'The Amazing Race 15': Exclusive reveal of the route, plus teases

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It’s almost ‘go’ time: The 15th installment of The Amazing Race kicks off Sunday night on CBS. To get you in the spirit of celebrating the big 1-5, we offer a peek at the contestants’ route (see: above), along with a few teases supplied by executive producer Bertram van Munster (see: below).

• The action begins at the Los Angeles River, and for the first time in show history, a team will be eliminated mere yards from the starting gate. The challenge involves a fence with thousands of license plates—some of them from Japan (which serves as the first destination). “Twenty four people run up and frantically start grabbing license plates, but they’re wrong because as usual they don’t read their clue,” chuckles van Munster. “Eventually a team gets eliminated—they see the cars drive off and it is bye-bye. We told them 100 times, ‘Read your clue. Repeat after me: Read your clue.’ They don’t read the clue. It’s unbelievable. Nothing has changed.”

• Once they get to Tokyo, Racers find themselves on a Japanese game show, and they have to eat a tear-inducing Wasabi bomb. Notes van Munster: “Even the Japanese are horrified by it, which is good. If the Japanese are horrified by another game show, then we’re on the right track.”

• When contestants arrive in Vietnam, they face down a Roadblock involving 2,000 ducks. “You have to show how good you are in guiding these ducks from one end of a soccer field, across a little bridge to the other end, turning them around and bringing them back into the pen,” explains van Munster. “It turns into total duck madness. It’s just hysterical… I’ve tried for eight years to integrate it into the show, and we never succeeded in getting [contestants] to do it. They know it’s too difficult. So I said, ‘Roadblock!’”

• In Dubai, competitors will be presented with a chilling Detour: They have to take snow from an indoor ski area and build a snowman outside in the scorching Middle East heat. “The quality of the snow changes instantly the moment you bring it out,” chuckles van Munster. “And the snowman can’t be a little one—it has to be five-, six-foot-high snowman with eyes and a real carrot in his nose.”

• In another first for the show, one of Race’s most infamous Roadblocks is revisited. “It is so crazy and difficult to do, and it was so amazing the last time we did it,” says van Munster. “And it’s just as crazy and amazing this time.”

• Although this Race takes place over a relatively brisk 21 days, van Munster insists that it won’t be any easier. “Very often in the middle of the series, [the contestants] get kind of cozy with each other and there could be a little bit of a lull,” he notes. “In this race, there is no lull. There is pedal-to-the-metal competition. They’re constantly overtaking each other. Every time we stand at the finish line we were blown away who gets eliminated and who stays in.”

• Among the contestants to watch:

-Herbert and Nathaniel from the Harlem Globetrotters. (“Great sense of humor.”)

-Justin and his best friend Zev, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. (“The things Zev says are so right on the money and they come from left field… You’re gonna love that team.”)

-Professional poker players Maria and Tiffany. (“They are incredibly shrewd. They are tough as nails… They’d do anything to win. They blew me away.”)

-Keri and her aggressive lawyer-fiance Lance. (“He’s so combustible. He whacked a piece of wood so hard, he opened his hand.”)

Van Munster adds that he prefers to feature fresh contestants rather than familiar faces on Race. “I was never fond of ‘All-Stars’ and stuff like that,” he explains. “A cast like this is proof that to have new people is always a good idea, because every time we find new characters, new stories, new energy, new karma, you name it.”

More Amazing Race and reality-TV from EW:
The Amazing Race: Should it stop being so darn Emmy-winning?
Realite, EW’s new weekly roundup of reality TV, debuts with special guest Kris Allen!

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Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • econruth

    I can’t wait to see Tallin and Prague. I’ve always wanted to go to those places and hope TAR decides to keep the changes from last season – namely more film of the countries and culture and less of the airports and the back of taxis.

    • Erin

      I loved Tallin. It will be interesting to see if they portray a language barrier because most of the inhabitants speak English. Estonians pretend that Russia (who they share a border) doesn’t even exist. I would love to go back.

  • Anth

    I know BVM seems opposed, but I’d really love to see another All-Star season. The only issue with the first was the terrible winners who should’ve never been cast in the first place. Well, that and the lack of Ken/Gerard.

    • Jackie

      And the twinnies from season 3. I’d love to see them back with Ken and Gerard.

  • js

    I can’t wait till Sunday!!

  • Ignorance is Bliss

    What’s with all the spoilers!!??

  • Emma

    Love this show!!!

  • James The Greatest

    I agree with IgnoranceIsBliss. I’m all for self-promotion, but I don’t want this many spoilers in one article! Yes, I read it knowing it was going to offer up some details, but I like the surprise of having no idea what the producers were thinking pre-game. I suppose that’s the magic of Big Brother: fewer spoilers because the show is (semi-)live.

  • Helen

    Why the Globe Trotters? They need the money like a hole in the head.

    • Jackie

      Victor & Tammy didn’t need the money either – maybe they are doing it for the challenge?

  • Jackie

    I am soooooooo excited for Sunday and that we have a two hour premiere! They should always be two hours if you ask me.
    TAR is my favourite reality show. It deserves every single one of its Emmys!

  • Zach

    Why would anyone want to reveal this and spoil it? Why would they want you to know this information? I’m skipping it. But I sure as hell hope they go to more places than last season when they stayed in China for three weeks. And how biased that was!

    • HereWeGoAgain

      Oi!

  • Caribgirl

    Oh my! They were in Groningen and I didn’t know… :(

  • Allie

    i can’t wait to see the new season!! i love the amazing race!

  • CC

    I too like the All-Star competitions, but my suggestion to BVM would be to have every team that came in second compete for the big prize. They all know what it takes and they all have been so close to winning it all that it would be interesting.

  • LisaH

    I would love to see JT and Steven from Survivor on the show as a team. It’s been done before with Rob and Amber, but everyone would be rooting for JT!

    • AlanB

      I would want JT/Stephen eliminated first – I don’t want to see any more famewhores!

      The only thing worse than them casting Survivor people is to bring back Margie & Puke

      • Roland

        Agreed. Part of the charm of The Amazing Race is watching “people like us” compete. I hated the stunt casting of Rob and Amber on TAR 7 and told CBS so. They already had their shot at a million dollars THREE times(!), with Amber actually winning it on Survivor All-Stars. I would have preferred the show die a dignified death rather than casting fameleeches like “Romber”

  • itiswhatitis

    Can’t wait. We love TAR and have a child w/Aspergars. It will be cool to see how he handles the travel/social situations and the random comments that will be made. It is never boring.

  • orville

    Working on a college campus, it doesn’t surprise me at all that they rarely read the clues carefully. We have signs *everywhere*: Locked doors with big “Authorized Personnel Only” signs that people still try to force their way through; a literal ceiling to floor sign with a department’s name on it directly inside a door–people still walk past it and ask where the department is; all of the “no food or drink” signs completely ignored; not to mention students not reading their syllabi and then wondering why they’re getting penalized in their grade when they don’t follow the clearly laid out rules and expectations. Makes you worry about the future of the human race.

    • MarkL

      I agree with the “won’t read directions” bit. Not sure it will effect our future as a species, but it sure is funny/frustrating at times. You can tell when somebody isn’t paying attention to the clues in TAR when they foreshadow something or give that little sound clip referring to “uh-oh”. I love watching racers do stupid stuff when they don’t follow the directions (Unless it’s my team, then I hate it!).

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