Phil Keogan a few days ago admitted that the last season of the Amazing Race was lame. He said that once you take away the “faces and places” the show becomes a lot less interesting. Of course he was referring to the fact that last season did not leave the Americas towards Europe, Africa, Asia, or Australia. As of this writing, the teams for the next season of the race have not been announced, even though the show was slated to air on February 28th. We should all prepare for a delay and prepare for a March or April premiere.

The Linz Family, Amazing Race 8 Team

As predicted prior to the start of the race, the Linz Family won the Amazing Race 8. This Family Edition of the race was so crappy that I didn’t bother to post my usual race summaries after each and every episode. I mean, they only left North America to go to Panama–they didn’t even travel around the world! Needless to say, I was very happy when I saw the teaser for Amazing Race 9, which will return to its regular two person per team format.

The Linz Family, Amazing Race 8 Team

I just went on the Amazing Race 8 website and realized that the teams for the race have been revealed. There will be only ten teams of four in this edition. Team members range in age from 8, the youngest member of the Black family, which is the last name of the only African-American family, to 57, the oldest member of the Aiello family. Oddly enough, there are no California teams in the race, probably for the first time since its inception.

There is one team, the Linz family (pictured here), which appears to have an unfair advantage over the other teams, they range from 19 to 22 years of age. It is the team with the smallest age disparity. Add the fact that they all appear to be in perfect shape and have only one female member and they appear to be in the lead before the start. They are my current pick to win. Sadly, there is rumor that this race does not leave North America, but I can’t wait to see it nonetheless. Be sure to tune in to the premiere on Septmeber 27th.

I was watching a rerun of the Amazing Race 3 on GSN and was surprised to see that the team that won the Fast Forward was still eliminated. I didn’t think that this was possible, but apparently a team could be so far behind the pack that the Fast Forward does not help them reach the finish line ahead of the other teams. Sad but true. I think that AR3 EP03 is the only time that this has happened. Does anybody else recall this happening on any of the other races?

The Amazing Race 8 premiere date has been set for Tuesday, September 27th. Still, there are rumors abound that it will not even see the light of day.

According to Reality Blurred, The Amazing Race 8 may be canned before it airs. This installment of the race features teams of four with kids in tow as young as eight. Apparently, in order to accomodate the kids, the race hasn’t left North America and has been spotted in New Jersey, Alabama, and Canada recently. This “watered-down” race format may not play well with die hard fans of the show.

According to a former cast member, Hera McLeod, “they are having a lot of problems with [the race] and it may actually not be a rumor that it all gets canned (see Survivor Sucks post).” So, with rumored production problems and a softened race, this race could be over before it even starts.

Good, since I am also a believer that the race just isn’t meant for kids. I mean look at how physically and emotionally exhausting the race is for adults. Can you imagine a small child in an airport dealing with all the stress, politics, and straight-out backstabbing involved in getting the fastest flight to a destination? Uncontrollable crying may be the production problem du jour. Well, maybe they’ll release the canned season on DVD for a laugh in a year or two.

I’ve just finished watching reruns of the first two episodes of the first installment of the Amazing Race and have been struck at how raw the series looked in its first installment. I started watching the race in its third installment and kinks from the first season had been worked out by that time.

The first two episodes were filled with a lot of emotion. There were no less than four different team breakdowns. Tears were flowing everywhere with teams succumbing to the pressures of the race. These were the first victims after all–they didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t have the advantage of having seen the show before submitting their applications.

There were a lot of things that were different in the first season. The route markers were yellow and white, not the familiar yellow and red that they were later changed to. There was a Fast Forward on every leg, this was later changed to only three per race. Another funny difference was that the Pit Stop mats were made of plastic, this made them really slippery in the rain and one of the teams fell hard in Paris. It was comedy.

The biggest departure of all from the first season was that Phil Keoghan, the host of the show, did not greet all the teams as they came onto the Pit Stop mat, only the last place teams. It’s much more dramatic now, with Phil standing next to the mat with a blank expression before telling the team their standing.

It’s great to be able to see the first two seasons that I missed before becoming a fan of the show. I can’t wait to see the rest of the shows.

The Game Show Network will begin airing reruns of the Amazing Race starting on July 11th. I’ve been a fan of the show since the Amazing Race 3, when Flo and Zach, well actually just Zach, staged a come-from-behind win. I can’t wait to finally see the first two installments of the race that I missed. GSN will air the episodes of the race nightly at 9:00PM ET.

Uchenna & Joyce, Winners

In this final episode of the race, the first leg saw the last three remaining teams leave London, England and make their way to Kingston, Jamaica. The episode focused on Ron & Kelly’s crumbling relationship, with Ron seemingly unwilling to commit to marriage. However, it didn’t stop them from finishing this leg in first place. Rob & Amber ran a great leg and still finished in second place. Uchenna & Joyce left this leg in last place and finished the leg in last place thanks to a flat tire. According to the new rules, they lost all of their possessions in addition to all of their money. It all seemed lost for them.

In the second leg, teams made their way from Montego Bay, Jamaica to the finish line in Miami, Florida through Puerto. Being Puerto Rican, I really enjoyed seeing El Morro and San Juan–pretty cool. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time they’ve been there. Uchenna & Joyce seemed pretty screwed without money. Especially since the only way to get anywhere in Jamaica is via taxi. They made their way to the airport to beg for cash. Initially it seemed they weren’t going to make it, but they received some money and they were on their way several hours behind the other teams.

