The Amazing Race 30 Season Wrap-Up


TAR3012

Thirty seasons for any television program is a major accomplishment. So for The Amazing Race, which after its 3rd season needed some celebrity endorsements to even find a timeslot on CBS, completing this 30th season is almost a miracle.

The Amazing Race enjoyed great success after that initial brush with cancellation and was, for a time, one of the most consistent shows on TV. While the rest of broadcast television was bleeding viewers and losing audiences to the growing number of options elsewhere, The Amazing Race continued to do well in its comfortable Sunday home.

But pretty soon, the broadcast TV-wide hemorrhaging of viewers caught up to The Amazing Race. Coupled with likely fatigue from longtime fans and casual viewers who just didn’t find the Race all that “amazing” anymore, the show was shipped off to the almost-barren television wilderness that is Fridays. It spent four seasons here, enjoying its lowest viewership and ratings ever.

And in 2016, for the first time in almost 10 years, The Amazing Race did not have a secured slot on CBS’ primetime schedule. A 29th season had been ordered and already produced, but it would merely be a benchwarmer and schedule-spackle for CBS in the upcoming season. It eventually got called up to fill the Thursday 10pm timeslot, but that was hardly an optimal slot for what many still consider a family show.

Despite continued horrible ratings, CBS again renewed the series for what would be its milestone 30th season. But it would again have to wait on the bench until the network needed it. It would turn out that CBS needed The Amazing Race to fill the usually quiet January TV doldrums and serve as easy counterprogramming to NBC’s coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

TAR30 premiered on Wednesday, January 3 at 8pm, its cushiest timeslot in years. And surprisingly enough, it garnered big ratings. Any non-delusional Amazing Race fan not in denial of the franchise’s current state of health at the time had to have been shocked and pleasantly surprised at the, relatively speaking, excellent premiere ratings. I’m sure Les Moonves and the rest of the CBS bosses were surprised by the ratings.

It was a combination of factors. But the most important being the more hospitable Wednesday timeslot and the fact that it was a holiday week with little options on other networks. Regardless, TAR30 would continue with solid ratings, certainly better than TAR29 and on par with at least the first Friday seasons. But the ratings that once got The Amazing Race shipped off to Friday are now the norm for the majority of broadcast television. And the early numbers for season 30 were at about the same level, despite the continually eroding audience across the broadcast networks.

The decisions to cram 12 episodes into eight weeks and then move the show an hour later to accommodate Big Brother speak to the lack of confidence in the show and the idea of TAR30 merely being schedule filler.

But the good news (that might have seemed impossible this time last year) is that there’s enough raw data to justify CBS renewing The Amazing Race for at the very least another season on the bench. Its overall health is at least better than it was at this time last year. And while this doesn’t mean The Amazing Race is back to where it once was, it at least shows it can still attract a decent sized audience.

Competitive Edition?

But now let’s move on to talk about the season itself. It was being hyped as the “Most Competitive Season” evah!!!!!! And filled with the “Most Competitive Teams” evah!!!! But neither turned out to be true in the slightest.

It was actually a pretty normal season of The Amazing Race. Definitely on par with the rest of these middling HD Era seasons of the show. There wasn’t anything particularly extra competitive about the season, the tasks or the teams themselves. And really, the season would’ve been better without the overhype.

You can’t really say it’s the “most competitive” ever when there weren’t even any team rivalries and three of the final four teams are apparently BFFs for lyfe.

Using U-Turns and a certain new twist aren’t enough to proclaim the season as being “competitive” either.

And about that. Aside from being not the most competitive season ever, The Amazing Race US finally brought over the infamous “Double Battle” (HaMerotz LaMillion)/”Face Off” (First, exclusive and invented by TAR Canada lol)/”Duel Duel” (TAR Philippines).

Though not created by them, TAR Israel perfected the idea of head-to-head face offs between teams. The various competitions ranged from absurd to hilarious to legitimately challenging. The Amazing Race Philippines 2‘s Duels ranged by infuriating to some of the best challenges you’ll ever see. And The Amazing Race Canada proved you can take an okay twist and make it as horrible as possible.

TAR Canada’s penultimate Leg Face Offs and overreliance on sports may have been bad. But TARUS decided to become the “Hold my beer” meme by placing their “Head-to-Head” challenges at the end of Legs to determine who will be eliminated. And again, it wasn’t just at the end of a Leg, these things were AT the Pit Stop. Feet away from the Mat itself.

