Warning: This includes spoilers from the first three legs of the race.
I have to say that The Amazing Race (my previous articles can be found here and here) is probably one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I started watching it when I was in eighth grade when my aunt was living with us and I stumbled upon my mom and my aunt watching it together. I was immediately intrigued and have been watching it ever since.
There have been three episodes so far this season, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. The show has a little bit of everything. It has endurance and competitions, it has drama when the contestants fight with one another, it has beautiful places from all around the world, and glimpses into cultures I never would have learned about otherwise. The first leg they went from Venice Beach, California to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the second leg from Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the third leg they continued in Argentina.
I find it’s best to get the idea of a reality show like this through the contestants. If I wanted to see a show that objectively showed different rituals from parts of the world, I would just watch a documentary or a video on YouTube. But The Amazing Race gives a unique and interesting look into these countries and cultures while also adding the drama and entertainment value of having twenty-two Americans frantically trying to complete these tasks for a chance to win a million dollars. Instead of writing about what happened during each leg, I am using background and opinion on each of the teams to convey how I feel watching this show.
Names: Tanner Kloven and Josh Ahern
Relationship: Best friends
Team Name: #TeamTexas
Ranks Each Leg: 1st, 2nd, 1st
Background and opinion: A minute into the show, when they were doing their introduction, I turned to my roommate and said, “I found my favorites.” Yes, it’s mainly because they’re cute, but I like their personalities from what I can tell so far, and they also seem like strong competitors. Plus, since they came in first on the first leg, they gained the express pass, which is a pass that can be used within the first five legs to bypass one task they don’t want to do. That’s a good advantage to have.
On the second leg, Kloven pulled his hamstring running to the mat at the pit stop. He immediately said afterwards that he regretted exerting that much energy for second place, because this injury can possibly put them out of the game for good. When they arrived at the pit stop during the third leg, another team they had been neck and neck with for the past two episodes, Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop, were trailing just seconds behind them.
As if the rivalry between these two teams wasn’t evident enough, it was only heightened when Keoghan informed the two teams that the next leg with contain a double U-Turn. This is where teams who arrive at the task that contains the U-Turn first have the option to force a team to do the opposite side of the Detour, and since this is a double U-Turn, two teams will have the option to assign this fate to two other teams. A Detour is a task where there are two sides to the task and the team is allowed to choose which one they want to complete. However, a U-Turn can only be assigned to teams behind the teams assigning it, so it often makes or breaks a team’s game. A lot of teams choose to not use the U-Turn if they feel they have a large enough lead and don’t want to make enemies. It’s ultimately a strategic choice and always interesting to watch. They have placed either first or second in the first three legs even with Kloven’s hamstring injury, they haven’t fought with each other, and they seem like they have a wide range of abilities between them that they can apply to the various tasks. I have a lot of faith in them, and they are definitely my favorite team this season.
Names: Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop
Team Name: #TheGreenTeam
Ranks Each Leg: 9th, 1st, 2nd
Background and opinion: Scheman had a video go viral where he staged his own version of The Amazing Race across six states and then proposed to his girlfriend under the Northern Lights. After their introduction, I thought I would like them, but I was quickly proven wrong. I didn’t get much of an impression of Bishop, but Scheman refused to help another team because he thought they were “beefcakes” and was cocky the entire leg. They lost their early lead when they took the risk of the fast forward so they could increase their lead. However, because the weather was bad, they couldn’t do the fast forward and lost their lead. Scheman reacted very badly when they lost their lead and pouted and cried for most of the leg until they saw other teams and realized they had a chance. I was fine with any of the three teams at the bottom getting eliminated, but I really wanted them to go.
Unfortunately, they did well in the next two legs and I believe they’re going to be very strong competitors. A lot of the other teams have picked up on how cocky and annoying they are though. There was one point when all the teams were at the airport asking various people to use their phones so they could look up where the Pope was baptised as part of a clue. Scheman found out from another team and told them not to tell anyone else. However, when that team ultimately told the other teams, he responded by saying, “I didn’t know we were sharing this information with everyone else. Guess you went back on our deal.” He acts very rude and self-righteous and I’m hoping they go soon.
Names: Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta
Team Name: #TheReporters
Ranks Each Leg: 8th, 7th, 3rd
Background and opinion: They haven’t gotten much TV time, but they seem cute and funny and I want to learn more about them. They are reporters on the same news channel so I believe they are used to working together. I think this will be a strength for them. They also haven’t fought much, and how much a team fights is usually how I gauge how well a team is going to do. There have been teams in the past who have fought and still gotten far, but ultimately teams who do not fight are stronger and more enjoyable. I like them so far.
Names: Jazmine Lewis and Danielle Littleton
Relationship: Best friends
Team Name: #TheTrackStars
Ranks Each Leg: 2nd, 8th, 4th
Background and opinion: We didn’t see too much of them in the first episode, but I had a good feeling about them from the beginning. I think they’ll be good competitors because they’re track stars. I always like rooting for strong all-female teams because not many all-female teams have won The Amazing Race and it’s great to see that happen. They had a bad leg the second episode, but they’ve been placing pretty high up otherwise. I would like to see them go far this season.
