The Amazing Race 17 Winner

In an anticlimactic conclusion, with Nick & Vicki several hours behind everybody the whole time, The Amazing Race 17 Episode 11 narrowed the teams down to the final three: Jill & Thomas, Brook & Claire, and Nat & Kat. Two of these teams are all female teams, leading to the belief that finally an female team can win the race (at least in the US version… Zabrina & Joe Jer won The Amazing Race Asia Season 1). For a change, we have strong female teams. I’d argue that both of these teams are better than Jill & Thomas, who don’t seem like much of a team, still seemingly unable to admit that Jill is actually part of the team after all this time.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Jill & Thomas – 3:57AM
Second: Brook & Claire – 4:23AM
Third: Nat & Kat – 4:27AM

As if the pink outfits Brook & Claire weren’t ridiculous enough, for the final leg of the race, they break out the cheetah pants. If nothing else, they will be remembered for their style, of sorts.

Teams will now fly more than 6000 miles to their final destination city, Los Angeles, CA. All three teams should be fairly familiar with the area, as they either live or at one point lived in CA. With everybody leaving at roughly the same time, they are all on the same direct flight. Once there, they will travel to the Port of Long Beach.

Upon arrival at the port, they are welcomed to the drop zone. They will be using this cargo port’s cranes for a 150 foot bungee jump. Nat already cried just from riding a gondola, so leaping toward the water attached to a rope is probably not going to set well with her. Neither Brook nor Jill are happy to see this either. Much ado about nothing. Unlike some of the quitters from previous seasons, everybody just sucks it up and jumps, in spite of the panic, crying, and very loud yelling.

They will now be taking a helicopter to a surprise destination, the Rose Bowl. The road block is to decorate three sections of a float, which is deceptively difficult, or so Phil tells us.

Road block (in order of arrival): Nat, Thomas, Brook

Jill & Thomas have been working the road blocks so that the last one was saved for him. They realize that, considering the task, that was probably not the best strategy. Nat doesn’t consider herself very crafty, but she does stuff like this on occasion. Brook, meanwhile, is jumping up and down at the opportunity to do this. This is all moot. Everybody finishes in the order in which they arrived.

Teams must now figure out the answers to the three questions provided, and then make their way to that location. The trick is going to be to find someone with a computer. For some reason, Thomas grabs the phone from Jill, not wanting her to talk. Apparently her asking these questions is too much for her to handle. Turns out that nobody at the dispatch office has a computer, and for that matter, their cab driver speaks less English than most of the foreign drivers they have dealt with. Nat & Kat figure out the riddle, but now they need an address. Brook & Claire just drive to a hotel. Seems like a better idea because they can do the work themselves. They are able to figure out the answers. Meanwhile, Jill & Thomas decided to ditch their cab driver, who thinks his GPS is a computer. After wandering around for a while, they hop back in the same cab, clueless what they’re supposed to be doing.

Connecting with a dispatcher with a clue, Nat & Kat figure it out first. The final task takes place at Quixote Studio, where they will look at TV screens of 48 people wearing hats. 11 of those people were the greeters who welcomed them into the pit stop. I’m not sure I would have been paying close enough attention. Not only must they remember the greeters, but then they must put them in the correct order. Nat & Kat wisely wrote down all the legs, so they pull out their notebooks. This will help them keeping the legs in the right order, although it won’t help with identifying the greeters.

On their first attempt, Nat & Kat correctly identify all the greeters. Since nobody else has even shown up yet, it’s pretty safe to say we are looking at the winners, whether they try to throw us off with traffic or not. Brook & Claire arrive and solve their puzzle, completely in love with Bob Eubanks.

Greystone Mansion is the finish line. The first female team to win The Amazing Race and The Amazing Race 17 winners are Nat Strand & Kat Chang. Well deserved victory. Nat is happy to have demonstrated that people with diabetes can be active. Brook & Claire finish in second place, having laughed their way around the world. That puts Jill & Thomas in third place.

The Amazing Race 18 will be back in February for an all star season, or at least a second chance season (hard to call some of these teams all stars). Joining the 21st century, the season will be the first to air in HD.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 11

In spite of Nick being a whiny quitter in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 10, Nick & Vicki were nonetheless not eliminated and lived to fight another day (and hopefully not any more than that).

