The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race is a reality game show normally broadcast in one-hour episodes in which teams of two or four race around the world in competition with other teams. The CBS program has been on-air since 2001 and is currently in between seasons. It is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for CBS and Touchstone Television (technically making it partially a Disney show) and hosted by New Zealander Phil Keoghan. It was created by Bertram van Munster.

The race utilizes progressive elimination similar to Survivor; the last team to arrive at a designated checkpoint leaves the game. The race resembles a treasure hunt in amateur rally racing. The race starts in a US city. Teams must then follow clues and instructions and make their way to checkpoints in places around the world, eventually racing back to the finish line in the US.

For three consecutive years, (2003 to 2005), The Amazing Race was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program. It has defeated competitors including CBS' Survivor (which was the first reality show to win an Emmy), Fox's American Idol, and NBC's The Apprentice.

The ninth season will begin airing on February 28, 2006.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Teams

Kris and Jon (Season 6) in Sri Lanka

Each of the eleven teams (twelve in Seasons 3 and 4, ten in Season 8) on The Amazing Race is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. Season 8 of the race featured teams of four, but Season 9 will return to the two-person team format. The teams represent a wide demographic of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and personal relationships. Past team relationships include: long-time married couples, siblings (including twins), parent/child, friends (roommates, fraternity brothers, platonic friends, high school friends, lifelong friends etc), romantic partners (both heterosexual and homosexual), and couples who are separated or formerly dating. All contestants are at least 21 years of age, except for Season 8, which featured some children and teenagers.

Originally, the race required team members to have a pre-existing relationship and to have known one another for at least three years. In addition, racers from different teams could not have previous acquaintances with one another. However, producers have shown more leniency and changed these rules in recent installments of the race. For example, Kris and Jon from Season 6 were long-distance daters for only a year. Several contestants from Season 5 had previously competed against one another in the beauty pageant circuit. (Nicole actually beat Christie for the title of Miss Texas USA in 2003.[1])

Teammates must race the entire race together; they cannot split up or continue on without each other. If one teammate becomes injured and is unable to finish the race, the team must forfeit (for example, Marshall and Lance during Season 5). Both teammates must also arrive at each Pit Stop together in order to clock in. The various relationship dynamics between the team members under the stress of competition is one focus of the show.

The Race

Money

Colin and Christie (Season 5) receive money for a leg in Kenya and Tanzania

At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance of cash with their first clue. This money is usually given in U.S. Dollars regardless of the current location of the race. The amount varies from leg to leg, ranging from one dollar to hundreds of dollars. (In Season 1 teams were allocated nothing during one of the legs, and in Season 4, teams were given only one dollar for each of the final two legs.) During the race, all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, supplies) must be purchased from this allowance. The exception to this is the purchase of airline tickets (and, in Season 8, gasoline), which the teams pay for using a credit card supplied to them by the show. Any money left over after a leg of the race can be used on subsequent legs.

Starting in Season 5, there was a penalty for teams coming in last on a non-elimination leg. Teams were forced to surrender all collected money, would not be given any on the subsequent leg, and needed to start the next leg with zero dollars to their name. For more on this penalty, see Non-elimination Legs.

If a team spends all of their money or has it taken away in a non-elimination round, they may try to get more money in any way that doesn't violate the local laws. This includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals, or selling their possessions. One rule that was clarified in Season 7 is that teams may not beg for money at US airports.

Route Markers

Route Markers are the flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks.

Route Markers are always colored yellow and red, with the following exceptions:


  • The original Route Markers used in Season 1 were colored yellow and white. The current colors were adopted in subsequent seasons so that the teams would have an easier time spotting them.
  • During Season 3, the production visited Vietnam; while there, the flags used were a solid yellow, to avoid confusion with the flag of Vietnam (this change was not seen when production visited China in Season 6, though, where the national colors are similar).
  • Season 8's Route Markers were colored yellow, white, and black.

Clues

Route Information

Route Info clues instruct the teams where to go next. The clue usually only provides the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. However, the clue may make specifications about how the teams have to travel. For example, the very first clue of the race specifies which flights teams may take. In addition, teams may be required to take public transportation, drive a marked car, or walk, according to the clue's instructions.

The Route Info clues can instruct teams to go to several types of locations, including a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, and the finish line of the race.

Detour

A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks described on the clue in order to receive their next clue. One task is typically an easier option that takes more time to complete, while the other is usually a difficult or frightening option that can be finished quickly. In later seasons, the trend has been towards Detours which offer less clear-cut choices. Often, there may be some degree of luck involved with the "easier" option, such that a team may accomplish the task faster than if they had taken the quicker, harder, riskier option. Should a team choose to switch Detour tasks part-way through, there is no penalty, other than naturally lost time.

Roadblock

A Roadblock is a task which only one team member may perform. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, i.e., "Who's really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks). Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles.

Beginning in Season 6, each team member may only complete a maximum of six Roadblocks throughout the entire race. Since there normally are twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5). In contrast, Season 5 featured three teams that split the Roadblocks 11-1 or 10-1. The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for Season 8; additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people. A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was included in the DVD release.

Fast Forward

Gary and Dave (Season 2) win the Fast Forward at Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

The Fast Forward allows the first team that finds it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. To find the Fast Forward, the team must perform the task described on the Fast Forward clue, which is found along with a regular clue at one of the Route Markers.

