A little over two months ago, I wrote a post about the first few episodes of this season of “The Amazing Race.” On Friday, May 15th, after 12 episodes of this season, the finale finally aired and the viewers were able to see who was going to win the grand prize of a million dollars and the title of the season 26 winners.
There were four teams going into the finale, three of which were blind dating teams. Blair Townsend and Hayley Keel were a blind date team notorious for their constant fighting the entire season. Their fighting even earned them the nickname “the Bickersons” from fellow racers Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams. Despite the fighting though, the pair was able to make it to the final four. When they actually calmed down enough and stopped yelling at each other, they were a very tough team, however I wasn’t so sure they would be able to work together long enough considering how stressful the last leg always is.
Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams were another blind date team, and my favorite out of the three. While they both agreed from early on that they weren’t interested in each other romantically, they worked together and got along really well. The show’s host, Phil Keoghan, saw how well they were getting along and constantly prompted whether they were interested in each other or not, but the team always insisted their only focus was on winning the race. They had a few slip ups here and there, but nothing too major, and I went into the finale thinking it was very possible that they could win.
Rochelle Nevedal and Mike Dombrowski are underdogs in every sense of the word. They were the only dating couple left, were saved from elimination once, and went into the final leg in last place. Keoghan informed them that one of the four teams would be eliminated in the middle of the leg before they reach the finish line, so the odds were clearly stacked against them. I didn’t think they were going to win, but I still had major respect for them. They knew the entire leg that they weren’t the strongest team, but they kept a very level headed attitude for most of the race and overcame so many tough obstacles. I went into the finale thinking that if they got this far, maybe they could pull it off.
Jelani Roy and Jenny Wu were the third blind date couple. Like the other three blind dating teams, they decided early on that they were going to focus on the race only. While they didn’t fight as much as Townsend and Keel, the tension was a lot higher between them than the other remaining teams. Wu constantly yelled at Roy if he did not complete a task fast enough and got frustrated very easily. While they were a very strong team, they quickly crumbled if they’re not at the top, and I went into the finale knowing that could be their downfall.
The leg started with all four teams flying from their previous destination in Trujillo, Peru to their final destination, Dallas, Texas. Their first task was to go to AT&T Stadium where one of the team members had to catch a football and kick a field goal in order to continue. After this, they had to head to a Ranch and corral cattle. While the teams left the previous task pretty close together, Nevedal and Dombrowski’s luck ran out when their taxi driver had to fill up on gas. This put them behind, and they were eliminated from the race.
The next task brought teams to Reunion Tower. The teammate who did not complete the football task, had to rappel down the tour while looking for the clue which signified where their next task would be. Though, Towsend and Keel had an early lead at this task, this quickly ran out when Keel misidentified what the clue was and they were unable to find their next task. This caused them to have to return to the Reunion Tower after all the other teams had left so that they can look for the next task.
At the next task, the teams had to drive a monster truck to get to their final challenge. After watching eleven seasons of “The Amazing Race” I knew that this final challenge would be a memory challenge. Almost every finale of the race has a challenge that requires teams to recall something from every leg of the race such as the currencies of each country they went to or the flags of each country. This task required them to unlock a shed using a combination that required them to remember four countries and which leg it was. Then once that was open, they had to take the selfies they had taken on each leg and put them in order on a giant map. They had to remember which country each selfie was from as well as the order they were supposed to go in.
Due to Keel’s error, she and her teammate were only arriving to this task as the other two teams were leaving, so I knew that they would not be the winners. As for the other teams, Pierson and Adams finished only minutes before Wu and Roy, and their taxi driver seemed unclear of where their final destination, Continental Avenue Bridge actually was. I didn’t know who was going to win at this point.
The finish line is always my favorite part. The camera shows Phil Keoghan standing on the mat as all the teams who have been eliminated over the course of the season line up along the edges eagerly awaiting the first team. Then, the camera pans out and the viewers get to see the winners of that season run up to the mat. This season Keoghan said the same line he always does as the winning team stepped up to the mat: “After five continents, eight countries, and more than 35,000 miles, Laura and Tyler, you have won ‘The Amazing Race.’”
After all three teams stood gathered on the mat, Keoghan addressed the love aspect for all three teams. None of these blind dating teams seemed to be interested in continuing a romantic relationship. When Keoghan talked about how crazy it was that 21 days ago these three teams didn’t even know each other and they came on the race looking to compete for a million dollars and find love, Roy joked, “Still looking.” So while the blind date twist may not have been successful in its matchmaking, all five teams admitted they created a bond with their teammates that they will never be able to share with anyone else. This season was all about love, and it just increased my own love for “The Amazing Race.”