Not a race for nothing

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Since The Amazing Race premiered in 2001, the reality game show has become a widely popular reality series around the globe. It’s not a race for nothing. The series lives up to its name every season, with an “amazing” itinerary that takes participants to exciting destinations all over the world.

In going to the wonderful places, 11 teams embark on a grueling race that entails contestants to perform physical and mental challenges, uncover clues, explore new destinations, interact with people from all races, travel through land, sea and air to reach their destination.

Recently, The Amazing Race launched its 22nd season. Kicking off at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, the show saw 11 teams that started their race around the world at the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora.

Participating teams are professional hockey brothers Bates and Anthony Battaglia, father-and-son cancer survivors Dave and Connor O’Leary, friends/YouTube hosts Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena, newlyweds Max and Katie Bichler, surfer sweethearts John Erck and Jessica Hoel, roller derby moms Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere, bestfriends Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung, southern blondes/country singers Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle, twin doctors Idries and Jamil Abdur-Rahman, Alabama couple Chuck and Wynona McCall and firefighters Matthew Davis and Daniel Moss.

In the first task in Bora Bora, one member from every team was required to skydive from a helicopter, while the other team member took a water taxi to the landing site.

In the first Road Block, teams were asked to find the next clue by digging through 400 sandcastles at Eden Beach. If the clue was not in the sandcastle, they had to rebuild it until they find the clue to their next destination. Then teams had to assemble a Polynesian outrigger canoe and paddle their way to the Pit Stop.

The first team who reached the finish line in the first leg, John and Jessica, won an Express Pass with another Express Pass to be given to a team of their choice before the fourth leg is over. The Express Pass allows a team to skip any task they opt not to do.

Last season, the prize money of $1M was doubled to $2M. However, the strong team who was supposed to win it, Ryan and Abbie, was eliminated on the ninth leg in Amsterdam, after they were slowed down by a double Detour.

The $2M prize money was not given this season. Matthew and Daniel, firefighters and best friends from South Carolina, were the first team to be eliminated.

On the second leg, the Detour was either to Pick a Pearl or Take a Trunk, both to be completed while submerged underwater, then a waiter would hand them their next clue. In Road Block, one team member had to walk on a pair of stilts on the seashore while kicking a coconut across a 32-meter stretch.

Brothers Bates and Anthony came in first and won a trip for two to London while twins Idries and Jamil were eliminated.

The third leg took the teams to Christchurch, New Zealand. Dave (who had to endure an injury, torn tendon, at the start of the race) and Connor got their Express Pass from John and Jessica.

Upon arriving at Christchurch, the teams had to spend overnight to wait for their first task. Before anything, they must pull out a number to reserve a boat the following day.

In the morning, all teams got to ride on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) to perform their first task. Dave and Connor were supposedly the first on the line, but chose to use the Express Pass to skip the Detour, which was to drive a car through a racetrack in 83 seconds (Rev It Up) or catch a fish that was supposed to be 12 inches long (Reel It In). Both team members had to do any of the tasks.

The teams then proceeded to Mount Hutt station for a Shemozzle race, which was a wild obstacle course. Dressed like a Kiwi shepherd, one team member was required to run through an obstacle course and be covered by molasses, chicken feathers, a stack of hay and slide down thick slime while collecting a total of 12 eggs.

There was no Pit Stop in this leg since the race continues for its fourth leg. Dave and Connor, who were the first to arrive, still won a trip for two to Bangkok.

As the race goes to other exciting destinations, there will be non-elimination legs, which will give a chance to teams who escaped elimination to catch up. Other itineraries include Bali, Indonesia; Hanoi, Vietnam; Maun, Botswana; Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; Edinburgh, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and back to the US for the final leg and Pit Stop at Washington, DC.

There are certainly more interesting sights, challenges and exotic places for this season. As Bertram van Munster (who produces the show with spouse Elise Doganieri) said in one of his online interviews, “Again, we found another way to make our way around the world in a unique way.”

The Amazing Race 22 airs every Monday night on AXN.












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