'The Amazing Race' 16 Recap: Everybody's Lost in Champagne Country
'The Amazing Race' 16 Recap: Everybody's Lost in Champagne Country
Let's begin this recap of The Amazing Race with a disclaimer: despite the fact that all the tasks this week involve champagne, nobody got drunk. Everything that happened here was because of human error, not because they were intoxicated or anything. I mean, really, I think nobody was allowed to drink the stuff!

Tonight, we're headed to the French region of Champagne-Ardenne, which--as the name obviously suggests--is where champagne is made. And, as I mentioned a few days ago, if it's not from that region, it's just sparkling wine.

Anywhere warm, puh-leeease: The first thing the racers have to battle, though, are the temperatures. "France feels like December in New England," the frontrunners, Louie and Michael declared, complete with visions of them in boxers. They're first headed to Reims, where they'll have to spot the statue of Joan of Arc--just outside the Cathedral of Reims, or in the words of Dan and Jordan, the "Cathy Drone" of Reims--where they'll grab a clue from a musician playing a musical saw. It's quite easy to figure out, despite the cryptic clue that goes "listen to what you saw."

The clue is a champagne cork, leading them to the Leclerc Briant offices in the town of Epernay. Everybody figures this one out, thanks to the helpful guys at the nearby tourist office, but Jet and Cord were pretty confident that they know where they're going. "We found Champagne on the map!" they said, referring to the town of the same name. But, well, no. "Navigation is not our thing today," Cord conceded.

What's scarier, the rappelling or the slicing?
It's a Roadblock: teams must rapel down to an underground wine cellar, where they find a marked champagne bottle--there are lots of it--and go back out to open that bottle with a saber. You know, like they usually do.

The only struggle here is finding the marked bottle. Supposedly it's easy: the race colors definitely stand out against the dark bottles. Still, Jordan looked under the wine racks, Steve looking at the bottles one by one... and Louie found his faster. But I guess that's an editing decision. Still, a pretty easy task, so easy that even the cowboys--who thought they were dead last--managed to catch up.

Pierry or Reims? What's more cryptic is the clue after the Roadblock: a piece of paper that says "Taittinger la Marquetterie". That's a chateau, located in Pierry, owned by the Taittinger family one of the most prominent winemakers in the region, and that's where they grow the grapes. Only Louie and Michael get it right the first time, partly because they asked the right people--locals who were willing to bring them there.

The rest of the teams aren't so lucky. I guess you can blame the tourism offices or, in the case of Dan and Jordan, the pretty girl they asked. They were directed back to Reims, to the Taittinger headquarters, where the champagne is made. I can imagine the receptionist getting flustered at having to explain the differences between the two places.

But one team with the worst luck is Steve and Allie, who failed to spot the curb as they parked and hit their car against it. Would've been fine, if not for the bumper hitting the ties when they drive. Let's pause for a moment to thank Steve's wife for packing duct tape in his bag: after a couple of wounds and some time spend wrapping the crashed part of the car in its place, they're good to go.

Glasses come tumbling down: It's a detour at the chateau. Choose Terra, and you search for a marked bunch of grapes in the vineyards a square kilometer wide: it's easy pickings for Louie and Michael, whose time-tested grid searches propelled them in first place. Choose Tower, and you build a champagne tower that's pretty specific: 680 glasses, 15 levels high, with one glass on top: only Dan and Jordan were successful in this task.

This leg's breakdown moment went to Brent and Caite. They began arguing in Reims, when they found the wrong statue--Caite's "I don't hear anything!" line started a flurry of arguments. It got better when they found themselves at the pit stop one task too early, thanks to following Carol and Brandy.

It got worse in the Detour, when neither could decide on which task to take. Brent wanted to look for grapes and Caite got frustrated when they can't find any. Switch. They were doing well with the champagne tower until Brent poured this huuuge bottle of wine on the glasses: everything collapsed. Switch again. Well, there were apologies, but I don't think it's going to end soon.

It's goodbye to Jordan and Jeff: But in the end, it's Team Big Brother who were eliminated. At least it wasn't a stupid mistake or anything--although Jordan confusing Joan of Arc with Noah's ark was quite ridiculous. The Speed Bump at the last leg really bore them down, as they left hours after most of the teams, and they just struggled catching up. They did find Brent and Caite at the Detour, but it still took them until nightfall to find the grapes. "What are we doing this for?" Jeff asked. "To bring kids back to school or something?"

No, Jeff. It's to remind me never to forget putting my picks on Fantasy TV again. I forgot, and I missed 2000 points since I pegged you both for elimination. Anyway, no regrets, right? You surely gave it a positive spin.

Next week on The Amazing Race: the teams fly to Seychelles (not She-chilis) and, probably, we find ourselves another "oxymoron!" moment like we had in the Philippines before.

(Image courtesy of CBS)