Seasons 14 and 15 of The Amazing Race Now Available on DVD!

After seasons 12 and 13 finally shipped out from Amazon just a couple of weeks ago, seasons 14 and 15 have been quietly released this past week!

It’s a pleasant surprise since I don’t seem to remember any news of the release or any TV commercials during the shows promoting them.

Nonetheless, they’re already available exclusively from Amazon. Check them out here: http://amzn.to/1mpYbqZ

And here are the DVD covers for both seasons:

So be sure to order your copies and enjoy such moments as Luke’s first epic meltdown with surfboards, Jamie & Cara’s horrible taxi luck and every moment with “Team Zebra” Brian & Ericka.

The Amazing Race 14 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 14 Wrap-Up
       
And our 14th season is over.

Another incredible Amazing Race has been run a new million dollar team has been crowned.

It always amazes me how The Amazing Race can thrill and excite and capture its audience season after season and never get old.

After an all-right TAR13, this season was refreshing.  A couple of great new destinations and memorable tasks. 

The Romanian Detour was probably one of the best in recent memory, having the teams visiting a gypsy camp or digging up coffins in the shadow of Dracula’s castle AND getting covered in blood in the process. 

They then followed it up with morning log stacking in the midst of inebriated locals, wandering around a freezing Siberian village looking for a run down house, naked running through the city, and a very enjoyable foot massage.

The TAR animals delivered too.  Camels are always classic and we even had elephants stepping and sitting on the teams.

It was great seeing the double leg return and the Blind U-Turn was interesting because it certainly did add to the drama.

This season also brought a “freshening up” of the series.  After 13 seasons, we got a remixed opening theme, a new opening sequence, new Race icons, new font, and the introduction of the split screen.

All were executed pretty well.  The remixed theme is great, though only slightly less awesome as the theme currently being used for the Israeli TAR.  The new icons were definitely refreshing and the split screen made for some hilarious combos.

So I’ll have to say I enjoyed TAR14 more than TAR13.  And hopefully, they can fine tune the changes to make them even better for TAR15 (15!!).

So here’s what I’m looking forward to/hoping for in TAR15…
-The new icons appearing on the Race Course
-A good set of teams
-Going to more countries/not spending more than 2 legs in one
-Have both cold and warm destinations, bonus if the Race alternates them leg-to-leg (hehe)
-More mentally challenging tasks, and throw in a few physically challenging ones like TAR10
-More comedy
-More fun Pit Stop greeters (TAR14’s nose flute guy, full on ballet, and the hungry Chinese couple were awesome)
-More fun Pit Stops too! Some out there, quirky Mat set-ups would be hilarious
-And finally, just don’t be TAR7

ALL-TIME RANKINGS
OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
2. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR12
5. TAR14
8. TAR2
8 TAR10
8. TAR6
11. TAR13
11. TAR9
11. TAR4
*huge gap*
14. TAR7

FINALES
(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR14
8. TAR6
9. TAR11: AS
10. TAR9
11. TAR13
12. TAR4
13. TAR10
14. TAR7

GROUP of TEAMS
1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR14
9. TAR13
10. TAR10
10. TAR6
10. TAR4
13. TAR9
*gap*
14. TAR7

MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
4. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
5. The Linz Family (TAR8)
6. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
7. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
8. Don & Mary Jean (TAR6)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
10. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
11. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
12. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)

NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER
1. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
2. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
3. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
4. Toni & Dallas (TAR13)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
7. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
8. The Rogers Family (TAR8)
9. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
10. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
11. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
12. Mel & Mike (TAR14)

MOST DESERVING FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
2. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
2. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
5. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
6. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
8. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
9. Ken & Tina (TAR13)
10. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
11. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)

WINNERS (as a team)
1. The Linz Family (TAR8)
2. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
3. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
4. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
5. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
6. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
6. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
6. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
6. Tyler & James (TAR10)
*gap*
10. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
11. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
12. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
13. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
14. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
      Winning Team
         Who I thought should have won
1. Uchenna & Joyce
        Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
2. The Linz Family
        The Linz Family (TAR8)
3. Tammy & Victor
     Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
4. Rob & Brennan
       Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
5. Chris & Alex
       Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
6. Chip & Kim
       Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
7. Tyler & James
       Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
8. Flo & Zach
       Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
9. Nick & Starr
       Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina
10. Reichen & Chip
       Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
11. Freddy & Kendra
       Kris & Jon (TAR6)
12. BJ & Tyler
       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
13. Eric & Danielle
       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
14. TK & Rachel
       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Team Rankings

