Amazing Race 9
If we did some sort of analysis of all the Races' results, which would turn out to be the biggest factor in determining winners and losers: uncooperative airline-ticket agents, taxi drivers' senses of direction or contestants' ability to read a map? In this leg of the race, it really looked like the former two would be the undoing of someone, between the cabdrivers who couldn't find the trolley park and the two separate Russian ticket agents who refused to issue tickets just seconds after another team had bought some. But things nearly evened out again at the Mercedes-Benz test track. Who else was disappointed that the racers themselves didn't have to drive on it? I guess even Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't have that kind of insurance. Interestingly, all teams trying to get a leg up by forming alliances or at least following each other actually hurt their chances. First, what were MoJo and Dave and Lori thinking, sharing a cab to the "psyching out" pit stop (as Dave called it)? Love Team Nerd, but I hope they had no illusions that they could beat the others in a foot race. And then Dani and Danielle had the sorely wrong impression that Wanda and Desi knew where they were going. Desi complaining about her mom's insistence on pronouncing all foreign words with a Spanish accent cracked me up — my mom does the same exact thing. Language barriers meant very little in Germany, where everyone speaks better English than I do. (Though it looked like the Deutsch-speaking B.J. got to do some good flirting!) Even that drunk local who helped Lake and Michelle find the gnome farm was relatively articulate. The detour choice between bottle smashing (Ow!) and learning that dance seemed like a tough decision. Eric and Jeremy made the bottle-smashing look fun, but the dancers were letting everyone off rather easily — I'm sure I saw people slap the wrong knee and still get a round of applause and a clue. But as I predicted, Wanda and Desi's relentless pessimism (and probably lack of sleep) broke their concentration and spelled out their doom. Sadly, that means two all-female teams lost in a row. C'mon, Pinks, it's time to step it up! — Sabrina Rojas Weiss

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