It's time to hit the road again on The Amazing Race — with plenty of familiar faces. The CBS reality hit returns Sunday with 11 veteran teams who had never won before to settle, as the season's subtitle says, some Unfinished Business.
"These are teams that have been so incredibly popular that it was an opportunity to bring back some favorite teams that have favorite stories," host Phil Keoghan tells TVGuide.com. "They're teams that have really been walking around with the 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' ever since they got kicked off. It's like, enough moaning; come back and give it another shot and no more excuses."
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But casting Unfinished Business — the show's second all-star outing after Season 11 — was as hard as designing the Race itself. For one, Season 13 wound up not being represented at all, even though fan favorites Toni and Dallas, who lost their passports, seemed like shoo-ins. "It really comes down to whether you think that story of theirs is really stronger than that of anyone we've got," Keoghan says. "There are a lot of other teams, but I feel pretty confident that the teams we've got have the best stories and the best motivation for coming back."
So why are these 11 also-rans the cream of the crop? Keoghan explains the show's picks below.
A few days after America saw them finish first on The Amazing Race 12, $1 million winners TK and Rachel still had no clue when they would get their cashable grand prize check, whether taxes would be taken out of said check first or if it would be divided equally in two. They knew nothing. And much like they were last July when they raced 30,000 sweltering miles through eight countries and four continents, the Zen masters didn't really seem to care. "We got the big [mock] check," said Rachel who recently quit her job at her parents' flower shop. "But the real check, we don't know." But, TK added, "We should be hearing something soon."
TVGuide.com: You were pretty mellow until the very end when you two actually seemed to get agitated in the last cab ride.TK: Well, we got really lost. It wasn't particularly portrayed that way, but our cab driver didn't really know where he was going. We got turned
Its so rare in the world of reality TV when everything ends just how I want it to. Cheers all around to the latest cycle of The Amazing Race, one of the most enjoyable runnings of the around-the-world competition in a long while. Rare for this or any show, in Sundays finale we were left with three teams you could easily root for instead of against. That said, my favorite team won, and the runners-up each walked away chagrined but hardly bitter, given the family bonding (between father and daughter, grandfather and grandson) that occurred along the way.Sundays satisfying finale came on the heels of last weeks thrilling penultimate episode, an exhilarating nail-biter that found Zen couple TK and Rachel coming from behind (having survived a last-place finish the week before on a non-elimination leg, which forced them to perform an extra speed bump challenge) and squeaking into the final three. This bumped the annoying and constantly squabbling Nate a...
When they weren't fighting each other, Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom fought hard to stay in The Amazing Race 12. But, alas, luck would not have it and Taiwan was their last stop. They were eliminated after they took a local resident's advice that taking a subway would be faster than dealing with traffic in a cab. That decision dropped like a nail in the coffin of their nearly three-year relationship. Why? Read on. (Amazing Race's season finale airs Sunday at 8 pm/ET on CBS.)
TVGuide.com: Ousted on your birthday. Ouch. Did you get to celebrate in any way?Jen: Once we got back we went out with family. But being in Taipei, Taiwan, that was enough for me.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of Taipei, you two know Taiwan and Thailand are two differ
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 DonBiggest 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,