It was a fun and enjoyable ride as the Spelling Bee Champion was announced.
Anirudh, who hopes to be a surgeon, proved too good for fan favourite Grace, 8, from New South Wales, in a thrilling Grand Final decider which lasted 10 long rounds.
The pair was the final two spellers standing after several challenges throughout the evening eliminated Marko, 11, from New South Wales; Harpita, 8, from Victoria; Harrison, 12, from Victoria; and Mica, 10, from New South Wales.
One of the strongest spellers throughout the series Mica, dubbed “The Micanator” for her determination and skill, was tipped to go head-to-head against Grace in a repeat of the NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee final earlier this year. But the disappointed youngster had to settle for third place after failing to spell “antecedent” correctly. Grace received a standing ovation from the audience, which included the Top 26 spellers in the series, after she tripped up on the word “ratatouille”.
Anirudh could not believe his good fortune in taking out the title which included a $50,000 education scholarship and asked his fellow spellers to “pinch him”. “I need to rub my eyes and see if this is a dream,” he said. “Nope. Nope. Nope. Real. I can’t describe it. It’s like the best day of my life.”