For Season 26, the producers of Amazing Race decided that they would have all dating couples on the race, but then decided to have six of them that have been dating for some time while the remaining five are going to be people meeting for the first time and going on a “blind date” in the race. One of the reasons we like this show is the existing relationships being tested while running the race, so it just seems like a bad idea. However, that won’t stop Amy, Steve and I from watching and commenting how many times the show wants to hashtag everything.
As the episode started trying to win over the audience on the dating idea by showing past train wrecks of dating couples that have been on the Amazing Race, Amy stated, “I’m not liking the relationship focus already.” I agreed by saying, “This is going to be a mess!” One of the pre-existing relationships was one of the guys from New Kids on the Block. When they started playing one of their songs while he was talking to the camera, Amy said, “How much New Kids am I going to hear?” Probably a lot. When the pilot and flight attendant couple were introduced, Steve said, “Twenty years ago, I sexually harassed her at work.” Amy agreed and said she was going to call them Mile High.
Then all the blind daters came out and met each other. Steve said, “I already hate this.” We wondered how they were paired up. It seemed like the lawyers were put together, doctor and pediatric nurse, two people from Southern California and then there were the gay guys who looked exactly like each other. Is that what they thought they would like?
Teams learned that there were two flights taking them to Tokyo. Teams had to go through a mud obstacle course to reach those tickets and only eight teams would get on the first flight. Like in recent seasons, the first team to get to the finish line would get the Express Pass. No mention of the SAVE so I guess that is out after one try. There was also going to be a U-Turn on this leg.
Besides some whining about the mud and then the ice cold water they had to jump into at the end, there wasn’t too much exciting about the course. Blair did look a bit annoyed when he was standing right next to the last ticket on the first flight and Hayley did not look like she was trying very hard to move quickly to get to it so the lawyers got to it and Blair and Hayley ended up on the last flight. I think that was the beginning to the end of Blair and Hayley even though I think she was clueless enough not to notice his attitude towards her shift. In the car ride on the way to the airport she talked about how she found him attractive and he said nothing in return. She said, “I was worried that you wouldn’t like blondes!” and he said, “Uhhh…..” We knew this couple was going to do really well together.
When the teams landed in Tokyo some took the train and some took a cab to the next location. Teams were also taking a lot of selfies the entire time, which I am guessing they were told to do by the producers. I said, “The selfie thing will get annoying if they keep it up.”
The next clue was a detour between doing a synchronized dance routine that involved judging or remembering the names of 10 sakes, taking a drink order and bringing the right sake. They both seemed very difficult. I thought the memorization one would be super hard, but the judging tasks always take so long. The lawyers showed up at the clue first and picked the dancing so they ran off to that one.
Jeff & Jackie showed up right after and picked the sake one. The sake task must have been closer since we followed Jeff & Jackie to that one and we got to see them being told so many sake names. After they were done listing them off, I said, “I have already forgotten the sake names.” Steve said he didn’t even remember my name right now. Jackie took an order and told Jeff the name, but he was the only one allowed behind the bar to get the right bottle. She was allowed to tell him which one she thought it would be. She took it out, but was told she was wrong. Oh that task might take forever. There was also some very bad overacting from the “guests” of the restaurant.
The lawyers finally showed up at the dancing detour. They saw the group of men in suits doing their synchronized dance moves that consisted of a lot of synchronized walking. They had to learn the dance steps from what look like a bunch of people that wanted to be the Bride from Kill Bill. They had to take the time to learn the dance moves and then do it with the professional group while being judged. These two detours seemed very hard.
A few more teams showed up at the detour box. They all chose the dancing task except for the New Kid team. I said, “How could New Kid not do dancing?!” He said it would too much for him since dancing wasn’t his favorite part of New Kids so off they went to the sake one. Before they got there, Jackie was getting a new order since they couldn’t get the first one right. Jeff was more confident giving her a bottle and it was correct. Then they were done. That was it! We thought they would have to take multiple orders or at least all the orders of one table, but it was only one order! The other teams weren’t even done practicing the dance moves in the other detour and the sake team was done with their task. They also got to drink with the table that they brought the sake. That turned out to be the winner detour.
