Today’s debate is a colossal critter competition! One of them stings, the other has wings. It’s scorpions vs. butterflies! We’ve got standup comedian and health educator Khadijah Cooper ready to sing the praises of the snazzy scorpion and writer, actor and comedian Becky Abrams here to tell us why butterflies are breathtaking.

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Audio Transcript

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SUBJECT 1: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: The show for people with big opinions.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom, and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and ask you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is arachnid versus insect. One of them stings, the other has wings. It's scorpions versus butterflies. We've got stand-up comedian and health educator, Khadijah Cooper, in the house, ready to give it her all for Team Scorpions.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Don't flutter, be grounded. Scorpions to the top.

MOLLY BLOOM: And writer, actor, and comedian Becky Abrams is here to defend Team Butterflies.

BECKY ABRAMS: Float like a butterfly, sting like a me.


MOLLY BLOOM: And here to judge it all is Siddhu from Houston, Texas. Siddhu has a black belt in taekwondo. He also has a pet tortoise named Goober, and used to wear a neon orange shirt that said "annoying." Hello, Siddhu.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Hello, or as we say in Texan, howdy.

MOLLY BLOOM: So Siddhu, please tell me about your tortoise. What's going on with Goober?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: So Goober ran away.


SIDDHU PACHIPALA: I know. Who knew that tortoises could run away? My grandpa found him on the middle of the road. And the thing about tortoises on the road in Texas is you won't find them alive a lot of the time. Most times, you'll just see the shell flattened. So we knew what we had to do to save Goober. And we took him in and nursed him for a couple of days. And then we knew we had to let him go because that's where he belonged. Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's a really sweet story. So you were Goober's temporary home. You helped Goober get back to his tortoisey self.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Yes. That was my first child so--

MOLLY BLOOM: That's really beautiful. And also, you are a Regeneron Science finalist. That is a very impressive feat. Can you tell us a little bit about the Regeneron Science competition?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Yes. It's this science competition that brings together high school seniors across America who've done independent research during their high school time. And we all gather in Washington DC to talk about science and talk about the research we've done to get some really sweet prizes at the end of the day, and just celebrate what it means to be scientists.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. So can you tell us about your research that got you to that competition?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Yeah. You can basically think of it as an application that can read your mind based on the writing you have on your phone. So it's really hard to tell what someone is feeling like on any given day just by looking at them. And that makes checking up on them kind of hard sometimes. And even checking in on yourself is really hard sometimes.

So I developed an app that uses the power of computer science to basically try to analyze what you're writing in your text messages or your social media or your notes to give you an understanding of what your mental health is like today.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is so cool and so very impressive. Thank you for being here today. So what advice do you have for our debaters today how to win you over?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Don't go easy on each other.


MOLLY BLOOM: You want to see a fierce debate today. Well, will Siddhu go for scuttling scorpions or flitting butterflies? There's no telling. Siddhu, are you ready to judge today's debate?


MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Well before we dive in, let's review the rules of the game. Every debate consists of four rounds of argumentation, the Declaration of Greatness, the Micro-Round, the Sneak Attack, and the Final 6. After each round, our judge, Siddhu, will award points to the team that impresses him the most. But he'll keep his decisions top secret until the end of the debate.

Listeners, we want you to judge, too. Mark down your points as you listen. At the end of the show, head to our website,, and vote for whichever team you think won. All right. Khadijah, Becky, and Siddhu, are you ready?

BECKY ABRAMS: I'm readier than I'll ever be.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Yeah, I'm ready.


MOLLY BLOOM: Yes. Then it's time for the--

SUBJECT 1: Declaration of Greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, our debaters will present a well-crafted, immersive argument in favor of their sides. Then they'll each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. We flipped a coin. And Khadijah, you're up first. Sing the praises of the sizzling scorpion.


SUBJECT 1: Please be seated.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Your Honor, members of the jury, I am here today in defense of scorpions, who have been accused of looking creepy, possessing dangerous venom, and being inferior to butterflies. My clients are victims of misunderstanding and prejudice. It's butterflies who should be on trial here today.


SUBJECT 1: Order in the court.

KHADIJAH COOPER: It's believed that butterflies have only been around for a measly 200 million years. Scorpions have been on this planet for more than 400 million years. And after all that time, they still basically look the same. You know the saying, if it ain't broke after 400 million years, don't fix it. You got to respect the OG design.

