The new season of The Amazing Race begins Sunday, February 17 at 8pm on CBS, and as always, its tense, exciting, visually stunning and full of colorful characters.

Season 22 brings a new twist, new locations and new adventures. Here are seven things about the first leg to get you excited for the show’s return.

The New Twist Will Cause Drama

The twist for season 22 is that the winners of the first leg not only get an Express Pass, but they get a second Express Pass that they must give to another team at some point before the end of the fourth leg. There’s a lot of thought and strategy regarding this twist that will almost certainly end in drama, especially because of an early alliance.

Sandcastles = Haystacks

The cruelest Roadblock in the history of the show is the one where contestants had to unravel massive haystacks to find a clue. The season 22 premiere features something similar where teams must dig through 400 sandcastles to find a clue. The twist? If it doesn’t contain one, they must rebuild the sandcastle before moving on. As is always the case, there’s plenty of schadenfreude as some teams look for hours while others show up and quickly find it.

Chuck’s Hair Is the Star

There’s no denying the star power of Chuck’s hair. It’s like Kenny Powers, a perm mullet that is utterly ridiculous, especially on a grown man who loves to hunt and practice taxidermy so he can remind himself of his many kills. With any other haircut that might be creepy, but with Chuck it’s kind of hilarious.

Max and Katie Are Likeably Unlikeable

Every season of The Amazing Race has a couple that is sure to explode at some point, either on each other or on another team. This season that honor will almost certainly go to Max and Katie, who were married just three weeks before starting the Race. Their introductory package includes a segment where she takes a cigar out of a humidor and gives it to him to smoke, which tells you everything you need to know about them. But unlike past couples, these two know their weaknesses as revealed in this awesome confessional:

Katie: “In our everyday life, we don’t have many friends. I don’t care.”
Max: “Her likeability factor is low when it comes to strangers.”
Katie: “It’s probably a zero.”

That kind of self-awareness actually makes me like them.

15 Seconds of Joey Is More Than Enough

Joey is a YouTube star, because apparently we live in a world where that is considered a career. He’s very bubbly. At one point he’s being his typical “Hey everybody, look at me!” self and one of the twin OB-GYNs simply mutters under his breath “Stop talking.” I agree. If Joey and Meghan last the whole Race, he will become unbearable. Heck, if he lasts more than two legs, he will be unbearable.

Lance Armstrong Isn’t the Only Cyclist with Testicular Cancer

Dave and Connor are a father and son who are both cancer survivors, and son Connor is a professional cyclist whose testicular cancer is in remission. Has anyone done a study on a correlation between cancer and riding a bike? All jokes aside, they are a very inspiring pair, although if every single interview with them is going to be all about how inspirational they are, it could get old very fast.

Bates and Anthony Will Be the Fan Favorites

In terms of pure likeability, no one comes close to former professional hockey brothers Bates and Anthony. They’re charming in that dopey, loveable kind of way that makes you immediately want them to succeed.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.