Tammy & Victor Tammy & Victor – It is good to see a team that has done well throughout the Race go on to win.  They worked well together and they overcame a horrific leg that could’ve ended the Race for them.  They are the first Asian winners of TAR (US of course) and made it through the Race largely on their own despite their mini-alliance with Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara.  They proved to be strong and they grew closer as siblings.  They couldn’t ask for anything more from the Race.  A well-deserved win.
Amanda & Kris Amanda & Kris – I believe TAR and TAR fans have been looking for (whether they want to or not) the next generation Kris & Jon, TAR6’s out of the norm nice couple that actually Raced near perfection and were good looking to boot.  Amanda & Kris seemed poised to be that team; both strong, the dreaded “nice” personalities, and yep, both easy on the eyes.  But they were Philiminated in a perfect example of how one decision could end it all for you on the Race.  I thought they deserved to go farther than they did.
Mel & Mike Mel & Mike – After a long while, finally an awesome father and son team.  Mel defied expectations and like TAR12’s Don, made up in brains what he may have lacked physically.  Both he and Mike kept up with the group and stayed in the top half much of the Race.  A sad elimination since they did more than enough to deserve a spot in the final 3.  Great, great team.
Linda & Steve Linda & Steve – It was a strange dynamic we got from them.  After their time on Race and in Elimination Station, they are apparently just like that.  They love each other, they have little spats and they can get pretty loud with each other, but that’s just the way they are.  The unedited clips at CBS.com show how much fun they had on the Race and how much they really care about each other and it’s a shame it didn’t come out on the show, I think.  Nonetheless, they were still pretty awesome.
Cara & Jaime Cara & Jaime – Despite the feistiness of Jaime, they were able to grow as a fine team through the Race.  Though not a perfect run, they did manage to step it up week after week to get themselves into the runners-up slot.  Their alliance with Margie & Luke actually held them back a little during the Race, but in the end, it actually helped them pass the mother and son to take 2nd.  Not the strongest female team ever, but they held their own.
Lakisha & Jennifer Kisha & Jen – After a slow start, they really hit their stride when it count and it got them 4th place.  Though they could’ve done a couple of things differently, they overcame whatever sibling drama they had at the start of the Race and got things together as the final leg drew closer.  Plus, no doubt the Race made their relationship stronger as a result.
Christie & Jodi Christie & Jodi – They had the makings of a good team. They worked well together and that is always important if you want to get far in the Race.  They slowly, but surely stepped things up week after week and if the Race weren’t so close, they could’ve made it farther then they did.
Jennifer & Preston Jennifer & Preston – For every “Amanda & Kris” on TAR, there’s going to be 4 “Preston & Jennifers,” a young couple that love each other very much, but like to argue anyway.  We didn’t get much from them on the Race as the first out, but judging from their time in Elimination Station, sparks would’ve flown between them if they stayed in the Race.  And if Steve & Linda had stayed longer as well, it would’ve been something else to see their little tension ON the Race.
Brad & Victoria Brad & Victoria – I really wanted to see them be “bad ass” like they declared at the start of the Race.  It just didn’t happen.  They were physically capable of making far, but one thing or another took them out earlier than they probably could have been.
Margie & Luke Margie & Like – There is no doubt these two are a strong pair.  Phil calling Margie “the bionic woman” is deserved for many reasons.  She was a tough competitor, definitely exceeded many people’s expectations.  And she also was able to carry Luke when he wasn’t able to (or didn’t want to) Race the best he could.  Despite his breakdowns, Margie picked him up and pushed forward.  However, from some choice moments during the Race and from post-Race interviews with other teams, it appears they weren’t as innocent as they were made out to be.
Mark & Michael Mark & Michael – Nice guys, but they Raced horribly.  Some of their penalties alone were so obvious that it is crazy to think why they’d do them in the first place.  They were saved almost as many times as Dandrew’s inexplicable luck last season and while they definitely enjoyed their time on the Race, they just didn’t Race on a level that would’ve won them a million without luck.
Relive The Amazing Race 14!

Click here to go to the archive to see all my recaps from the season and from seasons past!

Also, over 7000! caps, more than 500 from each episode at
xangatheamazingracecaps @ Photobucket

And, check out hours of bonus video including full episodes and the complete season of Elimination Station at CBS.com

See you in fall!
 I’ll be sure to update throughout the summer and hopefully a whole new site in time for the 15th season premiere!
And GOOD LUCK to TAR at this year’s Emmys!

Recap: The Amazing Race 14, Episode 12 – “I have no pants on!”

Episode 14.12: This is How You Lose a Million Dollars


And so the final leg of the Race.  After two tough legs (one, long tough leg?) in Beijing, the final three set off to their final destination city, Maui, Hawaii.

Tammy & Victor leave the Pit Stop first at 9:15pm, but find out at the airport that they can’t book tickets until 6am.

That allows Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara to easily catch up and have all three teams on the same flight to back to American soil.

18 hours later, the teams arrive in Hawaii and Tammy & Victor are the first team out, Jaime & Cara are close behind and Margie & Luke bring up the rear.



Teams are racing to Beach Access 118.  There, they must prepare a 145 lb pig for a Hawaiian luau by seasoning it with island flavoring.  Then, teams will carry the pig using a bamboo pole 200 yards down the beach to the site of the luau where, using an example, they will cover it and get it ready for cooking.
All that while in their provided swimsuits.

Jaime & Cara change into their swimsuits in the taxi.

Tammy & Victor arrive first and they start spreading the flavoring with Jaime & Cara right behind.  Both teams finish and start off down the beach, trying to hold up the heavy pig using the bamboo pole.

Luke & Margie arrive, pour the flavoring on the pig and set off themselves, putting the pole on their shoulders.

Tammy and Cara are struggling, dropping the pig every couple of steps.  Margie & Luke catch up and pass Jaime & Cara.  Soon, they pass Tammy & Victor.

Victor is trying to get Tammy to push herself, while Jaime is getting frustrated with Cara.

Margie & Luke arrive at the luau and start covering the pig.  The other two teams struggle through and finally arrive at the pits.

Margie & Luke finish and get their next clue telling them to head to McGregor Point.  Taking a watercraft on a 1 mile ride, teams will head to a buoy field where they will search among 100 buoys for their next clue.
They head off.



Victor realizes they’ve made a mistake.  They’ve put the palm fronds on top of the pig under the cloth and sand, when they didn’t need to.  They dig them out, place everything back on top and get their clue.

Jaime & Cara make the same mistake and leave third.

Margie & Luke arrive at McGregor Point and speed into the water.  Margie drives and Luke is trying to tell her to hurry and go, to which Margie tells him to calm down.  (“Don’t yell at me!”)

They get to the buoys, but can’t find any clues immediately.  They fall into the water as Tammy & Victor head for the buoy field.  

As Margie & Luke find their clue and head back, they pass Tammy & Victor and Jaime & Cara on their way giving the two teams hope to catch up.

Jaime & Cara find a clue in the buoys first, but Tammy & Victor are close behind.

