Girls, girls, girls — can they finally win The Amazing Race?
In the past 16 seasons, no all-female team has crossed the finish line first, but it seems a likely possibility this time around. Or at least that's what the promos would have you believe.
Are you watching The Amazing Race? Tell us
"Sure, I think there will be some disappointment [if it doesn't happen]," host Phil Keoghan tells TVGuide.com. "But at the end of the day what makes The Amazing Race work is good fair competition and it will happen when it's meant to.
"There are so many variables that come into play at this stage of the game — a bad taxi driver or a subpar performance at a Roadblock can easily cost you the $1 million," he continues. "And to be honest, another reason you haven't seen it yet is simply that sometimes it has a whole lot to do with luck."
On Sunday's finale, doctors Kat Chang and Nat Strand will face off against home-shopping hosts Brook Roberts and Claire Champlin, and dating couple Jill Haney and Thomas Wolfard. All have won at least one leg this season, with Nat and Kat, and Jill and Thomas each winning four.
Amazing Race's Nick and Vicki: We regret taking the six-hour penalty
"[They've] all run a tremendous race. ... Nat and Kat are always calm, cool and collected. Jill and Thomas [are] a highly competitive team who has started clicking down the stretch," Keoghan says. "Brook and Claire — they can obviously withstand a cringe-inducing watermelon smash to the face and they successfully kissed their way around the globe."
But all of their strengths could work against them when it comes down to the wire. The low-key and seemingly unflappable Nat and Kat may need to kick up their competitive drive a notch for that final push — or maybe just borrow some from Jill and Thomas. "Their competitive nature can lead to bickering and sometimes they have that whole 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' thing going on," Keoghan says.
Amazing Race's Chad and Stephanie are married, expecting, and regretting that ice cream break
And while it's hard to criticize anyone who took a ricocheting watermelon to the face, Keoghan points out that energizer bunny Brook has been repeatedly picking up the slack for her teammate. "Claire has admitted that Brooke is an overachiever and during more than one occasion we've seen Claire lagging behind. They'll both need to be on the same page heading into this final leg or that could hurt them."
The finale takes the teams from Seoul to Los Angeles, where there will be bungee-jumping and the fan favorite brain-wracking memory challenge that quizzes the teams on all things big and small through the whole season.
"The final task really tests the racers determination and willingness to do whatever it takes to win," Keoghan says. "I would regard it as one of the best clutch challenges yet. And we also have a surprise appearance during this challenge by one of the most famous game show hosts of all time."
The memory task has long been considered a "make it or break it" task for teams, but there may be a more difficult — and literal — roadblock to overcome this time around.
"Look for plenty of jockeying by the [teams]," Keoghan says. "However, this time they're jockeying through the congestion of rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles. If you think you get annoyed sitting on the 405 [freeway] in Los Angeles trying to get to work imagine sitting in that same traffic with $1 million within your grasp."
And if an all-female duo doesn't beat the traffic and take home the dough Sunday, there's, as always, a chance for history to be made next season. Keoghan is currently filming the 18th installment, a preview of which will air after Sunday's finale.
"[It's going to be] another great season," he teases. "Also, don't forget, we're moving to HD as well this spring."
The Amazing Race airs Sunday at 8/7 on CBS.