"I don't speak German," Steele told bee pronouncer Jacques Bailly.
She then asked Bailly for an example sentence.
"Samantha wished she could play slobberhannes as well as her friends, but contented herself with being much prettier," Bailly read.
Steele eventually called for backup...from six-year-old Virginia speller Lori Anne Madison.
Madison is the youngest speller ever to compete in the national bee. She walked from her seat to stand beside Steele.
"I think it's a joke," she told the reporter.
Judges eventually rang the dreaded "bee bell" on Steele, because she took too long to spell the word.
Though she couldn't offer much help to Steele, Madison made a good showing earlier in the bee.
Photographers snapped away as Madison, wearing a bright pink polo shirt and green flip flop sandals, stepped to the microphone and spelled "dirigible."
She high-fived a much larger contestant on the way back to her seat.