Only one team may use each Fast Forward. Any team that is beaten to the Fast Forward will have wasted their time and must go back and pick up where they left off. Since each team may use only one Fast Forward during the whole race, they must decide when it is most advantageous to use it. A Fast Forward usually results in the team arriving at the Pit Stop first, but does not guarantee it. In the history of the show, two teams who earned a Fast Forward still arrived last at the Pit Stop. Joe and Bill during Season 1 arrived last but were not eliminated due to a penalty to Nancy and Emily. Dennis and Andrew during Season 3 were eliminated. Similarly, NFL wives Monica and Sheree of Season 4 earned the Fast Forward but only placed 4th in the first leg (behind a three-way tie for first, the only time this has ever happened on the race).

Yield

The Yield, which was introduced in Season 5, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time. To do this, a team places the picture of the team they wish to yield onto the Yield sign (found near one of the Route Markers). When the yielded team arrives at the Yield, they must turn over an hourglass found on the Yield sign and wait for all the sand to drain before continuing.

Like the Fast Forward, each team may use only one Yield during the game, and only one team may use each Yield. However, each team may be Yielded by other teams an unlimited amount of times. Starting in Season 6, the number of Yields was reduced from one on every leg to only three in the entire race. Also starting in Season 6, teams are warned about an upcoming Yield in the clue immediately preceding it. In the family edition, the show said there were only two Yields, but there was another Yield on Leg 1 that didn't make it to air.

The Weaver family in Season 8 was the first team in the history of the Amazing Race to be yielded twice, once by the Paolo Family, and another time by the Linz Family.


Pit Stops

Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race. Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to eat, sleep, and mingle with each other. The production staff provides food free-of-charge to the teams at the Pit Stops (food during the legs must be purchased with the money the teams receive). During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voice-overs for the completed leg.

Phil Keoghan greets teams at the Pit Stop on The Amazing Race 5

Teams depart for the next leg of the race at the time they arrived plus twelve hours. While a team arriving at 12:00 PM will depart at 12:00 AM, the total amount of rest time may be more than twelve hours, in which case the pit stop will be extended by 24 hour increments--such as one day and twelve hours (36 hours).

The last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is eliminated, unless that leg of the race is one of the predetermined non-elimination legs (see below). In some legs, the first team to arrive wins a prize such as a vacation or camera, which they receive at the end of the race. In Season 6, prizes were given to the winners of every leg. In Season 7, cash and automobile prizes were awarded for the first time on some legs; unlike season 6, however, at least two legs did not have a prize awarded. The winners of the third leg in Season 8 won free gasoline for life, from BP and ARCO (specifically, $1200 of gasoline a year for 50 years, which is $60,000 per winner).

Teams normally complete all tasks and check in at the Pit Stop before they are eliminated. Occasionally, on an elimination leg, if all other teams have checked in and the last team is very far behind, Route Markers may instruct them to go directly to the Pit Stop without completing the rest of the leg (Peggy and Claire, Shola and Doyin, Mary and Peach, all from Season 2, Michael and Kathy and Andre and Damon in Season 3). Alternately, host Phil Keoghan may go out to the team's location to eliminate them if they can't/won't finish a task (Marshall and Lance, Season 5, Lena and Kristy, Season 6). The record for the shortest amount of time that Phil waited for the last team to arrive was around 10 minutes on the 11th leg of the 7th season. (Despite a flat tire, Uchenna and Joyce only finished 10 minutes behind the #1 team Ron and Kelly.) The longest amount of time Phil waited at a pit stop for the last team to arrive was more than 24 hours, due to the last team having flight problems and missing their departure time at the previous pit stop - see Season 2.

Season 6 introduced the first double-length leg shown over two episodes. The televised episode ended without a Pit Stop with a 'To Be Continued' message. The second half of the leg featured a second Detour and second Roadblock. Season 7 had another, this time with teams meeting host Phil Keoghan on the usual Pit Stop mat at the halfway point, only to have him hand them the next clue instead of checking them in. Season 8 also had a double-length leg, which worked the same as Season 7's; in addition, the 2-hour finale took place over a double-length leg.

Non-elimination Legs

Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race. Racers are not told in advance which legs are non-elimination legs. In Seasons 1-2, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement, "The last team to arrive will be eliminated," except in non-elimination legs. In Seasons 3-4, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to arrive will be eliminated" in the first few legs, and "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" after a certain point. Beginning in Season 5, the statement "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" has been used on every leg with the exception of the first.

Season 5 introduced a penalty to the team arriving last at a Pit Stop in a non-elimination leg. These teams are required to turn over all the money they accumulated throughout the race. Additionally, the last team to arrive begins the next leg with zero dollars to their name, meaning they do not receive the money given to the other teams at the start of the leg and may not collect money during the Pit Stop. Teams generally beg from locals or even the other teams during the Pit Stop to rebuild their cash reserves.

Starting in Season 7, the penalty for arriving last during a non-elimination leg became more severe. In addition to being stripped of all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, teams were forced to surrender all their possessions, except for their passports and the clothes they were wearing, for the remainder of the Race. This usually results in teams who believe they are coming in last checking in at the pit stop wearing every single article of clothing they have just in case it's a non-elimination leg, making for a rather comical sight in some cases.

Final Leg

Three teams compete in the last leg of the race. This first part of the leg includes intermediate destination(s) where the teams must travel to complete a series of tasks (Alaska, United States Seasons 1 and 2; Hawaii, United States, Seasons 3, 4, and 6; Calgary, Canada, Season 5; Puerto Rico, United States, Season 7; Montreal and Toronto, Canada, Season 8). The second part of the leg has teams traveling to a final destination, usually located in a major U.S. city. Remaining teams must complete one or more tasks before receiving the clue directing them to the Finish Line. At the Finish Line, host Phil Keoghan and all the eliminated teams wait for the remaining teams to arrive.

