Consider us one of the skeptics entering The Amazing Race 29 in terms of whether or not the show could pull off this whole blind-date-minus-the-dating part twist that it had been hyping up. Instead of getting eleven teams of two this season, we instead had 22 individual players who would meet their teammates on the fly and have to race with a complete stranger. That seems terrifying, and it also feels certain that some people will probably hate each other by the end of this.
Through one episode, though, color us impressed not only with the way people chose their teammates (based on how they finished a task that required several different skills), but also how we didn’t find ourselves getting lost. There was some good casting that enabled us to identify and relate to several different teams, and the first leg in Panama was simply enough that things didn’t become entirely overwhelming.
At the risk of keeping this first Amazing Race 29 review easy to follow itself, we thought it’d be smart to simply talk about each team in the order that they finished rather than bouncing around too much.
1. Seth & Olive – The obvious winner favorite of the entire group right now. Seth finished the task first, and went ahead and picked strategically the top-ranked woman so that their strengths would balance each other. They’re a cop / fireman duo, seem very likable, and also are probably used to being around stress to the point that they’ll handle the race just fine.
2. Becca & Floyd – Easily our favorite team — their nickname is #TeamFun, after all! Former Drum Major Floyd is with a woman with a “fun meter,” and they seemed to handle the first leg without any problem and without getting into too many arguments.
3. Matt & Redmond – Their nickname is #TheBoys, which is about as boring of a nickname as you’re going to get. Redmond is a military veteran racing with a prosthetic leg, and that to date is the most notable part of their story.
4. Brooke & Scott – Our summary of this team so far is that Brooke seems to want Scott to be far less rigid than he is. He’s extremely competitive, but he also seems to have this way about him where he doesn’t want to encourage and closes himself off in the midst of tasks.
5. Shamir & Sara – One of the two teams we barely remember from the watching the episode. They weren’t terrible, and they didn’t have any obvious conflict.
6. Tara & Joey – One of the most fascinating parts of the premiere was seeing Tara choose Joey, the only guy who screwed up the first task, as her partner even though he was ranked last. It seemed to make for a wise choice through at least one episode.
7. Vanck & Ashton – Vanck is incredibly awkward and is probably more similar to us than the majority of the racers this season. Ashton is the total opposite of Vanck. The two survived the race this time, but they were a total hot mess and probably will be gone in a few weeks.
8. London & Logan – Other than their nickname #TeamLoLo, they are the other team we vaguely remember at this point.
9. Jessie & Francesca – They’s in incredible shape and easily could make it really far this season, provided they keep it together. They were one of the other interesting pairings since they were left together by default, and it came after they had tension in the initial task.
10. Liz & Michael – You’ve got an auctioneer from the south with some super-tattooed butcher dude with a giant beard. One of the oddest teams on paper, and with Michael’s personality we have a feeling that they’re going to have some conflict.
11. Kevin & Jenn – They were #TeamLongHairDontCare, and they clearly showed that they didn’t care in the first leg. They got lost heading to the Detour, and just didn’t have the drive to win the race. Sometimes, a little conflict is good — this proves it.
All in all, you’ve got a good cast that seems to, for now, justify the twist. Maybe that changes during the season, but through one episode we’re willing to say we actually like this better with the internet-stars season last year. Grade: B+.
What did you think about the Amazing Race 29 premiere? Share some of your thoughts in the comments! (Photo: CBS.)