14-Year-Old Texan DOMINATES Insanely Stressful Spell-Off To Win Spelling Bee After Controversy

14-Year-Old Harini Logan DOMINATES Wild Spell-Off To Win Spelling Bee

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  • Thursday’s Scripps National Spelling Bee was insane.
  • It was full of lots of drama and historic new “firsts.”
  • In the end, the winner came down to a crazy stressful spell-off.
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Thursday night’s Scripps National Spelling Bee was absolutely exhilarating. It came down to a final spell-off that was remarkably stressful, but the winner was absolutely dialed-in and dominated.

Prior to the final round, a new twist to the Bee has caused quite the stir. An onstage vocabulary round was introduced this year and it did not go over well with competitors or fans.

Rather than spelling, which is what the Scripps National Spelling Bee should be about, the multiple-choice vocabulary questions asked spellers to identify definitions of words and phrases like ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ ‘leitmotif,’ ‘vermillion,’ or ‘sirtaki’ — a Greek dance. It quickly knocked out five of eight competitors.

The vocabulary round was Scripps’ way of making sure that the competition is not about memorizing words and their spellings like code. It caused quite a bit of outrage.

“I thought it was tragic,” said Grace Walters, a coach to multiple previous Scripps champions, to The Associated Press.

People on Twitter agreed.

And to make things even crazier, the eventual Scripps National Spelling Bee winner was eliminated during the vocabulary round.

Harini Logan, a 14-year-old from Texas, was given the word ‘pullulation’ and defined it as the nesting of mating birds. Scripps said she was incorrect, saying that the word is a swarming of bees.

It was not the end of her night, however.

“We did a little sleuthing after you finished, which is what our job is, to make sure we’ve made the right decision,” said lead judge Mary Brooks. “We [did] a little deep dive in that word and actually the answer you gave to that word is considered correct, so we’re going to reinstate you.”

From there, Logan went on to the finals. At that point, Scripps turned to an unprecedented lightning round spell-off.

Whomever spelled the most correctly in one minute and 30 seconds won. It was insanely stressful.

Logan spelled 22 words correctly and won.

It will be curious to see if Scripps makes changes in 2023. Either way, the spell-off was unbelievably electric.