For almost a decade, contestants on The Amazing Race have tested their limits running around the world, hoping to make themselves a million dollars richer by the end of their journey. The same is true with season 29. Twenty-two individuals will visit nine countries, 17 cities, and clock 36,000 miles.
Only this time, they will partner with complete strangers.
The competition begins in Los Angeles, where the master Phil Keoghan welcomes the gang with a simple challenge: Pick up a piece of luggage that has a Panama flag tag. He gives three quick directional instructions, and eager contestants fly off in a flurry.
Many do not know their east from their west. The wise ones follow Scott — an L.A. resident. Once in the luggage store, a second problem arises. There are dozens upon dozens of suitcases with flag tags that look similar to one another. Does anyone know what the Panamanian flag looks like?
Why yes! Floyd does! He memorized all of the flags because he’s a young whippersnapper who has time for such endeavors. (What did you do with your spare time today? I folded clothes.)
One by one, the contestants make their way back to Phil, huffing and puffing, carrying large suitcases. He checks each tag, makes Joey turn around and try again because he didn’t have the correct flag, and then lines everyone up according to the time in which they made it back.
Based on order, Phil allows No. 1 to choose his partner from the rest of the lineup. No. 2 is next, and so on. Let’s meet our teams!
Seth and Olive, #TeamAmerica
Police officer, meet the lady firefighter. Seth is strategic and picks the first lady across the line. Many rib Olive that he picked her for other reasons, but she’s confident she’s not his type. Newsflash: He has a boyfriend.
Matt and Redmond, #TheBoys
Matt is a professional snowboarder and has a gold medal from the X-Games to prove it. He’s looking for someone who will stop at nothing to achieve his or her goals. Redmond is an obvious choice since he has a prosthetic leg. If anyone has a “never give up” attitude, it’s this former Navy corpsman.
Shamir and Sara , #TheSandSExpress
Shamir straight-up admits he wants to team up with the hot girl. He’s a banker, and she’s a luxury real estate agent. He thinks Sara is smoking and she’s hyped that Shamir can speak Spanish. It’s a match made in pretty people heaven.
Scott and Brooke, #TeamBrookeandScott
Brooke is a lawyer and might have trouble if you keep telling her what to do or how to act. Scott wants you to know that he is smart and gay. Brooke enthusiastically screams, “Team Will and Grace!” That does not fly. Notice the hashtag. Within minutes, they are on each other’s nerves.
Becca and Floyd, #TeamFun
Becca is here for the F-U-N and picks “Urkel” as her partner. She lives in Boulder. He goes to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Both parties are pumped by this revelation. It rivals the excitement upon the discovery that they have the first Express Pass. I predict they will be fast friends and Becca will buy him beer.
Vanck and Ashton, #TeamVankandAston
Just as Ashton confesses she wants someone tall as a partner, nerdy Vanck chooses her to be his partner. He’s a numbers guy who is vertically challenged. He also speaks in math terms, like, “Take a 130-degree right turn.” There are not enough eye rolls in the world for Ashton, but I have high hopes that they will surprise viewers.
Tara and Joey, #TeamMomandDad
Tara is an Army officer who takes pity on Joey, a police sergeant, by picking him even though he comes in last place after the very first challenge. She said he looks mature. That’s code for old.
London and Logan, #TeamLoLo
London is a street artist. She loves to create things with yarn. Logan has a stellar smile. Viewers are going to ship LoLo. I imagine London is already picking out bridesmaid dresses in blush and bashful. I would be, if I were her.
Jenn and Kevin, #LongHairDontCare
Jenn and Kevin are both Asians who choose to “follow the white people” during the suitcase challenge. They are extremely laid back and joke about how they look like siblings.
Michael and Liz, #TeamLizandMike
Michael is an intimidating looking butcher who is immediately given the nickname Red Beard. Liz wears cowboy boots on her first day. This isn’t the farm, Liz. Rookie mistake.
Jessie and Francesa, #SwoleSisters
Jessie is a K-9 police officer who is technically stuck with U.S. Army solider Francesca. Jessie had “words” during the challenge after Francesca, whom Jessie was following, realized she was going the wrong way. Whatever. They will make the best of it because they are muscly and “swole.” P.S. Since they didn’t get to participate in picking a partner, Phil offers to drive them to LAX himself before the next challenge.