From Season 23 we have Leo & Jamal, the Afghanimals, who finished in 4th place last season. A lot of people online don't seem to like them much but aside from the fact that they were a bit sneaky and told a lot of stories (some would call them outright lies) I didn't mind them. They played well off of each other and were a lot more entertaining than many of the other teams. The producers have even lined up a new set of "race wives" for the boys.
From Season 22 are Jennifer & Caroline, who also finished in 4th place during their run. Some thought they rode the coattails of the hockey players during their season, and they may have, but you do whatever it takes to get you to the end. Maybe this time they can run with the Afghanimals and get a little closer to the prize.
Also from Season 22 are 8th place finishers Dave & Connor, the father/son cancer survivors who actually managed to win two legs with a torn Achilles tendon while wearing a cast. I'm looking forward to seeing how well they can do with four good legs instead of three. Hopefully the producers will have learned a little something from the Canadian version on how not to milk a medical ailment for TV sympathy (it was a little thick last time). Maybe we'll see more of the father-son angle this time around.
Apparently we didn't get enough of Season 22 because we also have Jessica & John, who finished in 8th place, back for another run despite being the only TAR team ever to be eliminated while holding an Express Pass (obviously the role models for the Hippies in the Canadian edition). They were a good team and hopefully they (by they I mean John) have learned that you don't stubbornly stick to a task you can't win when you're holding an Express Pass.
Yet another return from Season 22 is Joey & Meghan, the You-Tubers, who finished in 5th place. I didn't mind Meghan so much but Joey was just too much. They're also one of the youngest teams in the race and definitely playing to that demographic, but even that demographic found Joey annoying. The upside is that they're both comfortable on camera and far less annoying than . . .
The most annoying team ever to enter reality TV, from Season 21, after a 4th place finish, the "Twinnies" Natalie & Nadiya. I'll make no bones about the fact that I don't like them and I won't be shedding any tears if they're out right at the starting line, I might even throw a party if that happens. I fully understand their use of their screeching voices and calling each other "twinnie" all the time to annoy the other teams, but I cannot accept the fact that they actually stole another teams money while their back was turned and went on laughing about it and trying to coerce another team to get in on the joke. It wasn't funny, it wasn't fair. and it really just teaches the kids viewing the show that you can steal anything you want as long as you don't get caught. That's not something I would want my kids to take away from this, but apparently the producers were okay with it as there was no reprimand of any kind for their actions. The only upside was that they didn't win.
With a 3rd place finish in Season 20, Brendon & Rachel are back to throw a little reality TV drama into the mix. Love 'em or hate 'em the Big Brother couple is an instant viewer draw with an incredible fan base. Why? Who the heck knows but they're good TV, even if many of us have seen more than enough of them.
Following Brendon & Rachel from Season 20, are Bopper & Mark, the 5th place finishers and a couple of good 'ol boys who have an uplifting attitude and just don't seem to see the downside of things. I don't think anybody on the race or watching the race disliked these guys and that can definitely play in their favour. It better because they weren't the most aggressive racers but they played fair and gave it their all ever leg of the race.
Returning for a third kick at the cat we have the cowboy brothers Jet & Cord, who finished 6th in Season 18 and 2nd in Season 16. Maybe third time's lucky for these boys but they're also racing against the team that U-Turned them last time so there's sure to be a little rivalry going on between the cowboys and . . .
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang & Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton, who are also back for a third shot at the win, after finishing 2nd in Season 18 and 4th in Season 15. The Globetrotters are a fun team to watch and they get along like brothers, but they're gonna have to watch their backs when racing against Jet & Cord.
Our last returning twofer are Margie & Luke, who finished 3rd in Season 14 and 8th in Season 18. They were controversial, inspiring and annoying all at the same time. Luke is the only deaf racer in Amazing Race history and some found him to be a bit whiney but his mother is pretty ruthless and they made a good team. I'm not sure whether they'll be viewed as this season's underdogs or if that honour will go to Joey & Meghan, but both teams will be fun to watch.
So there you have it, a little team catch up on who's who going into tonight's Season 24 Premiere. We have 11 teams lined up at the starting line, three of those teams have raced twice before and that may give them an edge, but Leo & Jamal are running back to back and have probably kept up their Amazing Race exercise regime throughout the downtime. For the rest of us it's time to sit back and enjoy a new season of The Amazing Race.