SUBJECT 1: Hmm. That's a great point.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Let's talk about venom. Scorpions have the right to protect themselves from predators and other threats, just like anyone. Only between 1% and 3% of scorpion species have venom strong enough to harm a human. Scorpions are not naturally aggressive. And most stings are a result of an accidental encounter and self-defense. Your Honor, I like to call my witness, Roger the golden retriever, to the stand.

SUBJECT 2: Hello. One time, I was sniffing a pile of rocks and I did not look before poking my nose into a hole. I scared a little scorpion, and it pooped my snoot real good. It was sore for a couple of days but I'm OK. And I learned my lesson. Always look before you sniff.

SUBJECT 1: Thank you, Roger. You can sit down now. Sit. Good boy.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Scorpions can even change the strength of their venom to stun rather than kill. So consider it. Plus, researchers think scorpion venom can help cure bacterial infections and cancer. We should be thanking scorpions for their service, not screaming and trying to swat them with a shoe.


SUBJECT 1: Order. Hey, hey, hey, come on. Come on. Come on. Come on. Come on. Order.

KHADIJAH COOPER: You're right to cheer for scorpions. What have butterflies ever done for humankind? Look pretty on a postcard? That never cured anybody. Next, Your Honor, members of the jury, scorpions are important to art and culture. For thousands of years, people have recognized scorpions as powerful creatures and use them in art and storytelling.

You can find them in ancient Islamic art. There is an ancient Egyptian scorpion goddess associated with protection and healing. And in the Southwest United States, Indigenous artists have painted intricate scorpion design on their pottery for more than a thousand years.

SUBJECT 2: Nice.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Scorpions are also considered a tasty snack in many parts of the world, including West Africa and Southeast Asia. You can get them roasted or fried, or munch on dried scorpions like potato chips. Have you ever tried eating a butterfly? I bet it tastes like a sour dust with a hint of fingernail clippings. No, thank you.


SUBJECT 1: Oh, ew. That's gross.

KHADIJAH COOPER: In conclusion, I say that it's not scorpions who should be on trial but butterflies for slandering scorpions and for false advertising. The public relations team for butterflies would have you believe that they're delicate, innocent, nature's origami, like rainbow's eyelashes. Lies. The zebra longwing butterfly is highly toxic. And its caterpillars are cannibals. They eat their siblings.

White bar Chuck Raxie's butterflies, native to Central and Southern Africa, spend their time getting into vicious fights with their fellow butterflies, cruelly shedding each other's wings. And some butterflies love to land on piles of fresh dung for a snack. That's right. Butterflies eat poop.

SUBJECT 3: Oh no.

KHADIJAH COOPER: They're selling you a beautiful lie. Don't be fooled, my friends. Scorpions never try to hide what they are. But remember, you can't spell butterflies without lies.


MOLLY BLOOM: Scorpions ready to sting with their words and their venom. Siddhu, what stood out to you about Khadijah's Declaration of Greatness?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Wow. I'm still reeling. I was really invested. I love a good legal drama. I was taken in by that appeal to tradition at the beginning. At the end of the day, that scorpion is always going to look the same. It's a bit heartwarming. But the statement that only 3% of scorpions have that venom-- if 3% of humans had venom and could sting you, I think you would be careful around people.

And Roger's testimony-- are very victim blaming dogs now for scorpion stings I'm not sure but if I say more I'm scared that scorpion goddess might strike me down so and I didn't know about the powerful medical applications and rich cultural background of the scorpion. And when you're up against literal cannibal caterpillars, I think scorpions seem like angels in comparison. And I'm kind of hungry for a scorpion snack anyways so--

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, well done. OK. Becky, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to take down Team Scorpions, and your time starts now.

BECKY ABRAMS: All right. Here we go. So cool, they are 400 million years old, these scorpions. That just means they've had millions of years to develop something a little more interesting than a silly little stinger, and have apparently declined to do so. And venom, what's more? That's not the coward's weapon of choice. Actually, it is. Whatever happened to athleticism? What about swordplay?