The first team to reach the Finish Line wins the race and $1 million. All other teams win lesser amounts of money on a sliding scale based on their finishing order, as follows:

Ideally, all three remaining teams arrive at the Finish Line within a reasonable amount of time. On occasion, the third place team has fallen so far behind the other two teams that they cannot finish the race in a timely manner. In this case, after the other two teams finish, they are informed that the race is over at their next Route Marker (Joe and Bill, Season 1; David and Jeff, Season 4).

Rules and Penalties

All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:

Rules

  • Teams must purchase economy class tickets for airfare. Teams are allowed to be upgraded to first or business class by the airline, as long as they only paid an economy fare (Frank and Margarita, Season 1; Reichen and Chip, Season 4; Ray and Deana, Season 7).
  • Teams are not allowed contact with known friends, family, and personal acquaintances during the race. However, teams are allowed to stay in contact with and receive help from people they meet during the race, such as travel agents. (One exception to this rule occurred in Season 3. Teams were offered a cellular phone after completing a detour. As CBS's website explains, "They had the option of making one phone call to their loved ones back home before driving to the chateau. Teams could talk on the phone as long as they wanted, but had to end the call before getting in their cars.")
  • When stated, teams may not help other teams in challenges. (Uchenna said this when he wanted to help Meredith with the boat in Season 7.) Otherwise, teams may assist one another in completing tasks, as seen in Season 8, where many teams had help setting up their tents, and the Linz and Godlewski teams cooperated to complete a Detour.
  • Racers are prohibited from smoking during the race. This results in the sometimes cantankerous attitude of some contestants, such as Ian (Season 3) who quit smoking just prior to the race.
  • For filming purposes, team members are generally required to stay within 20 feet of each other, unless one person is performing a Roadblock.
  • Teams may be forced to submit their backpacks and possessions to searches by production staff at any time.

Penalties (and Time Credits)

  • The standard penalty for minor rule infractions is 30 minutes plus the time advantage gained (if any) by disobeying the rule. This penalty is known to apply in the following cases:
    • Using a prohibited form of transportation. For example, a team that takes a taxi when the clue specifies that they must walk would receive a penalty (Frank & Margarita and Joe & Bill, Season 1; Heather & Eve, Season 3; Reichen & Chip, Season 4).
    • Taking a shortcut when the clue specifies that a marked course must be followed (Andre & Damon, Season 3).
    • Taking more than one clue from the clue box (Freddy and Kendra, Season 6).
    • Driving away in another team's car (Don and Mary Jean, Season 6).
    • Speeding. If a clue specifies a maximum speed, a team that exceeds that speed receives a penalty (Gary and Dave, Chris and Alex, Season 2).
  • There is a larger penalty for quitting a task voluntarily. In Season 6, Hayden and Aaron quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty. In Season 7, Rob and Amber, Ray and Deana and Meredith and Gretchen also quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty that did not start until the next team arrived at the task.
  • In Season 1, Nancy and Emily voluntarily quit a Detour and received an even larger penalty: 24 hours. As no other team has quit a Detour since then, it is unknown whether that larger penalty still exists.
  • A team that skips a Route Marker or performs a task incorrectly usually does not receive a penalty; rather, the racers will not be able to check in at the Pit Stop and will be told by host Phil Keoghan to complete the missed tasks. One exception to this was during Season 1, when Dave & Margaretta missed the cluebox at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Through lucky guessing and help from other teams, they were able to reach the Pit Stop, but were assessed a 1-hour penalty.
  • If a team's vehicle breaks down through no fault of their own, they may request a replacement vehicle without receiving a time penalty. However, no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation. (See The Amazing Race 2 Trivia).
  • Sometimes, teams are delayed by production difficulties. In early seasons, several teams were awarded time credits because of such difficulties. However, in Season 8, two teams were stopped because of drained batteries and did not receive time credits. The exact conditions that determine whether or not a time credit is awarded are unknown.

Countries and locales visited

Countries that The Amazing Race has visited are shown in green.

° Vatican City fielded a Fast Forward in Season 1; however, it was neither used nor shown.

Note: The table does not include airport stopovers, such as Japan. It only contains countries that fielded actual route markers, challenges or finish mats.

Trivia

  • Each team is accompanied by a cameraman and soundperson throughout the race. When purchasing tickets, teams must also buy them for their camera crew. On the program, teams are only shown requesting two tickets, so that they don't break the fourth wall.
  • Also, for similar reasons, the show makes the point of not actually showing the crews to the point where crewmen have occasionally been digitally removed from the picture in post-production. [2] Occasionally, race personnel are shown to viewers, most notably during Season 7 where Brian and Greg's cameraman was shown lying on the ground after suffering minor injuries in an auto accident.
  • The camera and sound crews rotate teams after each leg.
  • Host Phil Keoghan is known to take the same flight as the teams on various legs of the race.
  • Eliminated teams are often sent to "sequesterville", a foreign location on the race where they get to relax and do some sightseeing until the race is over.
  • Teams receive monetary compensation for the time away from their jobs back home. Even after the race has aired, however, the amount is still required to remain confidential.
  • The opening credits feature scenes and locations from past and current seasons of the race.
  • Teams need to receive travel visas ahead of time for the countries that they will be visiting. However, to keep things as much of a surprise for the teams as possible, production will obtain visas from more countries than are actually on the race itinerary. In doing so, the final destinations still remain a secret.
  • Before the race actually begins, the teams are filmed running from the starting line several times, in order to get different close-ups and angles of all the teams.
  • Due to the rather obvious nature of the crossing of the finish line, in later seasons several "decoy runs" have been done where teams from the final four are filmed crossing individual finish lines, to deter people from learning the identity of the winning team.
  • In Season 1, check-in mats for pit stops were representative of local cultures. In Season 2 and Season 3, they were black with a yellow border. Beginning in Season 4, they would feature an ornately decorated world map. In season 8 the mats were yellow with a black and white border. (For an exception, see The Amazing Race 6 In-Race Trivia.)The finish line mats are an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it.

