There were 452 spellers who entered competition on Wednesday at the Scripps Spelling Bee hoping to make it through the day. By the end of the afternoon, only 41 spellers, less than 10 percent of the field, survived the day.
The week began with 516 spellers. Every contestant got on stage on Tuesday to spell a word. Roughly 90 percent of those spellers made it to Wednesday. Out of 452, 321 correctly spelled their respective word on Wednesday.
Using a test that was administered Tuesday morning, the 321 remaining spellers were paired down to just 41 for Thursday's finals
If you watched last year's primetime finals, a few familiar faces will return on Thursday.
Shruthika Padhy, Naysa Modi, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar and Alice Liu were among the final 15 last year who are back in this year's finals. Also in the finals is Sravanth Malla, who was the runner up for the 2017 South Asian Spelling Bee. Shruthika, Naysa and Erin are the top returning spellers from last year, as the trio finished tied for seventh.
Thursday's action begins at 10 a.m. on ESPN 2. Once there are roughly a dozen spellers left, the Bee takes a break until 8:30 p.m., with the last rounds airing on ESPN.
There is a lot on the line for Thursday's spellers. Those who spell three words correctly will earn at least a $2,000 prize. The champion earns a cash prize of $40,000 from Scripps, a $2,500 cash prize from Merriam-Webster, $400 in reference material and trips to be on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."