The Amazing Race 33 lost four teams when it resumed after a year and a half break, and while the latest episode didn’t explain why each team didn’t return, we now know the reason for all of their absences.
One of the teams actually did return, but then had to leave right before the race restarted.
First, though, the two returning teams—Michael and Moe, and Arun and Natalia—came back only to be eliminated (Michael and Moe) and second-to-last (Arun and Natalia), despite seeming like they were far ahead of Akbar and Sheri.
There’s a reason for that: the two returning TAR 33 teams were forced to complete a Speedbump task that was edited out of the final episode.
Speedbumps are typically used after non-elimination legs, when the last place team is saved but then has to complete an extra task during the next leg.
The giant green ball is a giant green faux head of cabbage, and Moe told Parade what it involved:
So we had to pick who would do it. And Mike said, “Mo, you did the last one; I’ll do this one.” We’re in this muddy, muddy grass. Mike’s running around in this giant cabbage with no shoes on. We had to go from haystack to haystack, and I had to lead him there with my voice so he could knock it over. But Mike did a phenomenal job. He rolled around and put his body on the line. We did it so fast. But the only problem was just getting to that place. We got lost getting there. But I mean, once we got there, it was a breeze, and we did a great job. We did what we said; we communicated and took our time.
Moe says explicitly that he thinks that Speedbump is why they were eliminated: “If we just did the belts and got the opportunity to drive to the next place to the next place without stopping, I think ourselves and Arun and Natalia would have still been in the race. But just finding that extra task was really tough.”
As I wrote in my episode four recap, I think bringing back those teams was fair, because the race effectively restarts with every equalizer, anyway. But I don’t love this use of the Speedbump, though I can understand why it was added to the leg. It effectively puts the two eliminated teams in last place, mirroring their last-place finishes in the first two legs. But their return isn’t the same as being saved at the end of a leg. In some ways, they helped save the season by agreeing to return, and I think starting them all off without a penalty would have been just fine.
At the very least, I think the Speedbump should have been included, because it really did affect the outcome of the leg—even if it was just driving to and from there that was the issue.
Why 4 teams couldn’t return to The Amazing Race 33
Here’s why each of the four Amazing Race 33 teams didn’t return to the race.
Taylor and Isaiah Green-Jones
Married couple Taylor and Isaiah actually returned to the finish the race, but had to leave because of a death in the family. Taylor wrote on Instagram:
Now that the episode has aired, I’m able to share why we didn’t return to the race after the 19 month hiatus. My big brother/protector Montrell “Kirk” passed away from covid 2 days after we arrived for the restart of the race. As you can imagine this was devastating for our family, friends & loved ones. Without question we left the show to be back home and support our family.
In a separate message in the same Instagram post, Taylor and Isaiah thanked the producers and CBS “for working with us and making it a priority for us to get home safe to our loved ones.”
Connie and Sam Greiner
Connie and Sam didn’t return because Connie was pregnant, although the baby, Eijah, wasn’t born until December.
“We weren’t obviously able to finish the race, but we won more than a million dollars here,” Connie said in a video Sam posted to his Instagram story.
Sam said, “He is the first born baby on The Amazing Race during a pit stop.”
Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone
Anthony said in an Instagram video, “It was just a scheduling thing for me and Spencer. At the time of the reshoot we just couldn’t attend because of some other obligations.”
In his own video, Spencer elaborated on those obligations::
Unfortunately, Anthony was promoted in his job—which he was a financial consultant. And he was put into a higher position and ultimately they couldn’t let him—couldn’t afford to lose him for the time period that we would need to go back and finish the race.
I had some school that was starting and it was gonna conflict with that. And so those are the reasons. We’re really bummed out that we couldn’t make it back. Every time I watched one of the episodes it just makes me sad because I know the end result that we couldn’t go back. I felt like we were doing really good in the race and I thought we had a really good chance of winning it.
Hopefully, The Amazing Race will consider having us back for another season. I would love that. I know Anthony would love that.
Caro Viehweg and Ray Gantt
Ray and Caro were the one team we knew wouldn’t return even before the season began. That’s because, way back in July of 2020, Caro revealed that they broke up in a YouTube video.
“We’re not dating any more,” she said. “I really tried my hardest in this relationship. … I just don’t feel like was committed to the relationship how I was, and that’s why I decided to break up with him.”