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Nat & Kat – 4:37PM
Second: Jill & Thomas – 4:47PM
Third: Brook & Claire – 5:26PM
Fourth: Nick & Vicki – Last to depart

Teams will now fly 1300 miles to Seoul, South Korea. When they land, they will drive themselves to the North Korean border, where they will hopefully not be shot at (they are warned: do not cross the border). Rather than going to the airport, Brook & Claire just book a flight from the hotel, while wearing their very pink outfits. It looks like they will get on the same flight as the first two teams, who do book at the airport. Even though Phil no longer mugs people at the pit stop, that’s not stopping Nat & Kat from begging for money to buy a travel book.

We are only provided a thoroughly cryptic description that Nick & Vicki are the last to depart (gee, I didn’t know that). In spite of the glimmer of hope from the airport agent, it’s safe to assume they are the only team not getting on that first flight. The first flight that they missed left at 12:25AM, so they will be getting the 9:30 flight instead, putting them more than 9 hours behind, with no realistic hope of anything but elimination. As much time as the other teams had to kill, if Nick had just made an effort rather than laying down and dying, they would all be on the same flight. Nick promises that he will start treating Vicki right. I heard that lie before.

Their first stop is the Seungil Bridge. Any time you see a bridge on this show, you’d better be prepared for something adventurous. They don’t have to jump off it, though. They just have to do some white water rafting underneath it, which will take them to a Humvee, which will bring them to the US Army Base at Camp Casey.

The road block is to find a soldier with a headband that matches the one they have, while trying to not get hit by the people practicing martial arts. If they are incorrect, they will have to go back and get a different one.

Road block (in order of arrival): Thomas, Brook, Kat

From there, they will travel via subway to Seoul World Cup Stadium. Jill & Thomas grab the first subway, with the two female teams grabbing the next one.

The detour is a choice between full throttle or full bottle. In full throttle, they will speedskate a two person relay for 24 laps. In full bottle, they will deliver 6 giant ginseng roots, then drink bottles of ginseng tonic.

Full throttle: Jill & Thomas, Nat & Kat, Brook & Claire

Luckily for Jill, Thomas knows to read the clue, because he makes sure they do not take a cab (subway or walking only). Brook & Claire, still bickering over which detour they wish to take, are not so quick to do that, and they take a taxi. They arrive at the rink first, but the penalty should more than compensate for that. It does cause Jill & Thomas to obsess about how they were passed, and it quite quickly gets under their skin.

The thing about the full throttle task is that nobody’s going to do it gracefully, but so long as they can fake it, they’re all doing fine.

Teams must now make their way to Han Riverside Park. On the way, Thomas says that you can’t ask old people for directions. The only point in going to the park is so they can get a clue telling them where the pit stop is.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is the Temple of Heaven, a shrine built for the first and only emperor of Korea.

Brook & Claire are the first team to arrive, but they receive a 30 minute penalty for taking a cab when they were not allowed to do so. This penalty is the only thing remotely resembling drama in the standings, although it’s all moot since we know who the final three are already.

First: Jill & Thomas (win a trip to Argentina)
Second: Brook & Claire
Third: Nat & Kat
Eliminated: Nick & Vicki

Several hours behind everybody else, in the most obvious outcome in the history of the race, Nick & Vicki have been eliminated.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 12, where we will find out who the Amazing Race 17 winner is, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 10

After they were one of the two teams double U-turned in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 9, Chad & Stephanie were eliminated.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Jill & Thomas – 8:25AM
Second: Nick & Vicki – 1:59PM
Third: Nat & Kat – 4:05PM
Fourth: Brook & Claire – 5:15PM

Jill & Thomas didn’t see any teams in the last leg, and they still haven’t seen anybody, so they are unaware of who was eliminated, if anybody. They are currently a ridiculous 5.5 hours ahead of the second place team. Nick says that Vicki’s calmed him down. If that’s the case, I’d hate to think what he was like before. Brook & Claire are looking forward to facing Thomas, who U-turned them. They don’t blame Jill at all.

Heading from a land of extreme poverty to an ultra-modern urban jungle, teams will now fly more than 3500 miles to Hong Kong. Upon arrival, they will make their way by bus and ferry to Cheung Po Tsai Cave.

The next flight does not depart until 11:55PM, so everybody will be on the same flight, whether they’re 9 hours behind or not.

Jill & Thomas get the first bus ahead of everybody else, but their lead is short-lived as the female teams get on the first ferry with them. Vicki’s asthma kicks in, however, which means that she and Nick must take the next ferry, which comes in half an hour. She apologizes for something happening to her body that she could not control, but he doesn’t care. Then she starts crying, and he just wants her to shut up.

