UPDATE: At about 11:15 p.m. Eastern time, roughly an hour and 15 minutes after the spelling bee was scheduled to end, a winner finally took the trophy: eighth-grader Sukanya Roy, who spelled "cymotrichous" correctly to take the title.
It's the final day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and the kids still standing are competing in the remaining rounds heading into the finals, which will be broadcast tonight on ESPN beginning at 8:30. (The early rounds are on until 1:00 p.m.)
The Bee, as we've discussed in the past, is a genuinely unique and addictive thing for its devoted fans. If you watch the Bee (as I do), you probably don't understand why anyone wouldn't watch the Bee, but if you don't, you may well find the very idea of its airing on ESPN somewhere between baffling and downright offensive.
Mostly, it's an opportunity to see a lot of interesting, hard-working kids and cheer for them. If you need a reminder to treat them as the kids they are, read this essay from repeat participant Samir Patel, who talks about going from a kid mostly having a good time to a kid eating nothing but Doritos who had to be sheltered from the media. Over the Spelling Bee! So please, if you're going to watch it, I encourage you to watch it with a warm heart and a generous spirit, because snarking on ten-year-olds is maybe not, as Oprah would say, living your best life.
Last year, we live-blogged the Bee on a Friday night — a Friday night! — and while it started quiet, it turned into quite the rollicking good time. So, egged on by some of those who shared my shock when the word "gnocchi" showed up in a late round along with really hard words (it was a SCANDAL!), we're going to do it all again tonight. Come on — it's Thursday night. TV is in reruns. If you're in the same part of the world I am, it's SUPER hot outside.
Let's cheer on some incredibly lovable, awesome nerds who will run us all one day. I'll see you back here tonight at 8:30.