The Amazing Race 28’s “starting line live stream event” began more than an hour late, and wasn’t actually filmed at the start line.
Instead, it was a stop along the first leg, in Mexico City, where host Phil Keoghan stood next to a clue box containing instructions about their first detour—and where teams interrupted their race to do shout-outs. The start time was repeatedly changed on CBS.com, from 10:30 ET, to 11 ET, eventually to 11:45, because the teams had not yet arrived at the location.
Because teams were sighted at different airports with their backpacks, it seems possible that there wasn’t a formal start, but that teams started at the same time from different locations and flew to Mexico City. The Amazing Race sleuths at Reality Fan Forum, which track the race in real time, speculate that there was a virtual start.
In other words, for a season cast entirely with social media stars, the race might have started via social media.
As of this morning at 6:30 ET, Facebook showed that the video had just over 21,000 views—which means the millions of collective fans these social media stars have not yet watched. (Update: at 8:25 p.m. ET, it had just over 55,000 views, and that includes people who’ve watched for three seconds or more, including scrolling past it in their news feed.)
The live broadcast’s best moment came at the end. Phil Keoghan acknowledged Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, France, noting that the race recently visited France, and said, “We can’t just all go and hide away when something like this happens. We’re thinking about everybody in France and we have to continue to travel, we have to continue to do all the things that come with freedom.”
The Amazing Race live in Mexico City
The 16 minutes of shaky cell phone video start with a team running up to Phil and a clue box, and as he’s telling them they’re the first team to arrive, as if this is some kind of conclusion, another team runs up to the clue box, effectively becoming the first team to get their clue.
Because the stop took place after dark at The Monument of the Revolution in Mexico City, which has a fountain in front of it, it’s challenging to see and hear. It does, however, give one appreciation for the chaotic conditions under which the production crew operates.
As other teams rush in to get their clues—the teams are all on top of each other—the live streaming camera operator follows one team as they start to read their detour clue. Right as it gets interesting, the person filming goes back to Phil, who apologizes for the delay and starts to explain.
Then it really goes downhill, as a team arriving interrupts Phil yelling, “are we live on Facebook?” Another team runs in and interrupts and starts doing shout-outs to people.
“Keep going: You’re racing,” Phil says.
So, yes, teams interrupted their race to say hi on social media. Then again, some seem thrown by Phil’s presence, which makes sense, because he doesn’t usually show up mid-leg.
“It’s always chaotic,” Phil explains, and is interrupted yet again by a team doing shout-outs. One of them says: “This is crazy but we’ve got to keep racing.”
Later, Dana, a member of the team that actually identified itself (Matt and Dana), says, “We’re so excited! We’re finally running The Amazing Race.” Again, they’re not running, they’re stopping to talk to the Internet. Phil has to tell them: “Number-one rule on the race: read your clue.”
All the teams except one are in and out within seven minutes. That leaves the rest of the live stream for Phil to interview a fan, talk about the show, and answer questions—except for the Q&As, he has to leave so that only lasts for two minutes.
Phil does have the live stream camera operator show one of the two-person The Amazing Race crews that follow the teams around. But as he stands there, looking a little bewildered and extraneous to the action, he says, “This is just really chaos. Let’s be honest.”
That he has to keep telling people “it’s race time” seems like a product of the live-streaming event, but also a terrible omen for a cast of social media stars who are hyper-conscious of their image and have earned their place on the race by playing to cameras.