Couldn't you imagine two scorpions having a sword fight with their little tails? But they don't. They use venom instead. What's that about? Now the medical therapeutic uses, that sounds promising. But maybe while we're waiting around for the FDA to approve them, they can sting some pharmacists.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Absolutely not. I think scorpions using venom instead of using their tails for swords is just good time management. Like, who has time for a sword fight?

BECKY ABRAMS: They're so busy doing other things all day.


MOLLY BLOOM: Efficient.

KHADIJAH COOPER: They don't have time. Yeah, they're efficient. They're like, we have a conflict. We're going to settle this really quickly and we're going to get on with our day.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Becky, it is your turn. Tell us why butterflies are beautiful inside and out.

SUBJECT 4: Once upon a time, there was a nursery full of baby caterpillars.

SUBJECT 5: Just like us.

SUBJECT 4: That's right, baby caterpillar number 1. The little caterpillar larva laughed all morning and played and ate lots of yummy healthy snacks, like green leaves and flower petals.

SUBJECT 6: Super salad.

SUBJECT 4: Yes, baby caterpillar number 2. Very good. And can anyone tell me why the baby caterpillars ate so many yummy healthy snacks?

SUBJECT 5: Because Eric Carle said so?

SUBJECT 4: The baby caterpillars ate so they could grow big and strong. For you see, each one was about to take a long rest in a cozy cocoon called a chrysalis. And when they finish their nap, what happens next?

SUBJECT 7: They eat even more snacks?

SUBJECT 4: Not quite, baby caterpillar number 3. They emerge as beautiful, majestic adult butterflies.


SUBJECT 7: More snackies.

SUBJECT 6: But I'm already majestic. All I got to do now is learn how to fly.

BECKY ABRAMS: And that's my pitch for Baby Caterpillar Nursery. It's a kid show all about butterflies. And it's going to be a big hit because it's all about marvelous self-transformation. You see, butterflies, like many insects, go through something called complete metamorphosis, which is a multi-stage transformation into adulthood. But butterflies are one of the most famous for it.

Every butterfly starts out as an egg. That egg hatches into a caterpillar. Fun fact, caterpillars eat a lot of leaves. Then that caterpillar wraps itself up in a chrysalis. Fun fact number two, butterflies use chrysalises and moths use cocoons. And then kablooey! Out pops a beautiful butterfly. But don't just take it from me. Listen to my old show biz buddy, Billy Chrysalis.

BILLY CHRYSALIS: I'll tell you. It's great to be here telling stories at The Moth tonight. And my story has got to be the oldest one in the book. Boy meets plant. Boy eats plant. Boy wraps himself into a chrysalis until he pops out a fully formed butterfly.


I mean, who'd have thunk it? Little Billy from The Bronx suddenly turned into monarch butterfly William I, the milkweed king.


You folks have been a beautiful audience. Not as beautiful as my wings but hey, nobody's perfect.

BECKY ABRAMS: And comedy isn't the only place butterflies excel. People will be obsessed with Baby Caterpillar Nursery because let's face it, people love butterflies. From the butterfly effect to the butterflies in your stomach to butterfly-shaped pasta. Farfalle, anyone? Butterflies are everywhere. These symbolic insects even represented the idea of a soul in ancient Greece.

What if scorpions contributed to culture? Rock You Like A Hurricane? I mean, I'm not going to lie and say that isn't a great song. But still, butterflies have hit singles by both Mariah Carey and Crazy Town.

(SINGING) So spread your wings and fly, butterfly. Come, my lady. Come, come, my baby. You're my butterfly, sugar baby.

Will the wonders ever cease? No, they won't because butterflies give back to the world in the form of pollination. My new TV show, Baby Caterpillar Nursery, will show how each species of butterfly forms a mutually beneficial relationship with a specific type of plant.

SUBJECT 5: That means the butterfly and the plant helps each other.

BECKY ABRAMS: That's right, baby caterpillar number 1. Take the monarch butterfly. It has a close relationship with the milkweed plant. Monarchs lay their eggs, grow into caterpillars, and hang their chrysalises in and around the special plant. In return, when the adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalises, they flit about, spreading pollen from plant to plant so more milkweed can grow. Pollination achieved.

