Pre-race behind the scenes interview!! Amazing Race’ Season 13 teams are announced
Finally! After almost seven months of waiting, Season 13 of “The Amazing Race” (”TAR” 13) is drawing near. Sunday, Sept. 28, is the premiere, so set your TiVos now. In the meantime, check out our video with host Phil Keoghan shot in January 2008, where he highlights his Top 5 countries from past “TAR” seasons.
CBS has done us all a favor and posted the “The Amazing Race” 13 cast bios, so we can start making predictions about just who will melt down with a “My ox is broken, and I hate you!” first. But I’m going to give everyone some extra info on this season’s teams — or rather my opinions, after spending about 20 minutes with each of them last April at a behind-the-scenes CBS media event, just before they headed out on the race.
When I met them, all the teams had seen one another, but each team had a handler preventing them from talking to one another, so just as I was speculating about each of them, many of them were guessing about one another and probing to see if there was any dirt I could share on their competition. So now, in no particular order, here are the “TAR” 13 teams, as I see them.
One of the most interesting things about Terence and Sarah was the fact that almost every other team said they were the ones to worry most about. The tracksuits and Terence’s runner’s physique were obviously intimidating factors. Sarah having to leave her BlackBerry behind was definitely a top concern on her list. They claimed to have a “never quit” attitude, and they listed Latvia and Argentina as countries they hoped the race would take them to. Terence and Sarah didn’t strike me as teammates who would be completely combative, nor completely harmonious while racing. They had confidence and a competitive edge, but then again, what team on this show doesn’t start out that way? I’m not sure how they’ll place, but unless they get hopelessly lost or miss a flight, I think they’ll be part of the race for a while.
Like it or not, you can always count on CBS to give us a pair of cute blonds wearing pink, and in Season 13, the team is Marisa and Brooke. Am I the only one who’d like the blonds to show up wearing all black with a bunch of tattoos, for variety’s sake? Well, that’s not the fault of Marisa or Brooke, best friends who were prepared to “lie, cheat and steal” if that’s what it takes. And of course flirt — they were more than willing to play up a ditzy perception if it meant it would get them further in the race. These two were hoping to visit Italy and Greece, as well as get in some skydiving and bungee-jumping, we’ll see how they fare after a lack of sleep and some bug dishes. Marisa and Brooke didn’t want anyone to have preconceived notions about them, but while they were certainly friendly and nice, nothing about this team indicated they’d go beyond the “team pinks” we’ve seen in previous seasons. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I don’t know if they can do it.
Someone already nicknamed Andrew and Dan “Team Superbad” and I’m happy to go with it. These guys were one of my favorite teams to meet — they were funny, somewhat geeky and absolutely entertaining, a casting director’s dream. A little overconfident, these two were already thinking that they’d “blow the cash in Vegas” if they won the race. Dan says he’s persuasive, and hopes he can use that to get locals to help them when needed, and he’s good at sports and geography, both of which will prove useful if it wasn’t all talk. Andrew said he’s observant, personable, and has a good visual memory, which will prove helpful on any puzzle challenges they’re bound to come across. They both want to go somewhere off the beaten path while racing, and claimed they plan to try to get some of the “girl teams” to do the wrong thing and won’t fall prey to flirtation. We’ll see … as enjoyable as these two were, and as much as they seem to bring to the race, I think overconfidence may be their downfall.
My photo caption for Aja and Ty is “The couple least likely to fall apart.” Of all the dating teams this season, these two have it together the most. They said they’re “not naive. Bickering will happen…,” which was one of the reasons I think they’ll do well. There’s no denial about the pressures of competing on the race, but the two have a genuine affection for each other. They’re looking for competition (although they prefer not to visit anyplace too cold … good luck with that), and would love things to come down to a last-minute foot race so they can prove themselves. Yemen was tops on their list of countries to visit, and as for previous racers, they enjoyed Nate and Jen for “entertainment value.” That’s putting a positive spin on it! I think Aja and Ty can do really well on the race, and I certainly hope they prove my instincts right.
Mark and Bill were the first team I met, and while I don’t know if they’ll win the race, they’re the ones I’m rooting for most at the start of the game. These guys are just plain fun to talk to, and couldn’t wait to get going. Big competitors, these friends love games and plan to bluff and compete with the best of them. They share my view of “TAR” — which is you can play the game, and treat it like the race it is, and still act respectful toward the teams you’re (you hope) leaving in your dust. Bill hopes to see New Zealand, and is the strategic one on the team, while Mark is the poker player who hopes his bluffing skills will come in useful. These two know their biggest weakness is their physical condition (not in the best of shape at the time we met) but planned strategically, bringing the lightest, most efficient packs possible, and practiced for the race in advance, doing things like convincing everyone in a line to let them go first, etc. I hope they go far, because I think they’ll be one of the most fun teams to watch.
