So I just spent much of the last 2 hours watching the spelling bee - broadcast live for the first time. Was fun to listen to the play by play announcers attempt to create drama and excitement. But, somehow you found yourself rooting for one or another of the contestants for one reason or another. Was a bit awkward having the parents on stage and then watching the reactions when there is a mistake. At that age, I think those moments are best kept private (though most of the kids seemed to take the mistake in stride and the parents did seem supportive).
All in all, it wasn't terrible - but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch again. The documentaries that came out in the past few years were better able to develop the stories of those involved. And the young age makes it uncomfortable to watch them fail (unlike Idol where it's Ok to laugh at the people making fun of themselves).