For more than an hour, 108 pupils from 51 primary schools battled it out in a spelling championship that saw only four winners emerging.
The zonal round of the inaugural RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship took place simultaneously at four different locations in Singapore.
Contestants tried to out-spell one another at the Singapore Sports School in the north, Anglo-Chinese School which represented the south zone, Ngee Ann Secondary in the east and Millennia Institute in the west.
Unlike the preliminary round in which 1,200 students sat for a written test at the Raffles City Convention Centre, the pupils competing in today's zonals slugged it out on stage, facing an audience and a judging panel.
Each of them took turns to spell aloud the words read to them by a pronouncer.
The championship saw four winners emerging: Wong Yi Hao from Rosyth School, Ashvin Sivakumar from Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Joshua Leow from Tao Nan School and Nanadan Jayachandran from Bukit View Secondary School.
The finalists will fight for spelling supremacy in the final around on April 28 at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
The champion will take home $5,000 cash and win for his or her school the Challenge Trophy.
The first and second runners-up will win $3,000 and $1,000 cash respectively, and all finalists will each get a medal.
Ms Serene Goh, Editor of IN and Little Red Dot commented on the contest: "That is some effort these pupils put into the Zonals -- the competition was ferocious!
"I'm just so impressed with how broadly they must have studied, and from the number of supporters today, I'm sure their entire families helped them prepare. If today's show is any indication, the finals will be truly spectacular."