The next clue tells the teams to find a surfboard fence along the Hana Highway.

Margie & Luke arrive first and find the Road Block.
In this Final Road Block, teams must search through more than 300 vintage surfboards and find 11 with images of things they’ve encountered on the Race.  They will then create a fence by standing the surfboards in the correct order.

Luke does the Road Block and he gets off to a fast start.   He has trouble keeping his shorts up, so he takes them off, leaving his speedo on.

He finds an image of St. Christopher first for the Church of San Antonio in Leg 1, the ruble from Leg 4 and the Krasnoyarsk Dam, boats for the boats in Bangkok in Leg 8.

Meanwhile, the other two teams are trying to get to the surfboards.  Jaime & Cara’s taxi driver takes them somewhere with surfboards along a wall, to which their driver says that definitely looks like a surfboard fence to him.  It’s the wrong place.  They stop and the driver asks the cab company dispatcher for directions.  She doesn’t know where it is either.

Jaime gets frustrated and the dispatcher says she has no time to be Jaime & Cara’s personal concierge.  They decide to call the police and they finally know where to go, but they need gas.

On the other side of the island, Tammy & Victor are slowed down by a very slow jeep in front of them.  The jeep doesn’t seem to care, and cars are not allowed to pass on this road, so they have to wait.



Back at the Road Block, Luke is doing very well.  Victor is hoping for a mental challenge coming up and Jaime & Cara hope Margie & Luke slip up because “they are so good.”

By this time, Luke has found the tiger for the Phuket Zoo in Leg 7, the nose whistler in Jaipur for Leg 6, the Lada from Novisibirskm the Guilin Cormorant from Leg 9, and the Gymnastics from Leg 3 in Romania.

Tammy & Victor finally arrive and Victor chooses to do the Road Block.  Luke finds the gondola from Leg 2 in Ruhpolding, leaving the last two for him.

Victor takes his shorts off as well as Luke takes the wrong surfboard back for Leg 10.  

Jaime & Cara’s taxi driver quickly fills the car up with gas.  “I’m sorry that I yell Reynold, but this is very stressful for me,” Jaime says to their driver.

Luke takes a board back for Leg 11, and thinks he’s done, but the girl in a bikini says no. 
Victor, though, finds the correct board for Leg 10 with a reflexology foot chart from the enjoyable Beijing foot massage. 

Luke thinks only his last board is wrong and goes back with new boards to change it, but is still wrong.  Again, Victor finds the board Luke is missing, Leg 11’s scorpions on a stick from the eating Road Block in Beijing.  

Luke starts getting frustrated just as Jaime & Cara arrive, happy to see two taxis still there.



Jaime chooses to do the Road Block and all three teams are now there.  Jaime has no clue how to start, nothing on the boards she’s ever seen before.

Victor is moving faster and faster while Luke continues to bring the wrong boards back to his fence, still thinking he’s only got the last one wrong.  Shades of Chekov return as Luke’s frustration grows.

Victor now has two boards left to find, same with Luke.  Jaime starts gaining momentum as well, only having four missing boards as she carries one back.

Luke finally puts the feet into Leg 10, leaving his last spot the only one left.  Jaime needs Leg 1 and leg 8 only, while Victor only needs the car from Novisibirsk. 



Victor completes his fence and as the other teams look on, he is handed their next clue.  The final clue tells them to head to King Kamehameha Golf Club and find the Finish Line!

Tammy & Victor are in their taxi, trying to stay calm.

Not as calm for the other two teams.  Luke still doesn’t have his last surfboard and Margie tells him to work with Jaime.They meet in the middle and Luke immediately points to the first surfboard of St. Christopher, the only one Jaime needs.

“I don’t remember seeing Jesus on the first one!” Jaime exclaims, “Oh God, we DID see Jesus in the first one at the church!”  She completes her fence and Cara tells her to help Luke out.  No problem because she would never have gotten Jesus she says.

One by one, Jaime turns over her boards to show Luke until finally he realizes he is missing the scorpions of Beijing.

Jaime & Cara run to their taxis and are off, leaving previously leading team Margie & Luke now last at the final Road Block.

Luke is upset with himself in the taxi, crying and Margie tries to comfort him, telling him they did the best they could.  Jaime beats herself up over the Road Block as well, but Cara says she isn’t anything but proud.



Shots of the beautiful Hawaii coastline and then Tammy not being able to control her excitement on the way to the Finish Line.
We then see Phil on the big Mat and the teams getting ready to applause as Tammy & Victor run down the golf course.

They reach the  Mat and with Phil’s proclamation, “Three continents, nine countries, 40,000 miles… Tammy & Victor you are the official winners of The Amazing Race.  Congratulations, you have won the one million dollars!”

Phil brings up Victor being emotional at the Mat and he says he’s tried to enjoy the Race as much he can.  Phil asks Tammy how she feels and she first says “I have no pants on!” then explains that she’s managed to prove herself to her brother and that they can work together as equals now.

“I’ve learned that the nerdy little Asian girl who could barely hold up her backpack before can do quite a bit,” she says.



Jaime & Cara then run in and are officially Team #2.  Jaime blames herself again, but Cara says it’s a team game and them finishing the Race together is what’s important.  They feel enriched and empowered by them as two females beating out the competition they’ve faced.


Still in their taxi, Margie tells Luke how proud she is of him, how the experience is worth more than a million.  They exchange “I love you”s and kisses and then finally arrive at the Mat.
Phil officially declares them Team #3 and then asks Luke that surely he can proclaim his mother really is the Bionic Woman.  Everyone agrees and Phil asks him what makes his mother special.


He says he is lucky to have a mom who can sign and communicate with him.
Amanda tears.

Margie is ecstatic with seeing her son go through the Race just amazed at their experience.  Luke says he is proud to show that deaf people can do anything.