The two Head-to-Heads were actually not bad on their own. A French fry dolly race and playing petanque are perfectly fine challenges. But the placement at the end of the Leg completely ruins pretty much everything about the Race.

In most of the previous and various implementations of the “Double Battle,” the tasks were placed early in the Legs and were simple tasks. It definitely drove competition and forced teams to need to compete head to head. But never were they the sole determinant of elimination. TARUS putting its “Head-to-Head” at the end of the Leg basically negates the entire Leg before it. Arriving early at a “Head-to-Head” isn’t even an advantage and might even be a disadvantage for many teams.

I don’t mind TARUS keeping the “Head-to-Head” in future seasons, but they need to NOT be at the end of a Leg. Just like how U-Turns need to be earlier in a Leg, so do “Head-to-Heads.” These twists should not be the deciding factor in a team’s elimination. Allowing for teams to catch up after being U-Turned or losing a “Head-to-Head” is definitely much more dramatic and more competitive than the way TARUS uses both now.

Then there was the partner swap which was basically an inconsequential Intersection with zero drama. They made it obviously a TBC/KOR Leg even though it would’ve been much better and more dramatic if it was a True Non-Elimination Leg and both teams had to do a Speed Bump in the next Leg or something.

Also, the partner swap should’ve been random instead of teams getting to choose. With the Intersection, the possibility of bitter rivals needing to work together makes for great TV. The very first use of the Intersection ever, in TAR10, is a great example of that. With random partners, there is more possibility for drama and tension. Especially at the end of the Leg when one team might be waiting on their partner to arrive after everyone checks in.

At the same time, since there were zero team rivalries this season, no matter how much TAR wanted to edit one out of thin air, that kind of drama would still be impossible.

Anyway, other than these two things, the season was pretty typical. Nothing particularly special about the tasks or even the locations. Though Bahrain is definitely a country that should’ve been visited a while ago.

Leg design continues to be a big problem for TARUS. Many of this season’s Legs have been barebones with only a few tasks. And the episodes then suffer as editors try to stretch simple, uninteresting tasks to fill 45 minutes worth of episode. The placements of U-Turn boards and Head-to-Heads just added to the poor Leg design. And not to mention absolutely wasting locations on poor Legs and tasks. Armenia in TAR28 was one example. Bahrain was another in this season.

Another change this season was Phil’s obvious increase in screentime. Phil Keoghan is definitely a great host, but the show was putting him in very contrived situations that seemed to take him out of his comfort zone. I don’t know if it’s an effort to get him a Host Emmy. But it wasn’t working.

The editing this season has also been bad to atrocious. And the transitions between scenes have become increasingly cheap-looking instead of the quick and slick editing of the past.

So overall, TAR30 was a middling season right on par with a TAR27 or TAR20. But certainly nothing particularly special. The American franchise might live to see another day, but I honestly think it was more a matter of circumstance than anything TAR30 did.

My Final Subjective Team Rankings

TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30 TAR30

So, simply speaking, this cast did not live up to the “Most Competitive” hype. It was a pretty standard cast, despite some being “known” names.

I end this season with no favorite team. I don’t think I’ll even be adding any to that list down below. (ETA: I actually did add Henry & Evan and Kristi & Jen.) But I think I equally liked and enjoyed Henry & Evan, Kristi & Jen and surprisingly (for me) Lucas & Brittany. Henry & Evan became the underdogs toward the end of the Race. But they were a good team that wasn’t perfect. They kept things interesting as they would Race very well at times and just collapse at others. You don’t want Racebots, after all.

Kristi & Jen could’ve easily turned into Racebots. But thankfully, they did not. They were certainly the most consistent team on the Race. And with a few more wins, could easily compare to TAR Canada’s Natalie & Meaghan. They Raced smart, but were also able to complete and perform tasks very well. That allowed them to stay in the front or at least catch up if needed.

Lucas & Brittany started off as the typical bickering couple, but soon emerged as a strong team. They stepped it up when they needed to and would likely have made it to the finale had it not been for losing their passport. They really improved and cleaned up their Race that much.

The next couple of teams didn’t particularly excite either way, but most had a lot of potential. Alex & Conor definitely stepped it up in the final Legs as well. They became the “bickering couple” of the season, but were able to get things done when they needed to. They emerged as a darkhorse team halfway through and then stormed their way to the top to win consecutive Legs.

