Arts & Entertainment

The drama and dimity of the 2017 National Spelling Bee

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Aisha Randhawa of Corona.
Courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Daniel Chen of Chino Hills.
Courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MAY 31: Vasundara Govindarajan of Miami, Florida, tries to spell her word during round two of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 31, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing in the annual spelling contest for the top honor this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MAY 31: Grace Jones (L) of New Carlisle, Indana, and Asha Chauhan (R) of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, wait on stage during round three of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 31, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing in the annual spelling contest for the top honor this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 1: Nikhil Lahiri of Painted Post, New York, reacts after misspelling his word during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MAY 31: Tien Thuy Nguyen of New Orleans, Louisiana, reacts after she misspelled his word during round three of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 31, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing in the annual spelling contest for the top honor this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MAY 31: The trophy is on display during the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 31, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing in the annual spelling contest for the top honor this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 1: Maggie E. Sheridan of Mansfield, Ohio, reacts after spelling her word correctly during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Children wait for their turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - JUNE 01: Erin Howard of Huntsville, Alabama waits for her turn to spell during the final round of 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center June 1, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Close to 300 spellers are competing for the top honor in the annual spelling contest. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images


Update:  12-year-old Ananya Vinay from Fresno has been crowned the national spelling champ — the first time in four years the competition has had a solo winner. Her winning word was "marocain," a heavy crepe fabric. Vinay was the youngest finalist. 


After a day of rigorous verbiage, 40 spellers — whittled down from 291 — made it to the final round of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. Thursday morning, that was trimmed down to a lean, mean 15.

They're vying for the $40,000 grand prize — and the glory of being crowned C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N.

Two of the top 40 come from Southern California.

Aisha Randhawa, a sixth-grader at Garretson Elementary School in Corona, correctly spelled "pentalogy" and "bidialectal" in earlier rounds. But on Thursday, she misspelled "dimity" — a sheer cotton fabric woven with raised stripes or checks — and was knocked out in the first round. 

This isn't Randhawa's first rodeo. She's Riverside County's two-time defending spelling bee champion. Last year, she tied for 22nd place in the national bee.

Randhawa hopes to one day become an ophthalmologist. She's a big fan of public radio and says her favorite show is "Radiolab."

Daniel Chen, an eighth-grader at Loving Savior Lutheran School in Chino Hills, made it past the first round of the finals, correctly spelling "perinephric." In the next round, he flubbed "carosella" (a type of fennel), replacing the "O" with an "I." Like Randhawa, Chen also competed in last year's national bee.

Only one competitor from California remains in the top 15: Ananya Vinay, a sixth grader from Fresno.

Of the top 4o, 10 came from Southern California:

The final 15 spellers continue Thursday evening in the last round, which begins at 5:30 p.m. and airs on ESPN.