Brook & Claire continue their bickering that we first got a glimpse of last week. Claire says she can’t run because she’s not an athlete, but Brook wants her to try harder. As with last week, it’s ultimately irrelevant.

From the cave, teams will travel by ferry to Cao Lun, where they must locate the Majesty Chinese Restaurant (they went all the way to Hong Kong to go to a Chinese restaurant). The road block involves food, but it’s not a gross eating challenge. Rather, they must use chopsticks to find 1 of 5 items in a buffet that are fake, created for window displays. Any real food they pick up, they must eat. As the fake food items are taken, it’s going to make it that much harder for those who are trailing to finish.

Road block (in order of arrival): Nat, Thomas, Claire, Vicki

Nat and Thomas manage to find their fake food, but Claire’s left behind and still searching. She feels like she’s going to vomit. I’d suggest doing so then. Once you’re done doing that, you can then return to the task at hand. After she’s through in the bathroom, she heads back to the table, where she seems to have no trouble finding the fake food. That leaves just two items for the already there but still behind Vicki. Eventually, Vicki finds herself in the bathroom as well. Nick suggests they should just take the penalty, but Vicki doesn’t want to quit.

The next stop is a statue of Bruce Lee. The detour is a choice between ding ding or sampan. In ding ding, teams board a 100 year old tram system known as the ding ding, then they must ride and search among thousands of signs, looking for three that when put together reveal the location of the next pit stop. If the ride ends before they know where to go, they’ll have to make a return trip and start again. In sampan, teams pick a wooden cage with two parakeets and board a sampan, a water vessel used for trade. Then they must search among hundreds of boats for one with a registration number matching that attached to their bird cage.

Sampan: Nat & Kat, Jill & Thomas (switched from ding ding), Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki

Neither of these searching tasks is particularly appealing, but the sign searching task seems the most troublesome. Unless they were given some clue we are unaware of, I don’t see how it is even possible. They’re already in last place to begin with, but once they get on the boat, Nick lies down. He doesn’t care. He’d much rather take the 6 hour penalty than participate in this task. Vicki’s on her own if she intends to get through this. When he wakes up, she’d like to keep trying, but he still insists this is all a waste of time. Not wanting to quit but unable to do this on her own, Vicki gives in, and they take the penalty.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is Statue Square (the three signs they were supposed to look for were pit stop, statue, and square, as if they were supposed to figure that out) in the center of Hong Kong.

First: Nat & Kat (win a trip to Rio de Janeiro)
Second: Jill & Thomas
Third: Brook & Claire
Noneliminated: Nick & Vicki

When they arrive at the pit stop, they are given the bad news. This is a nonelimination leg. Great, so that means at least one more leg with Nick and his sorry attitude. In addition to their current last place status and 6 hour penalty, they will also have a speed bump to contend with.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 11 I’m Surrounded by Ninjas, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 9

Unable to find their way around Oman, Gary & Mallory were eliminated in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 8.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Chad & Stephanie – 11:10AM
Second: Jill & Thomas – 11:27AM
Third: Nick & Vicki – 12:57PM
Fourth: Brook & Claire – 1:36PM
Fifth: Nat & Kat – 3:37PM

Before departing, they are warned there is a double U-turn at some point, a race first. Chad & Stephanie plan to U-turn Nat & Kat. Jill & Thomas feel they are targets.

Teams must now fly 2,000 miles to Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city of 7 million with a population density of about 50,000 people per square mile. This is the chaotic poverty stricken leg of the race that will serve as a culture shock. There’s apparently only one flight a day (so they’re told), so it looks like all teams will be on the same flight, even the team that starts 4.5 hours behind. They must have screwed up pretty badly to be that far behind, and perhaps it really was as close as the editing wanted us to believe.

Not wanting to merely go on the same flight as the others, Nat & Kat decide to go to Dubai. From there, they’ll take their chances. They will either get incredibly lucky, or this will be the nail in their coffin. Not worth the risk if you ask me, whether Dubai International Airport is one of the world’s busiest or not.

The flight everybody books first arrives at noon. Jill & Thomas manage to get a flight that arrives at 5AM. Rather than keeping it to themselves, they celebrate quite noticeably. This tips off Brook & Claire, so they go ask the same agent, but the flight is full. Nick & Vicki manage to snag a flight that arrives at 8:40AM, just as Brook & Claire are trying to negotiate for it.