The teams rush the Mat and the hugs and kisses begin.  Victor concludes the show saying he’s always gone through life doing what was expected of him, but now he feels you don’t always have to go by rules and that you can have a lot of fun doing the crazy, unexpected, and unconventional and it can make life interesting.  




OVERALL
This was probably one of the most exciting and thrilling finales TAR has ever had.  Non-stop action throughout, it was “go, go go!” from the moment they touched down in Hawaii.

Loved the lechon/pig preparations and the random strength challenge with carrying it down the beach.  And with this being the first time we’re ending in Hawaii, it is great seeing the beautiful, local culture being in the spotlight instead of being just a stopover on the way to the mainland.



It was great having the final Road Block back (as opposed to last season’s team effort), but it was nowhere near as hard as the TAR12 Road Block that did in Ron & Christina.

It was stunning seeing Margie & Luke lose their huge lead, not only getting beat by one team, but falling to last place.

And then seeing Jaime fly through the Road Block with the possibility of them maybe sliding out a win had their taxi driver knew where he was going.

Still, it was a great win for Tammy & Victor, who with Margie & Luke, were a dominant team this Race.  Very deserving and probably one of my favorite winners of the 14 seasons.

My full-on reflection and wrap-up of TAR14 tomorrow.

Leg Eleven Itinerary

DEPARTURE/MAT
Niao Chao – Beijing National Stadium
Beijing, China

FINAL DESTINATION CITY
Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A.

ROUTE MARKERS
Maui, Hawaii
Beach Access 118
McGregor Point

ROAD BLOCK
Maui Surfboard Fence at Hana Highway
Maui, Hawaii

FINISH LINE
King Kamehameha Golf Club
Maui, Hawaii

Departure Times
Beijing, China
Tammy & Victor 9:15pm
Margie & Luke 11:24pm
Jaime & Cara 2:04am

Who Did the Detour?

THERE WAS NO DETOUR ON THIS LEG OF THE RACE
*


Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

5 Tammy Victor 6
6 Cara Jaime 5
6 Luke Margie 5
6 Kisha Jen 4
5 Mark Michael 3
3 Mel Mike 3
3 Christie Jodi 3
1 Amanda Kris 3
0 Brad Victoria 3
1 Linda Steve 1
1 Preston Jennifer 0

Final Order of Finish
Tammy & Victor WINNERS
Jaime & Cara 2nd
Margie & Luke 3rd

Kisha & Jen 4th
Mark & Michael 5th
Mel & Mike 6th
Christie & Jodi 7th
Amanda & Kris 8th
Brad & Victoria 9th
Steve & Linda 10th
Preston & Jennifer 11th

My Team Rankings for Leg 11

Tammy & Victor Tammy & Victor – A deserved win for them.  Other than that horrible leg in the mountains of Transylvania, they really were one of the top teams.  They worked well together, they were strong competitors and they pushed forward when they needed to.  Great win.
Cara & Jaime Cara & Jaime – As much as Jaime was a feisty individual, both of them really showed their competitive spirit and determination.  No question they wanted to win and they pushed themselves and each other (in varying degrees of intensity).  2nd place is not bad for them. 
Margie & Luke Margie & Luke – One of the dominant teams, if not the strongest on this season.  Luke being deaf wasn’t a factor and Margie especially is one of toughest women to ever run the Race.  Still, Luke couldn’t the handle the pressure and I guess the Road Block in Russia was foreshadowing to him breaking down in the final Road Block. Still, moving past their out of leg sneakiness, no doubt they were strong.
Quotes from Episode 14.12
Tammy: “I have no pants on!”


Episode Caps



900+! caps from the finale now up at xangatheamazingracecaps

Kisha & Jen Have No Regrets About The Race

Kisha & Jen Have No Regrets About The Race

Kisha explains to People.com how she is just a naturally giggly person and was not laughing at Luke at the Mat.

Jen relates to Reality Wanted about her biggest challenge on the Race.

The LA Times finds out what the Race meant to them as sisters.

Listen to Jen & Kisha’s interview with Buddy TV about their rollercoaster ride through the Race.


And read Phil’s latest blog about the Race and his assessment of the final 3 at EW.com.

Recap: The Amazing Race 14, Episode 11 – “Oh my God, I feel like a drag queen.”

Episode 14.11: He Made Me Look Like Alice Cooper

The leg continues with Phil giving Jaime and Cara their next clue.  They have to make their way TO BIKES for their next clue.  They are frustrated the first time they arrive first, it isn’t a Pit Stop.

Margie & Luke arrive next and head back out on the road.  Margie says she doesn’t want to hear Luke yell out “Mom” all the time.

Jaime & Cara arrive at the clue and find out they must now search shops on the streets of the Beihai Street Mall and find one of four Travelocity roaming gnomes, which they need to keep with them until the Pit Stop.

Tammy & Victor get to Phil and head back to tell their taxi driver they were tricked by Phil.

On the way to the Mat, Jen is upset over the Detour, but Kisha tells her not to cry.  They get to the Phil, who tells them the leg isn’t over and they are shocked.  He tells them not to give up.  They get back to their taxi and Kisha tries to  pronounce the place they have to go to which makes their driver chuckle.  “I tried” Kisha explains.

Tammy & Victor arrive at the shops and now three teams are looking for the Gnome.  Margie & Luke find it first and the clue tells them to head to Gu Gong Xi Bei Jiao where they will find electric bicycles across from the moat.  They will ride those bikes past the Forbidden City and through Tiananmen Square to the Dongdan subway station where they will find their next clue.

Jaime & Cara are close behind Margie & Luke but can’t find a taxi that knows where to go.  Tammy & Victor find their gnome and they manage to find a taxi quickly heading out first.