Names: Logan Fazio and Chris Gordon
Team Name: #ThePaparazzi
Ranks Each Leg: 5th, 4th, 5th
Background and opinion: I don’t know much about paparazzi, so I think it will be cool to learn about their side of things and maybe see that not all paparazzi are rude and invasive. They fought a little bit during the second leg, but they’ve been pretty consistent with what place they’ve been in, so I think they can end up doing very well. I just hope that their fighting won’t get in the way of how well they end up doing otherwise. It would be a pity to see a strong team fail because of personal differences.
Names: Denise Williams and James Earl Corley
Relationship: Mother and Son
Team Name: #TeamAlabama
Ranks Each Leg: 4th, 3rd, 6th
Background and opinion: They said right away in their introduction that Corley is gay, and for a very long time his mother wouldn’t speak to him. They seem to be on better terms, but they also mentioned that this is the most time they’ve spent together in ten years. I’m wondering if that will put them at a disadvantage because they may not know each other as well as the other contestants know their teammates. They experienced tension in the third leg when they were having trouble completing tasks. They snapped and fought with each other a few times.
They arrived at the pit stop in fifth place, but Keoghan informed them that because Williams was directing Corley on what to do at the Road Block, a task that is only supposed to be completed by one teammate, that they had incurred a thirty minute penalty and could not finish the leg until they finished that out. I always hate seeing teams get penalties because it’s usually due to a small detail and could ultimately be the difference between staying in the game and being eliminated. They have the ability to be a very strong team if they work together. I enjoy their enthusiasm so I hope they do well.
Names: Cindy and Rick Chac
Team Name: #ChacAttack
Ranks Each Leg: 3rd, 5th, 7th
Background and opinion: They’re married doctors. Honestly, I am going to sound very harsh, but there have been plenty of married doctors on this show, and so far there is nothing that sets them apart. Plus, Rick was yelling at Cindy during one of the tasks on the first episode, so I really hope they don’t fight the whole time. It creates drama, but it’s never fun to watch for long. They didn’t fight much the second two legs, but they still don’t stick out to me as particularly strong or interesting players.
Names: Tiffany Chantwell and Krista Debono
Team Name: #TheCheerleaders
Ranks Each Leg: 10th, 6th, 8th
Background and opinion: They were kind of whiny and annoying the first leg, but the second two episodes they didn’t give up despite being consistently at the back of the pack. They have really high energy that is fun to watch. I think a lot of the other teams are going to underestimate them because they are a team of cheerleaders, but they are proving to be very strong competitors. They have been at the back of the rankings for all three legs, but they have kept it together and are ultimately less whiney than they were at first. They are very good sports and have good enthusiasm. I enjoy watching them.
Names: Ernest Phillips and Jin Lao
Team Name: #TheDancers
Ranks Each Leg: 7th, 9th, 9th (eliminated)
Background and opinion: They said that they are homeless and dance to make a living, so they could really use the money. I was rooting for them for that reason, but I also really liked their personalities. Even though they were at the back and in fear of being eliminated practically the entire time they ran The Race they didn’t let it get them down. They laughed and danced while doing their tasks and were very supportive of each other. They were very classy about being eliminated and I was sad to see them go.
Names: Alex Manard and Adam Dingeman
Team Name: #TheCousins
Ranks Each Leg: 6th, 10th (eliminated)
Background and opinion: I liked them also. They both have a form of dwarfism and I feel like they are at a disadvantage, but they did pretty well for themselves the first leg, but they didn’t do well the second leg and ultimately got eliminated. There was one task the second episode where teams had to learn a sideways tango, which is a regular tango except that for part of the tango they attach themselves to a harness and dance sideways on the wall. It was very difficult and I could see a lot of teams getting very frustrated. Manard and Dingeman didn’t fight or get visibly angry, but they did struggle with the task, which contributed to their elimination.
Names: Kelly Berning and Shevonne Sullivan
Relationship: Friends and co-workers
Team Name: #TeamTMZ
Ranks Each Leg: 11th (eliminated)
Background and opinion: I didn’t like them because they said that their job was to gossip about people and then used that as an excuse to bad mouth other teams and make rude assumptions about them. I thought it was shallow and I’m glad they were eliminated.
Usually, teams are eliminated when they reach the pit stop, the mat where Keoghan stands that marks the end of the leg, but if a team takes too long to complete a task, Keoghan will meet them at the task and eliminate them before they are able to finish. Berning and Sullivan took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete a puzzle, so Keoghan had to meet them at the task and eliminate them there.
Overall, I liked the premiere of The Amazing Race and I’m excited for this season. I have grown up watching this show, and it’s fun to continue watching it even as I grow up and experience changes in my everyday life. I’ve grown up a lot since beginning to watch it, and the consistency of watching it for twelve seasons is probably one of the reasons I continue to watch and love it season after season.