Public Reception

The Amazing Race is notable in that it is one of the few reality shows to grow substantially more popular in subsequent seasons. Even with extensive critical praise the show faced low Nielsen Ratings for the first several seasons, facing cancelation a number of times. Reportedly, it was saved by calls to CBS President Les Moonves from celebrity fans including Sarah Jessica Parker. Thanks to word-of-mouth and the Emmy wins, popularity of The Amazing Race has recently surged, and is now one of the most-watched reality shows on the air.

TARCon is a convention and viewing party held after the evening of the season finale. The event is held in New York City and is organized by Television Without Pity, a popular television website. TARCon gives fans an opportunity to meet past and present racers and host Phil Keoghan.

The popularity of the series has also spawned local races [3] [4], some which have been mistaken for actual filming of the television program.

Criticisms

Despite The Amazing Race's recent surge of popularity, the show is not without its share of criticism and controversy. Main problems include:

Jonathan's behavior shocked fellow racers and viewers
  • Bunching, where teams are constantly grouped together due to bottlenecks such as chartered flights and pre-planned hours of operation of businesses that the teams must use to complete tasks. While all versions of the Race have suffered such problems, many fans feel that recent seasons (and Season 6 particularly) had more than usual or, perhaps, necessary. Nevertheless, bunching teams also adds to the unending suspense that many feel some of the earlier seasons lacked.
  • The confrontational, and sometimes abusive behaviour presented by certain players, most notably Jonathan (Season 6) and Colin (Season 5).
  • The stunt casting of teams where producers have tended to cast models, actors, and more recently past reality show stars. For example, Season 5 featured only one past reality show contestant (Alison was on Big Brother) and Season 7 featured three past reality show contestants (Brian was on Fear Factor; Rob and Amber had been on multiple editions of Survivor). In fact, many teams had connections to the producers or past contestants, trivializing the standard application process. For example, Dennis and Erika (Season 5) had known previous racers John Vito and Jill (Season 3) for many years.[5]
  • The watering down of the clues in subsequent seasons. For example, in Season 1 the majority of Route Markers contained clues about the next location, not specifically stating the location itself. In recent seasons, there have been few actual clues for teams to decipher. What had been clues are now more like simple directions in many cases; they remain more challenging in the final legs.
  • Design of challenges, especially food competitions. Recent seasons have emphasized gross-out extreme eating contests reminiscent of Fear Factor, rather than focusing on the cultural aspect of the challenge.
  • Repetition of tasks in different seasons. Season 7's Fast Forward task in Leg 8 featured the same hair-shaving task as Season 5, although Season 5's was not taken.
  • The implementation of the Yield has been criticized as taking away from the virtually unique ability of teams to control their own destiny in a reality series rather than being at the mercy of opponents as shows such as Survivor. The one other reality series that possesses this trait is The Mole.
  • The implementation of the non-elimination penalty is generally criticized by fans basically into two camps. One, is that the penalty is not sufficiently harsh enough. The second is that it is embarrassing to see Americans beg from people of Third World countries. In the latter reason however, in the case of a leg being in a poor country, penalized teams usually beg from tourists or from other teams.
  • Recent betting scandals. In the two most recent seasons, Season 7 and Season 8, the winners were revealed in online betting scandals well before the airing of the final episode.
  • Fans, critics, and racers were lukewarm over the format changes implemented in the family edition. The main issues were the lack of international travel and watered down challenges tailored to families. The expanded cast also made it more difficult to develop individual story lines. Entertainment Weekly commented that "Half the fun of The Amazing Race has always been watching the inter and intra-couple bickering that goes with being chronologically late and lost in a foreign land. Seeing parents yell at their children in exotic New Jersey? Not so fun." [6]. USA Today shared similar opinions, adding that "the idea of being trapped in the back seat for a forced cross-country family drive comes closer to a nightmare relived than a dream come true." [7] Racers were also disappointed that they did not have a chance to travel to more exotic locations; in one episode Marion Paolo commented "Why are we going to Phoenix, Arizona for? I want to go to New Zealand!"
  • Excessive product placement, particularly in recent seasons. Season 7 featured a gnome-hunting challenge, with the gnome featured being a Travelocity Roaming Gnome. Season 8 had teams driving around in GMC Yukons, visiting a BP gas station that fielded no challenge in particular, receiving clues from AOL inboxes (done in Season 6 also), and completing a challenge with Buick luxury golf carts. In an article according to Backstage.com, both "The Amazing Race" and "The Amazing Race: Family Edition", separately, were among the top 10 television shows with the most product placement in 2005.

Broadcasters

The Amazing Race is broadcast on various international television networks. Its is also shown in syndication within the United States.

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Its is also shown in syndication within the United States. . The Amazing Race is broadcast on various international television networks. Sossamon was dating Dallas Clayton, a kick boxing instructor in 2002/2003 and gave birth to a son on May 29, 2003, named Audio Science Clayton. Main problems include:. It's a 'S' with a flower. Despite The Amazing Race's recent surge of popularity, the show is not without its share of criticism and controversy. She has 3 tattoos, including one, on her back shoulder.

The popularity of the series has also spawned local races [3] [4], some which have been mistaken for actual filming of the television program. Sossamon continues to DJ weekly at a Los Angeles club, but spends most of her time filming. TARCon gives fans an opportunity to meet past and present racers and host Phil Keoghan. Reportedly close friends with Heath Ledger, she also appeared alongside him in 2003 in The Order, and appeared in music videos for Mick Jagger and KoЯn. The event is held in New York City and is organized by Television Without Pity, a popular television website. Her first role was the female lead in A Knight's Tale. TARCon is a convention and viewing party held after the evening of the season finale. In 1999, Sossamon was discovered by casting director Francine Maisler, while helping a friend DJ at Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party.