Margie & Luke get one and Jaime & Cara seem to find one, but they aren’t sure.  After they scare him with the gnome’s pointy hat, he seems very annoyed while Jaime gets annoyed when no one ever gives them a simple acknowledgement yes or no with a shake of the head.

Tammy & Victor get to the bikes and head off through traffic.
Margie & Luke arrive and Jen & Kisha are close behind.  Jaime & Cara have trouble with getting to the right place (a sign of things to come) and get back into a taxi until they finally find the clue box.

Tammy & Victor ride past Tiananmen Square as the flag ceremony is taking place.  They get to the clue, the Detour.


In this Detour, teams have to choose between Beijing Opera or Chinese Waiter.
In Beijing Opera<, teams make their way to the Hu Guang Hui Guan Opera House where they have to make each other up as a princess and gentleman at the Chinese opera.  When they are full made up and in costume, they will present themselves to the opera master for their next clue.
In Chinese Waiter, teams make their way to the Hu Guang Hui Guan restaurant where they will choose a table of hungry patrons who will give their orders in Mandarin.  They must then recite to the chef those orders in Mandarin and after they say them correctly, they’ll serve the prepared dishes to the patrons and given their next clue.

Tammy & Victor decide to do Chinese Waiter since they can understand Mandarin.  Kisha & Jen pass Margie & Luke and get to the clue.  They choose the opera and Kisha tells Jen she wants to be the princess, this could be her only chance to do so.

Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara arrive next and both choose the opera as well, but Jaime & Cara can’t find a free taxi.

Tammy & Victor get to the restaurant and listen to the orders: Good Luck Fish, Vegetarian Noodles, Fried Chicken, New Taste Beef, Golden Pork Spare Ribs.
With there being so many nuances in Mandarin, Victor explains, the slightest difference can give a whole new meaning.  They mishear “fish” as “squid” and have to go back to get the orders again.

Kisha & Jen get to the opera and begin the make-up.  Margie & Luke arrive and seeing their rivals pushes them to try and beat them.  Unfortunately for them, it makes Luke go crazy on his mother’s face, prompting Margie to look in horror in the mirror which gets Luke frustrated as he tries to finish.

The sisters finish and go get dressed.

Jaime & Cara finally get a taxi and they attempt operatic singing to explain to their driver where to go.

Tammy & Victor go back to the chef, get their pronunciation right this time and the staff prepares the orders.  The siblings then bring the orders to the table and a woman hands them their next clue telling them to make their way on foot to find the U-Turn, which will not be Blind this time.

Tammy & Victor run down their options: Margie & Luke are the strongest team, Jaime & Cara have the most competitive spirit and Kisha & Jen are the most athletic.  The siblings decide to U-Turn Jen & Kisha with Tammy writing on their picture “Sorry. I can’t outrun you!!”

They then get their next clue telling them to make their way to Dong Hua Men Yi Shi Market for the next one, which is a Road Block. 


In this Road Block, teams have to enjoy some local Chinese delicacies: fried grasshoppers, larvae, scorpion and starfish.  After eating a plate of the fried street foods, they’ll get their next clue.

Victor decides to do the Road Block and is about to take a bite but they say it isn’t cooked yet, much to his relief.  Once they’re done and ready, he starts eating.

Across town, Kisha & Jen are still trying to find the U-Turn, but they have no luck.  Margie & Luke are in the same boat.  Meanwhile, Jaime & Cara still have trouble finding a taxi.

Victor finishes eating and they get their next clue telling them to head to Niao Chao, better known as the Bird’s Nest Stadium and find Phil and Mat.

Tammy & Victor head to the Pit Stop, knowing easily what Niao Chao meant, and check in first.  Phil tells them, not only have they won a trip to the Galapagos, they are the first of the final three teams to Race for the million.

Bringing up the rear, Jaime & Cara finish the Detour and knowing they are behind, hope Tammy & Victor U-Turned Margie & Luke or Kisha & Jen.

The three teams meet up and none of them know where they are going.  Neither do the people they ask.

Margie & Luke are told to go back to the opera house and they finally find the U-Turn, ecstatic Kisha & Jen are U-Turned.

They head to the Road Block and Margie does it.

Their arch-enemies find the U-Turn and though annoyed, they go to the restaurant and begin.  They write down the dishes how they thought they sounded and they repeat them to the chef though apparently what they say mean something completely different:
Fried Chicken = Monthly Use Taiwanese Chicken
Vegetarian Noodles = Good Western Heads Lack Fish
New Taste Beef = Oil Comes Again to Please the Mouth
Good Luck Fish = Good Doll Basket Drum
Golden Pork Spare Ribs = Light Competition Red Dishes I’ve Played Before

On their third try, they get them all right and the staff goes to prepare the dishes.
Meanwhile, Jaime & Cara still haven’t found the U-Turn.  They tell a man they are asking for directions that they’ve been looking for three hours.  He seems to know where it is, but he says he is busy.

Jen & Kisha complete their 2nd Detour and head off to the stall.  Jaime & Cara still haven’t found the U-Turn and eventually decide to go back to where they came from, the opera, and start there.

The sisters arrive at the food and Jen decides to do the Road Block.  When the girls finally find the U-Turn, their frustration causes them to get snippy with each other.

Margie & Luke get to the Pit Stop and finish 2nd.  The 2nd of three teams to race for the million.

Jaime & Cara finally arrive at the food as Jen is slowly eating her plate while downing them with lots of water.

Two teams, only one spot left.
Jaime & Cara have hope if they hurry, they can make it.

Jen finally finishes, but she’s gotta pee.  They head off leaving the cheerleaders at the food.

Cara finishes as well and they hustle to the Pit Stop, but not forgetting their gnome which they run back for.  Their taxi driver is stepping on it and the girls are excited, wondering where he’s been the entire Race.

