Season 26 was an interesting experiment in The Amazing Race’s history. It was a season of “romance” with half of the teams being dating couples and the other half meeting for the first time as blind dates. None of the blind dates hit it off romantically but there were some good and entertainment moments from the new format. It was particularly enjoyable to watch the blind date of Hayley and Blair be tied together because Blair’s soul slowly died in his eyes as he traveled across the world. (Blair and Hayley didn’t get along particularly well.) In Season 27, The Amazing Race is back to basics with teams of every type and connection. There is no standout team like Hayley and Blair (at least not yet) but it looks to be a promising season.
CBS Announces the Cast of The Amazing Race Season 27 >>>
Adam and Alex, these two are cousins who both have a form of dwarfism but refuse to let their disabilities keep them back from being athletic and competitive.
Cindy and Rick, this married couple is a pair of doctors. They’re practically perfect and they even have their own hashtag #Chacattack. I will never use this hashtag.
Denise and James, this mother and son team are hoping that The Amazing Race will repair their relationship that fractured slightly when James came out.
Jin and Ernest are brothers who are also struggling dancers. Currently they are homeless and hope that winning the race will change that for them.
Jazmine and Danielle, these friends are track stars and hope they will be able to run as fast on the race as they do on the track.
Justin and Diana, this newly engaged couple has gained a measure of internet fame and popularity for his creative proposal which was The Amazing Race inspired.(Here is the YouTube link.)
Kelley and Shevonne, these two work for TMZ, the website and the TV show, and they’re not to be confused with the other team of actual paparazzi. They’re also kind of judgmental and awesome.
Kelsey and Joey, these are dating newscasters from California. I’m fairly certain Kelsey doesn’t know how to blink and Joey’s smile haunts my soul.
Logan and Chris, these are the aforementioned paparazzi, they’re a dating couple who were photographers until they realized the ton of cash that was to be made in being paparazzi.
Tanner and Josh, though they never say it, I’m going to assume these best friends are former fraternity brothers. They’ve definitely got that vibe going.
Tiffany and Krista, these friends are two former cheerleaders because at least one team in every The Amazing Race seasons needs to be connected to cheerleading.
Off to Rio de Jainero
Host Phil Keoghan informs all the teams that they will be leaving from Venice Beach, California to Rio de Jainero, but there’s a catch. The first team to complete the first challenge will get the first flight straight to Rio. The remaining eleven teams will be on a second flight, so that first team will have a thirty minute advantage. The teams all jump in their cabs to their first challenge which is water-based.
Each team has to pedal across water on a water bike to meet Phil on the other shore. Diane and Justin are the first team to make to Phil and they get on that first flight. They’re determined to pick up the express pass. Unfortunately, their flight is delayed by twenty minutes and the other teams’ flight arrives five minutes early. Essentially this determines Diane and Justin’s advantage null and void.
Safety or Risk and Reward
When the teams get to their first marker in Rio, they have a choice of two tasks. They can choose to complete a Fast Forward, where if they complete the task, they can just hang glide directly to that leg’s pit stop or take a safer, but longer way to get there. The Fast Forward is a risky choice because it is dependent on weather. The super aggressive Diane and Justin go directly to the Fast Forward while everyone else lines up for the safer challenge.
The safer version of the challenge involves a helicopter ride across the ocean and past the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. At the end of their trip, tthey will be asked a question that determines their success or failure of the challenge. Spoiler alert: they have to answer what statue they passed. Literally no one gets the question wrong, because the statue is literally the vocal point of their journey.
Splendor and Sorrow
While most of the teams take in the sights and marvel over the famous statue, disaster strikes for Diane and Justin. The wind is too violent for them to go hand gliding and they have to go back to the helicopter. This puts them from an unstable first place to dead last. It’s a kind of sad juxtaposition with most of the teams happily taking in the sights and Justin sobbing at ruining their chances of making it to the pit stop in time.
Once the teams get out of the helicopter they have another choice in challenge. They can play beach volleyball against two star Brazilian athletes or they can choose a more cerebral task of completing a sliding puzzle. The teams that choose to play volleyball are allowed to use their hands but the professional use only their feet and they’re amazing.
The southern beefcakes, Tanner and Josh, and the track stars choose the volleyball competition. While they’re initially surprised at the skills of the athletes, they both make relative quick work of it all. They are the first two to finish either competition and come in first and second. The first two to complete the puzzle are the married doctors, Cindy and Rick, and the mother and son, Denise and James. Cindy and Rick are third. Denise and James are fourth.
The Amazing Race Spoilers: See Where the Teams are Heading in Season 27 >>>
Teams Struggle and Succeed
Two more teams finish their respective challenges and make it to the pit stop. Logan and Chris, and Kesley and Joe are safe and make it the end of the leg. All the other teams meet up at the volleyball and puzzle challenge. Even Denise and Justin make it there, making up for lost time.
Really though, I have to point out the awesomeness of the cousins Alex and Adam. Despite being vertically challenged, they manage to score all six points that they need to get against the professionals. They even finish faster than the much more athletic-looking brothers, Jin and Ernest. This makes my shriveled black heart grow about three sizes ala The Grinch.
Jin and Ernest eventually manage to score their points, but the other teams have more problems. The cheerleading team start at the volleyball and switch over to the puzzle. The TMZ workers, Shevonne and Kelley, do the same. Justin and Denise do the opposite, starting at the puzzle and moving to the volleyball. While the change works out for Justin and Denise, the cheerleaders, Krista and Tiffany, and TMZ team, Kelley and Shevonne, are less successful. Justin and Denise finish and make it to the pit stop.
Even though Kelley and Shevonne mocked the cheerleaders for being stupid, it’s a battle of wits between them and Kristi and Tiffany for last place. Ironically, (and maybe because of karma), it’s a battle that Kelley and Shevonne loses. Through tears and sniffling, Tiffany and Krista finish the puzzle and come in last place but are still in the race.
Kelley and Shevonne finally finish their puzzle but the sun has already started to set. Apparently so much time has passed that The Amazing Race doesn’t even let them go to the pit stop. The most dreaded thing that can happen in The Amazing Race happens to them. They don’t go to Phil, Phil goes to them and he tells them that they’ve been eliminated.
The Amazing Race airs Fridays at 8pm on CBS
(Image courtesy of CBS)