Last week, 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani overcame fierce competition to become the 2018 National Spelling Bee champion when he correctly spelled the word “koinonia” (a Greek word that means “Christian fellowship or communion”). Last night, Nemmani may have managed an even greater accomplishment: He overcame Guillermo’s hilarious mispronunciation of every word to win the 15th Annual Jimmy Kimmel Live Spelling Bee over the titular host.
The annual competition was moderated by Kimmel’s Cousin Sal and Guillermo, who also doubled as the event’s mascot by dressing up in a bee costume. In many ways, it was similar to any other spelling bee except for one important factor: Guillermo mispronounces the words to make them borderline incomprehensible, forcing contestants to figure out what the hell they’re supposed to be spelling.
The competition was about as absurd as one would expect, and Guillermo went out of his way to give Kimmel and Nemmani as little help as possible. When Nemmani asked for the country of origin for the word ‘hierarchy’ (pronounced by Guillermo as “Hey-Err-Rachi”), Guillermo answered Mexico before Kimmel explained to him that they weren’t asking for his country of origin.
To his credit, Kimmel gave it his best but proved to be no match for Nemmani, who was able to spell two of his three words correctly despite Guillermo’s incomprehensible reading. For winning, Nemmani received a comically large trophy and an Xbox as prizes ⏤ or about $39,600 less than the $40,000 he won at the National Spelling Bee.