The Amazing Race 20 Season Wrap-Up

The Amazing Race 20 Wrap-Up
The milestone 20th season of The Amazing Race has come and gone.  I definitely had high expectations for the season with a cast that looked great on paper and the hope of some sprucing up for the anniversary season.  Plus TAR19 took some steps forward to improve the Race and correct some of the mistakes and shortcomings TAR has had in the last few seasons.

A… Distinctive Cast
This was the first time a cast jumped out to me on paper before the season started.  There seemed to be distinct personalities.  Of course you had the established personas of Brendon & Rachel, but you also got a bunch of clowns, a pair of good ol’ country boys, sassy cousins, pretty sisters, guys you’d assume were from Jersey Shore , an army guy and his wife, female federal agents and border patrol guys?  Those are some interesting and diverse teams on paper and they left good impressions in their pre-Race interviews.

On the show itself, they definitely delivered.  Not so much in the competition aspect (more on that later), but they brought the entertainment.

Not many people will like it, but we had plenty of drama.  Art & JJ definitely instigated a lot of the drama.  Couples Brendon & Rachel, Vanessa & Ralph and Rachel & Dave bickering is not uncommon on TAR, of course.  But the conflict between teams, whether it be Vanessa having something against Rachel or Art & JJ starting drama for kicks, TAR20 carried a lot of negativity between teams.  I’m sure a lot of TAR fans don’t appreciate the show being anything but clean and above all the reality show drama, but the conflicts helped what was…

A Lack of Competition
You can’t deny Rachel & Dave and even Art & JJ had amazing runs on the Race.  The fact that they won all legs but one is certainly historic, but when you look at how they won their legs, with a Fast Forward each and other teams generally screwing themselves up, I can’t help but hold back from comparing them to some of the other dominant TAR teams of the past.

It’s all part of the Race sure, but just because they won close legs doesn’t mean they were completely dominant.  Maybe it’s just because I didn’t really care for them, but then again, I never really cared for the likes of Nick & Starr or Megan & Cheyne or even Colin & Christie back in TAR5 or Marc & Rovilson on TARA.

But I think the biggest reason for their success…

Leg Design! Leg Design!
Even after TAR19 brought back the extra, non-Road Block/non-Detour tasks to the legs as well as use more “thinking” clues, TAR20 scaled back on those and went back to those very linear legs that offered no opportunities for teams to catch up.  Again, it makes you realize that those Hours of Operations and airport equalizers were actually good things for the Race.

I know TAR’s simpler legs have to do with budget and cost, but it’s really taken a lot away from the competition and excitement of the legs.  One positive though…

Fast Forward!
This season actually featured more than one Fast Forward.  Though their placements were kind of odd, it’s nice to see it is not completely dead yet.  Some have suggested offering a Fast Forward in each of the first 8 or so legs.  As seen this season, the Fast Forward is merely a pass for a first place team to win at least a 2nd leg in a row.  I say it every season, but I’d like to see the Fast Forward be used like it was in the early (classic!) seasons again.  Create that drama and that lifeline for teams!

No TAR20 Bling?
I was probably most disappointed that we didn’t get any new graphics.  I thought the 20th season would’ve brought some freshening up to the on-air look with a fresh opening sequence and an update to the graphics similar to what we’ve seen with TARs from around the world.  Hopefully TAR21 will have some of those.

Hopes for Season 21
Speaking of… Can you believe we’re done with 20 seasons of The Amazing Race and are at least assured of two more?  For TAR21, I definitely hope we get fuller legs, an updated look, more challenging tasks, and maybe a more competitive group of teams.  The Amazing Race is still exciting and fun to watch, but they definitely plenty of room to continue growing and maybe capture some of the magic from the classic seasons.

Overall, TAR20 was a good, solid season.  It isn’t up there with some of the all-time greats, but it was still enjoyable with some really great teams, drama, good locations and some good tasks.  Let’s hope Bertram and Co. can build on the good momentum and step it up for TAR21.

1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
6. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR6
7. TAR4
10. TAR20
10. TAR19

10. TAR10
10. TAR9

10. TAR17
15. TAR18: UB
16. TAR16
17. TAR14
18. TAR15
19. TAR13
*huge gap*
20. TAR7

(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR20
8. TAR16
9. TAR15
10. TAR14
11. TAR6
12. TAR19
13. TAR17
14. TAR11: AS
15. TAR4
16. TAR18
17. TAR9
18. TAR13
19. TAR10
20. TAR7

1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR6
8. TAR4
8. TAR20
8. TAR19
12. TAR17
13. TAR18
14. TAR16
14. TAR15
14. TAR14
14. TAR13
18. TAR10
19. TAR9
20. TAR7

1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12/18)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
4. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. The Linz Family (TAR8)
12. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
13. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
14. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
15. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
16. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)

1. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
2. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
3. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
4. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
7. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
9. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
10. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
11. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
12. Bill & Cathi (TAR19)
13. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
14. Steve & Allie (TAR16)

1. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
9. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
12. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
13. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
14. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
15. Ken & Tina (TAR13)

