One of the bigger qualities that link the competitors for the latest installment of The Amazing Race
is that they're used to the spotlight. We have former NFL teammates, theater performers, NHL ice girls and baseball wives.
Other than the theater performers, those other pairs are used to being competitive as well. Then you have the usual family ties of cousins, a married couple, a dating couple, a father-daughter pair, friends -- and one former couple.
What's in store for them this season? They'll paraglide in Chile, take a chilling plunge in Norway and get in a race car in Abu Dhabi. The double Express Passes will also come back into play, with the winning pair of the first leg getting two sets of passes. They'll have to pass one on to another team by the end of the fifth leg.
Let's see how the 11 teams might fare based on their first impressions, and then vote for your favorite!
Jason and Amy
Their relationship aside, they sound well suited and well prepared to compete. They don't have any fear of heights, swimming or eating anything weird. Amy is bilingual, which could come in handy -- big time -- while they're navigating through a foreign country. They both seem fearless.
But they say they're using the race to see if they're ready to take the next step, even though they've been dating more than a year. Tons of people date but don't need something like this to know they're ready for something more. If they get eliminated early, is that the end of their relationship? If they win, does that mean they're ready to get married? If they get through this show -- no matter how they finish -- isn't the thought that they could get through anything together?
Rowan and Shane
They're pretty entertaining, but I don't understand why they plan on lying about their profession. They want to say they're professional Bingo players rather than actors. They say that being actors, the other teams will know they work really well together. Nope, still don't get it.
They talk vaguely about their strengths and weaknesses, like how each person's strengths are the other's weaknesses and how they have a lot of common sense. But they don't touch on whether they'll be able to tough it out physically.
Their fear is being the first ones eliminated, but they hope that strong teams knock other strong teams out and string them along in the process. While they seem like they'll be entertaining, it's doubtful they'll be strong contenders.
Travis and Nicole
This married couple believe that their jobs as ER physicians have them ready to race because they're used to dealing with high-pressure situations. But what they've gained through their professions could also be their Achilles heel.
They acknowledge that in their jobs, they're always the ones in control. They say if something out of their control happens while racing -- flight delay, car troubles -- they'll put it into perspective, but that's easier said than done.
Travis seems like a more go-with-the-flow kind of guy, while she's got some steely eyes. It will be interesting to see their dynamic when they work together, which they probably don't do while working at a hospital. They seem like they can keep up with the best of them but might butt heads a lot.
Chester and Ephraim
These college buddies and former NFL teammates are another pair who believe their jobs give them an advantage in a race like this. They say that while they both might seem intimidating at first -- both over 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds -- they're like teddy bears.
They say their challenge will be fitting into economy-sized seats on a plane and stuffing themselves in the back of a cab.
I see them doing okay -- maybe even winning a leg -- but they'll get eliminated somewhere around the middle of the season. I think their size will eventually work against them, and I predict they might get eliminated while running neck and neck against another team and not make it to the mat quicker.
Tim and Marie
I'll go ahead and say it: They scare me. She scares me. They're going to be super competitive -- as in, she might hurt something or someone. They're a former couple, and they acknowledge that they butt heads a lot because they're both the alpha. I hope they realize the race is a lot more than just being in peak physical shape, which it sounds like they are.
They're likely to be the early "villains" of the season because they're not there to make friends. Yes, because no winning team has ever gotten a boost or help from their fellow racers. They just don't seem fun at all. We want to see fun and competitiveness -- is that so much to ask?
Tim and Danny
They're friends, both nice guys from a small town. Translation: They've never been out of their small town and haven't been exposed to different things. Their fear is food -- like spicy food. Come on, guys. They're like a non-factor to me at this point.
Nicky and Kim
These baseball wives say their strengths and weaknesses will complement each other -- Nicky is the math-oriented, brains one, and Kim is the creative one who can put things together. I love that, right away, they bring up the fact that they'll be creating an alliance with another team. My two picks for them: Leo and Jamal and Jason and Amy.
Other than that, I don't get much personality out of them. They remind me of the roller derby moms from a season ago. Hopefully once the race gets started, we'll get to see more personality.
Ally and Ashley
These ice girls are there to represent the team they work for, the Los Angeles Kings. It just sounds like they want to leave a good impression on everyone. They say all the right things, like the fact that they're athletic, they're used to pressure and all that good stuff. We'll have to see if they have the brains to go with the beauty.
Brandon and Adam
These friends say they'll be underestimated, because I mean, look at them. But they're good at building things and one of them speaks three languages.
Their biggest weakness is that they get really excited and hyped -- which kind of makes them my favorite right now based on that. They also mention their tacky jokes and that people love them or hate them.
Leo and Jamal
However they finish, these cousins are going to have fun along the way. But they've never failed so how will they handle not coming in first? They say their background -- their parents are from Afghanistan -- will help them relate to different cultures as they travel.
They seem fun, and they're smart. They also bring up how they're good at manipulating people, which will be interesting to see if they do that during the race. I imagine them to make friends and then having no issue U-Turning any one of them later.
Hoskote and Naina
They're super fans of the show so they know what to expect. He said he's never compromised in his life -- ever -- so yeah, this pair might not work best together. Especially when you add in the fact that she says she wants to show her independence and that she's able to stand on her own two feet. Looks like they have a lot to prove.
The Amazing Race season 23 will premiere on September 29 at 8pm on CBS.
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