Look at poor Akshay Buddiga faint. This infamous clip from the Ghost of Scripps National Spelling Bees Past should be a warning to the precocious youngsters battling it out in Washington D.C. today (the Semifinals are on NOW on ESPN and the Finals are on tonight on ABC at 8:00pm): this competition is INTENSE.
Pitfalls and perils await kiddies; best to train hard and be prepared for ANY situation that may face you this afternoon. Like when the judges start throwing curveballs and present those deceptive words whose pronunciations bear little to no bearing on their actual spelling, stuff like that.
The disconnect between pronunciation and spelling is harsh. That's why EF is here to give you a quick primer while you refuel on juice boxes and cookies in the Comfort Room. So in the off chance they hit you with a tricky band name during the Finals tonight, we've got you covered.
The Top 8 Potential Stumbling Blocks. Beware!
8. The judge says a word that sounds like "oh nye duh"; correct spelling is O-N-E-I-D-A: Oneida
7. The next word sounds like "bohn eevair"; correct spelling is B-O-N I-V-E-R: Bon Iver
6. The next one sounds like "luckily"; too easy right? Right. The correct spelling is L-Y-K-K-E L-I: Lykke Li
Congratulations, you're down to the final 5. Grab another Capri Sun and continue your training after the jump...
5. This word sounds like "soof-yan stevens"; it's one of the most mispronounced names in indie rock. That's right, the correct spelling is S-U-F-J-A-N S-T-E-V-E-N-S: Sufjan Stevens
4. The next word sounds like "shoe shoe"; correct spelling is X-I-U X-I-U: Xiu Xiu
3. The final three. Okay, this word sounds like "lay sah vee fahv"; correct spelling is L-E-S S-A-V-Y F-A-V: Les Savy Fav
2. The judge says this one very quickly and it sounds like "sih ur rose"; correct spelling is S-I-G-U-R R-Ó-S: Sigur Rós
1. Your last challenge. The judge adjusts his glasses and says this word has a few different pronunciations. He first says something that sounds like "chik chik chik" and then "pow pow pow" before following those up with three clicking noises made with his tongue on the roof of his mouth. Tricky. The correct spelling is !-!-!: !!!
So there you go, you're all set to dominate the competition today and tonight. Go forth and...wait, what's that you say? The judges pick actual words and not band names for the bee? Oh....you may be screwed then. Sorry about that.