The Amazing Race 19 kicked off this week with eleven new teams racing around the world for the $1,000,000 prize.
- Amani & Marcus – a married couple from Georgia – he’s a former NFL player
- Andy & Tommy – friends and professional snowboarders from California who have been in the Olympics
- Bill & Cathi – married from Oregon and this season’s token “older” couple
- Ernie & Cindy – an engaged couple from Chicago, who will probably have control issues
- Ethan & Jenna – two previous winners from Survivor who are currently dating, Ethan is a cancer survivor also
- Jeremy & Sandy – a dating couple from California – seeing if their relationship is meant to be
- Justin & Jennifer – a brother and sister team from Georgia – he says she has a temper; she agrees
- Kaylani & Lisa – friends and former showgirls from Las Vegas
- Laurence & Zac – father and son adventurers from California – Zac holds a record for first person under 18 to sail around the world
- Liz & Marie – twins from Illinois – hope their communication skills will help them
- Ron & Bill – domestic partners and flight attendants from California
Initially, I’m pulling for Ethan and Jenna. I’m a huge fan of Survivor and Ethan’s struggle with cancer has been inspirational.
Host Phil Koeghan greets the teams in Los Angeles where there are twelve legs and the winner of the first leg will get the Express Pass – a pass that lets them skip challenges and go directly to the pit stop for that leg. It can be used up to the 8th leg of the race.
The leg starts with a challenge. Teams must find an umbrella with three specific letters on it, and then use those letters twice and combine them with letters on a sign to form their destination. After figuring out the correct location, they will be given keys to Ford Explorers and head to the airport where they will board flights to their first destination – Taipei, Taiwan. The teams are also warned that the last team to complete the challenge will face a new penalty called a Hazard – teams will have to complete it at some point during the race.
After several misfires, the first team to get their keys are the snowboarders, followed quickly by Amani & Marcus. The rest of the teams start getting their keys and soon Kaylani and Lisa, the Vegas showgirls, find themselves the last team out – thus earning the first Hazard of the game.
Once in the car, Phil comes on via video and tells the teams they must fly on one of two flights and that the first eight teams will get on a flight that will get them into the air twenty minutes sooner. Team Showgirls stop for directions and Kaylani loses drops her passport out of the car and doesn’t notice. These girls are off to a great start. Kaylani realizes it’s gone before they get to the airport, and they return to the station. It’s gone, and no one has turned it in. They head to the airport hoping one of the other teams picked it up. These girls are toast before the first leg even gets started.
Ethan and Jenna are saying they aren’t telling anyone they won Survivor. The cameras immediately cut to the other teams talking about knowing who they are and knowing they both won. I can’t really believe Team Survivor thought no one would recognize them.
Suddenly, Kaylani’s name gets called over the loud speaker. Someone found their passport and brought to her at the airport. Suddenly Team Showgirl is back in it. The two guys who found it basically figured out she’d be at LAX via Twitter.
The teams on the first flight are:
- Laurence & Zac
- Andy & Tommy
- Ethan & Jenna
- Amani & Marcus
- Ernie & Cindy
- Jeremy & Sandy
- Justin & Jennifer
- Ron & Bill
Once in Taiwan, they have to head to the commercial district. No clue box though – the teams have to figure out that their clue is on an electronic billboard with their next destination. Once downtown, the teams struggle to find the clue (and no it’s not the nice man in the bright colored underwear). None of the teams seem to notice the big electronic billboard, and then even when they do, they don’t realize what it is.
Amani & Marcus team up with Jennifer & Justin and figure out that the billboard is the clue. They draw the symbols and ask someone to translate for them. They figure out they need to be heading to the Confucius Temple. They say they aren’t telling anyone, but Ron & Bill saw them looking at the sign and find someone to translate it for them. Other teams start to figure out, too.
At the Temple, the teams find their next clue. It’s a Roadblock asking them who is ready to play telephone. They must dial a number on a pay phone (when was the last time you saw a payphone?). They will hear a Confucius proverb and must recite it word for word to a monk (without taking notes) to get their next clue.
It seems like an easy task, but no one is getting it right. Cindy finally completes it for her team first, followed by Jennifer. The teams take off in search of a park where they will find their clue under a bridge .
The Twins, the Showgirls and Bill & Cathi still haven’t found the clue. Bill & Cathi are way off-base looking for and going up in the tallest building. The Twins & Showgirls work together to figure it out, so now only Bill & Cathi are left behind.
The next clue directs teams to join a dragon boat race team. One team member must row while the other keeps time. If they can complete the course and maintain the rhythm, the captain will give them their next clue.
Ernie and Sandy are first in the boat and pick up the rhythm right away.
Back at the temple, the teams are working their way though the proverb quickly. As the last of the first teams arrive, the Showgirls and the Twins arrive.
After completing the boat challenge, Ernie & Sandy get their next clue which directs them to the pit stop. Other teams have arrived are working their way through the course.
Back at the Temple, the Showgirls beat the Twins in getting the proverb right. Unfortunately for them, this is where the Hazard comes in. Instead of being directed to the boats, they must return downtown and search the 11th floor of a building for their next clue.
Bill & Cathi still haven’t found the clue directing them to the temple. They may be Team Showgirls saving grace.
Team Showgirl gets their clue and Hazard challenge, which is a bungee jump off the 11th floor for one of the team members. Kaylani completes it (she’s bungeed off the Stratosphere in Vegas) and the Showgirls are off to the dragon boat race.
Back at the temple, Liz cannot seem to get the message right and we watch her try over and over again.
At the pit stop, Ernie and Cindy are the first team to arrive. They win the Express pass and will start off the next leg in first place.
They are followed by:
- #2 – Jeremy & Sandy
- #3 – Justin & Jennifer
- #4 – Ethan & Jenna
- #5 – Amani & Marcus
- #6 – Laurence & Zac
- #7 – Andy & Tommy
- #8 – Ron & Bill
- #9 – Kaylani & Lisa
Battling for last place, the Twins finally get the proverb correct, and Bill & Cathi find the clue directing them to the Temple. Cathi gets the phrase on the first try. It’s too little too late though. The Twins claim the #10 spot. Bill and Cathi are the last team to arrive. Fortunately for them, this is one of the non-elimination legs so they are not out of the race. During the next leg of the race, they will have to complete a Speed Bump, an extra task as a penalty. Phil also tells them that the next leg will be the first ever double elimination leg and that two teams will be going home.
So who are you rooting for? Feel free to leave comments below. I was really impressed with how well Bill & Cathi worked together. No matter how far behind they were, they never seemed to take their stress out on one another – a rarity in this game. I hope they are able to survive the next leg.