Jen & Kisha arrive at the Olympic plaza, but don’t know exactly where to go yet.  They see some port-a-potties and Jen goes in to pee.  Kisha didn’t want her to pee herself.

The two teams run for the Mat and Jaime & Cara end up finishing 3rd.  The final 3 is complete and Phil tells them they have the chance to be the first all-female team to win the Race.

Jen & Kisha step on the Mat and Phil tells them they are last and eliminated.  Phil tells them it came down to seconds.  Jen says she feels guilty for needing to pee, but Kisha tells her she has nothing to feel guilty about and they wouldn’t have made it as far as they did if it wasn’t for her.

Overall
It was an interesting leg.  It must have been very fun riding around on a bike passing some of Beijing’s monuments and historical centers.  It must have also been fun putting on the make-up and dressing up.  It is always great to interact with the local culture, so teams having to learn some Mandarin (in what little way they did) would be fun as well.

I don’t know if eating starfish would be fun, but it was fun watching the teams do it.

We didn’t really see the double leg affect the teams as much in terms of fatigue or what not.  Maybe the snippy attitudes the girls had or Margie & Luke had might be attributed to no rest, but I didn’t think they were any more snippy than usual.

It would’ve been more awesome if TAR had managed to use more of the Olympic venues, but it was still nice to see a lot of China these last three weeks.

The final three teams are set and they are coming home next week.  It really could be anyone’s million now.

Leg Ten Itinerary
(Continued)

DEPARTURE/MAT
Drum Tower – North Gate
Beijing, China

ROUTE MARKERS
Beijing, China
Gu Gong Xi Bei Jiao
Dong Dan Di Tie Zhan (Dong Dan subway station)
Tiananmen Square

DETOUR
Hu Guang Hui Guan restaurant
Hu Guang Hui Guan Opera House
Beijing, China

ROAD BLOCK
Dong Hua Men Yi Shi Market
Beijing, China

PIT STOP
Niao Chao – Beijing National Stadium
Beijing, China

Departure Arrival/Order from Leg Midpoint
Beijing, China
Jaime & Cara
Margie & Luke
Tammy & Victor
Kisha & Jen

Who Did the Detour?

BEIJING OPERA
*


CHINESE WAITER

*

*Being U-Turned, Kisha & Jen completed both Detours

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who’s got a taste for adventure?
6 Cara Jaime 4
6 Kisha Jen 4
5 Tammy Victor 5
5 Luke Margie 5
5 Mark Michael 3
3 Mel Mike 3
3 Christie Jodi 3
1 Amanda Kris 3
0 Brad Victoria 3
1 Linda Steve 1
1 Preston Jennifer 0

Order of Finish
Tammy & Victor 1st
Margie & Luke 2nd
Jaime & Cara 3rd
Kisha & Jen Philiminated

My Team Rankings for Leg 10, Part II

Tammy & Victor Tammy & Victor – They have managed to push themselves all the way to the end.  Their one leg slip-up is a thing of the past and the two of them have worked well with each other since, which is definitely something you will need to have in the final leg: teamwork.  Thought not necessary to win the Race as we’ve seen in the past, it definitely increases your chances right?
Lakisha & Jennifer Kisha & Jen – They fought hard.  They were one of the few teams that did step it up week after week.  They started the Race off sluggish, but hit their stride as more teams headed to Elimination Station.  It’s tough to see them be able to overcome a U-Turn and come within seconds (minutes?) of a top 3 finish, but they fought hard and made it far longer than many people expected. 
Cara & Jaime Cara & Jaime – Are they going to be the first female team to win an American TAR?  They have a pretty good shot.  It is interesting if they do win because they didn’t run a particularly pretty Race, but they made it this far and it really is anyone’s Race now.  Though like this week, they have their snippy moments with each other and other people (mostly foreign language locals), they work well together and are determined, and that also goes a long way. 
Margie & Luke Margie & Luke – No doubt about it, they really have been one of this season’s strongest teams.  Even with all their underhanded tricks and fainting and pity they try to illicit, you can’t take away the fact that they have Raced pretty well regardless.  It will be a big accomplishment for them to win the Race, but unfortunately for me, I’ll always be reminded of those sneaky behaviors.
Quotes from Episode 14.11
Victor: “I can’t believe I’m carrying a purse and a doll.”

Kisha: “I look a damn clown.”
Jen: “You’re going to scare a lot of children.”

Margie: “Oh my God, I feel like a drag queen.”
Luke: “I’m sorry mom, I’m not a girl!”

Kisha: “I looked a hot mess after a while.”
Jen: “One ugly woman.”

Jen: “We black, not Chinese.”

Episode Caps

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Phil Takes a Spill on the Road, while TAR Continues to Rule Sundays

Phil Takes a Spill on the Road, while TAR Continues to Rule Sundays

Phil took a “bad spill” on his way to Columbus, Ohio on a rainy Tuesday during his ride across America.  Updating fans on his Facebook page, Phil posted this photo of himself:

He’s fine and back on the road.  And his bike is okay as well.  A bike technician was on hand to save the day.
Follow Phil’s ride on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Read Phil’s latest blog on EW.com about this week’s leg and how he feels about faking out the teams at the faux-Pit Stop!

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The Amazing Race continues to do very well in the ratings!  This week’s episode garnered 10.27 million viewers and a 3.2/9 in the 18-49 demo, more than enough to win the hour!  Definitely very good news seeing TAR more in the winner’s circle instead of playing 2nd fiddle AND without a football lead-in!

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In other news, the BBC has ordered Drop Zone a new series which will drop contestants in an unknown location and have them complete challenges inspired by the locations they’re in.  Similar in a way to NBC’s Lost (the reality series, not the all over the anywhere drama series), teams will have to find their way to a helicopter that will take them away from the location, and leaving the last team behind.  The series will start in Scotland and finish in Vietnam.  In launching, this was said about the series: “Drop Zone has scale and ambition and combines the entertainment values of The Amazing Race with public service information about the places contestants will be visiting.”