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Meredith & Gretchen, Eliminated

In this episode, teams made their way from Istanbul, Turkey to London, England. Uchenna & Joyce started in first place at 10:53PM, an hour ahead of the Chirpy Old Farts, an hour and a half ahead of Rob & Amber, and two hours ahead of Ron & Kelly. Ron & Kelly begged for some cash and got enough for a taxi for the first clue and to get to the airport. Uchenna & Joyce and the Chirpy Old Farts opted for a direct flight to London at 8:30AM that would arrive at 10:30AM. Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly tried to get to London through Frankfurt, Germany, even though the connecting flight to London was sold out. If this worked, they would arrive in London at 9:00AM, a full hour and a half ahead of the other teams.

At Frankfurt Airport, it turned into a footrace to the ticket counter to try and get on standby and purchase a ticket on the connecting flight. Ultimately it didn?t matter since both teams got on the flight. Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly were now in the lead. Rob & Amber got on the train to London first and almost immediately got a local to escort them around town?again!!!

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Ron & Kelly, Last Place

In this episode, teams made their way from Jodhpur, India to Istanbul, Turkey. Uchenna & Joyce started the leg in first place since they completed the Fast Forward and started at 11:24PM, but Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly started the race at 11:26PM! Through clever editing they made it seem that Uchenna & Joyce were well ahead of the other teams in the last leg, but it turns out that they only had a two-minute lead over the others. They almost didn?t even get first place even with the Fast Forward!

Uchenna & Joyce and Meredith & Gretchen managed to get an earlier flight to Istanbul through Dubai, while Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly took the direct flight arriving two hours after the others. This was a very big gamble which paid off big! Rob & Amber thought that they were in first place until they asked a ferry driver if they had seen other teams. The driver confirmed that there were two other teams about two hours ahead of them?they were bummed. They were ahead of Ron & Kelly by only minutes and they realized that they were fighting not for the lead, but to not be in last place.

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Lynn & Alex, Eliminated

In this episode, teams continued the leg from last week which is not over. According to Lynn & Alex, the leg had already been going on for two days. Surely the only sleep that teams have had has been on the airplane rides to India. Of course, the Chirpy Old Farts are chirpy as hell that they were not eliminated. The next clue sent teams to catch a train that bunched all of the teams up again. After all that shit everyone is again tied for first!

The teams have naturally divided themselves into Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly and then everyone else. Teams were told to wait on the train patiently for their next clue. Of course, they were woken up with their next clue and found out that they would be on the train for about 24 hours! That’s a long time to be on an Amtrak train, let alone a beat up old Indian train. You could tell that the teams were really tired and in serious need of a Pitstop.

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Rob & Amber, First Place

In this episode, teams made their way from Khwai, Botswana to Lucknow, India. The Chirpy Old Farts are still chirpy, exclaiming “we don’t want to break a hip.” I am hoping that they will be gone soon–they are getting on my nerves. Sadly, Lynn & Alex are helping them “because we want you guys in the finals with us.” Of course they do, they can beat the old fuckers in a foot race!

All of the teams were bunched up heading to India through Mumbai and Delhi. At the Francistown, Botswana airport Lynn & Alex borrowed a cell phone and tried to squeeze out Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly. However, Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly managed worked with the counter person to get a flight that was scheduled to arrive 5 minutes before the flight that the other teams were on. It doesn’t sound like much, but 5 minutes is still a lead.

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Brian & Greg, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way to the town of Sankuyo Village in Botswana. Brian & Greg started tried to find a clue at the wrond water tower. Brian even climbed to the top of the water tower even though the clue clearly stated that the clue would be “beneath the water tower.” These guys are acting really dumb on this leg. Perhaps they bumped their heads pretty hard during their accident.

Uchenna & Joyce were the only team to do the Carry It challenge and they kicked ass doing it. Leaving the Detour they moved up to third place right behind Ron & Kelly and Rob & Amber. They were able to almost catch up at the following Roadblock. However, they failed to remove the post from the ground at the Roadblock and were unable to check into the Pitstop in third place. They had to drive nine miles back to the Roadblock to remove the post from the ground and still made it to the Pitstop in third place.

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Ray & Deana, Eliminated

In this special two-hour episode there were two separate legs as follows:

First Leg
In the first leg, teams had to make their way from Argentina to Johannesburg, South Africa. Rob & Amber’s eight-hour lead over the last place team was erased since everyone ended up in the same flight to Africa.

Upon arriving at the airport, teams were given marked cars with clue that had both a Detour and a Fast Forward. Only two teams, Ray & Deana and Rob & Amber attempted to get the Fast Forward. Rob & Amber got a little lost getting there and arrived at the task after Ray & Deana were already attempting to complete it. They waited a few minutes until they were informed that Ray & Deana completed the task. Needless to say, they wasted a lot of time going for the Fast Forward. They would finish fifth.

Meredith & Gretchen had a pretty big accident in the caves, although it wouldn’t be the biggest of the episode. They messed up and had to do the task twice, which tired them. The fatigue caused Gretchen to fall down and hit her head on the rocks causing a deep gash in her forehead that required one stitch. She was all bloodied and being treated when she instructed Meredith to finish the task and get the next clue on his own. They would have been gone otherwise.

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Susan & Patrick, Eliminated

Also, check out Larry O’Brien’s review here.

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Mendoza, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The biggest catch was that there were only two flights to Buenos Aires leaving five hours apart. So, it would have seemed that teams in the back of the pack would take a huge time penalty at the airport.

Before heading to the airport teams had to make their way to a ranch for a Detour. The leading teams, those who ate the four pounds of meat in the last round, were almost guaranteed a five hour lead over the other teams. Rob & Amber were the first of the “back of the pack” teams to reach the Roadblock and they even got lost heading over to it. Rob was able to complete the challenge in his first try with only 30 minutes time to reach the first departing flight.

They reached the airport right at 9:30AM and talked the person at the ticket counter to “hold the plane for them.” Through the magic of editing, the meat-eaters were gloating that the reason they were on the plane was because they didn’t “take shortcuts.” It was emotionally disturbing to all of them when they saw Rob & Amber walking onto the plane. Rob asked, “Ron, how’s your stomach?” as he got into his seat–it was awesome!

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Well, as many of you know I am without a television right now. Actually, I just got off the phone with the shipping company and found out that the TV I ordered will not arrive until Friday afternoon of next week! April Fool’s Day. As such I won’t be able to do full episode summaries for a couple of weeks.

Until then I’ll have to get my AR7 fix from the CBS website–pretty sad indeed. However, I am happy to say that I called it this week. Rob & Amber are back in 1st place and Susan & Patrick were eliminated. Told ya.

Debbie & Bianca, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Santiago, Chile to Argentina. Teams had to drive across the Andes Mountains from the country of Chile to the country of Argentina, which seemed like an awesome drive. The road was filled with huge switchbacks to get over the mountains and the views looked stunning. It definitely looked like something worth doing the next time you vacation in South America. I definitely want to drive across them.

Before teams could depart on their drive, they had to wait for an underground car park to open. Rob and Amber were so far ahead from the other teams that they went back to the hotel to get a little shut-eye before taking off. When they woke up, they stole Debbie & Biancas taxi that was waiting for them while they got directions in the hotel lobby. This was an omen for things to come, as Debbie & Bianca would have a really bad day. The cab stealing didnt afford Rob & Amber any lead on the race, but it managed to annoy Debbie & Bianca.

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Megan & Heidi, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Peru to Santiago, Chile. Prior to getting on a plane, teams had to make their way via bus to Arequipa, Peru. All of the teams started in the middle of the night and headed to the bus depot with $480 in cash. The bus ticket counters did not open until morning, so once there Boston Rob asked for information from a security guard. Rob found out that the bus that left at 7:00AM arrived quicker than the bus that left at 6:40AM due to the number of stops and decided to bribe the guard to not tell the other teams.

Needless to say, the other teams found out about Robs plan and were not happy. Several teams confronted Rob and he, of course, denied all wrongdoing. In the end, all of the teams boarded the 7:00AM bus to Robs dismay. Not to be outdone, on the way to Arequipa Rob bribed the driver to only open only the front door of the bus and not the rear door. He got two other teams that were sitting near the front to pitch in money for the bribe. The icing on the cake was that Rob used only the other teams money to bribe the driverhe didnt put in any money of his own. I must say this was brilliant. This type of politicking has been missing from the race for years and it took having a Survivor on the race to make it happen. Great idea!

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While watching the Amazing Race 7 premiere off TiVo today I noticed a commercial in which the Amazing Race is encouraging families of four to send audition tapes to register for the next race.

Here is info from a recently held audition for The Amazing Race 8:

All types of families may audition: traditional, families in the making, blended families. Our description of family includes non-traditional families and families in the making. Some examples include an engaged couple paired with their in-laws-to-be or a blended family.

All four family members must be present at the open call.

Team members must be at least 8-years-old, and one team member must be at least 21-years-old.

Any team that has a minor (anyone under 18) must also have as a team member at least one of the minors parents or legal guardian.

The race is pretty taxing in pairs and in groups of four it would seem nearly impossible–especially with kids. I am interested in seeing the new concept though. I think it will be really funny seeing kids break down from the stress.

Ryan & Chuck, Eliminated

In the opening leg of the race, teams started off in Long Beach, California and made their way to Lima, Peru. Rob & Amber were almost immediately behind when Rob had problems opening up the trunk in the marked cars. They were nearly last in reaching LAX airport and managed to get on the second of two designated flights to Peru. The second flight was scheduled to land one hour and twenty-five minutes after the first. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I am rooting for Rob & Amber.

Rob & Amber met someone on the plane that recognized them from Survivor and offered to help them navigate their way through Peru. Their guide managed to get them on buses and negotiated in Spanish to pay the drivers extra not to stop and pick up passengers, only to drop passengers off. This gave Rob & Amber a huge advantage–it was like all of Peru was on their side. In contrast, many of the other teams had problems with the language barrier and it took them a long time to arrange transportation. And it was only Spanish!

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The Amazing Race 7 website is up and inviting visitors to meet the teams that will be on the next installment of the show. It looks like this show has about the same amount of eye candy as the previous race, although there is only one person listed as actor. If you recall, the last race had six people listed as “models.” So although the contestants are good looking this time around, they are not professional models or actors, which is a good thing.

As in past installments, there are two all-female teams: Debbie & Bianca and Megan & Heidi. Both teams are not only beautiful but seem pretty tough. No all-female team has ever won the race, but maybe this will be the first. We’ll see how they do handle pressure of traveling non-stop for a month, because that is a serious beatdown. I would be very happy to see an all-female team win this thing finally.

There are a couple of notable characters. There’s a guy on one team that was an Iraq War POW. Maybe having electrodes on your scrotum makes you better suited at handling the pressures of traveling, we’ll see. I don’t think so. I don’t know if war really prepares people for the race, but I guess we’re going to find out. And of course, there’s Rob & Amber from Survivor who are still listed as an engaged, not married, couple.

Overall the teams seem more diverse with not so many damn models and actors. These people seem to have lives outside of entertainment, except for Rob & Amber who are now celebrities in the reality television circuit. I think that the mix of people will be better for the show and I am really excited about this next race. Don’t miss it on March 1st.

After the Amazing Race 6 finale, CBS aired a teaser of the next Amazing Race which is scheduled to start in three weeks. I am a big fan of Boston Rob and Amber from Survivor: All Stars, and they will be contestants on the next Amazing Race as a married couple. I am already rooting for them. It will be interesting to see how Survivor players fare on the race. Either way, one thing is you can count on is that with Boston Rob’s competitive spirit this will be a race for the ages. Be sure to tune in to see the Amazing Race 7 Premiere on March 1st.

Freddy & Kendra, Winners

The final episode is divided into two major legs. In the first hour one team is eliminated and then the final three teams race to the finish line in the second hour of the show.

Due to frustration at the Roadblock on the first leg, Hayden & Aaron incurred a four-hour penalty and were eliminated from the race. The Roadblock consisted of trying to open thousands of lock with keys at the top of a mountain. Hayden & Aaron had a tough time all day getting to the Roadblock. Their taxi driver got lost on the way to the mountain and they ended up ditching their cab for another. Aaron almost came to blows with the driver when he refused to pay him. All of this plus the stress of the Roadblock caused Hayden to have a breakdown and lose it. She probably broke down many times but only a couple made it into the final edit.

There was some light at the end of the tunnel though. For the first time on the Amazing Race a team member proposed marriage to their teammate. No, not Adam & Rebecca. Aaron proposed to Hayden on the Pit Stop mat in front of Phil and Adam & Rebecca–she accepted. Aaron did not appear to be prepared with a ring, but proposing (indirectly) in front of millions of people takes moxie, I give him credit for that. Adam & Rebecca stood there both stunned and jealous of the relationship that Hayden & Aaron enjoy. Since it seems clear that Adam & Rebecca will not be a couple at the end of the race. It was very emotional and you couldn’t help but be happy for Hayden & Aaron. Truly amazing–I wish them the best of luck.

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Adam & Rebecca, Last Place

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Sri Lanka to Shanghai, China. After a “Revenge Yield” from Freddy & Kendra, Adam & Rebecca came in last. Luckily for them, this was a non-elimination leg and they lived to fight another day. Kris & Jon had terrible luck with their choice of taxi drivers. Their taxi driver on the way to the Detour took them in the completely wrong direction. Hayden complained the entire time that she did the Bricks challenge during the Detour, but somehow she and Aaron managed to get through it and come in first place.

Yielded: Adam & Rebecca

Funniest Moment: Adam & Rebecca not noticing that the time for the Yield had expired because they were too busy arguing.
Smartest Play: Freddy & Kendra “Revenge Yielding” Adam & Rebecca.
Dumbest Play: Hayden & Aaron stopping to exchange money and getting ripped off by their taxi driver.
Balls of the Week: Kendra overcoming her fear of heights and rappelling down the side of a 40-story building.

Prediction of Next Team Eliminated: Hayden & Aaron
Pick to Win: Kris & Jon (Currently 3rd)

Lori & Bolo, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Ethiopia to Sigiriya, Sri Lanka after running a leg of a 4 x 400 meter relay race. Even though Lori & Bolo led for most of this leg, a mistake in reading the clue at the Roadblock cost them the race. The coolest thing about this leg is that teams had to swim the length of a pool at the finish line before landing on the Pit Stop mat. This made for some interesting mayhem at the finish line with three teams jumping in the pool at nearly the same time.

Funniest Moment: Bolo telling the relay runner, “Run like you are getting chased by a cop, dude. Cuz I’m gonna run like the police is chasing me cuz I’m used to it.”
Smartest Play: Rebecca making fun of Adam when he threatened to leave the race.
Dumbest Play: Adam throwing a tantrum and threatening to leave the race because they missed a train. For someone that looks like Hellboy he sure is a big pussy.
Balls of the Week: Hayden for overcoming her fear of heights at the Detour.

Prediction of Next Team Eliminated: Adam & Rebecca
Pick to Win: Kris & Jon (Currently 1st)

Jonathan & Victoria, Eliminated

Yes, Jonathan & Victoria are finally gone. In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Corsica, France to Lalibela, Ethiopia. The race was really tight throughout the entire leg, but a misread of a clue was finally Jonathan & Victoria’s undoing. Oddly, the edit of this episode made Jonathan seem a lot towards Victoria. I don’t know if this was by design or because he was actually starting to be nice to her. I guess that without seeing all of the footage they captured we will never know.

Yielded: Freddy & Kendra by Adam & Rebecca

Funniest Moment: Adam having a tantrum after he realized he was an idiot for leaving the church and crying at the Pit Stop–what a lamer.
Smartest Play: The Yield of Freddy & Kendra by Adam & Rebecca.
Dumbest Play: Adam leaving the church area looking for monks when they were right outside the church entrance.
Balls of the Week: Nothing really ballsy happened, but by default everyone had more balls than Adam.

Prediction of Next Team Eliminated: Hayden & Aaron or Lori & Bolo
Pick to Win: Kris & Jon (Currently 3rd)

Hayden & Aaron, Last Place

In this leg of the race, teams started in Budapest, Hungary and had to make their way to a nearby winery that has the largest wine barrel in Hungary?a full 14,000 gallons?to find their next clue. Jonathan & Victoria started in third place and at the start Victoria said, “I’m not the type of girl that needs someone to hold my hand and be overly affectionate. Jon is extremely motivating and we always seem to kiss and make up in the end.” Huh!? Motivating. Yeah, like an Egyptian slave driver, but hey, they built the pyramids. Also, Hayden looked so pissed at Aaron at the start of this leg that you just knew they were coming in last.

The winery did not open until 10:00AM so all the teams were bunched up. Once it opened teams raced into the wine cellar where the clue directed teams had to make their way to the Island of Corsica, France and find the home that Napoleon was born to find their next clue. So it was a race to the airport at 10:00AM. Lori & Bolo and Jonathan & Victoria ended up on the first flight to Corsica while the rest of the teams ended up on the second flight, a little than a half hour later. Unfortunately, the place did not open until 9:00AM so teams were bunched up yet again!

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Gus & Hera, Eliminated

This episode started where last week’s cliffhanger ended. Bolo almost immediately said, “I gotta make sure there’s no other trains to Budapest.” At the same time, the remaining teams logged on to AOHell email to get their next clue. Teams must travel by taxi to Hungary’s Heritage Rail Museum. Teams must then ride a small motorized rail car to find their next clue. Luckily for Lori & Bolo, the museum wouldn’t open until 10:00AM and there was another train to Budapest at 2:55AM, not at 7:30AM as previously thought. The lady at the ticket counter gave them the wrong information. They would eventually catch up to the other teams but they didn’t get a chance to sleep like the rest of them.

Of course, Jonathan was yelling at Victoria. He called her incompetent and dumb for missing a cab even though all of the teams, except Lori & Bolo, were to sleep in the same hotel. What an asshole this guy is! But don’t even get me started on that again.

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Lori & Bolo, To Be Continued

In this leg of the race, teams started at the Brandenburg Gate and needed to make their way to the guard shack at Checkpoint Charlie. After reading the clue, Kendra said, “Where do you want to go, back to the hotel for research?” What the hell is wrong with this bitch? It’s the Amazing Race not the Great Hotels of the World! If it were up to her all of the clue boxes on the race would be at luxury hotels and the tasks would be getting facials and manicures. And what’s with this let’s do research crap. How dumb is this ho! Even more shocking, after the incident at the end of the last leg, Victoria said, “I don’t like anybody screaming at me, but that’s just Jon.” What! He screams at you all of the time and pushes you. And, behind close doors, he probably beats you. Gimme a break!

At the checkpoint, teams were instructed to go to the Olympic Stadium to sign-up on a board for their next task. The stadium didn’t open until 6:00AM so teams had to wait a couple of hours. Since Hayden & Aaron beat Jonathan & Victoria to the board there was another big ass yelling match between them. When the stadium opened, teams found that this was a Roadblock in which one team member had to do a hot rocket bungee on a huge crane. All of the women decided to do the bungee. After the Roadblock, teams found that they needed to make their way to Budapest, Hungary and find marked cars, called trabbants, at the airport for their next clue.

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Don & Mary Jean, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams started on the Island of Goree off the coast of Senegal, Africa. Teams had to find the most well-known Slave House on the island. After arriving at the house, teams found a parchment detailing that in the morning they would be given an opportunity to place a single rose on the archway of the Door of No Return, which was the door that slaves walked through as they headed onto boats to the New World. It was a very emotional task that all of the teams had to perform one-by-one and the first time such a task was part of the race. Gus broke down into tears as he acknowledged ancestors that may have passed through the same doorway. It was pretty amazing, like the race itself.

After the task, teams found that they needed to make their way to Berlin, Germany. All of the teams were bunched up and waited for the next ferry. At this point, Don & Mary Jean asked other teams for money and ended up with enough money for the entire leg. Again, starting with no money had little factor on the race. As teams left the ferry building in taxis, Kendra said some fucked up shit about the Africans. Let me just say this about this bitch. She’s a complainer, she doesn’t want to sleep on the floor, she talks smack about other cultures, she is an ugly American by all definition, and she deserves to lose this race. If she wins, I’ll be pissed. Not as much as I would be if Jonathat wins, but pissed nonetheless.

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Don & Mary Jean, Last Place

In this leg of the race, teams had to make their way to Town Hall Tower in Stockholm, Sweden to find their next clue. The two youngest and fittest teams, Kris & Jon and Hayden & Aaron who were basically tied for first and one hour ahead of Gus & Hera, the third place team, would probably now be bunched up with the other teams–again! During the start interview, Rebecca conceded, “When I met Adam, he didn’t even cut his own toenails, believe it or not? His mother did. I told him, If you are going to be my boyfriend, you have to cut your own toenails.” Okay this is not only sad, but it’s pretty gross. It’s also one of the funniest and strangest things I’ve ever heard be described about a team member in the race. Be afraid!

The first four teams, Kris & Jon, Hayden & Aaron, Gus & Hera, and Jonathan & Victoria had asked people at the tower what time the tower opened in the morning and they were told 10:00AM. The first four teams went to a hotel planning to return to the tower at 10:00AM the next morning. Adam & Rebecca walked up to the gate at 6:00AM and realized that the gate to the tower opened at 7:00AM, not 10:00AM. This is another example as to why teams need to tough it out and sleep outside for the race. Had the leading teams been sleeping directly outside the tower they would have been able to maintain their lead. The mistake of going to a hotel allowed trailing teams Adam & Rebecca and Freddy & Kendra to leapfrog past the other teams. Sadly, my current pick to win, Kris & Jon were temporarily relegated to last place.

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Lena & Kristy, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams had to travel from a farm in Norway to Stockholm, Sweden by train to Oslo, Norway then by bus to Stockholm. Teams had $363 for this leg. Surprisingly, Don & Mary Jean were penalized 30 minutes for taking Adam & Rebecca’s car in the previous leg, so they started in 8th place even though they had originally arrived in 7th place. It’s the first time that two penalties were awarded on the same leg that I can remember.

