Snigdha was far and away the best on Thursday, showing off her spelling skills with an epic performance of raw knowledge and in-depth questioning.
She was clearly the best of the bunch, althought Stuti, Arvind and of course Gifton put up great efforts and made a great run for the title.
In the end, Snigdha reigns supreme and will get to take her trophy to India on a Bee-winning trip, as promised by her grandfather. Not a bad addition to a sweet $30,000 payday.
9:40 p.m.: I love that the ESPN reporter was calling over the losing girl to interview her and then immediately doing a double take and giving Stuti the old Heisman stiff arm. Way to make Stuti feel even more like crap for coming in second.
As for Snigdha, she seems like a wholesome girl, and deserved to hoist that big old trophy — even if she could barely lift it over her head.
Also, big fan of playing the NBA Playoff soundtrack as Snigdha's walkoff music. It was like she had just hit the game-winner in the NBA Finals or something.
9:39 p.m.: Snigdha was clearly shocked that she got that last one right. She was almost waiting for the bell to sound.
She went under the radar through the first few rounds, and while we were all enthralled with Gifton and Arvind, Snigdha was throwing down a beast of a fight.
9:35 p.m: Down goes Stuti! Down goes Stuti!
It sounds like a Frazier vs. Ali fight!
If Snigdha gets this one right she takes home the title. Lots of pressure, but this girls looks to have ice water running through her veins. The anti-LeBron if you will.
9:33 p.m.: Wait, this girl is just learning about Abraham Lincoln in eighth grade??? Isn't that like basic U.S. history?
Stuti may know how to spell, but her school district is clearly lacking on their curriculum. West Melbourne, Florida step up your game!
9:26 p.m.: Oh dear, we could be here for a while.
Stuti takes another word down with no trouble.
A little aside on this one — I must say, these hip new sentences are certainly making these words a whole lot more fun.
The mention of words with friends — aka the other WWF — and Instagram would normally seem lame, but the lead judge is killing it. His attempts to seem like a hip dude are clearly not working, but I think that's why his references to new technology and young culture actually work.
9:24 p.m.: Snigdha and Stuti are the final two standing. Snigdha seems very confident, but she's also a little nervous now that they've gotten down to the end.
Can she pull it out, or will Stuti take her down?
9:22 p.m.: And then there were two!
Arvind, the confident young man, just wasn't able to spell out that last one. He goes down and finishes third for the second straight year.
Great performance and tons of fun to watch, though. He's got one more year to do this thing, he'll be back!
9:20 p.m.: Snigdha throws down the gauntlet, yet again. This girl's not overly confident, but she definitely knows her stuff.
Stuti showing off some confidence, too. These championship round words seem to be no match for the final three, here.
At the rate that these spellers are dropping — just three left — Snigdha could be hoisting that cup in no time. She's dominating the words.
Arvind's got some skill, too, but he may be just a little too confident.
9:12 p.m.: Lena goes down, but at least she went down swinging.
The entertaining 14-year-old gave her best effort, but it just wasn't enough.
Lena just seemed a little too confident on that one, like she knew she knew it. The problem: she didn't know it!
Her emotions walking off stage were enough to tell how much this competition meant to the youngster, though, sad to see her go.
9:10 p.m.: Arvind does it once again, this time with a little swag added in. He threw in some jokes with the judges and seems to have the crowd on his side.
As for Nicholas, I hate to say it but I'm kind of glad to see him go. Does anyone else think this kid is just a little too smug? He deserves to be confident, but it's almost like he's rubbing his intelligence in everyone else's face.
A tough loss for the excited little guy, but this seems to Arvind's contest to lose.
9:04 p.m.: Now in the second hour of the events, and the Silent Sniper gets taken out by the ding of the bell.
Gifton Wright dropped as much polite knowledge as he could, but the manners couldn't save him from the dreaded ringing!
A class act, but Gifton just wasn't meant to hoist that trophy.
Now, where do my loyalties lie? Only five spellers left to choose from.
8:58 p.m.: Back-to-back domination!
Stuti Misha and Snigdha Nandipati lay the smack down on those words like the Rock would on Monday Night Raw — at least circa 2002.
We haven't talked much about Snigdha, but she's earning her keep up on that stage. There's been no question about her words so far.