SUBJECT 4: And that's the story of the butterfly nursery. One day, all of my special little caterpillars will grow up to be magnificent butterflies. I'm so proud of you. Excuse me. OK. Now go and make up your chrysalises. It's time for your nap.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, a pitch. A pitch for a show about butterflies. They got a tight five. They're ready for anything. We love it. Siddhu, what stood out to you about Becky's Declaration of Greatness there?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: I can't relate to the leaf and super solid lifestyle of baby caterpillar number 1. I mean, where is the spicy Cheetos or the pizza components of the diet? Like, come on. But what I can relate to just a little bit is metamorphosis. Because believe it or not, I'm not a little baby in diapers anymore. And now I'm drop dead gorgeous, just like a butterfly. And kablooey! Sometimes, I want to wrap myself in chrysalises, too. That's really fun to say. Chrysalises. Chrysalises. Chrysalises.

MOLLY BLOOM: Chrysalises. Chrysalises. All right. Very nicely done, Siddhu. All right. Khadijah, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds, and your time starts now.

KHADIJAH COOPER: OK. First of all, I'm just disturbed. After that, all I think about is butterflies are just wolves in sheep's clothing. That's all they are. They have these beautiful wings. But what are they really doing for nature? They're spreading pollen, taking away jobs from bees. That's rude. That's the bee's job. And also, it talks about growing big and strong. I've never seen a butterfly do anything strong really. And also, the jokes, he bombed. It wasn't funny. It's not good. Not good.

MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

BECKY ABRAMS: OK, look. Taking away jobs from bees? I've never seen a bee go anywhere near milkweed. So that's out. And butterflies aren't strong? Try flying and lifting your body weight into the air. Scorpions haven't.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right.


MOLLY BLOOM: Siddhu, our debaters have given you a lot to think about. But now it's time to award some points. Please give one point to the Declaration of Greatness you liked best and one point to the rebuttal that won you over. You get to decide what makes a winning argument. Did one team's jokes make you giggle? Was another team's logic to die for? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Both points can go to the same person or each person could get a point. Siddhu, have you made your decision?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: With little difficulty. Yes.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, excellent. Becky and Khadijah, how are you two feeling so far?

KHADIJAH COOPER: I'm feeling confident. I'm feeling so confident. Scorpions, they are like what you see is what you get. There's no shiftiness. There's no we're going to start off as one thing and change it into another thing. It is what it is. So I'm feeling really confident that we will prevail today.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful.

BECKY ABRAMS: And I just have one '90s commercial slogan to throw out there for you, which is, scorpions, I can believe it's not butterfly. Ba-doom.

KHADIJAH COOPER: OK. Well, that's the second reference that is-- doesn't make sense. The Sugar Ray one was bad enough, and then you throw in another '90s reference. We have to come up with a-- it's 2023. We got to progress.

BECKY ABRAMS: Your scorpions are 400 million years old. What could be older than that reference?

KHADIJAH COOPER: No, it's a classic. It's vintage. It's different, OK? It's very vintage.

MOLLY BLOOM: You be the judge. OK. Fly to the fridge or crawl to the cupboard for a quick nibble--

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Because we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.

SUBJECT 1: You're listening to State of Debate, home to rage and rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation.

TODD DOUGLAS: Hello, you adorable debate buddies. I'm Todd Douglas here with my number one pal, Taylor Lincoln.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: And today, I've got a doozy of a logical fallacy to share with you.

TODD DOUGLAS: Fallacies? More like "failacies." Get it? Because they make your arguments easier to defeat.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Woo, they sure do. And this one is called the anecdotal evidence fallacy. It's when you make a big, sweeping argument based on someone's personal experience.

TODD DOUGLAS: Woof, that's a big no no.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Woof is right. Check out these two pups who got into a debate at the dog park.

TODD DOUGLAS: Who's a good boy? That's right. You are.


DOG: Woof, woof. Hi, Archie.

ARCHIE: Oh, hey, girlie. Woof, woof.

DOG: Guess what?


DOG: There's a new member of my family, one of those human babies. Have you seen a human baby?

ARCHIE: You bet. And all I can say is ew.

DOG: Ew? What? Oh, I love my human baby. The human baby that lives in my house is the best. She smells great. She makes funny noises. I love her.

ARCHIE: Take it from me, human babies, all of them, are terrible.

DOG: All human babies? I'm not so sure.

ARCHIE: I met a human baby once. It came to a barbecue in my backyard. It pulled my tail hard and wouldn't share its toys with me, either. From that day on, I've always said, human babies are bad.


