For the third year in a row, the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie. Nihar Janga and Jairam Hathwar went blow for blow during the championship rounds, and since neither were able to put the other away, we had co-champions.
Despite this, the real winner of the night was Janga, who captivated the crowd by straight up knowing the definitions of words and having so much swagger that he did this when he realized that Hathwar got a word wrong.
One thing that was mentioned throughout the broadcast was that Janga is a fan of Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. That turned out to be prophetic in a way, as Janga got his last word correct (“gesellschaft”) and then celebrated like Bryant. He threw up the X just like the Cowboys receiver does after he scores a touchdown and it was fantastic.
Additionally, Janga pounded his chest and straight up cold shouldered Hathwar. It probably wasn’t on purpose – it’s more realistic that Janga realized a second late that he wanted to throw up the X and forgot to turn back to his competitor once he finished – but it was still an amazing moment.
Between Bryant’s X and the whole dabbing thing, it looked like football had a big impact on the Spelling Bee this year. All it needed was for a kid to spell “Michael Hoomanawanui” and it really would have had everything.