The teasers for tonight's episode have been hinting that one team doesn't even make it to the starting line. I hope it's the Twinnies but I'm sure we're all sitting on the edge of our seats to find out who as the teams start out from . . . the practice session of a UCLA marching band. There's the usual team intros with clips from their past performances in the race and we learn that Brendon & Rachel are now married. Some of us already knew that but it may change their dynamics during the race this season as well as the way some viewers respond to them, but I doubt it.
I'm trying something new with tonight's review. I usually take notes during the show and then review them before writing my review. This allows me to double check all the place names and team members and make sure I've got the order right. Tonight I'm going to try writing on the fly, the same as I do for my Survivor reviews (which require a lot less name checking). Let me know if you prefer the old way of writing my reviews or this faster routine which gets my posts up quicker for you, my amazing readers.
With the intros out of the way the teams race out onto the field to get the bad news, . . . the night before a team member was taken into the hospital and we find out that Bopper is not healthy enough to run the race. Mark is given the opportunity to pair up with a new teammate and Bopper gives him his blessing to do so . . . so welcome back Mallory. This could be a big game changer for Mark, but at least he's still in the race.
Phil gives the teams their first clue to match the symbols from one of the hats worn by guys on the podiums to one of the performers on the field to be on the first flight to China. Leo & Jamal get the match first with Jet & Cord right behind for that important first flight, and not far behind them are the rest of the teams as they all race off to their electric cars and head for the airport.
Mark and Mallory are going to get to know a lot more about each other before this race is over, like their last names. Once they're at the airport the other teams have a chance to talk with Mark and say how much they'll miss Bopper. All the teams are now on their way to Guangzhou, China to then grab a taxi to find one of three bridal stores for the Shop Til You Drop task. Jet & Cord may have made a mistake taking the metro but they're the first to get the next clue and take the lead . . . which says travel by metro to find the Canton Tower topped with a bubble car horizontal Ferris wheel. Dave & Connor slip into second place while the Afghanimals seem to have found their race wives in the Twinnies. I feel so sorry for them. Everyone from the second flight catches the Metro so maybe the cowboys didn't mess up and it was just me.
Jet & Cord find the Canton Tower, make their way to the top and get into a bubble car only to find the clue inside says Try Again. May as well enjoy the view boys. Their second attempt finds the clue and also finds them caught up by Brendon & Rachel and Margie & Luke. Then Mark & Mallory and the Afghanimals. Meanwhile the Twinnies and the Blondes still haven't got a clue.
Everyone is off to the Stadium somewhere on the river below, but so far Jet & Cord are maintaining a nice lead on the rest of them. The Twinnies and the Blondes have finally arrived but the Twinnies get a Try Again clue. Nice. Keep looking girls.
Jet & Cord make it to the stadium and this episode's Roadblock; Head Over Heels . . . a team member has to perform five high wire backflips suspended 300 feet above the ground. Jet goes up for the cowboys, while Brendon goes up for Team Brenchal.
After completing the Roadblock Jet & Cord get the next clue to make their way on foot to Guangzhou's Opera House. Jet & Cord are Team Number 1 and they get an Express Pass for themselves and a second one to give away. Back in the bubble car the Twinnies start in on each other. Brendon & Rachel are Team 2.
Connor does the backflip for the father-son team, while Margie goes up for the mother-son team. Then we get Leo who gets a little carried away doing backflips, but that's no surprise. Dave & Connor are Team 3, Margie & Luke are Team 4 and Leo & Jamal are Team 5. That's a good start for all of them.
I am so tired of listening to the Twinnies yell at each other non-stop already and they haven't even left the tower. They're still looking for the right car but haven't figured out that the clues are only in the even numbered cars. On the upside they could be out this leg and nobody will need to listen to them again.
Flight Time goes up for the Globetrotters (seems fitting), while I think it was Mark who went up for Team Kentucky and Mark & Mallory are Team 6, with Flight Time & Big Easy right behind as Team 7. Jessica & John are Team 8, Jennifer & Caroline are Team 9. That leaves two teams to bring up the rear.
Joey goes up for the You-Tubers and they are Team 10 and that leaves Nadiya (I think, may have been Natalie) who goes up for the Twinnies and they're the last Team to the mat. No more annoying Twinnies and my ears can finally get a rest. Yours too. This is what we call karma. Was it just me or did it look like the twines put on a little weight over the last year?
Next week the country singers are up to their old tricks to try and get an Express Pass from the cowboys and Mark & Mallory may have a hard time trying to recover from a big mistake when Mallory forgets her backpack. That's never a good idea even when you're not in a race. See you all next week for another recap, or you can check out our video blog for a video recap of this episode which should be up tomorrow. For those who also watch Survivor I'll be back on Wednesday evening with a review of the new season. See you real soon.