Semifinals underway at National Spelling Bee; 42 spellers aiming to win title Thursday night

The semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is underway, with 42 youngsters vying for the title of champion spellers.

The contenders took the stage Thursday afternoon near Washington, D.C., amid hopes of advancing to the finals later in the evening.

The winner will take more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.

This year's bee included the first vocabulary tests in the competition's history. The scores were combined with the onstage rounds to determine which spellers advanced.