Team Philippines on a roll in THE AMAZING RACE ASIA
CHANNEL SURFING - Althea Lauren Ricardo () - January 17, 2008 - 12:00am

It seems like we’re making up for the lackluster first season performance: Team Philippines is still on a roll in Season 2 of The Amazing Race Asia. Not only have Mark & Rovilson managed to arrive at the pit stop for the sixth time in a row, Henry & Terri have managed to elude elimination for the second time in a row! While it’s really skill that’s been putting the extra-cool best buds at the head of the pack, Lady Luck is still smiling on the harried couple, explosive outbursts, tantrums and all.

Last week’s episode offered a big surprise to all the racers: the first clue for the leg of the race tells them to leave Seoul, Korea and fly to Frankfurt, Germany. Most of them hadn’t thought beyond Asia (and Australia). Rovilson, a magazine editor, deadpanned, “I never knew Germany was part of Asia.”

Mark & Rovilson enjoyed a big lead, but this was leveled off at the airport, where they found out that all flights to Frankfurt were full. They asked to be put on standby. It didn’t take the rest of the teams long to arrive, except for Henry & Terri, who, having arrived last in the previous (and “predetermined non-elimination”) leg, had to surrender all their cash and didn’t have enough money to take a taxi. The couple had to ride a bus, using donations from the other teams, and ended up on a connecting flight while the rest of the teams made it on direct flights. Henry & Terri pretty much lagged behind from then on.

Some notes on the couple. In the premiere episode, Henry, a retired US Navy officer, lovingly said of Terri, “She’s crazy!” He seems to be really in love with his Filipina wife of 13 years. You have to be, I guess, to put up with all the screaming and nagging Terri deals him on a daily basis, at least where the race is concerned. Sure, he doesn’t listen, and sure, he can be patronizing, but Terri is another thing altogether. You can see her insecurity from miles away.

In Korea, where they had obviously lagged behind, Terri practically gave up by walking out of the car before they could drive to the pit stop. She had another one of her screaming tantrums, and Henry had to beg for her to come back. I don’t know how long it took him to convince her, but if you’re in any race, any time wasted is, well, wasted time.

They arrived last, but were told it was a predetermined non-elimination leg. In the interview that followed, Henry was reduced to tears. “The stuff that you do is real,” he said, crying, “This game is just for fun.” You’d think they’d get divorced right there and then. Terri, however, revealed her a vulnerable, if not troubled, side. “You have to tell me about the stuff that I do. You don’t want to listen,” she said, “It makes me feel like a failure. Even though I have him, it makes me feel like a failure in my life.”

Girl, only you make you feel that way!

The Henry and Terri dynamics, however, makes the race more fascinating. I hate to say this, but I’d hate to see them eliminated.

The Contender Asia

So the succeeding seasons of The Contender weren’t as successful as the first one. What’s a producer to do? Expand the franchise! Mark Burnett, who’s behind a lot of other successful reality TV shows (Survivor, Rock Star, The Apprentice), pits some of the best Muay Thai boxers in the world against each other and offers a $250,000 prize to the winner in The Contender Asia, which premiered last night. At first glance though, the contenders, save for a one, don’t look very Asian to me.

American Idol

Season 7 also began last night in a two-part season premiere. The second part will be shown tonight. Good news for local fans. As Philippine (and soon to be Pinoy) Idol has moved to QTV, American Idol is now also aired on QTV 11. It used to be that I caught this reality contest on cable channel Star World, because the ABC 5 reception just wasn’t as good.

Last season’s final two, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, didn’t enjoy the same level of success as the previous finalists. Additionally, Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks have recently lost their record contracts. Still, that doesn’t diminish the sparkle (and Grammy nods) of some American Idol winners and also-rans, like Kelly Clarkson, Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, et. al.

Judge Simon Cowell has been quoted as saying that the show’s lifespan is more or less ten years. As far as I’m concerned, they’re still keeping it a little bit interesting, but we’ll just have to see.

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