TAYLOR LINCOLN: Oof! Archie really stepped in it there.

TODD DOUGLAS: You really do have to be careful at the dog park.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: No, Todd. I meant Archie stepped right into that big ol' anecdotal evidence fallacy.

TODD DOUGLAS: He sure did. You can't say all babies are bad based on one baby you met one time.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: If Archie had met me when I was a baby, he would be singing a different tune. My mom says I was perfect.

TODD DOUGLAS: And so does mine. Wow. What are the odds? And that's all we have time for today on--

BOTH: State of Debate.


(SINGING) Boom. Boom. Boom-boom. Boom. Boom. Boom-boom. Boom. Smash. Boom. Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Smash Boom Best. I'm your host, Molly Bloom.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: And I'm your judge, Siddhu.

MOLLY BLOOM: We love getting debate suggestions from our listeners. Take a listen to this super debate idea from William.

WILLIAM: My debate is Hulk versus Thor.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: That's one heavy-hitting debate idea.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll check back with William at the end of this episode to see which side he thinks should win.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: And now it's back to today's debate, scorpions versus butterflies.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right. And it's time for round 2, the--


--micro round.


For the micro round challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. For Khadijah and Becky, the prompt was spa day. For this challenge, we asked them to dream up a spa inspired by their side and then convince us that theirs is the best place to get some TLC. Khadijah went first last time, so Becky, you're up. Sell us on your spa and why it's so fly.


BECKY ABRAMS: Welcome to Metamorphospa, the only spa in the world where you're treated as luxuriously as a butterfly. As soon as you enter, you'll be given a proboscis spiral straw, which you'll use to lap up sweet nectar punch.


You'll nosh on pollen bites tucked inside a giant flower. This floral atmosphere will be sure to calm your nerves and make your belly happy.


Once you've had your fill, you'll be wrapped up in a silky, custom-made chrysalis. This will give your senses a chance to rest and relax so that you can achieve total rejuvenation.


When it's time to emerge from your chrysalis-- and trust us, you'll know exactly when to do so-- we'll apply a personalized colorful design directly to your extremities. You can choose from our three exquisite wing packages-- camouflage, so you can blend in with your surroundings, beautiful patterns to attract a mate, or bright warning signals that scare off any potential predators you may come across. Freshly made up and totally revitalized, you'll leave the Metamorphospa feeling so good, you might just take flight.


MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, a beautiful spa experience that comes with a custom straw. I feel myself there. I feel relaxed. Khadijah, it's your turn. How do scorpions take the sting out of life?


KHADIJAH COOPER: Are you sick of traditional spa experiences? Tired of boring face creams and regular massages by human hands?



Then Scorpion Day Spa is for you, where we put the fear in fearless.


Our treatments are 100% natural, 100% unique, and will make 100% in your friends ask, how do you stay so gorgeous? Try our stunning scorpion manicure. We don't use those old and outdated nail tips you see at every other nail salon. We actually glue live scorpions to your fingernails. Once we attach the scorpions to your nails, they can hang out there for a year without eating. Now, that is minimal upkeep.

And if you're a person who likes to go out at night, with a scorpion manicure, you will have 10 little flashlights on your fingertips because scorpions can glow in the dark. Tough cuticles? Not anymore. These little scorpions will nibble on your cuticles on the daily to keep them clean and tidy. Side note, you will have to carry band-aids with you. These are not included.

Our last treatment at Scorpion Day Spa is the most popular. This treatment is for your body and soul. During this treatment, we will nestle you in a cozy bed while our trained scorpion massage artist gently sting your chakras, pinch your chi, and poison all the negativity out of your life. You will leave feeling fearless, bold, and creative, with a new passion for life. Make sure to book your treatment at Scorpion Day Spa, where we put the fear in fearless.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, excuse me. Booking my treatment right now. I need some extreme nail art-- so useful, so stylish. All right, Siddhu, what stood out to you about Khadijah and Becky's micro rounds?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: You know, I think I'm especially suited for this because I currently have on seven layers of skincare.


SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Thinking about Metamorphospa, the nectar does sound quite good. We didn't get any allergy information, but I'm betting that tastes good. And when it comes to Scorpion Day Spa, I thought-- what stood out to me was the 100% guarantees. They better hold up, or we'll be seeing them in court again.