The parent-child team dynamic proved fraught with tension last season as Ron and Christina learned to get along, but I don’t think the mother-son combo of Toni and Dallas will have the same problems. While Toni is learning to let her 22-year-old son go a little, and hopes that the race will help her stop telling him what to do all the time, this pair has an obvious love for each other, and are just as happy teasing each other as giving praise and affection. Dallas hopes to get to Africa or Egypt, and the only thing he wants to avoid is a challenge involving snakes. Toni got a trainer to help prep for the physical activities, but will leave as many of those as she can to Dallas, while being ready to take on the food challenges herself.
Nick and Starr are a very close brother-sister team — so close that he’s dating her best friend, and has no problem complimenting Starr’s beauty, and hopes her good looks will be an added advantage while racing. They’re definitely competitive with each other, and think some sibling bickering may rear its ugly head, but ultimately are confident their close relationship will be a benefit. As for strategy, they think alliances are an important part of the race, and thought Mark and Bill looked like a good team to try to work with. They admire former racers Rob and Amber for their ability to “think of any possible advantage” and plan to split all the work and tasks 50-50, with the exception of driving. I think they’ll make it to at least the middle of the race, but I wish they had seemed more genuine, and less ready with sound bites when we met.
Just like there’s always a blond team, you’ll always find one older team on “The Amazing Race,” and this season it’s Anita and Arthur, the blueberry farmers-beekeepers from Oregon. Just as sweet as you would expect, I don’t think these two are long for the race. Vegetarians, they already were concerned about food challenges, and viewed going on the race as “world-class, serious, fun” (as compared with the competition it is). Among a list of many countries they hoped to see on the race were Tibet, Nepal, and Mongolia, and I certainly hope they get the chance to see them. I came away from meeting Anita and Arthur with the impression that as nice as they were, they lacked the competitive nature and drive to keep them in the race for more than a leg or two.
Another team determined to be the first all-female team to win on “TAR,” Kelly and Christy definitely trained hard (they used packs) and have a lot of drive, but I remain unconvinced they’ve got a real shot. Although it was in jest, they did mention they hoped they’d have the opportunity for a mimosa while on the race, which makes me wonder just how willing they’ll be to get grimy as needed. They think their biggest downfall is that sometimes their emotions override their goals, so I hope they manage to keep that in check. They hope to go to Fiji and New Zealand (who doesn’t?) while racing, and hope skydiving is on the challenge list. I hope they do well, but in all honesty I doubt they’ll be part of the final three teams racing for the final prize.
Ken and Tina. What can I say about this couple? Married, but separated for reasons including his infidelity (it’s in the bio, people, I’m not just gossiping), they actually told me they think the race will help bring them back together. Sigh. Really? How many times have we seen couples who are starting on a solid foundation fall apart under the stress of the race? Does anyone really think that a myriad of physical challenges, severe lack of sleep, cultures you’re not used to, and no time away from each other is a good form of therapy? Oh right, Tina and Ken do. To their advantage, they are both in great shape and have done lots of traveling (and hope to see Patagonia, Israel and Africa on the race). I actually think they may be in the race for a while — they’ve got strength and a competitive drive going for them — but I think these two are this season’s Nate and Jen … I’m prepared for lots of arguing when they’re on my TV screen.
Another couple using the race as “therapy you can’t pay for” (they said it, I didn’t) is Anthony and Stephanie. And while I’m suspect of anyone using the race as couples therapy, I did like these two. They definitely have issues (he thinks she’s controlling, she says she’s just opinionated; she dislikes former racers Rob and Amber for being “too cocky,” he thinks cockiness is required in competition), but they know what they are, and have a sense of humor about themselves (at least when they’ve had a decent night’s sleep). Stephanie’s planning on taking on zip-lining or skydiving. (He’s afraid of heights. And deep water, so she’ll do any required diving too.) But Anthony is ready for any eating challenge thrown at them. And, as it says in the bio, if they make it through the race, Anthony’s ready to propose (always good to hang your future on how well you do on a reality show). I wonder just how hard CBS is hoping for that to happen on camera!
So that’s it … your teams for “TAR” 13! Remember, all of these impressions are based on about 20 minutes per team, so just wait to hear how opinionated I get once the race actually starts! See you back here Sunday, Sept. 28 — and root for Mark and Bill or Aja and Ty!
Editor’s note: Follow this link to watch the official CBS video preview trailer of “The Amazing Race” 13
- Maret Orliss, senior programming manager for Los Angeles Times Events
[Photos and video: CBS]http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/amazing-race-13-team-2543/