The Amazing Race has tried something different with the casting in season 28. Instead of picking “nobodies,” The Amazing Race cast teams with a modicum of celebrity, albeit only in certain corners of the internet. The Amazing Race is full of Internet “stars,” or as the show likes to call them “social media influencers.” The cast of The Amazing Race season 28 might have a ridiculous name but the season isn’t as clean cut. Though it was initially a very unpopular move, the gamble could have just paid off.
Comfortable in Front of a Camera
The best thing about the casting of The Amazing Race season 28, is that every team comes camera ready. This is not to say that other seasons have been filled with teams that are stilted and awkward. The Amazing Race typically does a good job of finding interesting people, there is just another level of charisma on display with this cast.
Tyler Oakley might be a divisive person. People either love him and think he is hilarious or they find him terribly annoying. The one thing that can be said for Tyler, without a doubt, is that he is comfortable with himself and in front of a camera. The Amazing Race is always good at finding interesting people but it’s rare they can locate “a character.” It is special type of person who can sell you on wanting to watch them based on nothing but their personality and point of view. As a video blogger, Tyler Oakley has that type of skill.
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The same is true with a lot of the other social media stars, especially the ones from YouTube. They have a lot of practice developing their own brand, which is themselves, on camera. As a result, they have come to The Amazing Race ready to go. In the confessional section of a typical The Amazing Race, you can always tell when the contestants are being prompted by producers to say certain things. While the same prompting is probably the case with season 28, it doesn’t feel as obvious and that is a world of difference. Whatever the reason The Amazing Race cast these people, it was a smart move for this aspect alone.
Star is a Very Objective Word
On the other side of things, it is not exactly like The Amazing Race season 28 is a complete home run. The Amazing Race has played things fast and loose with what it means to be a social media “star” on this season. There are a lot of people from Vine on season 28. While the Vine users might have every bit as many fans, if not more, than the YouTube people, they’re just not as interesting. It’s probably not the Vine people’s fault. Vine is not an avenue where people share themselves, at least not for very long.
Vine, by the nature of its quick videos, is much more disposable entertainment. It’s quick comedy sketches, jokes and magic trick that reach the punchline in less than seven seconds. Personally, Tyler Oakley’s videos are the only ones that I have watched so I don’t have prior knowledge of the majority of the teams. I will say that I seem to know Burnie and Ashley from YouTube way better than Cole and his mom Sheri who come from Vine.
Do You Know Who I Am?
No matter where the social media stars are from though, there is unavoidable problem with them all. I really don’t care what they do for a living. The Amazing Race has never focused so much on the careers of contestants as they have with season 28. Every time someone, no matter who it is, talks about what they do on the Internet, I’m immediately pulled out of watching the show. Since I don’t have prior knowledge of many of the personalities when I watch The Amazing Race, I’m just watching people, not quasi-celebrities. They are people, some of who are more interesting the others.
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The moment a team talks about their Internet videos or God forbi, someone recognizes them, the illusion is shattered. It is undeniable reminder that the casting of this season is very designed and manipulative. This particular cast was brought on to The Amazing Race appeal to and attract the attention of the young, active, desirable online community. Of course, every season of The Amazing Race is trying to gain big ratings. The show is rarely so distracting and obvious about it though as they are in season 28. It goes against the true spirit of the show, which is loved ones screeching at each other across the globe telling each other how stupid and useless they are.
But what do you think? Do you like the casting of season 28 of The Amazing Race? Do you the benefits of casting Internet stars outweigh the negatives? Or is it just all awful?
The Amazing Race season 28 airs Fridays at 8pm on CBS.
(Images courtesy of CBS)