And the scorpion manicure does sound like less upkeep than this artwork on, quote unquote, "extremities." We don't know how long this will last.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm. Excellent judging, Siddhu. All right, it is time to award a point. But don't tell us who it's going to. Again, the criteria are totally up to you. Did someone create a spa you would like to go to? Did someone cram more facts in? Did someone make you laugh? Did someone make you think? Did someone make you feel? It's up to you. Have you awarded your point?



MOLLY BLOOM: Fantastic. Then it's time for our third round, the super stealthy--

(CHANTING) Ha-ha hoo-ha.

--sneak Attack. This is our improvised round where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. Today's sneak attack is called Superfan. For this challenge, we want you to pretend that your side has a sports team, and you're their number one fan.

It's your job to make up a team chant that's four lines long about why your side is the best. What sport do they play? What are they known for? Why should their opponents be scared? You're a four-line-chant cheerleading machine. Does this make sense, Khadijah and Becky?

BECKY ABRAMS: It makes sense.



MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful OK, we're going to start with Khadijah. Let's hear you scare your opponent silly.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Well, let's just start with the sport. It's going to be hang gliding as a sport.


KHADIJAH COOPER: So I am so excited to be cheering for my favorite scorpion hang glider. Of course, it's done in the desert, where it's nice and hot, and they hold on, and they fly through the air. So they're super lightweight.

And don't get it twisted. It's not because they want to fly at all. They don't want to. It's not because they want to fly. They just want the ability to see things and like to glide. And so the thing that I love about this sport, it's not about competition. It's not about winning.

It's about having fun. It's about camaraderie. It's about being together as scorpion family. I love this sport so much. I don't even know if it's a sport, but this is it. This is what I thought of. And this is what I think is going to be great.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, let's hear your cheer for the team.

KHADIJAH COOPER: Yeah. Oh, my gosh.


KHADIJAH COOPER: (SINGING) Give it up for the scorpions flying through the air, not because they love to fly but because they love to sting.


KHADIJAH COOPER: That is-- OK, the Grammy's coming.

MOLLY BLOOM: The Grammy's coming. Watch out.

KHADIJAH COOPER: The Academy is--

BECKY ABRAMS: That was astounding.


MOLLY BLOOM: The enthusiasm.


MOLLY BLOOM: The beauty.

KHADIJAH COOPER: It's the sell. It's the cell.

MOLLY BLOOM: It is definitely. All right, Becky, it is your turn. Make our hearts flutter for team butterflies.

BECKY ABRAMS: OK. So butterflies I'm imagining as competitive eaters, like a hot dog eating contest but butterflies. So it's with flowers or something, probably, or Cheetos or pizza. I don't know, Siddhu. Whatever you like, that's what they're probably eating.

So for my cheer. So this is-- imagine a full stadium of beautiful people just cheering at the same time. And they all know the same words because I had two extra seconds to come up with some words. OK, so it's like this. OK, ready?

(SINGING) Butterflies, we can't be beat. Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm. We taste through our tiny feet, which is true. They taste through their feet. Scorpions will lose today. Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm. And then I didn't have anything else, so we're going to say, butterflies will have our say. Yeah!

MOLLY BLOOM: Woo-hoo-hoo!

BECKY ABRAMS: And the Grammy is also coming to me, as well.



MOLLY BLOOM: You two cheerleaders really got me up and out of my chair, cheering for team butterfly and team scorpions. OK, Siddhu, I know it's a tough decision. But it's time to award a point. Think about which side impressed you the most. And please, award that point. Again, the criteria are totally subjective and totally up to you. Have you made your decision?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: This is a hard one.


SIDDHU PACHIPALA: I'm not the biggest sports guy, but those chants were something catchy, you know.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes. Which one's gonna stick with you for the rest of the day, or the year, or your life, question mark?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: I'll be on my deathbed, chanting one of these things.

BECKY ABRAMS: Butterflies are really cool.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Or maybe it's the, give it up for the scorpions flying through the air.


BECKY ABRAMS: Do they fly? Is that something they do now?

MOLLY BLOOM: When they're hang gliding.

KHADIJAH COOPER: When they're hang gliding they do.