As for Nat & Kat’s gamble? Their flight arrives at noon. They would have been better served trying to secure a better flight rather than just heading to Dubai and hoping, but ultimately it didn’t cost them anything.

The first destination is a sugarcane craftsman in Sundarban Square Supermarket, who will show them how to make sugarcane juice that one teammate must drink.

The detour is a choice between balanced meal or balanced bricks. In balanced meals, teams pick up midday snacks, 30 containers of which will be hoisted on a ship. In balanced bricks, they will use their heads to transport 100 unbroken bricks from a supply barge to a nearby shop.

Balanced bricks: Jill & Thomas
Balanced meals: Nick & Vicki, Chad & Stephanie, Nat & Kat, Brook & Claire

The first detour appears far more physically demanding, particularly to the female contestants.

After the detour, they find the double U-turn, which is stupidly placed. We know who the first two teams are. That’s not going to change. It’s going to be Jill & Thomas and Nick & Vicki, who are already hours ahead of everybody else, that will be doing the U-turning. Now it’s just a question of which of the trailing teams will not be U-turned. Jill & Thomas have U-turned Brook & Claire, just not wanting them around any longer since they’re a threat. Vicki’s stunned to see anyone has been U-turned at all because the first of the teams are so far ahead, so although they otherwise would U-turn Chad & Stephanie, they forgo the opportunity and just don’t choose anybody. Well, that makes things interesting. Them not using the U-turn just means one of the three trailing teams can. Nat & Kat arrive at the U-turn board next, and they are left with the choice of either not using it at all or U-turning Chad & Stephanie. They opt to U-turn Chad & Stephanie, who we last saw bringing up the rear behind Brook & Claire.

Both Brook & Claire and Chad & Stephanie will have to go back and do the brick detour. Of the four, this should suit Chad the most. But Brook’s going to finish this task or die trying. Claire gets an A for effort, but that’s not enough for her to keep up with Claire’s Energizer power. This is the most volatile I’ve seen this team, but the argument doesn’t last long, as they realize it’s counterproductive.

From Dhaka River Port, they will take a bicycle rickshaw, one of the primary means of transport in the area, to Nazira Bazaar. Speaking of cycle rickshaws, the road block is to assemble a rickshaw.

Road block (in order of arrival): Jill, Nick, Nat, Brook, Stephanie

For all the drama that was the double U-turn, all three of the trailing teams are now on the same task. Nonetheless, the race comes down to how Chad & Stephanie got lost earlier, whether they blame the doctors or not.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is Lalbagh Fort, a 300 year old castle built as a palace fortress.

First: Jill & Thomas (shocker, win $7,500 each)
Second: Nick & Vicki
Third: Nat & Kat
Fourth: Brook & Claire
Eliminated: Chad & Stephanie

As the last team to arrive, Chad & Stephanie have been eliminated from the race. Good thing he got that proposal out of the way last week.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 10 I Hate Chinese Food, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 8

In a slightly less predictable outcome, Michael & Kevin were eliminated in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 7 after penalties resulting from failure to read their clues.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Nat & Kat – 1:06AM
Second: Brook & Claire – 1:28AM
Third: Nick & Vicki – 1:29AM
Fourth: Gary & Mallory – 1:46AM
Fifth: Jill & Thomas – 1:53AM
Sixth: Chad & Stephanie – 2:45AM (they’re sleeping, though)

Nat was worried about her diabetes, but things are going okay. Claire is just trying to keep up with Brook. Nick does not have any intention of meeting new people on the race, and doesn’t care how friendly (or unfriendly) he comes off.

From Russia, teams will fly more than 4,000 miles to Muscat, Oman, where their first destination is Bura Al Mubkharah. Considering where they’re going, my assumption was that everybody would be on the same flight. How many flights could there possibly be to Oman? But everybody has to go through a connecting airport, and that’s where it gets dicey.

Already behind by over an hour, Chad & Stephanie sleep in 1 hour and 52 minutes past their start time. Lucky for them, they’re only about ten minutes behind the trailing teams, but they realize they’re in a downward spiral and not working together very well.

First flight via Amsterdam (arrives at 8:55PM): Nat & Kat, Brook & Claire
Second flight (arrives at 10:35PM): Nick & Vicki, Gary & Mallory, Jill & Thomas
Third flight (arrives at 10:45PM, but landing early): Chad & Stephanie

Upon landing, they will receive an ingot with an inscribed time, meaning first come, first served. They land in Oman at night, but it’s over 90 degrees and humid. Everybody’s going to be camping out for the night because they’ve got plenty of time to kill as they wait for the next morning.