Thanks to word-of-mouth and the Emmy wins, popularity of The Amazing Race has recently surged, and is now one of the most-watched reality shows on the air. While she attended Dance Unlimited, Sossamon appeared in television commercials and had DJ gigs in local clubs. Reportedly, it was saved by calls to CBS President Les Moonves from celebrity fans including Sarah Jessica Parker. After her high school graduation, Sossamon moved to Los Angeles where she pursued a career in dance. Even with extensive critical praise the show faced low Nielsen Ratings for the first several seasons, facing cancelation a number of times. Though born in Hawaii, she grew up in Reno, Nevada. The Amazing Race is notable in that it is one of the few reality shows to grow substantially more popular in subsequent seasons. She is of French, Native Hawaiian, Dutch, Irish, Filipino and German descent.

It only contains countries that fielded actual route markers, challenges or finish mats.. Shannyn Sossamon, born Shannon Marie Kahoolani Sossamon to Sherry Sossamon and Todd Lindberg on October 3, 1979 in Honolulu, Hawaii, is an American musician and film/music video actress. Note: The table does not include airport stopovers, such as Japan. Daft Punk. ° Vatican City fielded a Fast Forward in Season 1; however, it was neither used nor shown.. Goo Goo Dolls - 'Dizzy' (1999). While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:. Cher - 'Strong Enough' (1999).

Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. DJ Quik. All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Korn - 'Make Me Bad' (1999). In this case, after the other two teams finish, they are informed that the race is over at their next Route Marker (Joe and Bill, Season 1; David and Jeff, Season 4). Mick Jagger - 'God Gave Me Everything' (2001). On occasion, the third place team has fallen so far behind the other two teams that they cannot finish the race in a timely manner. Pepsi.

Ideally, all three remaining teams arrive at the Finish Line within a reasonable amount of time. Oldsmobile. All other teams win lesser amounts of money on a sliding scale based on their finishing order, as follows:. Kodak. The first team to reach the Finish Line wins the race and $1 million. Kmart. At the Finish Line, host Phil Keoghan and all the eliminated teams wait for the remaining teams to arrive. GAP:Khaki Swing.

Remaining teams must complete one or more tasks before receiving the clue directing them to the Finish Line. GAP:Denim:Boys Who Scratch (2001). city. Trophy presenter. The second part of the leg has teams traveling to a final destination, usually located in a major U.S. Mr.Show - Episode "Peanut Butter, Eggs, and Dice" (1997) ... This first part of the leg includes intermediate destination(s) where the teams must travel to complete a series of tasks (Alaska, United States Seasons 1 and 2; Hawaii, United States, Seasons 3, 4, and 6; Calgary, Canada, Season 5; Puerto Rico, United States, Season 7; Montreal and Toronto, Canada, Season 8). Mr.Show - Episode "Flat Top Tony and the Purple Canoes" (1997).

Three teams compete in the last leg of the race. Law and Order : SVU - Episode "Doubt" (2004) as Myra Denen. This usually results in teams who believe they are coming in last checking in at the pit stop wearing every single article of clothing they have just in case it's a non-elimination leg, making for a rather comical sight in some cases. Undiscovered (2005). In addition to being stripped of all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, teams were forced to surrender all their possessions, except for their passports and the clothes they were wearing, for the remainder of the Race. I Hate You (2005). Starting in Season 7, the penalty for arriving last during a non-elimination leg became more severe. Chasing Ghosts (2005).

Teams generally beg from locals or even the other teams during the Pit Stop to rebuild their cash reserves. Devour (2005). Additionally, the last team to arrive begins the next leg with zero dollars to their name, meaning they do not receive the money given to the other teams at the start of the leg and may not collect money during the Pit Stop. The Order (2003). These teams are required to turn over all the money they accumulated throughout the race. Wholey Moses (2003). Season 5 introduced a penalty to the team arriving last at a Pit Stop in a non-elimination leg. The Rules of Attraction (2002).

Beginning in Season 5, the statement "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" has been used on every leg with the exception of the first. 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002). In Seasons 3-4, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to arrive will be eliminated" in the first few legs, and "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" after a certain point. A Knight's Tale (2001). In Seasons 1-2, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement, "The last team to arrive will be eliminated," except in non-elimination legs. She bought all her friends boxer shorts. Racers are not told in advance which legs are non-elimination legs. GAP gave her $200 in clothing tokens for doing a Denim ad.

Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race. Josh Hartnett approved her casting for 40 days & 40 nights. Season 8 also had a double-length leg, which worked the same as Season 7's; in addition, the 2-hour finale took place over a double-length leg. She had 5 auditions for A Knight's Tale, beating Kate Hudson for the role of Jocelyn. Season 7 had another, this time with teams meeting host Phil Keoghan on the usual Pit Stop mat at the halfway point, only to have him hand them the next clue instead of checking them in. Her maternal grandmother is Hawaiian Filipino, and her maternal grandfather is English and German. The second half of the leg featured a second Detour and second Roadblock. The 'y' in her name was an adolescent addition in 1995.

The televised episode ended without a Pit Stop with a 'To Be Continued' message. Season 6 introduced the first double-length leg shown over two episodes. (Despite a flat tire, Uchenna and Joyce only finished 10 minutes behind the #1 team Ron and Kelly.) The longest amount of time Phil waited at a pit stop for the last team to arrive was more than 24 hours, due to the last team having flight problems and missing their departure time at the previous pit stop - see Season 2. The record for the shortest amount of time that Phil waited for the last team to arrive was around 10 minutes on the 11th leg of the 7th season.

