After starting the week with 273 spellers, the 83rd National Spelling Bee has whittled the field down to 48 semifinalists.
The semifinals Friday morning will eliminate more spellers, with the telltale bell signaling when the word has been spelled incorrectly.
The champion wins a trophy and more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
Among the semifinalists are three spellers who made the finals last year. Also advancing to the semis were a boy from New Zealand and a girl who represented Washington, D.C., last year and has since moved to Japan. Thirteen-year-old Sonia Schlesinger is believed to be the first person to represent two countries at the bee.
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