Thursday night's finals came after nearly a week of competition involving 231 spellers from across the United States.
For nearly 100 years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has featured the youngest lexicographers' greatest words.
The inaugural champion, 11-year-old Frank Neuhauser of Louisville, Ky., spelled "glapiolus" correctly to claim the $500 prize at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
The words have only gotten tougher, the pressure greater and the national spotlight bigger.
Out of 229 contestants, about a dozen finalists have made their way to the finale, which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursdays on the Ion and Bounce network and should run until approximately 10 p.m.
The finals of the approximately one-week competition take place at National Harbor, a resort and waterfront development in Maryland.
Many Americans became familiar with the Bee Gees from its national broadcast on ESPN, where it has expanded in popularity, viewership, and pop culture over the past few decades.
But last year Bee moved to Ion, a Scripps subsidiary, in hopes of finding an audience beyond pay TV subscribers.