The video: How do you spell "heartbreaking"? The youngest speller in National Spelling Bee history, six-year-old Lori Ann Madison of Lake Ridge, Va., was eliminated from Scripps' annual competition Thursday after being foiled by a baffling word on her second trip to the microphone. (Watch the video below.) The tiny prodigy aced her first word, "dirigible," but began spelling her second word, "ingluvies," with an "e" instead of an "i." ("Ingluvies," of course, means the "widened portion of the esophagus, in many mollusks, insects, and birds....") Most of the competition's 277 contestants are over twice her age, with some as old as 16. Madison, who entered her first bee as a toddler of three, gave a candid assessment of the entire experience: "Overall, it was just boring."
The reaction: Seriously? says Rick Chandler at NBC Sports. Ingluvies? "She's only six!" Lori Ann's elimination illuminates the spelling bee format's key flaw: "It's all luck of the draw — one person gets 'ingluvies,' the next gets 'apple.'" Despite her loss, Lori Ann has emerged as somewhat of a media darling, says Ben Nuckols of the Associated Press. While talking about a barbecue at a press conference earlier this week, she adorably cooed, "I blew some absolutely huge bubbles, like this big!" as she held her hands a foot apart, "reminding everyone of her age." So don't be too sad for the precocious speller, says Madeleine Davies at Jezebel. She still has eight years of competition eligibility ahead of her. "Knock 'em dead, kid." Watch her in action: