Season 21 of The Amazing Race kicked off last night with news this season will cover nne countries and over 25,000 miles. There is a new twist to swell the prize fund: if a team wins both the first and last leg of the race they will double their prize money and be rewarded with two million dollars. I couldn’t wait to see who won the first leg.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we had to meet the contestants. It’s sure to get confusing with two Jameses, one Jaymes and two Robs and identical twins? Oh and two blond girls who aren’t twins but may as well be.
The starting point last night was Pasadena, CA, and in order to get their first clue and head out fr the race proper in their Ford Escapes the teams had to rappel 10 floors down off a bridge. It was an exciting start.
Then the teams had to make their way to Shanghai an the race was on to be one of the first seven teams, as they would go on an earlier flight. The second flight would put the later teams more than an hour behind.
Those who had to get the later flight were: Rob and Sheila (lumberjacks), Gary and Will (teachers), Josh and Brent (goat farmers) and Trey and Lexi (college sweethearts).
Over at the Yuanshen sports center stadium they got their next clue. I wonder if Ryan can stand the heat?
The roadblack was funny, if only for the contestants’ reactions to the question, “Who’s ready to get paddled?” Some were totally up for that and I sat up a little straighter in my chair (after I’d come round from my swoon.) But the challenge was only to play a game of table tennis against a 10-year-old Chinese junior champion who hates losing but is really rather adorable, and beat her. She didn’t use her paddle and instead used a series of household items like a clipboard, a saucepan, a tambourine and, eventually, an Amazing Race clue card. The front-runners after this task were Abbie the divorcee, James the rocker and James the Chippendale. Monster truckers Kelley and Rob still hadn’t arrived there.
Next, the teams had to make their way to Cui Ping Jiu Jia restaurant. The team member who did not play table tennis had to eat two hollowed out papaya bowls of hasma, a traditional Chinese dessert made of frog fallopian tubes. Honestly. Apparently, it stinks. And really as a premiere episode task it kinda stinks. We were grossed out, so it had impact but what did it really tell us about the contestants?
James and Abba (the rockers) finished first, and the next task was to make their way to the Bund and look for a woman using an abacus. Amy and Daniel (snowboarders) got the clue first and headed to the pit stop at the Bund Observatory. Wasn’t it lovely that they then told Caitlin and Brittany (blondes) and Ryan and Abbie (dating divorcees) where to find the woman with the abacus? Okay, it was more idiotic than lovely, and it allowed Ryan and Abbie to pass them and to win the leg. So all we need to do is see if they win the last leg and thus the bonus.
So who are these contestants? Here they are in the order they finished:
1) Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz (dating divorcees). Abbie is a dance instructor/choreographer, or her partner Ryan, is a former ‘The Apprentice: Martha Stewart’ contestant who loves Jiu jitsu. I liked Ryan from the beginning. He was cute when he apologized to the snowboarders, but he reminded them it was a competition. But when in the eating challenge he said, “Mmm, amazingly good. Have you not had fallopian tube, Abbie?” Now tell me that’s not funny!
2) Amy and Daniel (on and off daters). Amy is a double-amputee and snowboarding champion. He is… well, he’s like a puppy, really. They are in looovveee. Ryan said he saw Amy as his team’s biggest rival. That’s quite a compliment, right?
3) 3) Caitlin and Brittany are BFFs who played college sports with a lotta ‘tude on the field/court. They might not be able to pronounce abacus correctly but they should make strong competitors.
4) Natalie and Nadiya are identical twin sisters. These two are going to be amusing…or annoying. Can’t decide which yet. Oh they were convinced the table tennis playing girl was a boy. Right – annoying, then.
5) Rob and Kelley are married monster truckers Poor Rob had to have two goes at the fallopian tube dessert.
6) James and Mark “Abba” are great friends and pretty cool. James is a rocker who used to play with White Lion and Megadeath and Ozzy Osbourne and others, and Abba is an entertainment attorney. They want to “rock their race” and they seem like they could do just that.
7) Josh and Brent are life partners and goat farmers. They have been on TV before in “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” and were strangely appealing, especially when Josh cried out in excitement, “I won a sporting event!”
8) Gary and Will are BFFs and substitute teachers, one short, one tall. This pairing have applied for “The Amazing Race” seven times. I’m loving that they can now unleash their excitement but Gary has potential to become unhinged, I think. They are wily competitors, though, lying about finding the abacus. They are definitely in it to win it.
9) Trey and Lexi, a dating couple, the football player and the cheerleader, are quite cute together. But Lexi’s pronunciation of abacus was like a whole other language.
10) Jaymes and James are both Chippendales. So of course their abs are impressive, but they will need brains to survive this competition.
11) Rob and Sheila are an engaged couple. Apart from pronouncing abacus as “a-BASKET” and then, later, “AL-ba-coss” we hardly saw this pair. If it hadn’t been for Trey and Lexi being nice enough to rescue them, they might still be out there somewhere, searching for a clue.
So who caught your eye on ‘The Amazing Race’ premiere last night? Who’s not got long in this competition?