BECKY ABRAMS: Oh, right. Ah. If only they could naturally do that on their own.

KHADIJAH COOPER: They don't want to. They really like to be grounded on the ground and in the sand and in the warmth.

BECKY ABRAMS: In the sand?

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Siddhu, have you made your decision?



MOLLY BLOOM: Perfect. Then it's time for our final round--


--the final six. In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their sides. OK, Becky, let's hear your six words for bodacious butterflies.

BECKY ABRAMS: Metamorphosis. Five other words are unnecessary.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, a flex from team butterflies. All right, Khadijah, it's your turn. Show us the style of your scorpion queens.

KHADIJAH COOPER: I'm gonna use all six words.


TAYLOR LINCOLN: Yeah, I'm gonna use all six words. I'm gonna use all six. So the final thing that I want to say is scorpions are here to stay. Because they're durable.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very nice. OK, Siddhu, it is time to award a final point for this final six. Have you awarded it?



MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Then tally up those points.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Crunching the numbers.

MOLLY BLOOM: Crunching, crunching, crunching.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Drum roll, please.


And the winner is--

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Team butterfly!


BECKY ABRAMS: Oh, yeah. Yes, it is chrysalis clear that butterflies are the best.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wow. Oh, so amazing. So Siddhu, what was the moment that really decided things for butterflies?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: I have to say, admittedly, I'm walking in with a little bit of a bias. I tried to put this aside when it came to the judging. But since I ordered caterpillars once to come in the mail to raise them to become butterflies in my own room. So I have that personal connection. And I also found a scorpion in my room one day. I don't know if it was as happy.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, because you're in somewhere where there are scorpions around, right? You live in Texas.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Yeah. Texas has some real creatures down here.

KHADIJAH COOPER: I would like a recount.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Also, the beautiful monarch butterfly. So we get a mix of everything here. But I think it was tied until the last round. And in the last round, I think it was team scorpion with the seven-word summary.


MOLLY BLOOM: Docked a point-- docked a point. Well, it was a very, very close debate. Khadijah, I am so impressed by your general approach and, also, little teeny, minute details. I had no idea that there was an Egyptian goddess that was based on a scorpion. In my book, that is extremely cool, and I will be researching that after the show.

I do think scorpions are cool. I think you did a good job conveying how cool they are. But I just don't want to get stung by a scorpion, so I guess I'm a little scared of them. [LAUGHS]

KHADIJAH COOPER: Oh, of course, Becky. I love the fact that when you did your declaration of greatness, I love the idea of a lullaby. And butterflies are sweet. And they do kind of soothe you to sleep a little bit. I really appreciated you bringing in the '90s flair to your declaration. My inner child really loves that.

And I think what really stood out is you were fantastic on the fly. That cheer that you had to come up with on the spot was spot on. It was really good and amazing. And you deserve the win. So high five to you. That was really good.

BECKY ABRAMS: Thank you. High five right back. Good job.


MOLLY BLOOM: An excellent debate today, so close that it came down to just one single word. Siddhu crowned butterflies the smash boom best, but what about you?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Head to and vote to tell us who you think won.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On! and APM Studios.


Khadijah, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout-out to today?

KHADIJAH COOPER: My mother for making me born in November. I am a true Scorpio.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ah, Scorpio baby. And how about you, Becky? Any special shout-outs.

BECKY ABRAMS: Yes, two of my favorite little guys, Apollo and Ralph, some of the wonderfullest butterflies out there.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh. And Siddhu, do you have any special thanks or shout-outs today?

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: Thank you to cheese and crackers for fueling me.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Cheese and crackers-- something we can all get behind. Before we go, let's check in with William and see who he thinks should win his Hulk versus Thor debate.

WILLIAM: I think Thor wins because he's a god, and he has that cool hammer.

MOLLY BLOOM: Do you have an idea for a knock-down, drag-out debate? Head to and tell us about it. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.


KHADIJAH COOPER: Ta-ta. See you next time.

(SINGING) Ooh, you're the smash boom best. Ooh, put you through the test. Ooh, you're the smash boom best. Ooh, better than the rest. It's the Smash Boom Best. It's the Smash Boom Best.

They just want to protect themselves. And they're misunderstood.

SIDDHU PACHIPALA: How much did you pay Roger for that testimony?


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