7:30 – Nat & Kat, Brook & Claire
7:45 – Jill & Thomas, Chad & Stephanie
8:00 – Gary & Mallory, Nick & Vicki

Having recovered from their disaster of the evening before completely unscathed, Chad & Stephanie are now 15 minutes ahead of two teams. Perhaps now things are turning around. In spite all of the mean-spirited bickering, Chad still wants to marry her, so he proposes that morning before the task begins.

Gary & Mallory are relying on their map. Nick, however, feels that asking locals is a much better idea than reading a map. There’s potentially a flaw in each philosophy. Combining the two would be smarter. Eventually, realizing the map has led them astray, in spite of praying to God, Gary & Mallory decide to give up on it and just ask the locals.

When she stops and asks for directions, Vicki gets what she needs, then passes it on to Brook & Claire. Nick’s response is that he’s going to go home the next time she talks to anybody from another team. Good. Go home then. He hates people. I get it. At least be civil with your partner.

The road block for this leg of the race is to rappel 500 feet off Jabal Shams, the tallest mountain in Oman, and from there they must search hundreds of lamps for one containing a magic ring. Even those without a fear of heights find themselves getting nervous, except for Vicki who’s up for this kind of stuff more than anyone else on the race.

When they finally arrive, Mallory says they have been driving for almost 9 hours. I think that about spills the results of the episode right there then.

Road block (in order of arrival): Chad, Jill, Vicki, Claire, Kat, Mallory

After completing the road block, Nick & Vicki find out that one of their tires is leaking, and they have a flat. Time for another temper tantrum from Nick, although at least he knows what he’s doing and has a spare, so it’s not as bad as his whining would suggest.

From there, they will drive themselves to Nizwa to a giant stack of books. Well, I guess it’s easy to spot.

The detour is a choice between water table or wedding table. In water table, teams pump water from an ancient well, fill up a water truck, and take the truck to a designated house for delivery. Their driver is there only to drive, based on the directions they give him. In wedding table, they will go to an Arab market, purchase 25 frozen chickens and other ingredients for a traditional wedding soup, and present the soup to the bride and groom. This second task has no takers.

Everybody is having success with locals who not only are helpful but also speak decent English. Somehow, Jill & Thomas even stumble into the cousin of the guy they’re delivering water to, a clear sign the lead is theirs for the taking.

Water table: Chad & Stephanie, Jill & Thomas, Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki, Nat & Kat, Gary & Mallory

Teams will now drive themselves to Muttrah Souq, a market where their task will be to search for Ali Baba.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is Al Alam Palace. At this point, the only question is finish order of the first five teams because we know who’s going to be last. Although Gary & Mallory do get a glimmer of hope when they see Nat & Kat drive by, no amount of editing will make me believe they can come from behind. Nat & Kat must have screwed up pretty badly to make it this close, though.

Jill & Thomas arrive first. However, they have incurred a 30 minute penalty for paying a taxi driver to lead them to the pit stop. Must be a new rule. If teams are wise about their spending and have enough to pay a taxi, that should be an option available to them. It’s not as if it’s a no risk proposition, as we’ve seen plenty of times where taxi drivers lead people astray.

First: Chad & Stephanie (win a trip to Belize)
Second: Jill & Thomas
Third: Nick & Vicki
Fourth: Brook & Claire
Fifth: Nat & Kat
Eliminated: Gary & Mallory

As the last team to arrive, Gary & Mallory have been eliminated from the race. They ran a pretty decent race but just had one bad leg.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 9 There’s a Lot of Nuts and Bullets, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 7

In yet another thoroughly predictable outcome, Nick & Vicki were noneliminated in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 6.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Jill & Thomas – 8:30AM
Second: Brook & Claire – 8:36AM
Third: Michael & Kevin – 8:40AM
Other departures not revealed.

6 legs in, and Jill still doesn’t feel part of her team.

Seems nothing has been learned from the last few legs. No flights yet again. There better be an hours of operation or something because otherwise this is the most obvious outcome in the history of most obvious outcomes.

Teams will travel by taxi to Avtovo Circus. Once they arrive, the circus is closed. It’s closed long enough for all the teams to be bunched together. The detour is a choice between circus band or circus clown. In circus band, teams will learn a Russian folk song on accordians. In circus clown, they will have to learn a plate spinning routine, and keep at least 10 plates spinning simultaneously for at least 10 seconds.