All the teams were bottlenecked for the trip on the train and then later on the bus trip. Once in Stockholm, teams made their way to an Ice Bar, made entirely of ice to slide a shot glass onto a target on the bar. Let me say that this place looked way cool. The walls, bar, fixtures, tables, glasses, and everything were made of ice. The drinks were the only exception. In order to keep the place from melting, the entire room is maintained at a very cool 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Teams even had to wear parkas to go inside. Once again I must say that this was an amazing destination on the race.

After the bar task, teams had to make their way to the world’s largest Ikea store for their next clue. It was the middle of the night and the store didn’t open until mid-morning which made the whole bar task unnecessary and inconsequential. Some teams slept at the Ikea, but it seemed that Don & Mary Jean slept in a hotel and returned to the store in the morning.

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Meredith & Maria, Eliminated

In this leg of the race, teams had to make their way from Iceland to Oslo, Norway. Upon landing teams had to drive themselves to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump to find their next clue. Teams had $181 for this leg of the race and all teams were on the same flight to Norway from Iceland. I found it interesting that teams 2 through 6 were all only 2 minutes apart from each other, even though it didn’t appear that close in the episode, probably due to editing.

Immediately upon arriving at the ski jump, teams found a Roadblock which read “Who’s ready to perform an Olympian feat?” We were also informed of the new rule: no person may perform more than six Roadblocks for the duration of the race. This will make things a lot more interesting, since no one person can hog the Roadblocks for any particular team.

The Roadblock consisted of riding a zip line from the top of the ski lift to the bottom. Not surprisingly, Meredith & Maria had more difficulties. Not at the ski lift, but getting there. It seems that Maria could not drive a stick, and didn’t get any better at it as she continued to drive. Eventually, she was in tears because she continued to stall. The funniest moment though was reserved for Adam, who exclaimed, “I love my mom!” and cried like a little girl all the way down the zip line. What a pussy!

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Avi & Joe, Eliminated

Although I watched this episode the night that it aired, I haven’t had a chance to write down a review until now. Luckily, the power of the DirecTiVo allows me to watch it as many times as I want. If you don’t have a DirecTiVo, I highly recommend getting one. But, I digress.

In the first episode of the race, teams were briefly introduced before starting the race. The first thing that strikes you while watching this is that everyone is much better looking than in previous races. However, I don’t think that they are so good looking as to alienate the Amazing Race core audience. At least that’s my opinion. We’ll see.

The race started in front of Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park in Downtown Chicago. Mama and I were there a couple of years ago and I took some photos. Teams had to make their way from Downtown Chicago to Reykjavic, Iceland by taking the Blue Line rail to O’Hare International Airport. Almost immediately, Jonathan, of team Jonathan & Victoria, emerged as the villain of this race. This guy is arrogant, obnoxious, and treats his wife like shit. It is obvious that she is with him only for the money, since they are seen driving a Ferrari in the team introduction segment. Don’t get me wrong, I am not playa hatin’ because of the Ferrari, it’s just the behavior that is unacceptable.

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The Amazing Race 6 starts tomorrow night at 9:00PM on CBS with a special two-hour premiere. This show has won the Best Outstanding Reality or Competition Program emmy two years in a row and is by far the best reality show in television. Sorry Survivor. Check it out.

A visit to the Amazing Race 6 website this morning showed that CBS is finally gearing up for the series. The site includes detailed bios for all eleven teams and appears to be the same “passport” format used in the Amazing Race 5 website. Out of the 22 people (11 teams) on the show, six people on four teams are models and a fifth team has two personal trainers in it. It is clear that CBS is trying to have more than a couple of pretty people on the show, which is a formula that has worked well with other reality shows. I just hope that this doesn’t alienate the show’s core audience which thrives on the fact that contestants are regular people that everyone can relate to. We’ll see. Either way, be sure to watch the premiere on November 16th!

The Amazing Race 6 has been rescheduled into the Tuesday night time slot and will premiere on November 16th. This is the third time that the series has been rescheduled in what has been a roller coaster ride for the show. Thanks to the popularity of The Amazing Race 5 and the second emmy that the show received, CBS decided to move The Amazing Race 6 from the Saturday night “death” schedule into the higher profile Tuesday night spot. Big ups to Dave for letting me know of the announcement.

TV Guide apparently didn’t get the memo on the delay of The Amazing Race 6, or perhaps they were already set to press when the delay was announced. Either way, they published an article introducing all of the contestants for the next race. Check it out at Reality TV World.

Due to the overwhelming success of The Amazing Race 5, whose finale averaged 12.85 million viewers and beat all other shows in its time slot, CBS has decided to delay the start of The Amazing Race 6. The Amazing Race 6 was originally scheduled to air on September 25th, then October 2nd, and now late October or early November.

CBS Vice President Kelly Kahl told Daily Variety, “We’ve seen (evidence) that it really helps to put a little space between one version and the next…we want to let the audience breathe a little before we bring the show back.” Maybe he’s right. I am willing to wait one month between the races. Besides, we are going to be on vacation the first three weeks of October. I’ll let everyone know when the race will start.

Big ups go out to the Amazing Race production staff for winning the Best Reality-Competition Program Emmy Award for the second year in a row. In my view, it is definitely the best reality show on television. Be sure to watch the series finale of The Amazing Race 5 this Tuesday, and the premiere of The Amazing Race 6 in a few weeks, on October 2nd. A big shout-out goes out to Meerenai for getting me hooked on this awesome show.

