Guess what day it is?

1980 Bee champion and pronouncer Dr. Bailly donned a bee costume for ESPN. He walked around to spellers -- largely ignored him -- saying "Guess what day it is?"

There may have been a "Woop, woop!" in there, too.

The clip debuted to huge applause.

Dr. Bailly

Placard speller

Mark Kivimaki (Speller 127) correctly spelled "ebullition" on the back of his placard, then aloud, to continue to the next round.

It's Mark's first appearance at the Bee. He's a seventh grader from Edina, Minnesota.

He correctly spelled "proselyte" and "echt" in earlier rounds.


Vanya is through the round

Four-time speller Vanya Shivashankar (Speller 90), who has been coming to the Bee since she was four along with her sister, 2009 champion Vanya, correctly spelled "elepidote" to stay in the Bee.

Vanya is a seventh grader from Olathe, Kansas. She tied for 10th place in 2012 and fifth place last year.

Elepidote means lacking small, scurfy scales.


A close competitor

Lucas Urbanski (Speller 60) beat his twin sister to make it to the National Spelling Bee for the 4th time.

He correctly spelled "cataphora" in this round and is still in the competition. Lucas tied for 19th last year.


'I know it!'

"Hi, Dr. Bailly," Jacob Williamson (Speller 38) said when he approached the microphone. "Please give me a word I know."

Dr. Bailly responded that he always tries to. When Jacob heard his word -- "euripus" -- he knew he was in luck.

"I know it!" he shouted, pumping his fist. "Greek, right?"


Jacob shrieked and pumped his fists again, having spelled it correctly to move on to the next round.


First one eliminated

Lillian Allingham (Speller 34) is the first one eliminated in the round.

Lillian, an eighth grader from Wilmington, Delaware, added a "C" to her word, "rufosity." It means the quality or state of being any of several colors averaging a strong yellowish pink to moderate orange.

This is Lillian's second Bee appearance. She tied for 240th last year.


The Semifinals begin

You can watch the Semifinals live now on ESPN2.

Our first speller is Timothy Lau (Speller 13) from Torrance, California. Timothy's an eighth grader who correctly spelled "zwinger" and "unilaterally" in earlier rounds.

Timothy's first word in the Semifinals was "messuage," a dwelling house with the adjacent buildings and the adjoining lands used in connection with the household. He asked for the origin and definition, as well as a sentence, other pronunciations and the part of speech.

Timothy spelled it correctly as time ran short. The surprise showed on his face.

'A big deal'

Max Danner (Speller 184) wasn't expecting to make the semifinals -- but he really wanted to.

The free Microsoft Surface RT tablet Max and the other spellers got Tuesday night made the whole trip worth it, said his mother, Julie.

But then it got even better when Max's name was called, and he advanced to the next round.

"Oh, I'm thrilled," she said. "It was a big deal for him."

Waiting while Max was taking the computerized semifinals test was nerve-racking, Julie said.

But the Bee is about more than the end result.