The Amazing Race

Season 30

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16 Aug, Thu
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Episode 5
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Season 30
Episode 5
17 Aug, Fri
Season 30
Episode 5
18 Aug, Sat
Season 29
Episode 9

Great Way to Start a Relationship

The Amazing Race Season 26 - Episode 1

In a new twist, six pre-existing couples were pitted against five blind-dating couples. Blind-dating lawyers Jelani & Jenny won the leg in Tokyo, and the Express Pass. After being U-Turned, previously-dating pilot and flight attendant Jeff & Lyda were eliminated.


On the shores of Castaic Lake outside of Los Angeles, Phil announced that for the first time, ten singles would embark on the most amazing blind date ever. “Is it possible to find new love on a 35,000-mile race around the world?” he wondered. As six previously-dating couples stood at the starting line alongside five single men, five more singles ran out to meet their partners for the first time. Phil asked if anybody got a tingly feeling. Talent booker Laura said yes. Her partner, mobile app developer Tyler, is handsome and looks strong. Single lawyer Jelani said he had the hottest partner and was rewarded with a hug from fellow lawyer Jenny, while gay partners Bergen & Kurt laughed about having the same hair. Engineer Rochelle said pre-existing couples like her and truck stop manager Mike already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, while the blind date couples would have to figure it out. But the blind date couples were certain there’d be no holding back – everyone would speak their minds immediately.


Phil announced that teams would be competing for tickets to Tokyo, Japan by racing through a mud run on the lakeshore. But they had to hurry because only eight teams would make the first of two flights. He also added that whoever won this leg of the Race would win the Express Pass – and also that there was a U-Turn ahead. “The world is waiting for you. Good luck… travel safe… go!” Teams sprinted to the mud run. After leaping into and emerging from a pool of filthy water, they began scrambling up the muddy slopes. Athletic navy surgeon Blair said he hoped he’d been paired with somebody who could bend, but not break. But his partner, ER nurse Hayley, struggled on the course, saying she hated being cold and muddy. Teams continued to roll and plod through the mud, finally plunging into a giant tub of ice water. Previously-dating New York hairstylists Matt & Ashley were first to complete the course, grabbing tickets for the first flight. They were followed by blind-dating couple Jeff & Jackie, a salesman and Las Vegas showgirl, and Southern California blind-dating couple Laura & Tyler.


Far back on the course, Hayley complained that Blair had to wait for her, adding, “This is not the way a first date usually goes.” As the medics struggled, previously-dating Olympians, short-track speed skater Aly and bobsledder Steve, grabbed the fourth set of tickets. They were followed by two more previously-dating couples: fitness trainer Harley and his boyfriend, New Kids on the Block member Jonathan; and airline pilot Jeff and flight attendant Lyda. Then came gay blind-dating couple Bergen & Kurt. Blair finished the course, but couldn’t grab the final set of first-flight tickets because Hayley wasn’t there yet. And at the last second, blind-dating lawyers Jelani & Jenny darted past Hayley, and snagged the tickets. As Blair was forced to take tickets for the second flight, Hayley said, “I look like a hot mess right now!” That left truck stop couple Mike & Rochelle and long-term Alabama couple Libby & CJ with the last two sets of tickets. Showering off the mud, Jenny said she felt bad for holding Jelani back, but he was gracious, saying they were a team and she did a great job. Hayley continued to complain about being dirty, saying, “It looks like I have diarrhea!” Laura had other concerns while standing with shirtless Tyler, saying it was difficult to concentrate with this “man candy” next to her.


Teams then jumped into Ford Fusions, where a video clue told them to fly to Tokyo, Japan and search for their next clue at Kanda Myojin. It also cautioned about the Blind U-Turn. Teams took off for the airport, flight attendant Lyda joking, “Bring your tray table up, seat back forward, and enjoy the ride.” Blind dating couple Jeff & Jackie talked about their strengths and weaknesses, Jeff saying he’s a terrible dancer. Jackie said she had that covered, being a Las Vegas showgirl. Blair & Hayley discovered they were both medical professionals. But then things got awkward when he told her to guess his age, and she said thirty-five. He said, “That’s just mean.” On her second try she guessed correctly, thirty-one. She then took a selfie with their selfie camera, giving a sad face. The awkwardness continued as she admitted to worrying that Blair wouldn’t like “silly little blondes.” He had no response. Jelani & Jenny discussed how they both became lawyers, but Jeff & Lyda didn’t have high hopes for the blind-dating couples. Jeff said, “Nothing but disaster is going to happen with people that don’t know each other, whether they’re sexually attracted or not.”


At LAX, Hayley & Blair sat down for pizza. Hayley said in interview that she was really attracted to Blair, and he was just her type. When Harley & Jonathan walked up, Hayley realized that Jonathan was from New Kids on the Block. She said she went to one of their concerts, adding that they did much better than the Backstreet Boys. Jonathan told Blair, “She’s a keeper.” Pageant consultant Kurt said he’d never been in a relationship, and hoped Bergen would be it for him. Libby also had high hopes, saying she wanted a ring from CJ soon. His response? “No comment.” The first flight left with blind-daters Jeff & Jackie, Jelani & Jenny, Bergen & Kurt, and Laura & Tyler, and previously-dating couples Harley & Jonathan, Aly & Steve, Jeff & Lyda, and Matt & Ashley. They’d be landing forty-five minutes ahead of the second flight. As Hayley & Blair boarded the second plane, they hoped they wouldn’t be U-Turned. They were joined by previously-dating couples Mike & Rochelle and Libby & CJ. Phil said that once teams landed in Tokyo, they’d have to find Kanda Myojin, a 1,270-year-old Shinto shrine.


