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Phil Keoghan blogs 'The Amazing Race': episode 9

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Philkeoghan_l_2And then there were four. We now have a really strong group of Teams set to battle each other for the $1 million prize. I love when we get to the point in the show when Racers start to realize they actually might have a shot to win this thing. It comes down to who can put it all together for the final stretch, who has the stamina to keep racing full speed ahead after almost a month on the road, who can remain focused with thepressure of $1 million staring them in the eye, and who can put aside any personal feelings about their competitors and simply run the Race of their lives. Easier said than done.

Quick thoughts on the four remaining Teams:

Victor/Tammy: Smart, analytical, and competitive, but do they have the street smarts to pull it off?

Luke/Margie and LaKisha/Jen: I’ll put these two together following last night’s meltdown. Both are strong competitors and the partners communicate really well, but will the teams’ feud with each other get in the way? Also, Margie and Luke have played out of their heads the past two weeks — can they maintain that level of play?

Cara /Jaime: Strong team, but can they get through the rest of the Race without coming to blows with the locals? Case in point, Jaime yelling at the man during last night’s dancing challenge because he couldn’t understand English. Yelling at someone who doesn’t understand your language when you’re in their country — are you serious?

After all these weeks of telling you about the “Most Memorable Mat Meltdown” of all time, we finally got to see it last night. What an episode. The throwdown between Luke and Margie and LaKisha and Jen was so intense. All of us in production knew that both teams were really going head-to-head throughout the entire leg, but no one could have predicted it would come down to a foot race to the mat and one of the most emotionally charged Pit Stops I have ever been a part of. It was downright uncomfortable.

Safe to say, Luke is not afraid of confrontation. I was surprised atthe intensity level at which he ran this leg. Never backing down, neverletting LaKisha or Jen get in his way. Last week I thought Margie wasthe driving force behind their Team, but this week Luke stepped up andtook the lead. On the flip side, I always knew that Jen had thattenacity in her; you don’t play Division I collegiate sports and notknow how to compete. That’s part of her DNA.

It was one of the longest times we’ve ever spent on a mat after theteams arrived. We were there for easily half an hour discussing who wasto blame for the pushing and shoving at the cluebox, who behavedpoorly, etc., etc. No matter how many times LaKisha said that shewasn’t making fun of Luke when she laughed, Margie never bought it. Idon’t think LaKisha was making fun of Luke. I think she just has anervous laugh and that’s what she does in those situations.

By that point in the day, Margie was so fed up with the way the twoTeams fought throughout the entire leg that anything was going to sether off…and it did. I have to say, though, even with all the yellingand arguing at the mat, one of the most comical parts of the entirescene was watching Victor and Tammy, who had no idea what was about toerupt when they landed at the Pit Stop.

And alas, Mark and Michael’s past missteps finally caught up withthem. They fought a valiant fight, but I think the hole was simply toodeep to climb out of from last week. They were a solid Team and Ihonestly think they could have made a run at the $1 million had theybeen able to avoid such costly penalties. Good competitive spirit withthose two guys.

Did you see that we just got the official pickup for Season 15?Great news. We’re holding casting calls in several cities thatI’m riding through on my Ride Across America.We’re in Chicago on April 24, Pittsburgh on May 1, and New York City onMay 8. Come out and apply…maybe I’ll blog about you next season.

More Amazing Race:
Amazing Race recap: Season of the Bitch

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