With your host, Miss Cilla Black.
11. Bergen & Kurt – Blond Gays : 8th place
So yes, emboldened by the success of the Mallory & Mark mega-pairing that took All-Stars 3 by storm (LOL) the gimmick this season was that five of this season’s eleven teams would never have met one another before. But, wait, there’s MORE. Not only were they complete strangers, there would be an added layer of sexual awkwardness, as the teamings would be arbitrarily deemed to be “dating”, with Phil asking them every 5 seconds if they were doing it yet. You will be surprised to hear that this approach has not yet yielded any marriages, but apparently they’re doing it again next series so FINGERS CROSSED!!! Anyway, Bergen and Kurt were the nadir of this gimmickry as they hated one another on sight, were barely talking to one another by leg 3, and then Kurt basically quit in the middle of leg 5 to end the horror. Non-Stop awkward silences! TV GOLD! They lose further points for stealing Tim & Marie’s “SURPRISE! WE GOT ENGAGED!” fake-out prank after the race, retroactively making it slightly less awesome.
10. Laura & Tyler – SoCal Bougies : Winners
He invented a gaming app that revolves around turning social interaction into fun games! She’s the talent booker for a morning show covering entertainment to cooking and everything in-between! They’re both probably friends with somebody in casting already and somebody should maybe looking into making it less obvious that this show is becoming a way for CBS staff members to funnel millions of pounds to their friends! They’re both kind of stuck on themselves in the most boring way possible! Woo!
9. Jeff & Lyda – Dating Flight Attendant & Pilot : 11th place
These two knew one another beforehand, in that she was the flight attendant on his flights for sixteen years before he finally summoned up the courage to ask her out. Which makes them sound a lot more interesting than they actually are. I at least admire their dogged insistence on trying all day to try to get their Japanese electropop dance routine down despite the fact that it was clearly dooming them to an early elimination. That it almost didn’t is truly tribute to the haplessness of…
8. Libby & CJ – Dating 10 Years And She’s Getting Impatient : 10th place
Imagine the ignominy of your on-show edit culminating on you getting eliminated because you stopped to take a selfie and as a result missed your train. And then America having to wait nigh-on two months to find out that selfies were in fact mandatory every leg for a final leg task (yeah, this season was shit wasn’t it?) by which point the impression that you’re doopid is too ingrained to shake off. To be fair, these two did a lot of other dumb stuff as well, but to be honest, their gimmick feels incomplete without a shot of her face on the sidelines as Matt proposed to Ashley. If only they’d lasted a little longer.
7. Jelani & Jenny – Type A Lawyers : Runners-Up
These two didn’t really like one another either, but unlike with Kurt and Bergen it was kind of funny because he was absolutely terrified of her and she made no secret of the fact that she was prepared to drag him bodily by the trouser-leg all the way to the finish line if that’s what it took for her to win. Still, as with Kurt and Bergen their complete lack of chemistry made for a lot of shallow conversations and bland strategy talk and not a lot of heart or humour.
6. Aly & Steve – Dating Olympians : 6th place
Not only were the rules on the teams actually having to know one another removed almost entirely this series to try to nick viewers off The Bachelor, the rules regarding how long the “pre-existing relationships” had to have lasted for were apparently the baby that went out with the tepid bathwater, as these two met at the Gay-Hate Winter Olympics in Sochi and then dated for a couple of months before trying out for the Amazing Race. As such the relationship still felt kind of at the “feeling one another out” stage where they were worried to really snap at one another, and that combined with their All-American-Athlete blandness made for a fairly quiet edit. That is until Namibia, when she went absolutely mental for no narrated reason at all, snapping and crying and bashing her head off things as he looked on, vaguely confused. Whether it was being at the back of the pack, or the general chaos of an Africa leg, or just her hitting the wall, briefly they were interesting. For two legs. Which this season, was enough for 6th place, good job.