I just found out that The Amazing Race 6 starts on September 25th, immediately after the end of Amazing Race 5! This is awesome, since normally we have to wait six to nine months in between races. Kickass!

Brandon & Nicole in Last Place

In this ninth leg of the race, teams had to make their way from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to Calcutta, India. Prior to leaving Dubai though, teams had to make their way to the Wild Wadi water park to ride down the park’s largest waterslide. Kami & Karli started this race last and without money, but they quickly made this a non-issue. Almost immediately they met a gentleman that gave them $200 dollars for the opportunity to hug twins. He also led them directly to the water park to boot. The twins quickly ended up with the rest of the pack and with more money than anybody else.

After the waterslide, teams had to make their way to the Dubai airport. This was almost a disaster for Chip & Kim. The clue said that teams had to drive themselves to the airport and they took a taxi instead. Luckily, they saw their mistake and returned to the park prior to boarding a plane. Also, Linda & Karen left a bag with their money and passports at the water park and had to return for it, losing valuable time. Linda & Karen also had a similar moment to that of Colin in the last leg–a dispute with a taxi driver over a fare. Unlike Colin however, the incident was resolved quickly and respectfully.

All the teams, except for Chip & Kim, ended up on the same flight to India. Chip & Kim had to take another route to their destination that would have them arrive 10 minutes behind the other teams. This became a non-issue, since the traffic on the streets of Calcutta decreased the 10-minute deficit. All the teams arrived at the Sahid Minar tower and refused to use the Yield on this leg of the race. Additionally, all of the teams chose not to do the Fast Forward proposed in the clue. All the teams made their way to a mud brick factory for their next clue.

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Kami & Karli in Last Place

For the first time in almost three years I missed an episode of the Amazing Race. But, I am going to try and piece together a short review from third-party accounts of those that saw the episode and the Amazing Race 5 website’s summary for this eighth leg of the race.

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Tanzania to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This leg of the race was the second of four non-elimination legs. And just like Linda & Karen before them, the twins had to surrender all of their money and will start the next leg penniless. Linda & Karen came back from this, but I reckon that Kami & Karli will not. They are, after all, a little dumb. Remember the diving into the water to get to the island, yeah!

The big story in this leg was Colin’s outburst and refusal to pay a $100 cab fare to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania, he offered the driver $50 instead. The cab was driving on a spare and got another flat tire on the way to the airport and Colin thought he was justified in not paying the full fare. He was taken to the police station where he proceeded to throw a world-class, I am a spoiled-rotten-American-white-guy-style tantrum. He ended his tantrum by slamming $100 on the counter and screaming, “I’m late for a plane!” What an ass!

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Charla & Mirna

I know this is more than a week late, but I’ve been crazy busy. In this seventh leg of the race, teams had to make their way from Luxor, Egypt to Nairobi, Kenya via Cairo. Once in Nairobi the teams were to board a chartered plane to a mystery location–Tanzania.

All of the teams made it to the airport without incident, and the flight was delayed enough to allow all of the teams to bunch up again prior to their flight to Cairo. Once in Cairo, teams had to make their way from the Domestic Airport to the International Airport via taxi. While waiting for Colin to pay the taxi driver, Christie blocked the airport doors as Charla & Mirna were coming in. This prompted Mirna to scream, “Move, bitch! Get out the way!” Straight-up rapper-style like Ludacris. Funny shit!

Here’s where shit gets ugly. Colin & Christie talked all of the other teams, except the bowling moms, to form an alliance against Charla & Mirna. Colin, inspired by just sheer animosity, decided to book crappy Swiss Air flights for the alliance teams while Charla & Mirna and Linda & Karen got great tickets on Gulf Air. The alliance teams were all pissed at Colin, but luckily they were able to exchange their tickets and make the Gulf Air flight just in time. In the layover, Mirna & Charla traded a connecting flight to try and jump a half-hour ahead of the other teams only to delayed and ended up last. This was the biggest reason for Charla & Mirna’s elimination.

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Marshall & Lance

In this leg of the race, teams had to make their way from Cairo, Egypt to Luxor, Egypt, a 400 mile journey. Colin & Christie were the first to depart from last week’s Pit Stop, the Sphinx, at 11:27PM, a full seven hours before the other teams. Unfortunately, the hours of operation for the first challenge in one of the Great Pyramids forced them to wait until 6:00AM to proceed. Their seven-hour lead shrunk down to a mere 40 minutes.

In the first challenge, teams had to make their way down a narrow 350-foot shaft to the Creation Room of the pyramid to obtain their first clue. How cool is that!? Indiana Jones-style action on the race! All of the teams completed this task without incident, except for Marshall & Lance. It was clear from the beginning that Marshall’s aching knees would be their downfall.

The big story of this race was Linda & Karen. The bowling moms started this leg of the race without any money and immediately figured that the best way to get some money was to explain their situation to tourists. Sure enough, they struck pay dirt in the first large bus load of tourists. One British tourist gave them what appeared to be 20 pounds, that’s like 30 bucks!

Their story wasn’t without drama though. Linda & Karen left the creation room at 10:30AM and needed to make a chartered flight at 11:30AM in the Old Airport, the name of the domestic airport in Cairo. Their taxi driver claimed he knew where the old airport was and took them to the International Airport instead. It was 11:25AM. Fortunately for them, the chartered flight was delayed and the Old Airport was only 10 minutes away. They made it there at 11:35AM. Everything was reset–all of the teams were tied. Colin & Christie, who blew a seven-hour lead, were definitely pissed!

