TV

Jimmy Kimmel Hilariously Challenges Spelling Bee Co-Champions to an Epic Showdown

by Zach Seemayer 1:22 AM PDT, June 03, 2016
Photo: ABC

Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga may be this year's co-champions of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, but on Thursday night the two young lexicon lovers had to face off against their toughest opponent yet: Jimmy Kimmel.

Hathwar, 13, and Janga, 11, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to test their skills against the 48-year-old talk show host. While Kimmel said he could have beaten the two super spellers by himself, he had a special ace up his sleeve -- 6-year-old Akash Vukoti, who was the youngest of the 285 contenders at this year's championship.

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While Vukoti was eliminated in the third round, he won the hearts of viewers everywhere for his competitive attitude and charming smile. So, teaming up with Kimmel, the two teams were set for a rousing tournament of verbal jousting.

Unfortunately, all their skills couldn't help them once it was revealed that Kimmel's thickly-accented sidekick Guillermo would be the one attempting to pronounce the words each team would have to spell.

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The whole bit went as hilariously bad as you'd imagine with neither team being able to make heads or tails of the words Guillermo was throwing their way -- including "phlebotomy," "isthmus" and "vaudeville."

In the end, despite all of Kimmel's braggadocio, both teams ended up tied for last place with zero points, which made everyone a winner! As a reward, all three kids won a new smartphone, complete with "autocorrect and everything," Kimmel explained.

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This is the third year in a row that two contestants became co-champions at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Before 2014, there had not been a tie in 52 years.

Earlier on Thursday, during his Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night special ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the acerbic host sat down with Mariah Carey (in a bubble bath) to talk about her future wedding. Check out the video below to see more.

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