5. Matt & Ashley – Dating Hairstylists : 5th place
On paper, these two seemed like a prototypical bickering aggro couple. The swagger, the stubble, the bandana, the accents…it felt like we were on for another season of passive-aggressive sniping of the word “babe”. And yet in practice Matt and Ashley were rather sweet and their mid-race showy proposal was one of the few not to make me cringe out loud. Whether it was her constant indefatigability or his macho exterior cracking into a femmy flail of panic (seriously I think that LadyBoy Showgirls task may have…unlocked something deep within him) every time they failed a task, or forgot their bags, or got lost, but they were cool with me. They also somehow managed to be hairstylists on reality tv who didn’t turn up looking like background extras from The Fifth Element, so well done for that as well.
4. Jonathan & Harley – Dating Former Boy Band Member & Personal Trainer : 9th place
YES, THAT JONATHAN! JONATHAN KNIGHT! FROM THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCKS! HE’S BACK, AND HE’S A GAY MAN NOW! AND HE’S BROUGHT HIS BOYFRIEND! To be honest, NKOTB were a little before my time so I never knew before he turned up twitching and grinning nervously that I’d be glad to see that he’s doing fine, and succesfully come out of the other end of whatever closeted post-showbiz hell he’s been living in for the last 15 years, but somehow I found myself a little touched by his tale of survivorhood. Would that all closeted boyband members could find their Harley. In a way I’m sad we only got four episodes of the greatest love story ever told but on the other hand Jonathan was clearly riding the edge of an anxiety meds meltdown the entire time so it’s probably for the best. Still, YOU GO JONATHAN KNIGHT! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
3. Mike & Rochelle – Dating Truckers : 4th place
Nothing from this season will be as enduring as the hashtag these two were granted : Truck Stop Love. Sounds like both a porno AND a Dolly Parton album right? Anyway, the gimmick here was that they’d been dating for 7 months and she hadn’t yet made the decision of whether to introduce him to her children yet. Towards the end she seemed to have warmed to the idea but I doubt it was due to much that happened on the race, unless it was his laid-back personality as she single-handedly carried the team through all 12 legs, chopping up meat, repairing motorcycles and ruling shuffleboard as he sweated (a lot) awkwardly in the background. Rochelle was a legitimate bad-ass and I’m sorry it wasn’t enough to carry them further than the hopefully-soon-to-be-dumped mid-final elimination. If you’ve made the final it’s only fair that you be allowed to finish the thing out, no?
2. Jeff & Jackie : Accountant & Showgirl – 7th place
So yes, despite my distaste for the gimmick, my two favourite teams this season were blind dates. Jeff and Jackie were the apex really of what could go right with a televised blind date, in that they seemed to have chemistry, of a sort. To be honest, I think Jackie could have “chemistry” with a dado rail, and his gawkiness combined with her…pep meant that the team as a whole gave off the air of one of those well-worn US sitcom storylines where someone comes back to their High School reunion and uses an escort as a pretend girlfriend. I for one was invested in Jeff and Jackie’s Las Vegas romance and their untimely elimination in Monaco was the first time in a long time I’ve felt a genuine wrench at watching a team leave. I hope they went off and had a lovely time on the slots.
1. Hayley & Blair : Doctor & Nurse : 3rd place
These two on the other hand showcased the absolute worst a blind date could possibly go, and were all the more entertaining for it. I’m not sure if the producers knew it when they paired them up, but the dynamic between Hayley (the nurse) and Blair (the doctor) was the absolute worst possible for the Amazing Race in that he would not listen (ever) and she would not shut up (ever). Cue in 11 legs of her being right, him being wrong, him not listening, them going wrong, then her immediately evaporating any audience support this might build up for her by SCREAMING LIKE A SHREW about it for the entire leg. Then in the final leg, when he finally listened to her (because he was forced to, let’s not let him off the hook here, she was the only one who got to even see the clue), she was wrong, and cost them the entire race. OOPS! You could not have storylined the Blair and Hayley story better if you’d tried, except if maybe Blair had found true love with someone else, possibly Bergen. Also he was the hottest guy they’ve ever had on the show AND A DOCTOR, there I said it, come at me and tell me I’m wrong.