polo is buttoned all the way up to the top, but he’s cool, calm and collected in spelling “flabellum.” The youngest remaining speller, Shivani Angappan, is up next and is tripped up by “pneumonectomy.”Kanban is no problem, and then Elizabeth Platz approaches the mike and asks Dr. Bailly if he has any more homonyms for her. Her word doesn’t have any, but she spells “arsedine” correctly anyway.
“Tiralee” then trips up cute little Dakota Jones. Anjithaa Radakrishnan seems nervous about her word, and then hears the dreaded ding for "Barbizon."
Hannah Evans breezes through arcanum. Sederunt seems easy for Neetu Chandak, and we’ve got 17 spellers left in Round 4. Arvind Mahankali is smooth on “effleurage,” and our Kiwi speller, Tom Winter, misses on “phytoplankter.” I’ll miss his lovely accent. (Heather)
Cossette and osteomyelitis pose no problems, and we get yet another package, this time about Nicholas Rushlow, who receives the ballet term “devant.” He repronounces the word several times, and his mom is on split-screen looking agitated and worried. He finally begins to spell, and is tripped up on the “e.”
Fughettabout it! No misspelling by George Jose on “fughetta.” (Heather)
Karen Laska misspells “sautoir,” and we’ve got one speller left in Round 4. Andrew Grose of Wisconsin wraps up today’s first round by correctly spelling “mesclun,” after asking Dr. Bailly if it’s a type of salad green. We will have 33 spellers going into round 5, and that means I’m turning control of the blogging over to Rafael.
It’s been a blast, and I will be here commenting for the rest of today’s spelling and will be participating in our CoverItLive blog of the finals tonight!