Ever since the days of the Founding Fathers, the Philadelphia area has been home to some pretty smart people. But unlike one Montgomery County youngster, we’re betting Benjamin Franklin couldn’t instantly solve complex math problems in his head.
Lance Kay, 12, of Lafayette Hill, will be moving on to the semi-finals of NBC’s Genius Junior following an appearance on the show on Sunday. His team, 99 Problems But Brains Ain’t One, beat out competitors The Cheese Cabinet to move on in the competition.
For the show, Kay was paired with Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. native Chris, 10, who has an IQ of 153, and Corpus Christi, Texas’s Silvia, 10, who claims to have such a good memory that she has memories from when she was one year old. In his introductory video on the show, Kay said that he competed in chess tournaments in kindergarten, and hopes one day to be a NASA engineer who designs interplanetary robots.
The team, meanwhile, faced off against Paige, 11, of Northbrook, Illinois, who learned Mandarin Chinese at age 5, Barrington, Illinois native Matt, 10, who builds and designs robots currently, and Norah, 11, a Merrick, New York native who started reading at age one.
To win the heat, Kay’s team answered a slew of complicated questions, including math problems — his strong suit. He answered several questions in that category correctly, but one in particular blew host Neil Patrick Harris away: 29+26+500-5÷2+4,725÷4. The answer is apparently 1,250, which Kay came up with almost immediately, but good luck trying to figure that one out as fast even with a calculator. Even his two other teammates got it wrong.
Following that brainy stunt, Kay led Harris and his teammates in a brief meditation, which he ended with a “namaste.”
In the show’s final round, known as “The Cortex,” Kay’s team answered nine questions correctly, which translated into an additional $35,000 in prize money added to their overall total for the game. The winning team takes home their pot at the end of the competition.
In their next appearance, Kay’s team will go up against either Geeks on Fleek or The FOGS (Fellowship of the Genius Schmenius). Genius Junior airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on NBC.