While Jeff & Jackie were running off to the next location, the hair stylists, Laura & Tyler, and the Olympians were showing up to learn some dance moves. While the lawyers were trying the dance for the first time with the professional group, the hair stylists could not wait to do it themselves. He said that they were good at dancing so they would be there 15-20 minutes tops and could move onto the next task so they could get the Express Pass. The bummer about the dancing was only one group could try at a time with the professional group so that slowed things down a lot.
A whole bunch of other teams showed up at the detour task including some teams that took the train from the airport from the first flight and some teams that arrived on the second flight. They all decided to do the dance detour. Pick the sake one everyone! Oh well, they can’t hear. Meanwhile, Blair & Hayley were lost and hadn’t found the detour box yet. Blair was sure he knew where he was going, even though Hayley told him that it was another direction. She decided to listen to him, until he finally asked for directions. She was not gracious about it though and kept pointing out that she was right and like she said earlier. Then Amy said, “I’m glad I don’t have kids so she will never have to take care of them in the ER.” Even when you are right Hayley, we don’t like you. They finally found the detour box and decided to pick dancing.
Meanwhile, New Kid team arrived at the sake task. After learning the names, even Harley was as confused as us since he tried to take more than one order at the table before realizing he only needed to remember one. He told Jonathan, got the right bottle and then they were done and drinking sake. This task is so easy! It seemed like they were out of there in under five minutes.
It seemed all the rest of the teams were at the dancing detour, but no one had gotten it right yet. No one was leaving to go try the other detour either. Maybe they thought all the teams were there since there are so many teams in the first leg. At one point Tyler was making a selfie video of the detour right after he screwed up the dance. If I was there, I would have said, “Why don’t you practice and quit filming?” I guess it didn’t matter since the next time they tried, they got it right. They were the first team to finish the dancing detour. The lawyers finished up soon after them.
The New Kid team got dropped off at a hotel and then realized it was not where they wanted to go. They had to find a new taxi. That gave Jeff & Jackie a leg up of getting to the Blind U-Turn first. They didn’t want to u-turn anyone so they picked up the next clue, which directed them to the pit stop. It said to find Phil in a parking space in the vicinity of a particular building.
Back at the dancing, the hair stylists failed after their 12th attempt. The gay guys failed on their first attempt and I was surprised that pageant guy was not better at dancing. The Sochi team finished the dancing on their fifth try and took off. The lawyers and Laura & Tyler arrived at the Blind U-Turn at the same time. Tyler let the lawyers go on the mat first. What if they u-turned you? Well, they didn’t and they all ran off to the pit stop. Well, the lawyers jumped in their cab while Laura & Tyler had to find another one since their driver didn’t know where that building was located. The New Kids were still running around trying to find the Blind U-Turn location.
Jeff & Jackie showed up at the UDX building and started to run around the parking garage. While heading there, the lawyers started analyzing the clue and decided since it said “vicinity” that meant Phil wasn’t in the building but around it. While in the elevator going to another level of the parking garage, Jeff & Jackie read the clue again and realized that it might be near the building but not in it like they were.
The lawyers were the first one to the pit stop. Amy was hoping for Hello Kitty on the mat next to Phil, but it was some guy in a parking outfit. When the lawyers were given the Express Pass for coming in first place, on the screen it showed #expresspass so Steve said, “Hashtag Express Pass.” When Phil asked them how they feel, Steve responded, “Hashtag fantastic.” Amy said, “Hashtag Steve is funny” Jeff & Jackie showed up while the lawyers were still on the mat to be told they were in second place. Phil and everyone else was amazed that two blind date teams came in before any pre-existing relationships.
Right after that, we flashed over to those pre-existing couples still going at the dancing detour. Why would no one switch to the other one? Blair and Hayley failed on their second attempt. The gay guys got it in their third attempt while the rest of the many teams still there posed for a selfie.
Around that time, Laura & Tyler came in third place at the pit stop. Phil asked them if there was a love connection. Amy said, “Really Phil? It’s day one.”
New Kid team finally found the park with the Blind U-Turn clue. They decided not to u-turn anyone and took off around the time the Olympians showed up and also didn’t u-turn anyone. Everyone still likes all the teams so no one wants to be mean this early.
The flight attendants failed dancing but the Blair and Hayley finally finished. The hair stylists were getting bummed about it getting dark and they were still there, but there was no talk about switching. I said, “By now, everyone should know how to do this freaking dance.” Steve said, “I can do it right now.” Amy said, “Everyone in the world can.” When the hair stylists finally got it right and took off, the truck stop team were a bit bummed there were only a few teams left to try to get the detour. He was talking about how they were doing great and she was doing great while she was doubled over and crying. Steve said, “Hashtag doing great and hashtag meltdown.” I said “Hashtag uncoordinated roller derby girl.” Which made Amy finish with “Hashtag why no hello kitty.”
While the melt down was going on, I said that only two teams did the super easy sake one that sounded super hard. Amy agreed by saying, “I know! These dance ones are always hard.”
The gay team showed up at the Blind U-Turn and didn’t u-turn anyone. Would anyone this race? The Olympians showed up at the pit stop in fourth place, followed closely by the New Kids team. Also, we got to hear more New Kids songs while they were on the mat.
There were three remaining teams at the dancing detour when Tuskegee finally got it. Roller derby girl was still a bit emotional. I said, “Rollergirls should not be crying. They should just bodycheck someone.” Truck stop boy calmed her down and they finally got it so it left Mile High as the only team at the detour.
The gay guys arrived at the pit stop and when Phil asked if there was any sparks, they said they were more likely to be friends. Hashtag gay friend zone. There were many teams that had finished the detour, but were not at the pit stop yet. Blair and Hayley were lost again. Tuskegee got off the subway at some really abandoned looking place. Amy said, “Hashtag what if they never find Phil.” The Truck Stop team arrived to the Blind U-Turn and had no idea that there were many teams behind them. They thought only the Mile High team was behind them so they U-Turned them before heading to the pit stop. Blair and Hayley showed up. I thought they were trying to find the pit stop. I didn’t realize they were lost on way to the U-Turn. They were shocked someone was u-turned and didn’t do it themselves. When they left, the hair stylists showed up, didn’t u-turn anyone and went towards the pit stop.
That just left Tuskegee and Mile High. I started to wonder about the guys that had to dance all day long with all of these teams. Truck Stop team checked into the pit stop in seventh place. Mile High finally got the dancing detour! Finally! They seemed to find the Blind U-Turn quickly and saw they were chosen. They decided to pick a team they never saw at the dancing detour — Jeff & Jackie to u-turn — and then went to the sake task. Where was Tuskegee? Oh they were talking to a taxi driver trying to get directions, but not getting any help so they wandered around some more. Blair & Hayley and the hair stylists checked into the pit stop.
Mile High got to the sake task and seemed to finish it in about five minutes. They got it on the first try. He said, “Boy I wish I had done this before.” She commented that they spent four hours trying to get the dance. Four hours? They headed back to the park to get the pit stop clue. Tuskegee were being followed around by the same taxi guy who said he didn’t know where the park was located until they were willing to pay to get into the taxi. When they finally gave in, he took them to the park. Tuskegee got the pit stop clue right before the Mile High team. Tuskegee got to the building first but went to the parking garage for a while. They finally started looking for Phil outside while the editing made it look like the Mile High team was also outside looking for Phil, but I don’t think they were that close. The Mile High team was the last team and they were eliminated.
What did you think about one detour being super easy and one was super hard? What do you think about this dating twist? Do you want to murder Hayley as much as we do?