Alternately, host Phil Keoghan may go out to the team's location to eliminate them if they can't/won't finish a task (Marshall and Lance, Season 5, Lena and Kristy, Season 6). Occasionally, on an elimination leg, if all other teams have checked in and the last team is very far behind, Route Markers may instruct them to go directly to the Pit Stop without completing the rest of the leg (Peggy and Claire, Shola and Doyin, Mary and Peach, all from Season 2, Michael and Kathy and Andre and Damon in Season 3). Teams normally complete all tasks and check in at the Pit Stop before they are eliminated. The winners of the third leg in Season 8 won free gasoline for life, from BP and ARCO (specifically, $1200 of gasoline a year for 50 years, which is $60,000 per winner).

In Season 7, cash and automobile prizes were awarded for the first time on some legs; unlike season 6, however, at least two legs did not have a prize awarded. In Season 6, prizes were given to the winners of every leg. In some legs, the first team to arrive wins a prize such as a vacation or camera, which they receive at the end of the race. The last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is eliminated, unless that leg of the race is one of the predetermined non-elimination legs (see below).

While a team arriving at 12:00 PM will depart at 12:00 AM, the total amount of rest time may be more than twelve hours, in which case the pit stop will be extended by 24 hour increments--such as one day and twelve hours (36 hours). Teams depart for the next leg of the race at the time they arrived plus twelve hours. During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voice-overs for the completed leg. The production staff provides food free-of-charge to the teams at the Pit Stops (food during the legs must be purchased with the money the teams receive).

Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to eat, sleep, and mingle with each other. Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race.
. The Weaver family in Season 8 was the first team in the history of the Amazing Race to be yielded twice, once by the Paolo Family, and another time by the Linz Family.

In the family edition, the show said there were only two Yields, but there was another Yield on Leg 1 that didn't make it to air. Also starting in Season 6, teams are warned about an upcoming Yield in the clue immediately preceding it. Starting in Season 6, the number of Yields was reduced from one on every leg to only three in the entire race. However, each team may be Yielded by other teams an unlimited amount of times.

Like the Fast Forward, each team may use only one Yield during the game, and only one team may use each Yield. When the yielded team arrives at the Yield, they must turn over an hourglass found on the Yield sign and wait for all the sand to drain before continuing. To do this, a team places the picture of the team they wish to yield onto the Yield sign (found near one of the Route Markers). The Yield, which was introduced in Season 5, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time.

Similarly, NFL wives Monica and Sheree of Season 4 earned the Fast Forward but only placed 4th in the first leg (behind a three-way tie for first, the only time this has ever happened on the race).
. Dennis and Andrew during Season 3 were eliminated. Joe and Bill during Season 1 arrived last but were not eliminated due to a penalty to Nancy and Emily. In the history of the show, two teams who earned a Fast Forward still arrived last at the Pit Stop.

A Fast Forward usually results in the team arriving at the Pit Stop first, but does not guarantee it. Since each team may use only one Fast Forward during the whole race, they must decide when it is most advantageous to use it. Any team that is beaten to the Fast Forward will have wasted their time and must go back and pick up where they left off. Only one team may use each Fast Forward.

To find the Fast Forward, the team must perform the task described on the Fast Forward clue, which is found along with a regular clue at one of the Route Markers. The Fast Forward allows the first team that finds it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was included in the DVD release.
. A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one.

The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for Season 8; additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people. In contrast, Season 5 featured three teams that split the Roadblocks 11-1 or 10-1. Since there normally are twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5). Beginning in Season 6, each team member may only complete a maximum of six Roadblocks throughout the entire race.

Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, i.e., "Who's really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks).

A Roadblock is a task which only one team member may perform. Should a team choose to switch Detour tasks part-way through, there is no penalty, other than naturally lost time.
. Often, there may be some degree of luck involved with the "easier" option, such that a team may accomplish the task faster than if they had taken the quicker, harder, riskier option. In later seasons, the trend has been towards Detours which offer less clear-cut choices.

One task is typically an easier option that takes more time to complete, while the other is usually a difficult or frightening option that can be finished quickly. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks described on the clue in order to receive their next clue. A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. The Route Info clues can instruct teams to go to several types of locations, including a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, and the finish line of the race.

In addition, teams may be required to take public transportation, drive a marked car, or walk, according to the clue's instructions. For example, the very first clue of the race specifies which flights teams may take. However, the clue may make specifications about how the teams have to travel. The clue usually only provides the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there.

Route Info clues instruct the teams where to go next.
. Route Markers are always colored yellow and red, with the following exceptions:. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks.

Route Markers are the flags that mark the places where teams must go. One rule that was clarified in Season 7 is that teams may not beg for money at US airports. This includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals, or selling their possessions. If a team spends all of their money or has it taken away in a non-elimination round, they may try to get more money in any way that doesn't violate the local laws.

For more on this penalty, see Non-elimination Legs. Teams were forced to surrender all collected money, would not be given any on the subsequent leg, and needed to start the next leg with zero dollars to their name. Starting in Season 5, there was a penalty for teams coming in last on a non-elimination leg. Any money left over after a leg of the race can be used on subsequent legs.

The exception to this is the purchase of airline tickets (and, in Season 8, gasoline), which the teams pay for using a credit card supplied to them by the show. (In Season 1 teams were allocated nothing during one of the legs, and in Season 4, teams were given only one dollar for each of the final two legs.) During the race, all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, supplies) must be purchased from this allowance. The amount varies from leg to leg, ranging from one dollar to hundreds of dollars. Dollars regardless of the current location of the race.

