Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


The Amazing Race season premiere recap: 'Go Big or Go Home'

Eleven new teams arrived in Times Square for a race around, their chance at $1 million, and “the most powerful prize ever given away on The Amazing Race.” Settle down, Phil!

Posted on

John Paul Filo/CBS

The Amazing Race

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Phil Keoghan
Jerry Bruckheimer
Current Status:
In Season

Welcome back to the Emmy’s favorite “rrrrrrrace around the world.” It’s The Amazing Race’s 25th season, AKA, its silver anniversary; I’m thinking of gifting a serving platter, but you can also never go wrong with tiny decorative spoons. Perhaps a compass might be more in order though, as all of the teams could use some practice for the next time they have to bear crawl around a beach looking for a treasure chest.

In keeping with the 25th theme, The Amazing Race is looking to spice things up a bit: it’s thinking about taking a few dance lessons, maybe a cooking class, it’s moved its time slot to Friday night (so romantic), but mostly, the 25th season has cast a whole heap of characters in its 11 new teams. CBS will give you a convenient hashtag to remember each team by, but I will give you a more honest name, because #thedatingcouple simply will not stand…

#soulsurfers Adam and Bethany, aka, Team Nice Guys; you’ve probably heard of Bethany, whose arm was taken off by a 14-foot tiger shark when she was a teenager. If you’ve seen Soul Surfer, you might have been looking out for Carrie Underwood to pop up somewhere, but these two are plenty charming on their own.

#sweetscientists Amy and Maya; they want to show people that scientists have personalities too, but all I heard was that they do experiments on ice cream and candy

#thedatingteam Dennis and Isabelle, aka, Team Hard to Brand; an accountant and a model…living the dream

#thewrestlers Brooke and Robbie, aka, Team Intensity; these two are, like, really wrestlers

#teamnashville Keith and Whitney, aka, Team CBS; former Survivor contestants who are going to, “Run the race and then run down the aisle”

#thecyclists Kym and Alli, aka, Team Tough; riding a bike in Manhattan is no joke, and neither are they

#miamirealtors Lisa and Michelle, aka Team Lulu Lemon; they say they’re the top realtors in Miami, but I know that if they were, I would already have their Bravo show recorded on my DVR.

#collegesweethearts Tim and Te Jay, aka, Team That’s Not How Your Spell That; these two will be way too much, or a lot of fun, and they’re teeter toward hilarious

#thefirefighters Michael and Scott, aka, Team Torso; they’re from Boston, and came prepared with taglines, including “We’re juggernauts, an unstoppable force!”

#momdaughter Shelley and Nici, aka, Team Gilmore Girls; flight attendants who seem like really cool sisters

#thedentists Misti and Jim, aka, Team Tan Teeth; as I hail from there, I have been to many a dentist in South Carolina, and never have I met any so tan, so fit, so intense.

Following a flashback to Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, “where The Amazing Race began 25 seasons ago,” host Phil Keoghan waits in Times Square to greet the 11 new teams, looking exactly the same as he has for the last 13 years, which is to say, luminescent. The main difference between then and now is that CBS has gained an appreciation for coordinating neon v-necks, but, unfortunately, lost its affinity for coordinating L.L. Bean rain jackets. Phil has never loved raising his voice above mid-Ryan-Seacrest, but he’s willing to do it for the live Manhattan crowd. With a, “Good luck…travel safe…GO!” it’s off to the races for the future winners of $1 million, and 10 other teams of tan, attractive, competitive losers.

ar phil brow

The teams take off like a shot up the TKTS red steps for their first clue: “Begin The Amazing Race where the very first race ended.” That’s the Unisphere in Flushing Meadow Park, so everyone hops in cabs and the Realtors make their first fatal mistake: thinking that yelling at a cab driver that the faster they drive you, the closer you are to winning a million dollars for getting to take a free trip around the world will actually convince that driver to go any faster.

The clue at the Unisphere says they’ve all got flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the first five to the airport will get on the American Airlines flight that departs 40 minutes before the Delta flight. Adam and Bethany, Tim and Te jay, Kym and Alli, Jim and Misti, and Dennis and Isabelle catch the earlier flight and arrive in the Virgin Islands to find that they’re headed to Vendor’s Plaza for sea flights. When the six straggler teams arrive, it’s a race between the Firefighters, Realtors, and Wrestlers for the last sea flight slots; as the Firefighters are writing their name in the second to last spot, the Realtors find another maker and straight up write over their names. Do not mess with our nation’s heroes, and do not use unauthorized markers. Fatal error numero dos.

NEXT: Follow your arrow to the nearest bed, ’cause y’all gon’ be tired…