After nine cities, four continents, nearly 30,000 miles and one giant bowl of camel milk, it all comes down to this: Three of the original 11 teams are left running in The Amazing Race 12, and only one will win the $1 million prize in the Jan. 20 season finale on CBS (8 pm/ET). The finalists took a quick time-out to talk with TV Guide about what to expect, and veteran Racer Mirna Hindoyan offered her odds on who would come out on top.
Nicolas and Don
Biggest weakness: "It's our lack of a killer instinct," Nicolas admits. "For much of the game, we've been playing to not be eliminated rather than to win."
Greatest strength: That has to be "our cooperation," Nicolas says. For 95 percent of the race, he figures he's been the clear leader of their team. But for the other five percent, whether it was changing a flat tire in Ireland or mining for gold in Burkina Faso, "there was an immediate and unspoken role reversal" wherein his 68-year-old grandfather took charge.
What they must do to win: Nicolas says: "We need to bring our A-game. Whichever team comes out and runs the most solid leg will win."
Mirna's odds: 20 to 1
"Nicolas and Don are a long shot because they don't like to hustle. And Don being 68 can't help, unless they're benefiting from senior discounts! They are my favorite, which means they don't have a shot."
T.K. and Rachel
Biggest weakness: They haven't done so well "getting on the first flight out of whatever country we're in," T.K. says. "We have been great with the majority of challenges. It's flights that have put us behind."
Greatest strength: They're a Race rarity: a couple who never seems to argue. "We don't waste time dealing with our relationship," T.K. says. "We've made it as far as we have without being negative and distracting ourselves. We're very proud of that."
What they must do to win: Keep up the confidence. T.K. says: "If we stay positive and capitalize on our strengths, we've done everything we can to put [ourselves] in the best position to win."
Mirna's odds: 3 to 2
"Rachel and T.K. are young and fit, but the question is, are they just a bit too laid-back and nice to do what it takes to win The Amazing Race?"
Ron and Christina
Biggest weakness: For much of the race, Christina has been bossed around by her father. "We've never worked as a team before," she says. "Unlike most teams, we haven't spent much time together in the past and have different work styles."
Greatest strength: Despite the tension, Christina says what's kept her and Ron going is "our abiding love for each other. Our family bond is eternal. We're willing to meet each other halfway in order to advance."
What they must do to win: Stay flexible. Christina says: "Ron's willingness to change has allowed us to function better as a team. Our progress so far [proves] that our strategy is working well."
Mirna's odds: 5 to 1
"Ron and Christina have too many issues distracting them from keeping their eyes on the prize. Although their backpacks may be light, they just have too much baggage for this journey."
Catch up on the Race with clips in our Online Video Guide.
Get the Ultimate 2008 Sci-Fi Preview in the new issue of TV Guide, on newsstands now. Plus: More on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!
Send your comments on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org.