Recap: The Amazing Race 14, Episode 10 – “We will bring shame to the Chinese people.”

Episode 14.10: Having a Baby’s Gotta Be Easier Than This
Have the teams forgotten last week’s Pit Stop drama? 
We’ll find out as teams head out on the 10th leg of The Amazing Race

Jen & Kisha set off first and find out that they have to now fly to Beijing, China.
They say they are over the fight and it is no use to harp on things in the past.

A minute later, Tammy & Victor leave the Pit Stop and say they were in Beijing for the Olympics, so they are happy with going there and should be comfortable.
Margie & Luke leave a minute later with Luke saying it’s over, he’s not talking to Jen & Kisha and that they’ll go to end with him kicking their ass.
Jaime & Cara are frustrated never getting first place.



Tammy & Victor get tickets at the travel agent.
Jen & Kisha get into traffic, but Luke & Margie get to the airport first.
They see the sisters walk into the airport and get in line behind them.

Then the agent tells Margie & Luke they can not take international credit cards and direct them to another counter.  The sisters run ahead and get their tickets, prompting Margie to say they didn’t stick to the line order.  Jen & Kisha just smile and laugh.  Luke says if they go final 3, “Game on.”

Jen & Kisha head to the counter to get their boarding passes and Tammy & Victor arrive, going straight to the VIP line and they ask in Chinese to be seated in front of the sisters.
Tammy & Victor end up sitting in row 5 with the sisters sitting in row 8.

While Jen & Kisha are off somewhere else, not caring if the others talk about them, the other three teams are at the gate.  Margie & Luke are telling Jaime & Cara about the drama from last leg and she begins describing Kisha’s laughing at Luke.  Tammy & Victor try to explain though that she apologized and that she didn’t mean it.  Didn’t seem to help any.

Jen & Kisha meet up with the teams and they begin talking about the weather, the two feuding teams, especially mother and son, looking especially uncomfortable.  The plane starts boarding and they get up from their seats and as they go board Jen says “I don’t make small talk, it’s fake.”


8:05pm and the teams arrive in Beijing.  Tammy & Victor’s front seats help them get off first and they grab a taxi and go.

The other three teams scramble to find taxis.  The sisters ask someone, who points them out and as they turn around to run, Luke is there and bumps into the girls.  “Hell no” exclaims Kisha.  They expected it, but all they can do now is get to the clue.

Jaime & Cara bring up the rear as they were in the last row of the plane, but their taxi driver weaves his way past the sisters and Luke & Margie.They arrive first at the foot massage parlor and find the Road Block, Who’s feeling manipulative?


In this Road Block, teams have to take part in a traditional Chinese foot massage.  Teams will drink a cup of medicinal tea before beginning the massage which could border on painful.  After the 10 minute massage, teams will drink another cup of tea to receive their next clue.  If at any time the pain is too much, teams can scream uncle, but will have to start the massage over again.

Cara goes in to do it, but Jaime says she hates massages.  Jen & Kisha arrive next with Kisha deciding to do it.

They don’t like the tea, but that’s the least of their problems.
The massage begins and they are shocked by how painful it is.  Cara starts crying, Kisha gets scared out of her mind until her own painful feet start setting in.



Their partners are outside are laughing and equally surprised by how painful it must seem.  Jaime tells Cara she better not quit or she’ll hurt her herself.

Tammy & Victor arrive next and Tammy decides to do the Road Block, starting out very calm.  She soon says she’d rather massage other people’s feet (which she hates) instead of go through this.

Jaime writhes in pain while Kisha bites on her vest.  It does not look  pretty.
Luke & Margie arrive.  Margie says she will do it, but Luke insists he will.



Cara gets through it and they leave first.  Their clue tells them to make their way to Guangcai Natatorium – Beijing Muxuyuan Sports Technology School.

No one is able to find a taxi that knows where to go.  Tammy & Victor finish and they run outside to join the other two.  The siblings ask the girls if they want to work together to find the Natatorium.

Jen & Kisha finally find a taxi and they leave first.  Right behind them, Tammy asks a cab driver in Chinese if he knows where to go.  He does and she starts to get into the car, but Jaime says “Oh hell no Tammy, I’m going to get in this taxi before you.  Not gonna happen sister.”  So the girls take that cab and Tammy & Victor run to find another one.They don’t want to dwell on it and Tammy says “I don’t want to get in a fight with Jaime though.  She scares me.”

Luke & Margie finish and they head out to look for a taxi.  Jen is already dreading going to a natatorium assuming they’ll have to swim.  And neck and neck, Tammy and Victor hope Jaime & Cara’s driver takes them to the wrong gate since they went straight ahead when the siblings turned.


Tammy & Victor go to the right door and enter to find their next clue, the Detour, Sync or Swim.
In Sync, teams have to perfect the sport of synchronized diving.  A pair of judges will determine whether or not the two team members hit the water at the same time and teams will get their next clue after they get a score of 5.
In Swim, teams will swim a 400m relay in Lazr suits and race against Michael Phelps’ gold-winning time, though they don’t have to beat it.  Each team member must alternate after 4 lengths of the pool, and each must swim 200m.

Tammy & Victor get changed into their Speedos (“This is like skimpyland!!” Victor exclaims) and give it a shot, but Tammy hesitates and arrives in the water later than Victor.

Jen & Kisha, who admit they aren’t good swimmers at all, decide to dive as well, but decide to watch Tammy & Victor first, and after two more tries, still can’t stay in sync.

Kisha & Jen choose Sync.  But when they get up onto the platform, they decide to switch.  Jen can’t do it.

Jaime & Cara arrive and begin their swim.  So TAR uses the magic line to track Phelps’ time and pace compared to the Racers.  It’s pretty obvious they’ll be nowhere near it before the first length of the pool.



