'Elite eight' head into Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals

You can watch the live finals Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on the ION channel.
2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalists
Posted at 8:02 AM, May 30, 2024

With a nationwide audience of millions of people, young spellers competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are stepping up to the mic and aiming for the trophy.

"It's always so thrilling to watch the kids competing up there. This year we have a really experienced group," said Corrie Loeffler, executive director of the Bee.

Loeffler speaks about the Bee from experience, as a former competitor herself.

"I remember the most, really, just being on that stage, the anticipation of, 'What's my word going to be? Am I going to know it? Am I going to be able to figure it out?' And this real excitement to get up there and try to tackle a word and the thrill of getting through another round," she said.

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Now, eight spellers have reached the final round. For some of them, it's their second time at the Bee, but their first as a finalist, which is bringing much emotion.

"[I'm] just really shell-shocked. I was not expecting to be here and honestly, I'm just really grateful that I've made it," said Aditi Muthukumar, a finalist from Colorado. "I was a speller last year and I missed my word in the quarterfinals. So, just being here is really surreal."

Other spellers are trying to take it all in and not let nerves get the best of them.

"Well, try not to be nervous before because, personally, I could relate to that. I'm, like, really nervous," said Bruhat Soma, a Bee finalist from Florida. "If you're nervous, you really can't think."

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As they get ready for the final round, Loeffler offers this bit of guidance.

"Just to take it all in, to take in the fact that you're on this huge stage in front of a national audience of millions, who are showing up to see you compete and succeed, and that knowing that you can have that kind of platform at such a young age that's going to take you so far in life," she said.

You can watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee live finals at 8 p.m. ET Thursday on the ION channel.

Scripps News is a subsidiary of the E.W. Scripps Company, which runs the Bee on a not-for-profit basis.