WINNERS (subjective; as a team)
1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
2. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
3. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
4. The Linz Family (TAR8)
5. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
6. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
7. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
8. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
8. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
8. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
*gap*11. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
11. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
11. Tyler & James (TAR10)
14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
15. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
16. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
17. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
18. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
19. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
20. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
      Winning Team
         Who I wanted to win
1. Ernie & Cindy
        Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
2. Dan & Jordan
        Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
3. Uchenna & Joyce
        Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
4. The Linz Family
        The Linz Family (TAR8)
5. Tammy & Victor
     Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
6. Nat & Kat
       Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR1)
7. Rob & Brennan
       Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
8. Chris & Alex
       Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
9. Chip & Kim
       Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
10. Tyler & James
       Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
11. Flo & Zach
       Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
12. Kisha & Jen
      Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
13. Meghan & Cheyne
       Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
14. Nick & Starr
       Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
15. Reichen & Chip
       Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
16. Freddy & Kendra
       Kris & Jon (TAR6)
17. Rachel & Dave
       Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
18. BJ & Tyler
       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
19. Eric & Danielle
       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
20. TK & Rachel
       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings

Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – I definitely had high expectations for them.  They are highly competitive and they can also entertain with their drama.  But what was interesting was TAR’s decision to keep them pretty low key.  Unless you are so blinded by your hate for them, you can’t deny that the drama came to them.  They never instigated any drama or conflict with other teams and only responded when they were confronted.  Now, drama with each other, that’s nothing new for them, nor it is new for TAR itself.  Save for the meltdowns in Italy and their collapse in the finale, they’ve been pretty normal and subdued, enjoying the scenery and their trip around the world.  It sucks that they did themselves in in the final leg, but I think there were also times they didn’t push themselves enough during the Race.  They placed 2nd a few times and had opportunities to grab first, but didn’t. One thing’s for sure, they’re pretty much a lock for All-Stars 2, right?
Mark & Bopper Mark & Bopper – Such a wonderful surprise to have these guys turn out to be a whole lot of fun.  An endearing team, a truly endearing team that TAR managed to get right and push.  We’ve been forced to “like” some teams in the past (quite unsuccessfully, sorry TAR), but Bopper & Mark didn’t need TAR’s help.  Their upbeat, happy and fighting spirit personalities definitely made you root for them.  Their determination and perseverance, especially in their last legs was great to watch and something we haven’t seen on TAR in a while. It’s great to have regular people like them on the Race.
Nary & Jamie Nary & Jamie – I had high expectations for them too.  You kind of expect a little more fire in a pair of federal agents, but they lacked that spark and drive.  They didn’t have the hustle to get themselves out of the bottom of the pack.  And I liked them so it was sad to see them underperform every leg.  Them lying about their jobs wasn’t anything to make a big deal out of and they actually handled that situation well.  Them standing up to Art & JJ was great.   Just sucks they didn’t try harder.
Kerri & Stacy Kerri & Stacy – They had an underwhelming start, but once they got in the groove, they became a fun, feisty and sassy team.  It’s  a shame they didn’t stay longer and it was a shame TAR decided not to include their airplane drama with Vanessa & Ralph and the twins on the show.  It would’ve shown the cousins to be fighters and strong.  They stood up for themselves and wouldn’t let anyone push them around.  It was great to see that fire in them before they got eliminated.
Joey & Danny Joey & Danny – I’m not a fan of Jersey Shore, so the implication that these guys were in the same vein as the Situations of the world definitely gave me a bad first impression pre-Race.  But as we saw more of them, I was pleasantly surprised to realize they weren’t so bad after all.  They were actually a pair of normal, fun guys who tried to make a big move, but ended up being their undoing.  I definitely would’ve preferred them to have stayed over some of the other teams we eventually got in the later legs.
Dave & Cherie Dave & Cherie – They were the nice, older couple that unfortunately became typical early boot fodder.  It would have been nice to see them make it farther in the Race (and it certainly would’ve helped add numbers to the “other side” of the drama that popped up later).  A shame they had to be eliminated so early.
Misa & Maiya Misa & Maiya – I definitely had high hopes for them pre-Race.  Both athletes, you’d think they would do well on the Race.  But their first leg was a mess, capped off with their fatal mistake at the Mat.  They would’ve survived at least the first leg if it wasn’t for that unprecedented error.  It was too bad they screwed up, it would’ve been nice to have more women on the Race, especially in the later legs.
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – They started off great, but as we saw more of Dave and we saw them walking into first place every leg, it got very tiring.  Rachel is an amazing competitor though.  She definitely carried more weight on the team than Dave did, especially with him berating every other minute.  Sure, the fights meant nothing to them after the fact, but it wasn’t any fun to see a husband talk down to his wife all Race.  They deserve kudos for winning so many legs, but I just can’t give my full kudos for being a dominant team when there were so many different factors.
Elliot & Andrew Elliot & Andrew – The prospect of fun sibling bickering wasn’t fully realized, but in a way it was good that they were eliminated before they and Vanessa & Ralph decided to team up and target other teams with drama.  They had otherwise quiet legs and were hardly missed once they were eliminated.
Art & JJ Art & JJ – What a strange team.  For most of the Race, you couldn’t stand their cocky attitudes and unnecessarily looking for drama from other teams.  But in these last few legs, I guess with less competition, they dropped the act and didn’t seem as horrible as they were in the legs previous.  JJ calling Rachel a “nice lady” then encouraging her in the final Road Block just shows that all that shit-stirring was them forcing the drama and thinking it would get them far.  Well, they did place 2nd, though I don’t know if confronting teams for no reason or pitting teams against each other played a big part in that.
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – Oh boy.  It all started with Vanessa’s strange obsession with Rachel’s ass at the watermelon Detour.  Since then, it was a mean-spirited, catty, and personal vendetta against Rachel who never even really had Vanessa in her radar in the first place.  Ralph was definitely the level-headed one of the two, but the fact that he couldn’t control or didn’t attempt to stop Vanessa’s craziness says something about him too.
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