‘The Amazing Race’ rundown: Did this season’s alliance interfere with the name of the game? (Review)


Courtesy of CBS

READY TO RACE: This season of “The Amazing Race” includes teams of Olympic gold medalists, pro-volleyball players, former NFL stars, and more! The race began with 11 strong teams and has been narrowed down to the top three. Bottom Row: left/right: Brother and sister Eswar and Aparna, Olympic athletes Kellie and LaVonne Middle Row: Left/right: dating couple Leo and Alana, best friends Cody and Nathan, sisters Kaylynn and Haley, Married couple Hung and Chee Top Row: left/right: Former NFL stars DeAngelo and Gary, dating couple Will and James, sisters Michelle and Victoria, Brothers Maddison and Riley, father and son Jerry and Frank

Travel is one of the many industries that hasn’t been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Now that less of us are able to travel, we wish we could even more. It is exciting to learn from other cultures and see things we never thought we would be able to see.

Yet there is still a way to do this all while you are stuck at home: The Amazing Race. 

The CBS show The Amazing Race not only encompasses the aspects of travel, but it does so in a clever and competitive way. This season has really taken the competitive aspect to the next level as five teams dominated the competition by forming an alliance that has also seemingly ruined it altogether. 

The Amazing Race has captured the attention of a large fanbase over the show’s 32 seasons due to its adventurous and competitive spirit. The show takes its competitors all around the world, where they find sets of clues to complete a series of challenges that ultimately test their mental and physical abilities. The race is set up into legs where the last team to complete all of their challenges for that location might be eliminated from the competition. Typically, the last leg of the race includes the final three teams flying back to the U.S. and competing for the chance to win $1,000,000. 

With a prize like that on the line, the challenges the contestants face are never easy. One unscripted challenge thrown at a majority of the competing teams this season was an alliance formed by a group of five teams early on in the race. The alliance was formed because another set of two teams had helped each other out and the rest got jealous. The teams in the alliance included married couple Hung and Chee, brothers/pro-volleyball players Maddison and Riley, boyfriends Will and James, former NFL players and teammates Gary and DeAngelo, and brother and sister Eswar and Aparna. 

The alliance grew so strong that it was even given a name, the “Mine Five,” because it formed during a leg in the race where teams had to search an old mine for hourglasses they could use later to “yield” another team, a gameplay used to slow down another team in which they would have to wait for 10-20 minutes until they are able to read their next clue. As stated before, none of the other teams knew about this alliance. 

I believe that the alliance never allowed for any other team to even have a chance in the competition. Normally, there is room for an underdog team to sneak in and claim a chance at victory, but with this alliance controlling too much of the race, it never happened.

For example, sisters Kaylynn and Haley were extremely lucky to finish last in two non-elimination legs. The alliance was fed up with their comebacks and targeted them with a yield. If there was no alliance, the yield could have been saved for a team that posed a bigger threat.

When Kaylynn and Haley’s race finally did come to an end, they were shocked when host Phil Keoghan brought it all up. In an interview by Parade.com, the sisters mentioned that they felt “betrayed” that they weren’t a part of it. 

“Now seeing the alliance play out on TV,” said Kaylynn, “it honestly makes us feel about running our own race. We feel stronger that we did it all without the help.” 

When the final five teams left were all that were in the alliance, it shrank to only three teams with a goal they reached of being the finalists. These teams included brothers Maddison and Riley, couple Will and James, and married couple Hung and Chee. 

Even though I was not in support of the alliance itself, I was hopeful that whoever won deserved the money. To me, Hung and Chee seemed the most deserving of the money. They have kids and it would be wise to save some for their future.

Hung said on a questionnaire in the cast section on CBS.com, “I am so proud of and inspired by the kind, curious and strong daughters that I’ve raised.”  

Hung and Chee, although part of the alliance, tended to be the least problematic. Will and James seemed hypocritical at times, like in episode seven Will said, “It’s not The Amazing Best Friend Race,” when they were a part of the alliance. 

In the finale episode, Hung and Chee battled in a close race with their former allies. Unfortunately, they fell short of the winnings and placed second.