The Amazing Race 21 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 21 Wrap-Up

So The Amazing Race 21 was an alright season.  Nothing too memorable, save for the final Road Block.  But also not horrible.

I think the biggest thing to take away from TAR21 is that the show is definitely due for a sprucing up.  I hope a freshly remixed theme, new graphics, and some better challenges are in store for us at least in the next two seasons.

The Route
It was an okay Route.  Nothing that really stands out, except maybe Frankfurt being the death of teams.  

I guess after 21 seasons, TAR will be returning to a lot more locations they’ve visited previously.  There’s only so many countries left and with the world continuing to be unstable and unsafe for Americans to run through, I’m sure the options are limited.

The Tasks
We did have some surprisingly physical tasks this season which are great since TAR’s been oversimplifying everything from Leg design to types of challenges for years now.  

The tasks in Indonesia and Bangladesh like the carrying of ice, fish and bamboo or assembling that big scale were good to challenge the teams especially in those countries that were congested and stereotypically “third world.”

The Turkish bath was gratuitous team skin and the Russian time zone Road Block was a great mental challenge

The Twists
Just two new twists this season.  First, the Blind Double U-Turn which was the logical next step for it of course.  Also good to have it when there are more teams to incite paranoia and drama.  Having a regular Double U-Turn with less teams is makes more sense too since you’d probably be able to figure it out anyway.

It’s also about time someone figured out to use the U-Turn to their advantage like how the “Dream Team” did here.  I wonder if that will necessitate a tweak to the rules in reaction kind of like Big Brother instituting that “6 houseguests only” rule after the Five Finger/Backdoor Plan, I think in season 5.  But the U-Turn strategy they came up with here was very smart.

And second, the Double Your Money prize.  Spoiler alert, Phil says it will not return for TAR22.  And I don’t really think it made a difference in terms of competition.  If anything, the threat of another million dollars TAR needed to shell out limited possible locations or tasks.  TAR could use that million for something else like better challenges or to pay for those plane tickets to fresh and different locations.

The Teams
The teams were okay.  It was a solid group.  Even the early boots like Amy & Daniel and Gary & Will made an impression in their short times.

You also had strong personalities in Natalie & Nadiya and Jaymes & James who were pretty much locks for any All-Star season.  You had real underdogs in James & Abba and a likeable, yet strong couple in Trey & Lexi.

There weren’t any villains (despite what some casual fans might believe) or big fueds so there were no angry outbursts like we had in TAR20.

That said, a season like this where teams all helped each other out and even made pacts to get eliminated together kind of made me miss all that fighting and drama TAR20 delivered.

The Ending
As okay as the season was, the finale was very exciting.  And I believe that had to do with the teams being able to Race neck and neck in both final Legs.  

They were actually very linear Legs.  But the tasks were balanced enough and teams good enough to keep everyone within striking distance which made it all the more exciting.

The Final Road Block was definitely an inspired task.  While it may not come close to TAR12’s tragic, but genius final Road Block, this one was right up there with the TAR17 Pit Stop Greeter Hats, the field of clueboxes from TAR13 and the epic surfboards of TAR14.  And let’s not forget the very first memory Final Task, the totem pole Road Block of TAR3.  So ahead of its time.

But it was definitely a downer, almost like TAR12, when a horrible team ends up winning.  More on that below.

1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
6. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR6
7. TAR4
10. TAR20
10. TAR19
10. TAR17
13. TAR10
14. TAR9
15. TAR21
15. TAR717. TAR18: UB
18. TAR16
19. TAR14
20. TAR15
21. TAR13

(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR21
4. TAR8
5. TAR5
6. TAR2
7. TAR1
8. TAR20
9. TAR16
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR6
13. TAR19
14. TAR17
15. TAR11: AS
16. TAR4
17. TAR18
18. TAR9
19. TAR13
20. TAR10
21. 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. TAR21
14. TAR10
15. TAR9
16. TAR18
17. TAR16
17. TAR15
17. TAR14
17. TAR13
21. 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. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21)
16. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
17. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)

