Speller balances bee with reality TV, social media stardom


OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – Akash Vukoti is competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the third time at age 9.

It’s just one of his many star turns. He’s coming off an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” and has also been featured on “Little Big Shots.”

While at the bee, he’s providing content for his YouTube channel, which has more than 32,000 subscribers. Although his study time was limited, he qualified for the bee on merit and says spelling remains his “passion.”

He’s one of a record 23 spellers competing this year who are age 9 or younger. Seventeen of those got in through the bee’s wild card program, but Akash, who’s from San Angelo, Texas, won his regional bee.

Akash Vukoti, 9, of San Angelo, Texas, competes in the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)