This money is usually given in U.S. At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance of cash with their first clue. The various relationship dynamics between the team members under the stress of competition is one focus of the show. Both teammates must also arrive at each Pit Stop together in order to clock in.

If one teammate becomes injured and is unable to finish the race, the team must forfeit (for example, Marshall and Lance during Season 5). Teammates must race the entire race together; they cannot split up or continue on without each other. (Nicole actually beat Christie for the title of Miss Texas USA in 2003.[1]). Several contestants from Season 5 had previously competed against one another in the beauty pageant circuit.

For example, Kris and Jon from Season 6 were long-distance daters for only a year. However, producers have shown more leniency and changed these rules in recent installments of the race. In addition, racers from different teams could not have previous acquaintances with one another. Originally, the race required team members to have a pre-existing relationship and to have known one another for at least three years.

All contestants are at least 21 years of age, except for Season 8, which featured some children and teenagers. Past team relationships include: long-time married couples, siblings (including twins), parent/child, friends (roommates, fraternity brothers, platonic friends, high school friends, lifelong friends etc), romantic partners (both heterosexual and homosexual), and couples who are separated or formerly dating. The teams represent a wide demographic of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and personal relationships. Season 8 of the race featured teams of four, but Season 9 will return to the two-person team format.

Each of the eleven teams (twelve in Seasons 3 and 4, ten in Season 8) on The Amazing Race is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. . The ninth season will begin airing on February 28, 2006. It has defeated competitors including CBS' Survivor (which was the first reality show to win an Emmy), Fox's American Idol, and NBC's The Apprentice.

For three consecutive years, (2003 to 2005), The Amazing Race was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program. Teams must then follow clues and instructions and make their way to checkpoints in places around the world, eventually racing back to the finish line in the US. The race starts in a US city. The race resembles a treasure hunt in amateur rally racing.

The race utilizes progressive elimination similar to Survivor; the last team to arrive at a designated checkpoint leaves the game. It was created by Bertram van Munster. It is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for CBS and Touchstone Television (technically making it partially a Disney show) and hosted by New Zealander Phil Keoghan. The CBS program has been on-air since 2001 and is currently in between seasons.

The Amazing Race is a reality game show normally broadcast in one-hour episodes in which teams of two or four race around the world in competition with other teams. In an article according to Backstage.com, both "The Amazing Race" and "The Amazing Race: Family Edition", separately, were among the top 10 television shows with the most product placement in 2005. Season 8 had teams driving around in GMC Yukons, visiting a BP gas station that fielded no challenge in particular, receiving clues from AOL inboxes (done in Season 6 also), and completing a challenge with Buick luxury golf carts. Season 7 featured a gnome-hunting challenge, with the gnome featured being a Travelocity Roaming Gnome.

Excessive product placement, particularly in recent seasons. USA Today shared similar opinions, adding that "the idea of being trapped in the back seat for a forced cross-country family drive comes closer to a nightmare relived than a dream come true." [7] Racers were also disappointed that they did not have a chance to travel to more exotic locations; in one episode Marion Paolo commented "Why are we going to Phoenix, Arizona for? I want to go to New Zealand!". Seeing parents yell at their children in exotic New Jersey? Not so fun." [6]. Entertainment Weekly commented that "Half the fun of The Amazing Race has always been watching the inter and intra-couple bickering that goes with being chronologically late and lost in a foreign land.

The expanded cast also made it more difficult to develop individual story lines. The main issues were the lack of international travel and watered down challenges tailored to families. Fans, critics, and racers were lukewarm over the format changes implemented in the family edition. In the two most recent seasons, Season 7 and Season 8, the winners were revealed in online betting scandals well before the airing of the final episode.

Recent betting scandals. In the latter reason however, in the case of a leg being in a poor country, penalized teams usually beg from tourists or from other teams. The second is that it is embarrassing to see Americans beg from people of Third World countries. One, is that the penalty is not sufficiently harsh enough.

The implementation of the non-elimination penalty is generally criticized by fans basically into two camps. The one other reality series that possesses this trait is The Mole. The implementation of the Yield has been criticized as taking away from the virtually unique ability of teams to control their own destiny in a reality series rather than being at the mercy of opponents as shows such as Survivor. Season 7's Fast Forward task in Leg 8 featured the same hair-shaving task as Season 5, although Season 5's was not taken.

Repetition of tasks in different seasons. Recent seasons have emphasized gross-out extreme eating contests reminiscent of Fear Factor, rather than focusing on the cultural aspect of the challenge. Design of challenges, especially food competitions. What had been clues are now more like simple directions in many cases; they remain more challenging in the final legs.

In recent seasons, there have been few actual clues for teams to decipher. For example, in Season 1 the majority of Route Markers contained clues about the next location, not specifically stating the location itself. The watering down of the clues in subsequent seasons. For example, Dennis and Erika (Season 5) had known previous racers John Vito and Jill (Season 3) for many years.[5].

In fact, many teams had connections to the producers or past contestants, trivializing the standard application process. For example, Season 5 featured only one past reality show contestant (Alison was on Big Brother) and Season 7 featured three past reality show contestants (Brian was on Fear Factor; Rob and Amber had been on multiple editions of Survivor). The stunt casting of teams where producers have tended to cast models, actors, and more recently past reality show stars. The confrontational, and sometimes abusive behaviour presented by certain players, most notably Jonathan (Season 6) and Colin (Season 5).