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. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21)
10. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
11. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
12. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
13. Bill & Cathi (TAR19)
14. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
15. 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. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
11. Jaymes & James (TAR21)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
13. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
14. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
15. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
16. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
17. 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)
21. Josh & Brent (TAR21)

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)
20. Josh & Brent
       Trey & Lexi or Jaymes & James (TAR12)

My Final Subjective Team Rankings

Natalie & Nadiya Natalie & Nadiya – They started out as fun sisters who might not have the Race skills, but entertained.  That was definitely the wrong first impression.  Yes, they were fun and entertaining, but they turned out to be great Racers.  Strong competitors who were here to play.  They won Legs, they did well with challenges, they schemed and stole, but they were here to Race.  That gets much more respect by me than teams with defeatist attitudes who would rather quit then go forward.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing them on the Race in the future.
Trey & Alexis Trey & Lexi – They started out okay, but ended up becoming strong and consistent Racers.  They too were competitors who were here to Race.  They stepped on toes and did it with a smile.  But most importantly, they did well despite their inexperience even outside of Texas.  It’s a shame it all came down to that final Road Block because they had run two almost flawless Legs at the end.  It was also great to see a nice couple for once in a long time.    
Jaymes & James Jaymes & James – They definitely started out slow in the beginning.  Their fit bodies being no match for the Race.  But halfway through, they began to step it up and definitely worked to get to that final Leg.  They were also good, laid back, fun guys who were genuinely nice but also pushed themselves to Race well.  Their personalities matched what would become their Racing skills which is always good to watch.
James & Mark James & Abba – You want real underdogs?  James & Abba are that team.  Even though they actually won two Legs thanks to a Fast Forward and a horribly linear next leg, they were consistent, good Racers who were dealt with some bad hands.  But they were able to push through them, even if they ended up eliminated anyway.  But to see true underdog fighting spirit, just watch James & Abba’s final two Legs.  Now there’s real underdogs you can root for.
Amy & Daniel Amy & Daniel – Maybe the most surprising and disappointing elimination.  They seemed like they could go all the way.  Two strong, competitive people who ended up being done in by a bad taxi.  Definitely a shame.
Caitlin & Brittany Caitlin & Brittany – They actually had an okay Race and had it not been for their horrible rickshaw driver (a common theme this season) they could have made it a lot farther.  They were pretty good and could have gotten even better if they survived.  It’s too bad they had to get struck with bad taxi or in this case, rickshaw luck.
Gary & Will Gary & Will – While it is always great to see real TAR fans running the Race, Gary & Will were definitely slogging along the entire time.  For TAR fans, they did not use their TAR knowledge to their advantage, often making the mistakes that they should have known to avoid.  They were lucky to have lasted as long as they did, but they still made a strong impression.  One of a completely overmatched team that was still amusing to watch fumble their way through.
Rob & Shiela Rob & Shiela – Not much of an impression in their short time on the Race, but they were definitely *thisclose* to making it to Leg 2.  It would’ve been interesting to see if they could have done well on the Race.
Rob & Kelley Rob & Kelley – Definitely not one of my favorite teams.  They were cocky and arrogant and Raced horribly.  Instead of bad taxi luck, it was their own decision that got them eliminated.  
Abbie & Ryan Abbie & Ryan – They started out pretty well considering they had that chance to double their money.  But they soon became cocky with their Racing skills not matching their confidence. Then came that idiotic decision to stick together with Josh & Brent to walk together to their eliminations.  What?  They probably would’ve made Final 4 if they had actually hustled and Raced instead of lollygagging through that last Leg of theirs.  But worst part of it all, Ryan’s post-TAR Twitter rant basically calling TAR fake, rigged and scripted.  Way to endear yourself.
Josh & Brent Josh & Brent – Where to begin.  They wouldn’t be as horrible if they hadn’t won.  But because of how poorly they Raced and how many times they were able to luck out and escape elimination from lost passports to non-elimination legs to the U-Turn of a team that had given up.  That’s not including their own defeatist and quitter attitude (they actually did quit once!) that has no place on the Race.  I have no respect for teams that take the Race so lightly as to just give up when there are so many other people who would love and appreciate the opportunity to compete.  The fact that they fell into the finale and then ended up winning doesn’t make them underdogs.  Far from it.  They sucked as Racers and their poor showings were their own fault.  You want real underdogs, look at James & Abba.  Plus this whole “nice guy” notion when they were actually in line with the stereotypical TAR bickering couple types is absurd.  My least favorite winners like TK & Rachel or Eric & Danielle were because they were horrible people on the Race.  Josh & Brent weren’t horrible people on the Race, but they were horrible Racers and so underserving.
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0 thoughts on “The Amazing Race 21 Season Wrap-up

