Amazing Race 17 now taping, cast identified, includes four beauty queens

The Amazing Race 17 started production a week ago today, and already, several of the teams and their destinations have been identified.

The teams were heavily photographed when the race began last Wednesday in Boston, which is a nice change from the series of Los Angeles starts. As always, the frighteningly resourceful Reality Fan Forum posters have identified several of the teams. (The site is also compiling sightings from around the world and possible eliminations in this timeline thread, which obviously contains spoilers.)

Continuing with the beauty queen kick that the producers seem to be on (Ericka, Caite), the cast includes not one but four beauty queens/pageant winners/whatever. Four! According to the site, they are Mallory Ervin, Miss Kentucky, who’s racing with her dad; Miss South Carolina Stephanie Smith, who’s paired with her boyfriend; and Mrs. Colorado 2009 Megan Yarberry and her friend Mrs. Nebraska 2009 Jennifer Hart.

Among the other racers is YouTube star KevJumba, Kevin Wu, is racing with his father, and a team of two Princeton grads who are members of the a cappella group the Nassoons. The University Press Club has details and interviews with Connor Diemand-Yauman and Jonathan Schwartz.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.