Amazing Race doubles its prize to $2 million; teams identified, including reality stars, Chippendales dancers

The Amazing Race 21‘s teams will be competing for a prize that has doubled to $2 million for the winning team. Those teams, and the cities they visited during filming earlier this summer, have also been identified, though not yet confirmed by CBS.

The increase in the prize money, revealed in the preview below that CBS released late last week, is inexplicable to me. Why would an aging series that has already been creatively weak over the past few years (more pre-planned travel between legs, shorter legs, fewer opportunities for things to go awry, et cetera) spend more money on the prize, of all things? Sure, the $1 million prize hasn’t increased in the past decade, and since each team member wins $500,000, this technically brings the show up to the level of Survivor instead of Big Brother. But changing the prize money isn’t going to draw new viewers. Perhaps it’ll generate a few headlines, but is that worth $1 million?

I’m curious if Survivor Philippines will also get an increase, or if the prize here is something different than cash, such as an annuity, like America’s Got Talent’s prize.

Meanwhile, as usual, the wonderfully obsessed stalkers at Reality Fan Forum have again tracked this season, which filmed from the end of May until mid-June. All of their location and other spoilers are in one post, and the 11 teams have also been identified. (By the way, the last time I referred to the RFF posters as “stalkers,” some humorless people thought I was criticizing them, instead of being impressed by their talents, because those humorless people are humorless and also don’t understand that tracing people’s steps around the world from one’s computer is pretty much stalking.)

Anyway, the teams include reality stars, though not Russell Hantz and Dick Donato, thankfully. Instead, it’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (their show aired two seasons on Planet Green, and will air its third on Cooking Channel).

Also on this season, according to the site: Megadeth and White Lion bassist James LoMenzo and his manager, two Chippendales dancers, and two married monster truck drivers.

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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.