CBS filled its three hours with its two best reality TV shows: Survivor and The Amazing Race. Alas, I don’t think either episode was the best candidate for a 90-minute episode.
For The Amazing Race, that’s because the teams had three extremely similar tasks to complete:
- Learn and sing three yodels (or is yodel three songs?)
- Learn and perform a song with bells
- Learn and perform a dance
Individually, these tasks were fine, and the dancing and yodeling were in beautiful spaces. But together they were extremely repetitive—the same kind of thing, over and over, team after team, no, try again, no, try again, okay, yay, let’s go, rinse, repeat.
I wonder if this leg was planned as a 90-minute leg, or if the editing had to stretch the episode to 90 minutes whenever CBS decided to split the evening. (Next week, The Amazing Race moves to 10 p.m., ugh, with its Love Island knock-off sandwiched between Survivor and TAR.)
There was no scramble this episode, so the tasks were performed in order: a Roadblock for the yodeling, and a Detour choice between the other two.
There were no route markers, but the teams did self-drive, leading to some chaos, like Luis and Michelle driving the wrong way to Innsbruck and Abby and Will following them.
Sharik said, “I don’t think I’ve ever navigated without a phone,” which is amazing to think about because when The Amazing Race started in 2001, we just didn’t even have phones with maps and GPS.
Just like last season, the teams departed in groups based on their arrival time, in 15-minute increments. The third group of four teams was 15 minutes behind the second group, and 30 minutes behind the first.
Claire and Derek left first and arrived at the Roadblock first—and then left as the second-to-last team because Claire just couldn’t get it.
When Dom finished, Claire told them, “good work!” and then gave a hilarious annoyed look at the camera.
The yodeling challenge seemed simultaneously challenging and yet easier than comparative versions: they got cue cards! But combing that style of singing and actions turned out to be very challenging, especially for Claire.
Quinton and Mattie were so far behind the entire episode that it seemed certain they’d be eliminated. Phil played with that, making them think they were out until he said, “I’m pleased to tell you you are not last.”
Tim and Rex were the ones who were ultimately eliminated. They left the yodeling Roadblock in sixth place, but dropped to the back of the pack because of their bell-ringing failures. That was a bit of an out-of-left field last-place for me, but also the winds were picking up here and maybe I was distracted and missed a key moment.
Rich and Dom arrived to Phil Keoghan’s mat in eighth place, but did not have Dom’s hat. The editing throughout the episode was not subtle reminding us that the teams needed to bring their costumes with them.
Phil’s instructions were hilariously unhelpful. “Go back and check,” he told Dom, and I was like, WHERE, PHIL, WHERE?! In all of Germany and Austria?!
Thankfully, Dom suspected she’d just left it in their car, and they went back to the garage, found it, and returned in time to only drop one position: they were ninth.
Overall, the leg had some interesting movement and lack thereof.
The top three did not have any movement after the Roadblock: Michael and Marcus left the Roadblock first and placed first, winning a trip to Peru. Glenda and Lumumba left second and placed second, and Linton and Sharik left third and placed third.
But Emily and Molly left fourth but placed seventh. And Derek and Claire started in the first group, arrived first to the Roadblock, left second to last, but caught up and placed fourth.
So despite the repetitiveness, it was not simply checking boxes and moving on, as happened a lot last season. While I’d like a more varied group of challenges, I’m glad The Amazing Race 34’s teams have the opportunity to catch up, fall behind, and/or change places.