Of course, I'm watching the Spelling Bee, and of course, I'm for Isabel Jacobson, the speller from Madison, Wisconsin. So many great spellers have gone down in this first prime time round, and suddenly we see that there is only one young woman left. It's our Isabel! She has three favorite words, we see in the bioclip, and one is "kakistocracy, which means government by the worst people possible." That's so Madison! She's written the word on a little slate, and she tosses it over her shoulder and gives a funny-disgusted look. She wears all the bracelets she own on one arm for good luck. There are 25 of them. She gets a crazy, Greek origin word that means wet and spongy. Helodes. And she gets it right!
UPDATE: Epaulement. She gets it! A barricade of earth. Go, Isabel!
UPDATE 2: Cyanophycean. A blue-green alga. Cyano- is easy, but -phycean? No! She's out. And it's down to two boys. One is Canadian. The other is an incredibly cool kid who loves math and music and math just enough more than music that he sees music as numbers.
UPDATE 3: The American kid is Evan O'Dorney. He gets pappardelle. Hey, that's easy! And Canadian boy, Nate Gartke, gets an easy word too. Now, Evan gets another food word, yosenabe. Too easy! How can kids at this level get the Japanese words wrong? Nate gets coryza wrong, so Evan needs to get one word right. Serrefine. "A small forceps for clamping a blood vessel." He spells it right away! He wins! Yay, Evan!
UPDATE 4: In the interview, Evan tells us why he likes math and music more than spelling. Math and music "fit together" -- they make sense! -- and spelling is "just memorization." The interviewer goads him: Don't you like spelling more now? He pauses a long time -- is he thinking of numbers or notes or is he getting the message he ought to make himself appealing to the spelling bee fans? -- and finally, he forces himself to say "a little." I love it! He's the reluctant speller. He does it well, but he doesn't love it, because he loves two other things so much, and those things really are so much better.