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2 finalists from California will compete to become the Scripps National Spelling Bee champion tonight

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By Sydney Bishop | CNN

The 245 spellers that began the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee have dwindled down to eight.

And these busy bees are still buzzing.

The competition’s final round will take place Thursday night at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, following preliminary, quarterfinal and semifinal segments on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This year’s spellers – all age 15 or under – came from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. The Bahamas, Canada and Ghana were also represented among the spellers, according to the Bee’s official website.

You can watch the finalists compete beginning at 8 p.m. ET on ION – which can be watched for free over the air, and is also available through most cable, satellite and streaming platforms. They are hoping to succeed 2023 winner Dev Shah, who became ruler of the hive with the word psammophile.

The second round in the finals will be the vocabulary round, introduced to the Bee in 2021, where each speller will select the correct definition of a word from a multiple choice list. All other rounds of competition consist of traditional word oral spelling.

If a winner is not secured during the final one-person, one-word round, a spell-off can be activated, wherein a speller would have 90 seconds to spell as many words as they can from a predetermined list. 2022 winner Harini Logan earned her title of queen bee this way, spelling 22 words in a minute and a half.

While there have been many co-winners, including an eight-person tie in 2019, the spell-off round seeks to weed out the competition to just one champion. According to the 2024 rulebook, there are many instances where a spell-off will be activated, all involving the possibility of no winner at the end of the live broadcast.



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