Circus band: Nat & Kat, Gary & Mallory, Chad & Stephanie (switched from clown)
Circus clown: Michael & Kevin, Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki, Jill & Thomas (switched from clown to band to clown)

Nat & Kat decide to turn the keys into numbers, a nerdy solution but a good one nonetheless. This task may well be the easiest because they can play as slowly as they want as long as they play the right notes in the right order. A quickly impatient Thomas bails and goes to the other task without giving a great deal of effort to the first one. Nick, who claims he learned from his first blow up, is calling Vicki a dumbass before long. Chad decides plate spinning is stupid. He and Stephanie come up with a numbering concept like Nat & Kat, but there’s no way Thomas is going to learn all of the song, so he opts to head back to the place where he lost his patience earlier.

From there, teams will have to figure out they are looking for Bank Bridge, based only on the description that it has creatures with golden wings surrounding it. It’s not so much a mystery as just asking their cab drivers to take them there.

1 Vladimirskiy Prospekt Tower, a historic building, is their next destination, which they will reach on foot by asking locals for help. Two team members can then go to the top and figure out that their next stop from there is the Church on Spilled Blood. They may not pay a taxi to lead them there, a part of the clue that Michael & Kevin miss. As the first two teams to arrive at the tower, Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki decide to work together. This works out well for both teams, and the fact that they take a while to find it is completely irrelevant because everybody has to wait for them before they can go up. Nick lies about what he finds to the other teams. Kevin trusts him, but Claire doesn’t want to take him for his word. This works out because Kevin decides Nick may have lied to them. Thomas and Mallory are the next pair up, leaving Chad & Stephanie in last place. As with the other pairs who climbed up together, Thomas and Mallory decide to work together. Stephanie can’t find it, so she sends Chad up to take a look, and the fact that he found it and not her will serve as an opportunity for him to rub it in. He’ll do so in the cab ride over, which will cost them a penalty.

Michael & Kevin didn’t learn from their first penalty, and now they drag Brook & Claire into the penalization with them, taking their cab yet again. However, Brook & Claire discover the error and have their cab driver turn around so they can walk as they should have.

The riddle continues, as they head to Peter and Paul Fortress. Trying to get there will lead Nick to calling Vicki a moron. This team is just waiting to self implode.

The road block is to master a Russian game, gorodki. Using a wooden bat, teams have two tries to clear all the pins before they’re reset. They must clear three different pin formations each.

Road block (in order of arrival): Kat, Michael, Brook, Nick, Stephanie, Thomas, Gary

When Kat gets her first formation done apparently in one try, I’m thinking this won’t be so difficult. Then she gets another. Brook does fairly well, and Gary and Thomas blow right through it. However, Kevin quickly regrets letting his dad do this road block, but that’s par for the course for this team. He’s in a battle for last with Stephanie, but regardless, the penalties will screw them over. Michael makes his way through the last couple pretty quickly after spending an hour on the first one, leaving Stephanie behind with an increasingly agitated Chad. Not that Chad was calm to begin with.

After completion of the road block, Michael & Kevin argue with their cab driver. When Stephanie does finish, Chad makes the executive decision to screw the bags and just take off running. This is enough to get to them to the mat in sixth. The problem is that they have not paid their cab yet, so whether he has all their stuff or not is moot because they have to go settle up. That now puts Michael & Kevin in sixth place. The problem is they broke a couple of rules. They had a taxi lead them to the tower, and then they took a taxi to the church. That’s a 30 minute penalty for each infringement, which should be enough to cost them the race. Like Michael & Kevin, Chad & Stephanie broke a rule, taking a taxi from the tower to the church, resulting in a 30 minute penalty. In spite of that, Michael & Kevin’s 1 hour penalty is enough to save them.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is the Peter and Paul Fortress.

First: Nat & Kat (win $5,000 each)
Second: Brook & Claire
Third: Nick & Vicki
Fourth: Gary & Mallory
Fifth: Jill & Thomas
Sixth: Chad & Stephanie
Eliminated: Michael & Kevin

I would have expected their inability to complete a task to be their undoing, but it was ultimately the inability to read their clues that caused Michael & Kevin to be eliminated.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 8 Ali Baba in a Suit, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 6

In yet another ridiculously predictable conclusion, Katie & Rachel were eliminated in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 5.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived, or at least that’s what I’m assuming because they only show the first team to depart.