That word looked like something you'd see in the dictionary… oh wait!
8:55 p.m.: Lena owns another one and jumps around with extreme excitement, but the real story continues to be her mother.
Seriously, Lena's mom needs to chill out. She's getting all emotional about a word that he daughter needs to spell. She's like an overbearing parent at a baseball game.
Your kid moved on, just breathe a little more and everything will be fine. It's not like her life is dependent on this or anything. Yikes!
8:53 p.m.: Arvind does it again. Pulls out that fake No. 2 pencil of his and scribbles out the spelling on his palm like it was no trouble at all.
Nicholas followed closely behind with some more inquisitive tendencies, locking down "rouille" to move on and fight to spell another round.
8:46 p.m.: Gifton with another killer performance. His manners just keep on coming, I'm going to name this kid the "Silent Sniper," because he's going to just keep to himself and slowly watch everyone else drop like flies.
Stuti nailed another from down town, too. She may have what it takes tonight, but I think I'm putting my money — figuratively speaking, of course — behind the wordsmith wonders of the Silent Sniper!
8:43 p.m.: NO!!! Not Frank!
"Porwigle?" Seriously, "porwigle!"
This is terrible, now who do I put my rooting interest behind? Arvind's the favorite, so he's out.
Gifton's got a sweet Jamaican accent and he's potentially the most polite kid ever, so I guess I'll throw my weight — and it's considerable — behind that guy.
8:32 p.m.: Lena's mom is clearly taking this far too seriously. She's holding her head in her hands. This isn't life or death you know.
But at least she can breathe easier for at least one more round, as the exuberant Lena Greenberg drops the hammer on her first word of the night.
Lena's got the crowd behind her too, so much excitement.
8: 29 p.m: Nick and Arvind own their words back to back.
Nicholas Rushlow laid the smack down with some serious confidence, while "maieutic" was no match for Arvind.
Arvind Mahankali, 12, is the youngest participant in this year's Bee, and finished third last year.
8:22 p.m.: Two in a row! This could be a quick one.
Emma Ciereszynski, the first ever participant from New Hampshire, gets eliminated on her first word as well.
Emma may have missed the word, but she did share her warmth with the crowd one last time, throwing up a hand gesture — Rock's in the building? a la Jay-Z — in the form of a heart.
We're down to the select seven to decide it all, let's see if Frank or Gifton can take home the trophy!
8:20 p.m.: Ahh! The dreaded bell rings up its first victim of the night.
Jordan Hoffman falls victim to the Bee's bell and is the first one knocked out on the evening. The misspell drops the field down to the final eight.
8:17 p.m.: Gifton, with the manners! If this were a polite Bee, Gifton Wright would already have the trophy resting on his mantepiece.
The youngster from Kingston, Jamaica takes down "Harengiform" like it was no thing, though.
Wright did look to struggle at the end there, so it'll be interesting to see how he progresses in this one.
8:10 p.m.: Stuti for three!!! That's what Mike Breen would be saying if he was calling this bee.
Stuti Mishra dominates her first word of the night, crushing through the languages of origin and showing that region in the Sahara desert who owns this Bee.
"Sahel," how about exhale! Stuti's got this thing covered!
8:05 p.m.: FRANK!!!
The Frankster kills it in his first shot at the microphone. Cahill shows off some Colorado pride with his prefect spelling of "dedans."
Kid's got this in the bag, just biding his time untill he hoists that trophy!
7:30 p.m.: Who's ready to spell some long, obnoxious and potentially mind-blowing words?
Well, apparently nine young middle-schoolers. That's who.
The tournament started with 278 students from across the United States and, in some cases, the world. Now, the field has been widdled down to the final nine spellers into the Championship Round of this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee.
One of the contestants, 14-year-old Gifton Wright is a native of Kingston, Jamaica and would become just the second Jamaican-born speller to win the Bee — Jody-Anne Maxwell in 1998.
Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, Calif. is the favorite heading into the final round, bearing the honor as speller No. 19.
Then, of course, there's the crowd favorite, Frank Cahill (pitctured), a 14-year-old math wiz, bearing Speller No. 30 in the finals. The Colorado-native is also a Boy Scout and enjoys sculpting in his spare time — ladies, look out!
Photo via Facebook/Scripps National Spelling Bee