Margie & Luke arrive and they do Swim as well.  They seem to have an easy time.  Jaime & Cara are doing pretty well also though they take a little long breather at the other end of the pool.
Kisha dives into the pool but slows down and begins pulling himself along with Jen worrying about doing the Detour.

Jaime & Cara finish the Detour and get the clue to go to the Pit Stop, Drum Tower, once where drums were beaten to announce the time of day in Ancient China.


After Kisha takes a long time finishing her two lengths, they decide to go back to the diving.   Meanwhile, Margie & Luke finish 2nd and head off close behind the girls.

After their “20,000th dive,” Tammy & Victor decide to switch.  Jen & Kisha try one more dive, but can’t get it either.  Both teams go back to the swimming.

Before starting again, Jen breaks down.  She says she wants to go home, her sister tries to encourage her.  Meanwhile, Tammy & Victor finish in 10 minutes, wondering why they didn’t do the swimming in the first place.



Jen finally gets up and Kisha puts her arm around her as they go to get their Lazrs on.

On the road, Jaime & Cara hope this will be the leg they finally get first.  They hope their driver knows where they’re going.  Margie & Luke are happy they just got a swimming challenge, and say “Bye” to Jen & Kisha.

Kisha gets emotional as well and says she is proud of her sister as she finishes.  Outside, Tammy & Victor are running towards a taxi and suddenly, Victor’s leg begins to cramp.  One of those big ones.

He sits in the taxi with the door open, Tammy asks if he can put it inside the car, but he’s trying to stretch it out.  It passes and they’re on their way as Jen & Kisha finally finish.

So it’s about 8:53pm and none of the teams have arrived yet at the Pit Stop.  Jaime & Cara who left the pool 20 TV minutes ago are still driving around in a taxi, though it doesn’t seem that they are lost.  Hmm… very suspicious!

The girls arrive at the North Gate of Drum Tower and run in to see Phil at the Mat by himself. Jaime almost can not contain herself.  Phil tells them they are the first team to arrive and they are ready to jump up and celebrate… but… Phil pulls out another clue and tells them the leg is not over.  Then…

Boom…



Overall
I was definitely expecting a non-elimination this week, but I definitely did not expect a double-leg.  Things got very suspicious already with how Phil talked about the Pit Stop.  But it was very obvious when the girls hadn’t reached the Pit Stop yet and it was almost the end of the episode already.  

I have to say I missed those TBC/To Be Continueds and super-legs.  The last one I believe was TAR10 when the teams just received a clue without any hint of a Pit Stop.

I am glad to have them back and hopefully they can throw one in for TAR15 too.

This leg was pretty tough and while they spent most of it indoors, I always like when the teams are running around in the middle of the night.  I’d love to see them do more stuff in the dark, if only to see what kind of drama can arise from the late hour.

The massage looked absolutely painful, but could be fun and probably very relaxing after you recover.  Probably gets your feet to the best its felt when the initial pain goes away, no?

The swimming and diving were interesting.  I think they overdid the Phelps references, but I can see why TAR wanted to play up the last Olympics which were huge.  Tough challenges though, I guess it was which one you could push yourself through.

One episode left until the finale. It really is anyone’s Race at this point!

Leg Ten Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Sun and Moon Pagodas
Banyan Lake
Guilin, China

DESTINATION CITY
Beijing, China

ROAD BLOCK
Liangzi Foot Massage Palace
Beijing, China

DETOUR
Guang Cai Ti Yu Guan Bei Men You Yong Guan
Guangcai Natatorium – Beijing Muxuyuan Sports Technology School
Beijing, China

PIT STOP
Drum Tower – North Gate
Beijing, China

Departure Times
Guilin, China
Kisha & Jen 1:48pm
Tammy & Victor 1:49m
Margie & Luke 1:50pm
Jaime & Cara 2:12pm

Who Did the Detour?

SYNC
*Tammy & Victor and Kisha & Jen attempted the Sync Detour, but switched to Swim

SWIM


*
*

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who’s feeling manipulative?
5 Cara Jaime 4
6 Kisha Jen 3
5 Tammy Victor 4
5 Luke Margie 4
5 Mark Michael 3
3 Mel Mike 3
3 Christie Jodi 3
1 Amanda Kris 3
0 Brad Victoria 3
1 Linda Steve 1
1 Preston Jennifer 0

Order of Finish
Jaime & Cara arrive first at the Mat, but Phil hands them their next clue and tells them to continue racing.

My Team Rankings for Leg 10

Tammy & Victor Tammy & Victor – It seems as though their advantages of being in China isn’t helping them much, if only to keep them from falling behind even more than they have despite getting out in front at times.  Not a good leg for them and they are breaking their momentum heading into the final leg of the Race (if they make it!).
Cara & Jaime Cara & Jaime – Their frustrations with other cultures and languages look to continue next week.  They were denied their first leg win, which will no doubt add to their frustration.   
Lakisha & Jennifer Kisha & Jen – A big hurdle for them this week and they were spared momentarily with the superleg, but they’ll have to step it up next week if they want to make the final push into the final leg.  I guess they’ll hope for no more swimming tasks in the final leg. 
Margie & Luke Margie & Luke – Despite their continued tension with Jen & Kisha, they continued to Race well and stay focused, which puts them in 2nd when we last saw them.  It really is anyone’s Race now.
Quotes from Episode 14.10
Victor: “This is like skimpyland!!!”

Jen: “It’s patented in China… that ‘dumb look’.”
Kisha: “They should be able to say ‘Me no speak English’.”

Tammy: “Oh my gosh, if we don’t survive the Beijing leg, we will bring shame to our family.” 
Victor: “We will bring shame to the Chinese people.”


Episode Caps



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