The first team’s departing at 8:26PM (and it’s still light outside), but with the train station not opening until 6AM, all the teams will be bunched together. Undeterred by the sign telling them it’s closed, Nat & Kat knock and find out that the first train to get them to the airport in Stockholm does not arrive until 10:26AM.

Another day, another argument between Chad & Stephanie. They get the last taxi. It’s her fault, as usual.

For all the drama, all the teams get on the same flight to St. Petersburg, Russia.

The detour is a choice between classical music or classical cinema. In classical music, teams will listen to three different compositions on gramphones, then figure out which three pianos in the ballroom full of pianos are playing the same compositions they heard earlier. In classical cinema, teams go to the first place a movie was screened in Russia, where they will search through piles of film clips to find the one matches the movie playing on the screen.

Classical Music: Chad & Stephanie, Nick & Vicki (switched from classical music to classical cinema to classical music)
Classical Cinema: Brook & Claire, Michael & Kevin, Jill & Thomas, Gary & Mallory (switched from classical music), Nat & Kat (switched from classical music)

Kevin thinks that having made some Youtube videos will help him in this task. He thinks wrong. Nonetheless, they seem to have picked the easier task because I can’t see how an untrained ear (or someone who hasn’t at least heard these songs before) could pick out the music with any amount of ease. Brook & Claire were in the lead, but that’s quickly blown by their cab driver, who puts them in last.

Chad & Stephanie are incorrect on their first guess. And their second guess. Gary & Mallory join the incorrectness. Then Nick & Vicki and Nat & Kat. Chad & Stephanie again, but she doesn’t want to take the hint and switch. Nick & Vicki are wrong again. Gary & Mallory as well. Then Nat & Kat again. One by one they’re bailing and heading to the other task, but Stephanie insists on sticking around. They’re wrong again. Then again. Do they want to go yet? No. Wrong again. Still not leaving. How about after they’re wrong again? She still insists on staying. This pays off, as they finally get it right. I’d call it dumb luck more than anything because sticking around until you basically had no choice but to finish the task hardly seems like a wise move.

Thomas has the easy theory about the movie they’re watching. Just look for Russian words in the clip because those pop out. Somehow, this works. The other teams are not having so much luck, repeatedly getting denied. Brook & Claire eventually get it, to put themselves back into second place. The teams sticking around at the music place are just killing time now. Seeing words at the top like Thomas did, Kevin solves the task. Now it’s time to see just how long it takes for the other task takers to start getting the hint. Gary & Mallory are the first to get a clue and switch. Talking with Nick & Vicki about how the other detour is stupid, Nat & Kat decide to switch detours with them. Nat & Kat are out first, leaving the other two battling for last. Mallory is behind them, leaving the Vegas couple behind.

Nick suggests going back to the piano thing. This will not end well. They are at least able to finish the task, though. Their only hope is a nonelimination.

The next stop is the location found on their film can or record, Palace Square. From there, they head to Alexandraovskaya. This takes them to the sticks, and they’re about to find out why.

The road block is to become babushkas and put in a proper day’s work in the fields. They will put on traditional (female) clothing and then plant a row of 50 potatoes, fertilizing their crop with a very generous helping of cow manure.

Road block (in order of arrival): Brook, Kevin, Jill, Nat, Stephanie, Mallory, Nick

This is dirty work that will take some energy, but it’s pretty straightforward and hard to screw up too much. The hardest thing is finding out where to go, with none of the locals speaking any English. Mallory does find a new friend, though, who would like her to come in for some vodka. Then she gets to climb through the manure after Stephanie sabotages her by tossing the shovel up the mound (why was the course designed to allow for sabotage?).

The pit stop for this leg of the race is St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

First: Jill & Thomas (win a trip to Sao Paolo)
Second: Brook & Claire
Third: Michael & Kevin
Fourth: Nat & Kat
Fifth: Chad & Stephanie
Sixth: Gary & Mallory
Noneliminated: Nick & Vicki

This is really a struggle this season to create a leg that we don’t know what the outcome will be. The only question is elimination or nonelimination. The answer is that Nick & Vicki have not been eliminated.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 7, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

The Amazing Race 17 Episode 5

Stumbling their way through the detour, Connor & Jonathan were eliminated in The Amazing Race 17 Episode 4.

Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.

