Alas! Season 32 of The Amazing Race has premiered. The Race’s newest set of eleven teams raced around a pre-Covid world back in 2018 (remember travelling?), and for Race fans, the wait for its thirty-second season is finally over.
The premiere begins in the famous Hollywood Bowl, where the viewers and contestants themselves begin to eye up the competition. While at the Bowl, we’re slowly introduced and receive insights into a few of the eleven teams. The first teams we’re introduced to are:
- The cosplaying, former NFL teammates, and self-described as brothers-from-a-different-mother: Gary and DeAngelo
- Sisters: Kaylynn and Haley
- We-met-on-Tinder’s own: Alana and Leo
- Dating Couple: Will and James
- James, with the unintentional comedy moment of the episode when saying he couldn’t imagine doing the Race with anyone but Will after he just said he’s applied for the show nine times with eight other people…
- Best Friends/(literal)Catfish Catchers: Nathan and Cody
Next, host Phil Keoghan has his moment of glory. With right arm and left eyebrow raised, he utters his famous opening line of “The world is waiting for you… travel safe… GO!” And they’re off! The teams dash out of the Bowl to retrieve their first clue.
Fly to TRINIDAD
Teams are instructed to fly to Trinidad. Once arrived, they are to make their way by taxi to the 24-Hour Fruit Stand, where they will receive their next clue. The teams arrive at Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport, scrambling for taxis as they make their way to the fruit stand.
We then gain insights into a few more teams once fruit-stand-bound:
- Father and Son: Jerry and Frank
- Sisters/NOT best friends as they made this clear: Michelle and Victoria (Victoria, being described as their mother’s favorite).
The first team to arrive at the fruit stand are the unintroduced, professional volleyball brothers, Riley and Maddison.
Let the Good Times Roll
The teams are instructed to roll a pair of oil drums down the streets of Trinidad to a Saturday night street party, where they must locate a party goer by the name of The Midnight Robber, who will give them flight tickets to Tobago. The teams are also advised that the first seven teams to receive clues will be given an advantage.
As the racers roll through the streets of Trinidad, we are then introduced to a few more of the teams:
- Married Parents: Hung and Chee
- Self-described “really @$%&ing smart” siblings: Aparna and Eswar (who at this point were in last place).
The first team to reach The Midnight Robber are Gary and DeAngelo, as they and the next six teams to arrive are informed that their flight will be half an hour earlier than the remaining four teams—an advantage, yes, but, in the Race world not one of significant consequence.
Upon receiving the last set of tickets for the first flight, James delivered another mention-worthy quote of the night: “Praise to the Lord Jesus, we’re saved by the devil!”
The following morning the teams board their respective flights and make their ways to Tobago, where their next clue will be found at the breath-taking Swallows Beach.
Fish Out of Water
Teams are advised that they are looking to find a pair of matching painted (not actual) fish, one of which is scattered around the waters of Swallows Beach, the other being on their boat.
Finally, viewers are then introduced to:
- Olympic hurdlers: Kellie and LaVonne
Sisters Michelle and Victoria are the first to complete the Fish Out of Water task and receive the next clue instructing them to proceed to Pigeon Point, where their next clue awaits. By this point in the episode, the teams on the later flight are catching up to, some of which are even passing those on the earlier flight—-proving this particular advantage was not a race-killer for all involved.
Who Can “Steel” the Show?
One team member must learn to play a piece of the song, “Day-O,” correctly with a steelpan band.
One by one, the teams learn Tobago’s national instrument, with many of the racers struggling with the task at hand, culminating in what can only be disdain when hearing “Day-O” in the future. Given how long of a break there has been between seasons, it is easy to forget how crucial selecting which team member partakes in a Road Block, as many of the team members sitting out wish they were Day-O-ing instead.
As Michelle and Maddison wait for their turns, they air drum and watch former piano-playing prodigy Chee complete the task, as he and Hung are awarded their next clue.
Go to Pit Stop
The first pit stop for Season 32 sees the teams heading to the birthplace of goat racing, Buccoo Integrated Facility. Teams will have to run goat-in-hand across the finish line and to the mat to meet Phil. The last team to reach the pit stop WILL be eliminated.
As Hung and Chee make their way to Buccoo, many teams struggle with the steel pan, with only Michelle and Maddison completing the task thus far. Meanwhile, leg one leader’s Hung and Chee are the first to successfully cross the finish line (with an un-successful fall on the mat by Hung) and meet Phil.
Team Number 1: Hung and Chee
Team Number 2: Michelle and Victoria
Back to the Day-O-ers, where we see Gary, Kellie, Eswar, Cody, and Kaylynn struggle to perfect the steel drum, while Will, Frank (with father, Jerry dancing on the sidelines), and Leo are successfully drumming their way en route to the pit stop.
Team Number 3: Riley and Maddison
Thirty-two seasons in, a million miles travelled, and despite having relatively the same format, TAR still is capable of making their viewers nervous watching the contestants. After being introduced to these teams thirty minutes before, I found myself stressed out during and oddly proud when they completed this Road Block!
Eswar is the next person to finish the Road Block, as Kellie continues her struggle with the steel drum (as I pull my hair out cheering her on).
Team Number 4: Will and James
Team Number 5: Jerry and Frank
Team Number 6: Alana and Leo
There are four teams left at the Road Block: Kaylynn and Haley, Nathan and Cody, Gary and DeAngelo, and Kellie and LaVonne.
Kaylynn is the first of the last four to complete Day-O. On their way to the finish line, Kaylynn is quick to equate that playing the steel drum should be easy for a former NFL player in Gary, and Olympian Kellie, as she boasts about beating them, a real pat-on-the-back moment. Kaylynn probably also believes the NFL’s Steelers are named after the steel drum, but I digress.
From the benches, DeAngelo shakes his head in frustration stating his friend, Gary, has no rhythm, while Kellie and Cody continue to be tormented by Day-O’s tune as their partners cheer them on.
Gary finally cracks it, and he and DeAngelo are on their way to Phil. Kellie is next to complete the Road Block, followed eventually by Cody, as these last two teams make their way to the Pit Stop.
Team Number 7: Aparna and Eswar
Team Number 8: Kaylynn and Haley
It’s a tense finish between the last three teams of Gary and DeAngelo, Kellie and LaVonne, and Nathan and Cody, all vying not to be the first team eliminated from the Race. The NFLers hit a snag as their boat back to shore only has one engine, seeing Kellie and Lavonne with their two-engine boat overtake the boys.
Team Number 9: Kellie and LaVonne
Nathan and Cody are close behind Gary and DeAngelo as both teams reach the Pit Stop. Ultimately, it’s a much-relieved Gary and DeAngelo who get the coveted second-to-last spot on the mat.
Team Number 10: Gary and DeAngelo
Last Team to Arrive: Nathan and Cody
Nathan and Cody were ultimately done in by that Road Block; however, the pair went out with class and grace, with Cody carrying Nathan off into the Tobagonian sunset.
No rest for the wicked, as Phil informs the racers at the mat that their next stop is (and episode two begins in) Bogota, Colombia.
A strong start to the season, with the show giving a pretty even spread of air time to the eleven teams, seemingly resulting in a well casted and well-executed season.