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Linda & Karen in Last Place

This fifth leg of the race was a non-elimination leg with a twist. Linda & Karen came in last and as a penalty they had to give Phil all of their money. Additionally, they will receive absolutely no money for the next leg of the race. This means that they will have to beg and barter for taxi fare and any other ground transportation. Plane tickets of course are always free to all teams. Essentially, with this penalty it seems that the show is only prolonging the inevitable. In my opinion, a team starting last with this additional obstacle will undoubtedbly be eliminated. We’ll see.

In this fifth leg of the race, teams made their way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Cairo, Egypt. Before departing to the airport, teams had to make their way to the Hermitage museum and find a painting to obtain their next clue. Chip & Kim did this quickly and were in first place with Colin & Christie right behind them.

The turning point came when Colin & Christie decided to go to a travel agency before heading to the airport. In some countries, this is the best way to purchase tickets, and apparently in Russia this is the case. They managed to get on a flight that would land in Cairo at 2:25PM the next day instead of 3:15PM, which gave them a huge advantage.

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Bob & Joyce

Well, I am a week late in doing my recap of the show, but better late than never. Thanks to the power of TiVo I could watch last week’s episode to refresh my memory, since I don’t delete the shows until the write-up is done. I’ll post a recap of tonight’s show tomorrow. In the fourth episode, teams made their way from San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina to St. Petersburg, Russia. In order to get there, teams had to take a 1,000-mile bus ride to Buenos Aires to take an 8,000 plane ride to St. Petersburg! Needless to say, this was an extremely long leg!

I am not going to take the time to explain the plane ticket mania that ocurred in this episode. Teams took three different routes to St. Petersburg, connecting through Madrid, Frankfurt, or London. It was all very complicated. At the end the teams arrived in St. Petersburg pretty bunched up, except for Bob & Joyce who were clearly in last place. This sealed their fate for this leg of the race.

Once teams arrived in St. Petersburg, they made their way to the Battleship Aurora for their next clue, a Detour. This detour was “Drink 1 Shot” or “Block 5 Shots.” Teams had to drink one shot of vodka while balancing the shot glass on a sword, or block five slap shots from professional hockey players as a goalie in a hockey rink. This was interesting. Most teams chose the drink, except of course the holier than thou Brandon & Nicole. Brandon claimed he couldn’t drink because of his faith and Nicole chastised him because she felt he was wasting time. Did I mention he was a big pussy? Amazingly, Charla & Mirna also chose to block five shots and made for a very funny scene at the hockey rink.

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Jim & Marsha

In this leg of the race, teams made their way from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina, a 1000 mile journey. Charla & Mirna left early and thought that they had an alliance with Brandon & Nicole. Almost immediately, Brandon & Nicole get their car stuck in some mud. Charla & Mirna, as good allies, wait for Brandon & Nicole to get loose of the mud before continuing on to the airport.

Sadly though, Charla & Mirna make a wrong turn further down the road and Brandon & Nicole ditch them and continue to the airport. That’s just wrong! And this is the team that wears Christianity like a badge, straight-up Republican-style. Later, when Charla & Mirna finally arrive at the airport, they totally lie and say that “they waited for them.” The teams re-establish their alliance to buy tickets. Their alliance is supposedly so strong, that they defend it against questions from Marshall & Lance, which really pisses Marshall off. Marshall was so pissed that he vows revenge against Mirna. Big drama.

Incredibly, almost immediately as the ticket counters open, Brandon & Nicole ask the team in front of them to buy their tickets, dissolving their alliance with Charla & Mirna once again. Yeah, you heard right! Brandon & Nicole manage to screw the dwarf team not once, but twice, in only a matter of hours. That’s not very Christian-like. Man, I am going to be pissed if they win this thing.

Brandon & Nicole thought they were slick for ditching their alliance with Charla & Mirna once again, but they end up getting on the 9:40AM (second) flight, while Charla & Mirna get on the earlier 9:10AM (first) flight. It serves them right, the bastards! Sadly, Jim & Marsha fail to get on the third flight at 10:30AM sealing their fate on this leg of the race.

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Alison & Donny

In the second leg of the race, teams made their way from Punta Ballena, Uruguay to Buenos Aires, Argentina via ferry. This was a pretty short leg by Amazing Race standards, since it did not include a plane ride. The first team to leave the pit stop was Alison & Donny and they were bickering from the start–a sign of things to come.

Before getting on the ferry, teams had to make their way to a foam-filled disco in the capital city of Montevideo, Uruguay. Most teams made their way to the disco without incident, except for Charla & Mirna, who were lost getting there! Their inability to find the disco almost made them lose the 4:30AM ferry to Argentina, but they made it on the boat.

Once in Argentina, the teams had to make their way to a route marker located at Evita Peron’s grave. Most teams made it there without incident, but a couple of teams went to the wrong cemetery first. But the dumbest move came from Jim & Marsha, who decided to get change from dollars to the local currency because another team, Linda & Karen, told them that the taxis wouldn’t take dollars. I don’t know if this is true, but that’s a pretty ruthless tactic! It’s their own fault for listening to the bullshit though.

The route marker at the grave site was a Detour, Perros or Tango. Teams had to choose to walk eight dogs through town checkpoints or identify tango dancers at a theater. Alison & Donny just broke down here. They yelled throughout the Perros challenge, insulting each other to the point of inaction. They couldn’t find the first checkpoint even though they had a map! Eventually, they turned back to do the Tango challenge. It was clear that Alison & Donny truly hated each other here, they were doomed.

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