On the last episode of The Amazing Race, Jelani Roy and Jenny Wu were the first couple to meet Phil on the mat in Nagano, Japan. Harley Rodriguez and Jonathan Knight were the first team to win a Date Night, when they selected a clue that randomly held the prize. I must admit that this dating and blind date couples twist for this season of The Amazing Race is really entertaining.

CJ Harris and Lebya Simpson were the final team to arrive and were eliminated from the competition. So who will take the lead on this leg of The Amazing Race? Let’s find out!

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Romance Blooms

Most of the blind date couples have been staying in separate rooms during the Pit Stop, with the exception of one couple: Jackie and Jeff. They are so comfortable with each other that they even select their team mate’s underwear for the next day. Who says romance is dead?

We kick off with Jenny and Jelani getting the first clue. Teams are flying to Phuket, Thailand, and they will find their next clue at Patong Beach. We also find out from Bergen and Kurt that they are not a love match, but they can be friends.

Party in Phuket

The teams find an unpleasant surprise when they arrive at the airport to buy tickets and find that the counters are closed for the night. That makes for some tension as the teams reserve their tickets. The first flight carries Jackie and Jeff, Aly and Steve, Matt and Ashley, Blair and Hayley, and Mike and Rochelle. Jelani and Jenny and Tyler and Laura are on the second flight. Harley and Jonathan run into trouble trying to book their flight, which will make them the last team to reach Phuket.

At Patong Beach, street walkers are holding the clues on long selfie sticks. There are five rooms at the Patong Beach Bed and Breakfast, where teams will receive their next clue at the time printed on their selfie stick. Matt and Ashley arrive at almost the same time as Aly and Steve, and the foursome decides to grab dinner and celebrate. Mike and Rochelle and Jeff and Jackie also hit the town and party. Of course, the fact that nine couples have to share the five rooms isn’t awkward at all, right?

Upside-Down Dynamics

At checkout time, the racers receive a clue directing them to Baan Teelanka, or the upside down house. The teams locate their clues in a toilet suspended from the ceiling. Next up is a Detour:  Ski or Tree. For the Ski challenge, teams must make it around the Phuket Wave Park on a wake board while hanging onto a fast-moving cable. In Tree, teams must carry a tray of food, without dropping anything, while attached to a zip line 100 feet off the ground.  Who thinks of these challenges?

Meanwhile, Jonathan and Harley’s bad luck continues when they finally reach Phuket, but their cabbie has to stop for gas on the way to Patong Beach. They finally get the clue and are relieved that they may have a chance to catch up.

Water Park Trouble

Aly and Steve select the Ski challenge, hoping that their athletic ability will be an asset, but the Detour proves more challenging than they expected. Jeff and Jackie arrive to try their luck. Aly and Steve finally throw in the towel and head off to the other challenge, followed a short time later by Jackie and Jeff.

Listen to Your Partner

The other teams choose the Tree challenge. Hayley asks Blair to slow down as he races to the hut that serves the food. There is a chalkboard listing several items, but Blair asks for just one food item and one beverage. When Hayley questions Blair as to why there is a list on the board, he dismisses her concerns by saying that Jelani and Jenny did the same thing. When Hayley sees that the couples behind them have full trays of items, she reads Blair the riot act for not thinking through what they should be doing.

It is too late to turn back, and they zip across to reach the table of hungry guests. Hayley is not done yet, repeatedly telling her blind date partner, “You have to listen to me!” Blair apologizes as they head back to the beginning of the course. He will continue to listen to Hayley and why he was wrong over and over again. 

Jenny and Jelani finally realize their error when they reach the food center, and load up their trays with the correct items. Ashley becomes frustrated with Matt when, after their fourth attempt, he spills the champagne into the soup.

The Big Show

Mike and Rochelle are the first team to complete the Tree challenge, and they get the next clue. Teams are headed to My Way Caberet, where they must participate in “Don’t Drag Your Heels.” Contestants must dress up and learn the choreography to a song before performing it in front of an audience. Mike embraces the task, even though he is busting out of his corset.

Bergin and Kurt, after completing their Tree challenge, win the Date Night reward. At the cabaret, Mike gets a lot of chuckles with his beard, but he and Rochelle must try the dance eight more times. They finally nail it, and get the next clue. The Pit Stop is Baba Nest Roof Top Bar.

The rest of the couples struggle with the choreography, which leads to increasing tension. I, for one, am shocked that Blair and Hayley are the second couple to successfully complete the challenge. Hayley even agrees to stop mentioning Blair’s mistake at the Detour. Still, Blair looks disinterested most of the time when she is speaking.

Bergen and Kurt, Matt and Ashley, and Tyler and Laura are still struggling on the stage, along with Olympians Aly and Steve. They finally win over the professionals and head off to the Pit Stop.

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A Nasty Shock

Matt and Ashley have an unpleasant surprise when they are in the cab and notice that Matt’s fanny pack is missing. He left it at the cabaret, and the couple races against time to retrieve it. Harley and Jonathan are the final team to hit the stage at the cabaret.

The First to Arrive

Rochelle and Mike are the first team to reach Phil at the mat, and they also win a trip to Prague. Bravo, guys! They are also the first dating couple to win a leg of the race. Hayley and Blair take second place, while Jelani and Jenny grab third place.

A Different Sort of Proposal

Matt takes a moment at the mat propose to Ashley. Bergin and Kurt even donate their Date Night to the happy couple. That is so sweet!

The Last to Arrive

Harley and Jonathan are the final team to arrive, and they hear the most beautiful words in The Amazing Race: “non-elimination leg.” They are still in the race, but will have an additional Speed Bump to perform during the next leg.

The Amazing Race airs Friday at 8 pm on CBS

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Kim Stempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Kim has been covering television entertainment since 2013. She is addicted to Real Housewives, Pump Rules, Dancing with the Stars, and many more shows.