April & Sarah could’ve been interesting to watch all season. The passive-agressiveness could’ve played very well against the other teams. Eric & Daniel are another team that really stepped it up a couple of Legs in. They weren’t the most exciting team, but they Raced well heading toward their elimination. Who knows how far they could’ve gone had it not been for dancing.

Joey & Tim are obviously a competitive team, at least when it comes to eating. They would disappear for many Legs though and didn’t really emerge as a significant factor on the episodes until the one they were eliminated on. Trevor & Chris are another team that would disappear into the background. Their elimination episode showed that they had a lot of personality. But we didn’t see it most of the Race.

Dessie & Kayla could’ve provided some nice competitive drama had they survived that photo finish. But the editing was so poor in the premiere that we barely got to know them anyway. Cedric & Shawn were a little bit of a disappointment. You kind of expect an NBA team to be much more competitive than they were. Even considering quitting at one point. It’s too bad they didn’t Race a little better.

And finally, the polarizing Cody & Jessica. I actually didn’t have much of a problem with them. They were a typical TAR couple and Cody was nothing like the way he was being described during Big Brother. Jessica got a little negative at some points of the Race against other teams. But they were a pretty typical dating team.

ALL-TIME RANKINGS

The last major update as December 11, 2015, unless otherwise noted. Otherwise, I simply add in the current season to the list without changing any other rankings.

OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR17
3. TAR8
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR4
7. TAR10
7. TAR1
7. TAR6
7. TAR25
*GAP*
13. TAR9
13. TAR14
15. TAR18:UB
15. TAR13
17. TAR15
17. TAR19
17. TAR27
20. TAR21
20. TAR16
20. TAR20
20. TAR30
24. TAR7
25. TAR29
25. TAR22
25. TAR23
28. TAR28
29. TAR26
*GAP*
30. TAR24:AS
FINALES
(regardless of winner)
Not updated until a full rewatch of each finale
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR21
4. TAR8
5. TAR30
6. TAR5
7. TAR2
8. TAR1
9. TAR16
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR25
13. TAR29
14. TAR20
15. TAR6
16. TAR19
17. TAR17
18. TAR22
19. TAR23
20. TAR27
21. TAR11: AS
22. TAR4
23. TAR26
24. TAR18
25. TAR9
26. TAR13
27. TAR10
28. TAR28
29. TAR7
30. TAR24
GROUP of TEAMS
(Updated 2/21/18)
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR4
3. TAR8
5. TAR11
6. TAR6
6. TAR10
6. TAR17
6. TAR12
10. TAR25
11. TAR1
11. TAR2
13. TAR9
14. TAR18
15. TAR14
15. TAR13
15. TAR15
15. TAR16
19. TAR20
20. TAR27
21. TAR21
22. TAR19
23. TAR30
23. TAR22
23. TAR29
26. TAR7
27. TAR23
28. TAR26
29. TAR28
*GAP*
30. TAR24
MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3/11)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12/18)
4. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
4. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
4. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
9. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20/24)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
9. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
9. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10/11)
9. Gary & Mallory (TAR17/18/24)
9. Nancy & Emily (TAR1)
9. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
9. Dave & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
9. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
19. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21/24)
19. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
19. David & Mary (TAR10)
19. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
23. Jaime & Cara (TAR14)
23. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
23. Amy & Maya (TAR25)
23. Tim & Te Jay (TAR25)
23. Max & Katie (TAR22)
28. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
28. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
28. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
28. Denise & James Earl (TAR27)
32. Henry & Evan (TAR30)
32. Kristi & Jen (TAR30)
32. Hayley & Blair (TAR26)
ELIMINATED TOO EARLY
updated 12/11/15
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
2. Lena & Kristy (TAR6)
3. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
4. Teri & Ian (TAR11)
5. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
6. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
7. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
8. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
9. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
10. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
11. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
12. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
13. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10)
14. Nancy & Emily (TAR1)
15. Tian & Jaree (TAR4)
16. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
17. Nathan & Jennifer (TAR12)
18. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
19. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21/24)
20. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
21. Tiffany & Krista (TAR27)
22. Tim & Te Jay (TAR25)
23. Amanda & Kris (TAR13)
24. Shelly & Nici (TAR25)
25. Misa & Maiya (TAR20)
26. Dennis & Isabelle (TAR25)
27. David & Mary (TAR10)
28. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
29. Mark & Mallory (TAR24)
30. Hoskote & Naina (TAR23)
MOST DESERVING
FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)

