Phil Keoghan and David Copperfield
The Amazing Race? More like The Great Escape!
Sunday's All-Stars finale (8/7c, CBS) will take a magical turn when the final three teams — Dave and Connor, Caroline and Jen, and Brendon and Rachel — are faced with a death-defying task designed by none other than David Copperfield.
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"I love the show. I wish I could watch it more. I have a long-term relationship with CBS ... and they came to me about doing something since [the finale's] in Vegas and I was completely on board," Copperfield tells TVGuide.com. "The challenge was we had to come up with something unique and difficult that could be done three times for each team and not be boring."
Not only that, but the master illusionist also had to adhere to a time crunch he's never had before. While some of his own stunts, like going over Niagara Falls in a burning raft, normally take up to two years to plan, Copperfield only had two months to devise something for Race. "I think we came up with something pretty good," he says. "It's a time-based challenge, a physical challenge that combines endurance, cleverness, and there's a death-defying-ness to it too. I've done something very similar. That kind of thing is in the vernacular of what we do."
What exactly is the task? As seen in the sneak peek below featuring Dave and Connor, Connor has to unlock himself from chains inside a suspended wooden box. Oh, and it's being lit on fire.
Copperfield trained all three teams and watched them perform the challenge "in awe." Racers only had a matter of minutes to learn and digest the instructions and stunt before going all in, and no one balked. "It was amazing for me to watch [because] these people saw it for a short period of time and had to do it," he says. "So putting somebody in jeopardy with only a short period of time of training is also very new to us. If they had a long period of time to think about it, they may not have done it! But they're running on adrenaline here."
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The most impressive thing for Copperfield to witness, though, was each team's problem-solving approach and quick-thinking. "Each and every one impressed me," he says." The reason people watch the show is because the personalities are so different. You watch how each type of people deal with these things. Watching those three distinct teams enter my world was fascinating. It's not just physical, it's mental, it's tactile. It's fine motor skills, it's gross motor skills and thinking on your feet."
Despite being on one of his favorite shows, Copperfield decided to hold off on watching this season until after it airs — because he's part of it. "I didn't want it to influence me. I didn't want to stack the deck if I liked a particular team or not," he says. "So I don't know anything. Who won? Did they survive? I don't know. It's split-second timing!"
The Amazing Race All-Stars airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS. Catch up on the season here.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)