  1. I thought this was the worst season yet, and I just finished watching it today (12/19) while my other family members who used to be big fans gave up on it much earlier in the season. I don’t even know where to begin, but those speed bumps this season were incredibly easy. And, while I was no fan of starting a leg without money in the past, maybe that’s what’s needed to make coming in last place something not to take lightly–then the Beekmans wouldn’t have won while the Rockers showed what they could do without money.  That brings me to the point where I really lost interest this season. Once the twins stole the money and made Lexi complicit in their underhanded tactics. I would have been okay with them at least turning the money into the travel agency’s lost and found or the police, but what they did was truly unsportsmanlike as they pocketed the stolen money. Before that, I was just annoyed at their loud abrasiveness, but then, towards the end, they even had to go and belittle the Beekman Boys by constantly referring to them as “the gays” this and “the gays” instead of by their team name or their names. To say that was off-putting is an understatement, and I’m a heterosexual.  Tell me, how can one explain to parents of young children watching the show together as a family that it is alright to take someone else’s money and to speak so disparagingly of others with absolutely no consequences/penalties? Then, the idea of having the finale in New York City was really poorly thought out as two of the last four teams are from there. Talk about home court advantage. Where is “The Amazing Race’s” neutrality? Bringing back those 12-hour rest periods and having a neutral finishing line would help make the race a lot fairer for all the contestants and not reek of the type of manipulation that we have seen in the past when airplanes pull back into the gate after they’ve already pulled away. It looks like I am far from the only one disappointed in this season of rather simple tasks and duds for contestants.  The ratings indicate that this was the worst season so far, and judging by the fans’ reactions to the finale, the twins truly were villains as indicated in the comments in this link by Matt Mitovich: somehow, the twins were invited back for a best of race, I know I’d definitely find something else to occupy my time instead of the more and more lackluster “Not-so Amazing Race.”

  2. I just finished viewing the finale of TAR 21. I personally don’t like bickering couples or mean people on the Amazing Race. So, I SHOULD have liked TAR 21 because it seemed like so many teams were working together. But it was BORING with the most unsatisfying winners in all seasons of TAR that I have watched thus far. This season was the antithesis of the whole premise of the show. I wanted to see teams race against each other. I didn’t necessarily want the drama but I wanted earnest and desperate racing. It’s called the Amazing RACE, for goodness sakes. I’ve read comments of viewers on other websites that were happy that the Beekmans won and I just can’t wrap my head around that. How can they watch a show about contestants RACING around the world and yet be happy that the winners were the only team that seemed to not be racing and, in fact, seemed like they wanted to be eliminated for several legs? So, I’m commenting to completely agree with your assessment of the Beekmans and concur that they were NOT underdogs. They were just a bad team. I can’t even call them bad racers. Maybe I’ll call them bad hanger-on’ers. I thought the Beekmans were sweet guys that I would have liked had they not won the race, BUT their defeatist attitudes and them actually winning the race just cemented them in my mind as one of the worst TAR teams ever.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it was definitely a very unsatisfying end to a pretty blah season. I like some of the teams a lot, but the season was just not good. Especially including the winners in that judgment

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