1. Charla & Mirna (TAR11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
5. Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
6. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
6. Dustin & Kandice (TAR11)
6. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
10. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
10. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
10. Kristi & Jen (TAR30)
13. Max & Katie (TAR22)
14. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
15. Blake & Paige (TAR2)
16. Colin & Christie (TAR5)
17. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
18. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
19. Jaime & Cara (TAR14)
20. Henry & Evan (TAR30)
21. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
22. Hayley & Blair (TAR26)
23. Chris & Logan (TAR27)
24. Sheri & Cole (TAR28)
WINNERS (subjective, as a team)
1. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
1. Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
5. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
6. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
7. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
8. The Linz Family (TAR8)
9. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
10. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
11. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
12. Tyler & James (TAR10)
13. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
*GAP*
14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
14. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
14. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
14. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
14. Brooke & Scott (TAR29)
14. Jason & Amy (TAR23)
14. Bates & Anthony (TAR22)
14. Matt & Dana (TAR28)
14. Kelsey & Joey (TAR27)
*GAP*
23. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
24. Eric & Danielle (TAR11)
25. Cody & Jessica (TAR30)
26. Laura & Tyler (TAR25)
27. Josh & Brent (TAR21)
28. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
29. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
*GAP*
30. Dave & Connor(TAR24)
WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
Winning Team
> > Who I Wanted to Win1. Amy & Maya
> > Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Ernie & Cindy
> > Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
3. Dan & Jordan
> > Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
4. Uchenna & Joyce
> > Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
5. The Linz Family
> > The Linz Family (TAR8)
6. Tammy & Victor
> > Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
7. Nat & Kat
> > Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR17)
8. Rob & Brennan
> > Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
9. Chris & Alex
> > Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
10. Chip & Kim
> > Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
11. Tyler & James
> > Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
12. Jason & Amy
> > None (TAR23)
13. Flo & Zach
> > Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
14. Brooke & Scott
> > Tara & Joey, Brooke & Scott or London & Logan (TAR29)
15. Kisha & Jen
> > Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
16. Meghan & Cheyne
> > Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
17. Dana & Matt
> > Sheri & Cole (TAR28)
18. Nick & Starr
> > Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
19. Reichen & Chip
> > Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
20. Freddy & Kendra
> > Kris & Jon (TAR6)
21. Rachel & Dave
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
22. Bates & Anthony
> > Max & Katie (TAR22)
23. Kelsey & Joey
> > Chris & Logan (TAR27)
24. Dave & Connor
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
25. Tyler & Laura
> > Hayley & Blair or Jenny & Jelani (TAR26)
26. Cody & Jessica
> > Kristi & Jen or Henry & Evan (TAR30)
27. BJ & Tyler
> > Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
28. Eric & Danielle
> > Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
29. TK & Rachel
> > Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
30. Josh & Brent
> > Trey & Lexi or Jaymes & James (TAR21)

25 thoughts on “The Amazing Race 30 Season Wrap-Up

  1. Its pretty good that you updated your group of teams. I think your overall seasons and finales should be updated soon. I wanna know the explanation with your group of teams rankings.

    • For the groups of teams, it’s basically whether or not I liked the cast or if I thought it was a good cast overall. I decided to redo them yesterday just by looking at the cast list for each season and then deciding whether or not I had a positive or negative memory of the teams. The higher the season is on the list, the more I probably like or enjoy the teams of that season.

        • I recently rewatched some of TAR4 and it reminded me of the teams. They were all great and competitive. Definitely more competitive than TAR30 lol. As for TAR1 and TAR2, I haven’t watched either in a long time, so just basing it on the cast lists, I ranked them that way. Of course it could change again in the future.

  2. What about TAR 7? You seem to hate it less. In your old wrap-ups you would put a *huge gap* on your season rankings. What is your opinion about the season? How would you rank the teams from best to worst?

    • Yeah, I mean, it’s still not a season I would choose first if I wanted to rewatch a season. But I like other seasons even less and Meredith & Gretchen easily help TAR7 rise above those other seasons.

      I did recently rewatch a few episodes though, particularly the South Africa ones since fans continue to hope it is revisited soon.