Nevertheless, bunching teams also adds to the unending suspense that many feel some of the earlier seasons lacked. While all versions of the Race have suffered such problems, many fans feel that recent seasons (and Season 6 particularly) had more than usual or, perhaps, necessary. Bunching, where teams are constantly grouped together due to bottlenecks such as chartered flights and pre-planned hours of operation of businesses that the teams must use to complete tasks. (For an exception, see The Amazing Race 6 In-Race Trivia.)The finish line mats are an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it.

In season 8 the mats were yellow with a black and white border. Beginning in Season 4, they would feature an ornately decorated world map. In Season 2 and Season 3, they were black with a yellow border. In Season 1, check-in mats for pit stops were representative of local cultures.

Due to the rather obvious nature of the crossing of the finish line, in later seasons several "decoy runs" have been done where teams from the final four are filmed crossing individual finish lines, to deter people from learning the identity of the winning team. Before the race actually begins, the teams are filmed running from the starting line several times, in order to get different close-ups and angles of all the teams. In doing so, the final destinations still remain a secret. However, to keep things as much of a surprise for the teams as possible, production will obtain visas from more countries than are actually on the race itinerary.

Teams need to receive travel visas ahead of time for the countries that they will be visiting. The opening credits feature scenes and locations from past and current seasons of the race. Even after the race has aired, however, the amount is still required to remain confidential. Teams receive monetary compensation for the time away from their jobs back home.

Eliminated teams are often sent to "sequesterville", a foreign location on the race where they get to relax and do some sightseeing until the race is over. Host Phil Keoghan is known to take the same flight as the teams on various legs of the race. The camera and sound crews rotate teams after each leg. [2] Occasionally, race personnel are shown to viewers, most notably during Season 7 where Brian and Greg's cameraman was shown lying on the ground after suffering minor injuries in an auto accident.

Also, for similar reasons, the show makes the point of not actually showing the crews to the point where crewmen have occasionally been digitally removed from the picture in post-production. On the program, teams are only shown requesting two tickets, so that they don't break the fourth wall. When purchasing tickets, teams must also buy them for their camera crew. Each team is accompanied by a cameraman and soundperson throughout the race.

The exact conditions that determine whether or not a time credit is awarded are unknown. However, in Season 8, two teams were stopped because of drained batteries and did not receive time credits. In early seasons, several teams were awarded time credits because of such difficulties. Sometimes, teams are delayed by production difficulties.

(See The Amazing Race 2 Trivia). However, no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation. If a team's vehicle breaks down through no fault of their own, they may request a replacement vehicle without receiving a time penalty. Through lucky guessing and help from other teams, they were able to reach the Pit Stop, but were assessed a 1-hour penalty.

One exception to this was during Season 1, when Dave & Margaretta missed the cluebox at the base of the Eiffel Tower. A team that skips a Route Marker or performs a task incorrectly usually does not receive a penalty; rather, the racers will not be able to check in at the Pit Stop and will be told by host Phil Keoghan to complete the missed tasks. As no other team has quit a Detour since then, it is unknown whether that larger penalty still exists. In Season 1, Nancy and Emily voluntarily quit a Detour and received an even larger penalty: 24 hours.

In Season 7, Rob and Amber, Ray and Deana and Meredith and Gretchen also quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty that did not start until the next team arrived at the task. In Season 6, Hayden and Aaron quit a Roadblock and received a 4-hour penalty. There is a larger penalty for quitting a task voluntarily. If a clue specifies a maximum speed, a team that exceeds that speed receives a penalty (Gary and Dave, Chris and Alex, Season 2).

Speeding. Driving away in another team's car (Don and Mary Jean, Season 6). Taking more than one clue from the clue box (Freddy and Kendra, Season 6). Taking a shortcut when the clue specifies that a marked course must be followed (Andre & Damon, Season 3).

For example, a team that takes a taxi when the clue specifies that they must walk would receive a penalty (Frank & Margarita and Joe & Bill, Season 1; Heather & Eve, Season 3; Reichen & Chip, Season 4). Using a prohibited form of transportation. This penalty is known to apply in the following cases:

    . The standard penalty for minor rule infractions is 30 minutes plus the time advantage gained (if any) by disobeying the rule.

    Teams may be forced to submit their backpacks and possessions to searches by production staff at any time. For filming purposes, team members are generally required to stay within 20 feet of each other, unless one person is performing a Roadblock. This results in the sometimes cantankerous attitude of some contestants, such as Ian (Season 3) who quit smoking just prior to the race. Racers are prohibited from smoking during the race.

    (Uchenna said this when he wanted to help Meredith with the boat in Season 7.) Otherwise, teams may assist one another in completing tasks, as seen in Season 8, where many teams had help setting up their tents, and the Linz and Godlewski teams cooperated to complete a Detour. When stated, teams may not help other teams in challenges. Teams could talk on the phone as long as they wanted, but had to end the call before getting in their cars."). As CBS's website explains, "They had the option of making one phone call to their loved ones back home before driving to the chateau.

    Teams were offered a cellular phone after completing a detour. (One exception to this rule occurred in Season 3. However, teams are allowed to stay in contact with and receive help from people they meet during the race, such as travel agents. Teams are not allowed contact with known friends, family, and personal acquaintances during the race.

    Teams are allowed to be upgraded to first or business class by the airline, as long as they only paid an economy fare (Frank and Margarita, Season 1; Reichen and Chip, Season 4; Ray and Deana, Season 7). Teams must purchase economy class tickets for airfare. Season 8's Route Markers were colored yellow, white, and black. During Season 3, the production visited Vietnam; while there, the flags used were a solid yellow, to avoid confusion with the flag of Vietnam (this change was not seen when production visited China in Season 6, though, where the national colors are similar).

    The current colors were adopted in subsequent seasons so that the teams would have an easier time spotting them. The original Route Markers used in Season 1 were colored yellow and white.

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