The 24th season of The Amazing Race
got off to a rousing start on Sunday, with one team excelling, one team completely falling apart and everyone else just kind of blending in. The teams in the middle of the pack largely stuck together, with some even completing almost the entire first leg as a group.
With so much focus on the winners, losers and, for some reason, the Afghanimals, there really weren't many mistakes to be made that weren't a result of dumb luck. But when one team screwed up, boy did they do it royally.
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For every bit of success the cowboys Jet and Cord experienced while breezing to the Pit Stop, twinnies Natalie and Nadiya crashed and burned just as hard. The bickering, screaming and obnoxious indecision ultimately led to their downfall, but which error was the most egregious? Let's break it down.
Four Lucky Teams Head to China ... Then What?
The first challenge the new old racers faced was matching symbols on the hat of the UCLA band leader to those on the hats of the band members, with the first four to accomplish the task earning a ticket on the first flight to China. None of the teams really struggled to make the connection, so you can't call settling for the second flight a mistake.
But what happened when they got there sure was. Jet and Cord, Leo and Jamal, David and Connor and Natalie and Nadiya earned the coveted head start, and half of them promptly blew it. I was hoping that the decision to take the metro versus a cab was going to play a much bigger role (because the cowboys were the only first-flight team to take the subway), but it ended up not mattering much.
Still, the not surprising but unnecessary teaming up of the Afghanimals and the twins was disastrous from the start. Leo and Jamal should've realized this the second their first joke was tossed back in their faces in the apparently ultra-serious situation. But then the four of them just wandered around, seemingly for hours, while Jet and Cord found the wedding dress shop and sprinted for the finish.
It wasn't until Caroline and Jennifer's arrival that the boys cut the cord, more than content to let the country singers tag along with the twins while they distanced themselves from the shroud of negativity hovering over Natalie and Nadiya.
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. Spins in His Grave
None of the teams had trouble with the flipping Detour, and finding the clue inside the Ferris wheel car was a crapshoot, at least until everyone smartly realized to follow a team that had already found one. Mark and Mallory had a bit of a communication snafu when she wanted to second-guess the stadium they were headed to, which is going to happen to them since they don't know anything about each other yet. But this next blunder had the above-mentioned Ferris wheel inventor (it's why the F is always capitalized) screaming from the beyond.
It'd be easy to saddle the twins' loss on all the time they wasted searching for the wedding dress shop, but they still had a decent shot to advance at that point. But once they got in an odd-numbered "try again" Ferris wheel car, all hell broke loose. And it's what happened next that earned Natalie and Nadiya the first U-Turn Award of the season.
Seriously, Get in a Damn Car!
The first part of this epic fail was that they were too busy arguing over whose fault it was that they got in the wrong car (answer: nobody's) to pay attention to who was getting out of a correct car. All the other teams were watching them scream at each other, while Joey and Meghan were devising a strategy to avoid back-to-back try agains.
The YouTubers hopped right in a car and got the clue, while Natalie and Nadiya argued not only about what car to get into, but whether to get into one at all. They even almost got in No. 2, only to get back out and wait for No. 4. I mean seriously, you know you're in last place at this point. What do you have to gain by waiting?
Every second you waste at that point is another second you have to make up, and at some point urgency takes precedent over being thorough. Especially when you're too angry and emotional to evaluate things in a calm, level-headed manner anyway. This whole leg was a mess for the girls, and they're the first ones out because of it. But it's always better to try and fail than stand on the sidelines annoying America with your pointless sisterly bickering.
I'd say better luck next time, but this was their next time. And hopefully, there's no third time to not be a charm.
The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)