The Amazing Race teams for Season 29 consist of strangers who never met each other before the starting line – a twist on the venerable CBS reality competition series that is getting mixed reactions from the fans.
Warning: The remainder of this article contains open spoilers for the first two episodes of this season.
As anyone who has been watching the hit CBS reality show since the beginning can tell you, teams on The Amazing Race usually consist of pairs with an existing relationship: siblings, for example, or boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, BFF’s. But this season will throw that tradition out the window: instead, the competing teams will be total strangers who meet each other for the first time at the starting line.
— Sam Harris (@SamHarris221) March 17, 2017
Host Phil Keoghan says it’s a twist that fans have been asking for.
“For years, The Amazing Race fans have suggested we line up complete strangers and match them up at the starting line to see what would happen. These newbie racers begin with no pre-existing relationships or emotional baggage, and the excitement of traveling around the world to complete dozens of gut-busting, mind-blowing challenges quickly ignites tension.”
On last week’s season opener, a solo competition to determined the order in which contestants get to pick their teammates. They had nothing to go on but first impressions.
Before revealing who the teams are, however, here is a list of the names, hometowns, and occupations of the contestants, courtesy of Parade.
- Olive Beauregard, 24, Providence, Rhode Island, firefighter.
- Brooke Cahmi, 26, Lynbrook, New York, attorney.
- Tara Carr, 38, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. Army officer.
- Joey Covino, 46, Boston, Massachusetts, police officer.
- Becca Droz, 26, Boulder, Colorado, rock climbing instructor.
- Liz Espey, 24, Maryville, Missouri, auctioneer.
- Scott Flanary, 34, Charlotte, North Carolina, university recruiting manager.
- Sara Fowler, 27, Baltimore, Maryland, real estate agent.
- London Kaye, 27, New York, New York, street artist.
- Matt Ladley, 25, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, professional snowboarder.
- Jennifer Lee, 25, Palos Verdes, California, model.
- Kevin Ng, 31, San Diego, California, occupational therapist.
- Francesca Piccoli, 33, Banning, California, U.S. Army.
- Floyd Pierce, 21, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, college student.
- Redmond Ramos, 28, Fremont, California, motivational speaker.
- Michael Rado, 37, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, butcher.
- Jessica Shields, 28, Youngstown, Ohio, police officer.
- Ashton Theiss, 25, Ft. Worth, Texas, real estate agent.
- Seth Tyler, 37, Seattle, Washington, police officer.
- Vanck Zhu, 28, St. Paul, Minnesota, investment researcher.
After a solo competition sent the players in search of specially-tagged luggage, the ten players who arrived first through tenth back at the starting line – with the right luggage, of course – were allowed to pick their teammates. Here is how the selection shook out, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, with each team given a name and a hashtag by the producers.
- Seth (police officer) and Olive (firefighter) #TeamAmerica
- Matt (professional snowboarder) and Redmond (motivational speaker) #TheBoys
- Shamir (banker) and Sara (real estate agent) #TheSandSExpress
- Scott (recruiting manager) and Brooke (attorney) #TeamBrookeAndScott
- Becca (rock climbing instructor and Floyd (college student) #TeamFun
- Vanck (investment researcher) and Ashton (real estate agent) #TeamVanckAndAshton
- Tara (army officer) and Joey (police officer) #TeamMomAndDad
- London (artist) and Logan (surgical consultant) #TeamLoLo
- Jenn (model) and Kevin (occupational therapist) #LongHairDontCare
- Michael (butcher) and Liz (auctioneer) #TeamLizAndMike
- Jessie (police officer) and Francesca (Army drill sergeant) #SwoleSisters
— Diego J Christian (@djchristian019) April 7, 2017
By the end of the first episode, the same dynamics that you see in regular, existing competing couples started to emerge. Power couple TeamAmerica (Seth and Olive) dominated physically and mentally, and are the team to beat. Weird couple Becca and Floyd, meanwhile, are living up to their name as TeamFun. Other teams can’t seem to get their act together: both Mike & Liz and Vanck & Ashton bickered throughout the competitions in the first episode.
The Amazing Race airs on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS.
[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]