Hockey players, doctors, roller derby moms, cancer survivors — those are some of the teams that will make up The Amazing Race season 22. The 11 teams will tough it out in challenges like skydiving in Bora Bora and hunting for scorpions in Botswana. 

In the past fall season, the twist was that the first team to check in at the first pit stop can double their winnings if they win in the end. No small feat. 

This season, the twist lies in the Express Pass. The first team to check in at the first pit stop will not only get a pass for themselves, allowing them to bypass a future task, but they’ll be able to give another team a pass as well, which they must do before the end of fourth leg.

This has the potential to be a game-changer, as it will expose an alliance early on in the race. Teams will no doubt be sucking up to the winning team in hopes of gaining the pass, which means the pass has to be used wisely. But it also puts a target on the two teams — which could mean drama and fun for us watching at home.

The Amazing Race season 22 takes off at 8pm Sunday, February 17 on CBS. But first, let’s take an early look at the racers and judge them based on two-minute videos.

Host Phil Keoghan dubs this season as the most diverse cast ever: “tall, short, black, white, Republicans, Democrats, people with bum knees, people who are fit, beer bellies, some of them with six-packs, some of them with no-packs.” 

( … So what exactly were the other previous seasons?)

Katie and Max

This recently married couple puzzles me. They’ve been married for four weeks, and so the show is their honeymoon. He says their biggest strength is her: a former NFL cheerleader (which is what they’re going to tell the others) but she got her doctorate’s at 24 years old.  It seems like she’s going to be the one carrying the team because I have no idea what he’ll bring to the table other than a matching wardrobe.

But their weakness will be communication issues like pushing each other’s buttons. Don’t you know that kind of stuff before you commit to marriage? If they were a couple who have been dating for four weeks, of course they might have some communication issues, but what they said throws me off.

They also spend quite some time talking about “crazy” they are, which should be good TV but not what makes a winning pair. Also, they just got married. They might … be a little distracted.

Joey and Meghan

Aww, I just want to pat these YouTube hosts/best friends on the head. They’re a ball of energy. They love music! And YouTube! And their hair! I found them annoying at first, but I warmed up to them by the end.

They’re all about having fun and exploring the world. Well, they won’t get to do much of that if they come in last, which I’m betting they will do early on.

Mona and Beth

Mona seems like such a pleasant woman, and if I didn’t know they were roller derby players, I would’ve written them off completely. But they seem like tough ladies who won’t crack for anything. 

They say they’re super competitive, which I’m looking forward to seeing. They’re my dark horse pick in the top three. Other than that, they kinda put me to sleep.

Chuck and Wynona

Watch their video and tell me you don’t love them. They probably won’t be a serious threat to anybody, but they’ll have a good time. I hope Chuck got his mullet insured.

David and Connor

They BOTH beat cancer. But can they beat all the other competitors to win The Amazing Race? It’s hard not to root for this father-son team who appear to be in good physical shape.

It also looks like they have a good relationship, so let’s see how that translates into competitions. I wouldn’t put them as my front-runners, but I also wouldn’t count them out.

Bates and Anthony

Strength-wise, none of the teams stack up to these hockey-playing brothers, but do they have the mental chops to go with it? Their traveling experiences abroad certainly won’t hurt them, although Bates said the only language he knows is “swearing.” 

Between that and Anthony taking out his false teeth (please don’t do that again), they seem like a strong team that you won’t hate at the same time. Unfortunately, the other teams will probably be gunning for them because of their physical strength.

Caroline and Jen

Here’s a simple math equation: High-strung Caroline + scared of doing anything dangerous Jen = first team to be eliminated.

Jessica and John

Man, these two are big overachievers! They seem to be the most well-rounded team that can think and also compete. 

There’s something about them though — they know they’re hot stuff, and it doesn’t translate well while watching them. They remind me of last year’s Abby and Ryan, who I (including other viewers and other teams) disliked. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

Idries and Jamil

These twins sound like they’re attached at the hip, but the further you get to know them, they seem like the same person despite them saying otherwise. They have similar strengths and weaknesses. But their main objective is to fly under the radar. 

I don’t ever know what that means other than deliberately being in the middle of the pack or near the end. But they’re both doctors so … they’re smart, which isn’t exactly flying under the radar.

Matthew and Daniel

They’re firefighters, so it’s safe to assume they’re tough and strong. Unfortunately, they don’t seem like the brightest of the bunch. I think they’ll have a lot of trouble going from Point A to Point B. 

It doesn’t help that they haven’t traveled much either, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the take wrong flights, wrong cabs and end up at the wrong spots. But they seem fun. So at least they have that going for them.

Pamela and Winnie

These best friends seem like they would be the most ruthless, and the team that the others and viewers won’t like. They’re BOTH impatient and BOTH have bad tempers, which won’t be fun to watch.

They say they’re going to stay positive and remain calm but I’m betting that’ll last for 2.5 seconds. But they believe they have the whole package.

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(Image and video courtesy of CBS)

Esther Gim

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV