These might not be the most charismatic teams we’ve ever seen, and they might not have future careers in French rapping, but they sure do keep up the lineup interesting. The Cheerleaders have risen from almost going home multiple times to the top two, cheering and jumping into the arms of locals all the way; the Texans have gone from top dogs to middle dogs; the Paps are somehow still around; and the team that finished in first place in the previous leg finished dead last tonight (I don’t know if they’ve been eliminated because CBS hit us with yet another To Be Continued!). And the Green Team… okay, well the Green Team continues to reign supreme, but to be fair, they’ve already had a practice round of racing as Diana reminded us with her anecdote about Justin making her memorize French during his proposal to her. That would have earned him a hard no from me.
Though at least he didn’t make track her heartrate for a Fitbit Challenge (that we know of). Last season, I remember thinking the Fitbit Challenge absurdly product placement-y, but tonight, even if everyone was saying Fitbit like their race depended on it (it did), I still enjoyed knowing what team member’s heartrate was after each challenge (they had to keep up with it for a mysterious purpose that will come in the next leg). For example, Diana’s heartrate was higher after having to rap in French than it was after having to plunge to the bottom of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Tell me about it!
In Leg 6 of the rrrrrace around the world, the teams are moving on from Africa to Paris, France. But first they have to complete one last ROAD BLOCK at Victoria Falls, which they’ve already explored overhead, but now they need to check out the bottom with some good old fashioned BUNGEE JUMPING. Since many of the team members who are scared of heights didn’t take on last week’s swing across Batoka Gorge, they get to conquer their fears this time. Surprisingly, Denise quiets down a little when she’s plunging 364-feet toward a body of water.
But because all seven remaining teams are traveling on the same flight to Paris, Alabama immediately loses their lead to the Green Team, who manage to get the first train and put the other six teams 20 minutes behind them as they head toward the next ROAD BLOCK at Musée Volant Salis: LIBERATE EGALITE FRATERNITE. The member from each team who didn’t bungee is tasked with going up in the air with a pilot in a vintage Boeing-Stearman biplane and spotting the three words on the ground below that best represent the French Revolution of 1798 — that’s right, liberaté, élgalité, and fraternité — in between doing a few loop-de-loops. And sure, watching them go upside down in these tiny little planes is exhilarating, but the most fun to be had here is listening to everyone try to pronounce the French words once the come down. The Texans did surprisingly fine, but marvel as James Earl pronounces “fraternité” like FRAT-er-night. Still, he got all three words, as did all of the other teams, except…
NEXT: The couple that raps together…[pagebreak]
Team Paparazzi. Surprisingly Logan’s rallying cry of “Shut up! Stop! I just want to do everything right!” as she runs off to board her plane does not pave the way for a perfect performance. She misses the third word and has to wait for all of the other teams to finish before she can go back up, putting them firmly in last place; Logan gets it on the second try (and with flair!), but they just miss the train to Square Louise Michele where the next clue resides, putting them at least an hour behind the rest of the teams. They do freak out far less than they did last week — perhaps that’s because of slightly more positive attitudes, or more likely because it simply would have been impossible to freak out more than last week.
The teams are to track down the Phantom Blanc in the square, and even though he is a man in all white, wearing colored contacts, voguing and flaunting like Miss J teaching the next generation of supermodels on ANTM, the five teams in the middle have a lot of trouble finding him. But everyone eventually makes it to the DETOUR: DROPS MIC vs. BUST A CRAB. Here, we see the Green Team’s first signs of weakness (leaky tear ducts don’t count), as they argue over which detour to take. Diana knows that she’ll struggle with Drops Mic where the teams must learn a French rap with French rapper, Passi, and be judged on their pronunciation, rhythm, and vibe — of note, they do not have to memorize it. Justin is raring to rap, so he kind of pushes her into it, and while that seems like a thing I can totally believe he’s done enough times to annoy Diana, I’ve also noticed that the things Diana thinks she’s bad at, she usually ends up mastering after a few tries. Sure, her “vibes” could still use some work, but in the end, their French rap sounds pretty damn good.
The Reporters — not so much. At least not Kelsey, who is rocking a sick sideways hat, but screams all of her lyrics in monotone. They’ve got vibes to spare, but no one takes on the challenge quite like the Cheerleaders, who are thrilled to be there, thrilled to rap, thrilled to nail it in one try, and thrilled to jump all the way onto Passi before they head to the next clue.
Most of the teams did much better than I expected at Drops Mic, but Bust a Crab, where the Texans and Chac Attack land, is clearly much more of a sure thing. Chac Attack shucks, cracks, and splits their seafood to recreate La Coupole’s complicated Royal Platter in just one try, and once the Texans rearrange a few lemons, they’re off too. Which makes you wish Team Alabama had stuck with trying to find Bust a Crab after getting lost on the way — because if there’s one team I could have predicted would not be strong French rappers, it was them.
Surprisingly, James Earl, who fashions himself “a secret little rapper,” catches on quickly, but Denise, who finds the French lyrics to be “just funky words”… just cannot get it. This leaves space for Team Paparazzi, who were an hour behind to get to the Detour clue, head to Bust a Crab, bust some crabs, and head to the PIT STOP at the ARC DE TRIOMPHE…
1: GREEN TEAM — Nope, no Expedia trip for two, just a, “You’re starting the next leg of the race!” from Phil, and Justin and Diana are on their way, with yet another first place lead. And do I even need to tell you… Justin cries.
2: THE CHEERLEADERS sprint through traffic to get to Phil, and good on ’em, because they’ve gone from dead last to second place in two legs.
3: REPORTERS — Joey finishes with a heart rate of 157! And Phile reminds them that they’re going to need those completed heart rate cards in the next leg of the race.
5: CHAC ATTACK
6: TEAM PAPARAZZI are shocked to find that they’re not last place and assume someone must have “messed up a lot worse than we did.” And those people are…
7. TEAM ALABAMA, whose fate we won’t learn until next week because TAR slaps us with the second “To Be Continued” of the season! I have my doubts that Denise will ever make it through that rap, but I also doubt that TAR would leave the episode on a cliffhanger just to open next week’s with an elimination. What say you — will Denise live to scream “Ooooooh, James Earl” another leg?