Kyle has made his judgements!
I scored all the races on the following four categories:
Tasks are the meat of The Amazing Race- You can still technically have a show without them, but it's not nearly as satisfying, and it takes a lot more work to make it good.
I'm not tuning in to the finale to see Colin and Christie finish a full week ahead of the next best team. Stuff needs to happen on the final leg!
The winners need to earn their prize. It's bad enough when a good team gets lucked out of first when there's nothing more than $10,000 or a vacation on the line. To have a team screwed by luck when there's $1 million at stake? That's the makings of a really bad season.
Anything that made a leg good or bad that doesn't belong in the other three categories goes here.
A decent final leg, though there are issues right from the start with far too many flight connections to reach the final destination city. A 10 hour layover in San Fransisco is especially ridiculous, and leaves me worrying that the team that eventually wins the race will be the only team that has managed to stave off going comatose with all that downtime.
The Detour leaves a lot to be desired. The sticks task is luck, which has no place in the finale, and the Stones task, while valiant in its aims, will turn into a 10 round game of follow the leader as teams guess their way through stones without even leaving the museum. Remember the flower selling task in Amazing Race 10? The same thing will happen as teams get too paranoid to leave each other alone with everything on the line.
The same sort of effect occurs on the Friendship Bridge. It's a great idea, but with so much at stake, I'd be shocked if any team penned more than one line before hurrying onwards. It needs a mandatory waiting time, which would serve to force teams to reflect, and add some tension if teams should arrive close to each other.
The leg gets saved somewhat at the first Roadblock, which is certainly better than anything else offered up so far.
The wing walking, while interesting and almost certainly race defining as one racer is sure to battle a fear of heights, has nothing to do with Idaho.
A second memory challenge is a good idea, however 30 tiny badges is far too demanding of racers. Lower the number of badges, unless you want teams to be working at it in excesss of 4 hours.
I yawned all the way through it. The Detour was a pointless time waster that you could have skipped and instead secured an earlier flight to get more daylight hours for shooting in Chicago.
The Oprah task left a bitter taste in my mouth. When I'm watching a competition for a million dollars, the last thing I want to happen is have all the flow broken up for a little chat with a retired talk show host that I was never a fan of to begin with. The handing out of prizes was lame, unless the racers are expected to carry them to the Pit Stop to be able to keep them, which would be interesting, if a little slapstick.
Thank God you put a puzzle in for the next clue, otherwise this leg would have been all down to the luck task. Speaking of- And I want everyone from WRP, RFF, CBS and any other organisation to do with The Amazing Race that might be reading- LUCK TASKS DO NOT BELONG IN THE FINAL LEG. If I want to see someone win a lot of money because they got lucky, I'll start following the results of the lottery.
The Antique store task is an interesting premise, but has the same problems as the 30 badges task. If it was me racing, I'd probably take one look at the store and decide the 4 hour penalty is definitely the better option.
The Planetarium is a nice spot to finish over the water, and has a lot of room for a dramatic run for the line.
As a final word, your mention of finishing in the top 3 for the last 5 rounds only leaves me thinking "So? Eric and Jeremy placed in the top two for every leg bar one and they didn't win squat."
I liked this leg. The difficult clues set the pace well and the message finally seems to have come through- Make the winners earn it. Timing was also good, you gave the crew plenty of time to film in daylight.
The first Roadblock felt a bit drab. I get that Budweiser is a big thing in America, but the rest of the world knows that American beer is terrible anyway, and caring for livestock just seems so basic. If you feel like you can't get through an entire episode without popping out for a coffee break, the brewery is your time to take it.
The pizza task felt more like a time waster than anything else. Is there really an opportunity for a team to make up time on something as basic as sprinkling cheese and oregano on a pizza base? I doubt it, unless one of the teams is missing a few limbs, in which case they deserve the prize just for making it that far.
Fortunately, things get better with Rock Climbing, although I'm sure the camera guys will stare wistfully at any windows and wish they could be shooting it outside, where they can get shots of cliffs or oceans or something to make it look more impressive.
The task at the barracks is certainly unique, and I think it works very well, despite its simplicity.
I like the final clue being so difficult and indirect. It definitely allows for some shuffling of places
in the final dash for the finish as teams debate whether to trust their instincts, local help, a cabbie,
or the internet.
I will offer this for the designers: Kyle is the Simon Cowell of Australia's Got Talent, his role is to be the mean judge. As such, I have searched tirelessly for things in each leg to pick on.
That means if there was very little (or nothing) said about an aspect of the leg, it probably means it was well designed, and I couldn't find something about it to hate.