Another successful season of The Amazing Race Australia is over. And like the first season of the Aussie adaptation, this year’s edition delivered.
Casting is Key The strongest aspect of TARAu1 was its excellent, diverse cast. Though seemingly born out of some familiar TAR team molds, each team was distinct and made their mark. The same can be said for TARAu2. Another well-casted bunch of teams.
From siblings and best friends to dysfunctional couples and parent & child, from nice guys and bullies to comic relief and competive, The Amazing Race Australia 2 definitely assembled a great mix of Racers. And it was thanks to those Racers that we got some good drama, unpredictable competition and colorful personalities.
Based on the last few seasons, TARUS needs to bring over the TARAu casting people. That’s two-for-two on casting for TARAu and there’s no reason to doubt they’ll be assembling another strong cast next year.
Location, Location… While TARAu didn’t have a standout location this season like they did last year with Israel, it did go to some unfamiliar or long-forgotten locations TARUS definitely didn’t consider for the upcoming TAR21 (trust me).
It was great to see TAR in the Philippines as well as full TAR legs in North America. TARAu had solid legs in Europe, Cuba and China.
There were plenty of familiar Road Blocks and Detours though, especially from TARA (of course) and TARUS (specifically TAR14’s China legs).
The one problem TARAu2 might have had that TARAu1 didn’t was the increasingly linear leg design, long been a problem for TARUS with producing lackluster legs.
But the linear legs were given a boost by the relatively good tasks and great team interactions. It also helps that TARAu has maintained their multiple-Route Marker leg structure that has teams going to numerous places during the legs as opposed to TARUS’ over-simplified, point A to point B legs.
Strong All Around TARAu introduced the Salvage Pass, an interesting power that unlike the Express Pass, affects more than just the winning team. I’d actually like to see TARUS incorporate it. Deciding to save a team from elimination in the first leg and then that team eventually outlasting you and making it to 5th Place? Craziness!
While it could be a bad logistics dream for TARUS and would bring up the question of “pre-determined non-elimination” legs (How would they make up for the non-eliminated team?), I think it would bring more drama than the Express Pass.
TARAu also brought over TAR Israel/HaMerotz LaMillion’s U-Turn voting. That would definitely bring drama, but I don’t know that TARUS would need that just yet.
Grant Bowler, returning as host, stepped up his game. He was much more animated and excitable this season. While his verbiage at the Mat could throw off some TAR fans, it added to the overall fresh feel of TARAu.
Neither TAR19 or TAR20 brought about the freshening up I had hoped for when it came to opening credits and on-screen graphics. After seeing TARAu’s graphics and excellent opening credits sequence, I expected TARUS to follow suit, especially for its 10th Anniversary or if not, its milestone 20th season.
I definitely hope TAR21 will bring the cosmetic sprucing up it needs. TARAu’s look and feel continues to be one of its strong suits.
Overall, The Amazing Race Australia 2 followed up its inaugural season’s successes and seems to have started a legitimate franchise in Australia. Seven has already ordered season 3. And at the very least, TARAu3 will be another great bridge between the mothership’s seasons next Summer.
My Final Subjective Team Rankings
Sarah & James - Hilarious and awesome. Sarah and her hunners are definitely two of the best characters to come from TARAu or any TAR yet. She may look like some Botoxed-cougar with boobs and tight clothes, but she was a strong and fierce competitor. She was focused on the Race and often would need to push James to get into the Race as well. That competitive fire was definitely lacking from other teams. Couple that with the typical dysfunctional couple entertainment, you’ve got a winner!
Paul & Steve – Paul might just be the most interesting character on TARAu yet. A highly competitive, very confident alpha male who showed both strong performances and baffling stumbles. He may not have done anything directly to other teams, but his loud, confident personality would definitely be something that could rub others the wrong way, especially if you’re winning every leg. Steve was the calmer, more normal half of the team. And together, they worked solidly for most of the Race. But Paul knowing exactly who and what he was eased any ill-will one might have toward him.
Lucy & Emilia – Their epic escapes from elimination were epic. They had luck on their side and they enjoyed the Race and each other. Plus, they were hilarious the entire time. Though I would’ve loved to have seen actually step it up during the Race, they were enjoyable and fun.
Sticky & Sam – They seemed to be setting themselves up for either a dominant run or a huge fall. Too bad it was the latter. Sticky definitely proved a lot in spite of only having one arm, but their surprising elimination showed the Race is leg to leg and one misstep could be fatal. Good guys that just couldn’t get themselves out of a hole.
Tarryn & Ross – They had a very promising start to the Race, but when they were eliminated, their weaknesses came bubbling to the top. A lack of drive and focus was sad to see from a team that started off so well.
Shane & Andrew – They had a rough go at it for most of the Race. They fully earned their “bumbling cops” title, but their steadiness and having other teams drop like flies helped propel them to the final leg that was anyone’s for the taking. And they took it. Nice guys who I would’ve liked to see more competitiveness from earlier. Plus how could you not like them for their kangaroo souvenirs?
Sue & Teresa – The aura spray may have made them seem like a gimmick at first, but they showed some makings of a solid team. Though they needed more sense of urgency, they Raced relatively well and could’ve made it further had it not been for that Road Block.
Michelle & Jo – Probably the most consistent team this Race. But even though they were strong most of the time, they also had some huge bumps along the way. And their strange fixation on Paul turned into a Rachel vs Vanessa redux (TAR20) especially in the final leg when it appears their frustration exploded. Still, they had ups and downs, but they definitely deserved their spot in the final.
Adam & Dane – The teams were half-right in the final leg. Adam & Dane were indeed unlucky. But selling their stuff and not knowing the Race rules was their own doing. Instead of being an alpha-male team that went far, they ended up being first boot fodder.
Donna & Kym – Their last leg was painful to watch. To see a team just give up like that was both sad and very annoying. And their own grudge against Paul just made them seem petty and childish.
Joseph & Grace – Grace seemed to be strong and competitive at the start of the Race. Boy was I wrong. Though she deserves kudos for not giving up in their final leg, her self-imposed weakness and unnecessary bullying of other teams plus her self-righteous proclamations of who should and shouldn’t make it to the end just made her and Joseph the legitimate villains of the Race. And not in a love to hate kind of way either.
<font face="georgia" size="4"Relive The Amazing Race Australia!
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