‘The Amazing Race 21’ premiere review: The Chippendales … legends already?

We have given “The Amazing Race” a great deal of grief over the past several years for a number of reasons, whether it be the lazy casting, the incessant product placement that is not integrated in a fun or interesting way, or the challenges that are uninspired in comparison to early seasons.

However, the thing about this show is that it still does do so much right that you have to watch it, and this may have actually been one of the show’s better premieres in years. Over the course of the hour, they managed to find a number of ways to not to ridicule and/or humiliate their contestants via a pair of roadblocks, and they were at least things we have not seen before.

1. First, teams had to beat a brilliant ping-pong player in Shanghai … who also happened to be only 10 years old. This kid not only destroyed every single person that he faced off against, but eventually he ended up downgrading to using pans, clipboards, and even the clue for the task against some of these people.

2. Then, the teams had to eat the Fallopian tubes of a frog. It was in this moment that we actually learned something about our new favorite team in Chippendales Jaymes & James: they are completely ridiculous and also legendary. The guy (we don’t them apart yet) actually devoured this faster than any person than we have ever seen in an eating challenge before. It’s two bad this isn’t the hot-dog eating contest on the Fourth of July.

Through these first two tasks, we got some general impressions of some of the teams. We had some generic couples that we will never remember, a heavy-metal friend and his buddy (in James & Mark) who were surprisingly strong, some superfans in Gary & Will, and two twin sisters in Natalie & Nadiya who are really loud and seem primed to be entertainment gold for the rest of the season. Rob & Kelley win the “WTF?” moment of the episode, as they failed to read their clue right on the Fallopian tubes in the second challenge of the whole season. They did still manage to finish a respectable fifth place, though.

As for our first-place team, it was really pretty hilarious. Yes, a general couple in Abbie & Ryan won the leg and now have a chance at winning $2 million if they win the whole race. But, it was how they got it that advantage that was entertaining: during a task to find an abacus, they were actually told of its location by by Amy (the contestant with two artificial legs) and Daniel. Then, they ended up passing them in the end. This abacus task really caused a ton of trouble for some teams who had no idea what an abacus was, especially our beloved Chippendales, who managed to struggle so much that we were not quite sure that they were ever going to find it. As a matter of fact, they barely did and our pre-show winners were nearly sent out first. Instead, it was older couple Rob & Sheila who were sent home. Their biggest mistake was that they listened to bad advice, and then couldn’t run fast enough in the very end. It was a good way to end the season regardless, mostly because it’s rare that you have a footrace decide the order of things so early.

What did you think about this premiere, and do you have a favorite team? If you want to look back at some of our predictions for the season as a whole, you can do so by reading the story over at the link here.

Photo: CBS

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