      For teams I think:
      1. Meredith & Gretchen
      2. Uchenna & Joyce
      3. Brian & Greg
      4. Ron & Kelly
      4. Debbie & Bianca
      4. Megan & Heidi
      7. Ray & Deana
      7. Ryan & Chuck
      9. Susan & Patrick
      10. Lynn & Alex
      11. Rob & Amber

  3. I searched Survivor Sucks forum and saw your old posts. Apparently you have watched some old seasons of Big Brother. BB 10 in particular is my favorite season. Have you watch the season? Who are your favorite house guests?

    • Yes, I watched much of the season, but as I usually do with Big Brother, I kind of stop watching halfway through. The only season of BB I followed all the way to the end was the season Rachel won. Before that, the last season I watched all the way through was BB5 maybe.

      For BB10 though, I think it was a great cast. I like Dan, Jerry, Keesha, Renny, Libra. So many hilarious, fun moments.
      Michelle is alright too. Jessie I think is more fun during his guest appearances now than he was on the season lol But of course he was part of the fun, hilarious drama. I also remember very much liking Brian, Steven and Angie at the start of the season because they somehow turned into the underdogs. Memphis is alright. And even April and Ollie were important to the season as well for numbers. So it was a great cast, looking back.

  4. Since you don’t have an all-time favorite team for TAR 2. I’m kinda curious about your team rankings and the season overall.

    • I actually haven’t watched TAR2 in a long time. But just based on what I remember, I’ll go with…

      Chris & Alex
      Blake & Paige
      Oswald & Danny
      Mary & Peach
      Peggy & Claire
      Tara & Wil
      Cyndi & Russell
      Shola & Doyin
      Hope & Norm
      Deidre & Hillary
      Gary & Dave

      I don’t really have a favorite from the season and I don’t really dislike any of the teams, from what I remember. It was a pretty solid cast. Obviously Tara & Wil (with Chris & Alex) were the stars of the season with the whole bickering and then the romance story. Looking back, it was a pretty great season-long storyline.

      Other than that, I don’t really remember much about the season. I should watch it again soon.

  5. I saw in Reality Fan Forum your season rankings of international TAR (Australia, Asia, Canada, Philippines and China). Since you haven’t rank TARCan 4 & 5 and TARA 5. Where would you rank them? Top-Tier, Great, Good, Meh or Awful?

  6. Just recently finished watching BB5. Since you had watched this season. What do you think of the season overall? How would you rank the HouseGuests from most fave to least?

    • It was an okay season. Actually, I think BB5 is the last one I watched all the way through until BB13 (the one Rachel one).

      I don’t remember all the houseguests. But I did like Drew and was happy he won actually. Michael “Cowboy” was alright. And I liked Diane, Nakomis, the twins, Marvin and I think Will. I remember Jase was kind of annoying.

  7. Since TAR 31 just finished filming. So I will share my thoughts on the season. I actually didn’t mind this reality show stars gimmick. I am a fan of all three shows. Now to the cast, I am satisfied with the BB and Survivor teams. I know all of them and watch their respective seasons. I am more picky towards the TAR teams. Colin & Christie and Team Fun are the only good choices. This would have been my TAR teams:

    Colin & Christie (TAR 5)
    Brook & Claire (TAR 17)
    Bopper & Mark (TAR 20)
    Hayley & Blair (TAR 26)
    Becca & Floyd (TAR 29)

    • I would have loved to have seen Rachel racing with Bopper & Mark. I know they are good friends after their season. Hayley & Blair would be amazing too. And of course Brooke & Claire. But I think I might want to save Brooke & Claire for a real All-Stars season.

  8. I also update my season rankings of TAR. Here’s mine:

    1. TAR 3
    2. TAR 5
    3. TAR 8
    4. TAR 11
    5. TAR 12
    6. TAR 17
    7. TAR 4
    8. TAR 6
    9. TAR 25
    10. TAR 1
    11. TAR 2
    12. TAR 10
    13. TAR 9
    14. TAR 18
    15. TAR 14
    16. TAR 13
    17. TAR 15
    18. TAR 16
    19. TAR 20
    20. TAR 27
    21. TAR 19
    22. TAR 30
    23. TAR 21
    24. TAR 22
    25. TAR 23
    26. TAR 29
    27. TAR 7
    28. TAR 26
    29. TAR 28
    30. TAR 24

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