Adding entertainment to the spelling bee

The spelling bee is getting a little harder, with contestants having to know definitions of words. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Adults are ruining things again.

Starting with next month’s National Spelling Bee, competitors will have to know the definitions of words to advance to the final round.

What the H-E-L-L (a place thought to be a realm of suffering and pain)?

So we’re suddenly going to force people to learn beyond using rote memorization, providing them with a well-rounded education and an understanding of things in a greater context? That is absolutely ridicu- ... well, that’s actually pretty good.


If the adults are going to change the spelling bee, at least do it in a way that makes it more entertaining for the TV audience. Paying attention to kids take multiple-choice vocabulary tests is not exciting. If it were, we all would have been teachers so we could get paid while being entertained.

Here are five better ways to get more entertainment bang in our bee.

1. After spelling a word correctly, a contestant has 30 seconds to make a layup, free throw and 3-pointer. And not on some garbage 8-foot kids rim, either. Regulation height. Fail to finish in the allotted time, it’s back to your hometown, junior. A failure!

2. No lunch or bathroom breaks until someone develops a clean, free and unlimited energy resource. We’ve got all these big brains in the room; let’s do something productive with them beyond spelling words. My phone has spell check. Try accomplishing something for a change instead of offering about one-thousandth of the utility of a phone.

3. Truth or Spell. Spell or Dare. Either. Both. Whatever. But if a kid thinks he or she can't spell a word, the only way to move on is by doing a dare or telling a dark secret. The fact that "Spell, Truth or Dare" isn't already a show is pathetic.

4. Spell it in Cyrillic Double Points Bonus Round!

5. You know what people find even cuter than kids? Puppies. "Awwww. Instead of spelling 'trichinosis,' Mr. Wiggles yawned." Get rid of the kid spellers and replace them with puppies. Ratings gold.