First: Nat & Kat – 6:00AM
Second: Gary & Mallory – 6:04AM
Third: Brook & Claire – 6:05AM
Fourth: Michael & Kevin – 6:30AM
Fifth: Jill & Thomas – 6:48AM
Sixth: Nick & Vicki – 7:11AM
Seventh: Chad & Stephanie – 8:12AM
Eighth: Katie & Rachel – 8:34AM

Thomas always envisioned himself with somebody who didn’t go to cosmetology school like his current girlfriend Jill. She continues to try to hope to be able to prove herself to him as part of this team.

Teams will now drive across the border into Narvik, Norway. No airport again then. Bad news for the trailing teams. They will search for a gondola station, and then ride to the top of the mountain.

Up a mountain. This is bad for anybody afraid of heights. Nat is already crying on the way up, without being aware of what’s actually in store, but she has given Kat permission to push her off the ledge of necessary. When they get to the top, there’s a fast forward. With three teams within 5 minutes of each other, this could be a rough one, but seeing as how they’re 2.5 hours ahead of the last place team, it should not be game ending to just go for it and see what it’s all about.

The fast forward is a gross eating challenge. This is a challenge that could theoretically take hours. Their task is to eat an entire sheep’s head, a traditional Norwegian Christmas ritual. Nat & Kat will be doing the fast forward. Kat’s a vegetarian, who hasn’t eaten meat in 22 years. Tastes like money. Money that makes you gag. It’s got to be hard to eat something that’s staring back at you, whether you eat its eyeballs or not. Neither of them end up having to vomit, a disappointing result for an eating challenge. Having departed over an hour later, Nick & Vicki decide it would be smart to go for the fast forward. Really? When they arrive, they’re confused whether the fast forward is gone or not. The phrase “fast forward taken” is lost on them.

Drive yourselves to some place that nobody can be bothered to try pronouncing, even the supposedly educated college guy Thomas, and search for your next clue. The road block is one that will actually scare somebody who’s afraid of heights, stepping off the bridge and rapel to the water below. When they’re at the end of their rope, they will have to signal for one of two boats for their clue, then use a mechanical ascender to pull themselves 130 feet back to the bridge.

Road block (in order of arrival): Kevin, Gary, Claire, Thomas, Vicki, Chad, Katie

Brook happily volunteers Claire for this task. It doesn’t seem to be that difficult a task, just one of overcoming your fear. That is, until they start the climb back to the top. The hardest part is going to be finding the upper body strength to make it back up. The first three guys make it up after a little bit of a struggle, but Claire offers us the first glimpse of drama over the bridge. This is bad for the other female team, Katie & Rachel, who are currently in last place and nowhere in sight regardless, although they are pro athletes who should be able to hang a little better than most people.

From there, teams must locate a remote field in Harvika. The detour is a choice between bike or boat. In bike, teams choose a pair of mountain bikes, taking note of the color of their bicycle lock, and ride a course to a sign, where they have to memorize the combination color coded to match their bicycle lock. Then they go back to the start and use the combination to open their lock and retrieve their next clue. In boat, teams make their way to a fishing boat, direct a captain to a spot on shore, and disembark. Then they must deliver two large cod and a chainsaw on foot.

Bike: Jill & Thomas, Gary & Mallory, Nick & Vicki
Boat: Michael & Kevin, Brook & Claire, Chad & Stephanie, Katie & Rachel

Jill doesn’t know if it matters which color they choose. I knew somebody was going to ask that question. Thomas bails her out by having read the clue. Nick tells us he’s competitively raced BMX bikes all his life, but then when he starts riding, Vicki has to wait around for him to catch up. Chad has no patience for Stephanie, not that he usually does.

The pit stop for this leg of the race is Ankenes Marina. Seems to be tricky to find because more than one team drives right by, circling back to the bridge they came from. And Thomas was so sure he wasn’t driving in circles. Kevin just tails him, hoping Thomas knows what he’s doing. They stop and ask for directions, sorta. In this race full of obstacles, it’s the car door that gets in Brook’s way, as she cuts her face open on it, but she just goes up to chat with Phil as if nothing happened.

First: Nat & Kat (win a trip to Costa Rica)
Second: Gary & Mallory
Third: Jill & Thomas
Fourth: Michael & Kevin
Fifth: Brook & Claire
Sixth: Nick & Vicki
Seventh: Chad & Stephanie
Eliminated: Katie & Rachel

Can we get a flight next week please? This was far too pitifully obvious. As the last team to arrive (because they departed in last), Katie & Rachel have been eliminated.

Stay tuned to dingoRUE for another live recap of The Amazing Race 17 Episode 6 Run, Babushka, Run, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.