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Last Night on Late Night

Jimmy Kimmel challenges Spelling Bee champ to a 'war of words'

Spelling is hard when Guillermo is the one mispronouncing the words.

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“There’s a new champion that’s about to jump on that spelling horse right now,” Jimmy Kimmel trash-talked Ananya Vinay, the 12-year-old champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, when the late-night host challenged her to defend her title on Jimmy Kimmel Live Friday night. The short answer is she did — but she was at a significant disadvantage.

As with Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s past spelling bees, Guillermo, dressed in a bumblebee costume, purposefully mispronounced words to trip up Vinay. Kimmel, meanwhile, is used to this kind of trickery, so he was able to at least guess “yarmulke.”

Since Vinay had no issue spelling “gifblaar” during the official Scripps National Spelling Bee, she likely could’ve easily spelled “sleuth” and “coalesce,” but she couldn’t decipher Guillermo’s pronunciation. It didn’t help that the judge couldn’t offer proper origins or definitions for the words, either.

In the end, Vinay was able to tie Kimmel and earn a trophy when she figured her last word to be “luscious.”

Vinay won the Scripps Spelling Bee after correctly spelling 35 words, her last one being “marocain.” CNN’s New Day hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota tried to trip her up on television with “covfefe,” but it doesn’t really matter that she couldn’t spell it because it’s not a real world.

Watch the Kimmel Spelling Bee above.