After arriving at Narita Airport, the first group of teams ran for transportation. Harley & Jonathan, Olympians Aly & Steve, SoCal couple Laura & Tyler, and hairstylists Matt & Ashley got on the train to the shrine, while Jeff & Jackie and lawyers Jelani & Jenny got in taxis. Pilot and flight attendant Jeff and Lyda got on the next train, along with gay blind-dating couple Bergen & Kurt. A mysterious insect on the ceiling of their taxi caused Jackie to freak out, squealing at Jeff to “Be a man!” and get rid of it. He finally flung it out the window, earning Jackie’s praise. “You saved me. So you are a man.” The second flight landed. Long-term Alabama couple Libby & CJ got in a taxi, CJ saying, “We didn’t want to risk getting lost on the subway, because we don’t have subways where we’re from.” Truck stop couple Mike & Rochelle boarded the train, but medics Hayley & Blair missed it by seconds. Stuck on the platform, Hayley said, “Worst first date ever.” The finally jumped on the next train, knowing they had time to make up.


Blind-dating lawyers Jelani & Jenny arrived at Kanda Myojin in first place. Phil appeared on camera to say that they were the first team to decide between two Japanese traditions that focused on discipline and precision. The clue was a Detour: Syncing Steps or Samurai Sake. In Synching Steps, teams had to master a slow-motion dance routine performed by Japanese techno-pop group World Order. In Samurai Sake, they had to memorize the names of ten different sakes, then take a drink order from a table of samurai and bring the correct sake to their guests. Jelani & Jenny chose Synching Steps. Blind-dating couple Jeff & Jackie arrived next, and chose Samurai Sake. Back on the train, Rochelle explained that she had a seven-year-old son. He hadn’t taken some of her past breakups well, so he and truck stop manager Mike hadn’t met yet. She said she was using the Race as a fast-forward for her and Mike’s relationship. Jeff & Jackie arrived at the restaurant and were presented with ten bottles of sake with Japanese labels. The samurai went over all the names, while the couple struggled to remember them. They then went into the restaurant, which was filled with loud and boisterous men dressed as samurai. Jackie chose a table, and the first samurai placed his order. Jackie then helped Jeff choose a bottle from among dozens on the wall. But when she delivered it, the samurai made an X in the air with his arms, and she hurried back to try again.


Meanwhile at Shinjuku Chuo Park, lawyers Jelani & Jenny arrived and watched the group World Order perform the dance. It consisted of synchronized slow-motion steps, followed by a series of rapid arm movements. Realizing that the trick was to not go too fast or too slow, they began practicing. Back at Kanda Myojin, hairstylists Matt & Ashley, SoCal couple Laura & Tyler, and Olympians Aly & Steve all chose Synching Steps. Fitness trainer Harley and NKOTB member Jonathan then arrived and chose Samurai Sake. Jonathan said that, ironically, it usually takes him a week to learn a dance routine, and Harley feared his partner would get too nervous trying to dance. Pilot and flight attendant Jeff & Lyda and blind-dating couple Bergen & Kurt arrived on their train. Medics Hayley & Blair got off the second train, but argued about which direction to go. They finally went Blair’s way, Hayley adding, “I hope you’re right.” Back at Samurai Sake, Jackie prepared to take another order. She said, “My brain is not as strong as most people, and that’s okay because I have everything else and I get by.” She took the order, and Jeff looked for the bottle on the shelf. Finally he chose one, saying with certainty, “This is it.” Jackie delivered it to their customer who said, “Wonderful!” After drinking a cup of sake with the samurai, Jeff & Jackie ripped the clue in first place. It told them to make their way to Shinjuku Wakaba Higashi Park. Jeff said it was amazing to have this experience with someone he just met. They ran for a taxi, Jackie saying, “There’s no way we could’ve done the dance that fast.”


Hairstylists Matt & Ashley, SoCal couple Laura & Tyler, and Olympians Aly & Steve arrived at Synching Steps. Matt said they wanted the Express Pass, and would be out of there in fifteen minutes. Lawyers Jelani & Jenny made their first attempt at the performance, but Jelani stuttered his steps. Then Matt & Ashley tried, but Matt’s timing was off. On the street outside the restaurant, Jeff & Jackie grew frustrated as one full taxi after another passed them. Jeff said, “I’m about to take the damn bus.” Pilot and flight attendant Jeff & Lyda, gay blind-dating couple Bergen & Kurt, truck stop couple Mike & Rochelle, and long-term Alabama couple Libby & CJ all chose Synching Steps. Running off, they passed a bridal store and Libby said it was an omen. Meanwhile, medics Hayley & Blair continued to wander around lost. After asking directions, they realized Blair’s way had been wrong. Hayley said, “The little blonde girl actually knows what she’s talking about when it comes to directions.” Blair added, “Hayley was right, I was wrong. She’s going to remind me of it forever.” Arriving at Kanda Myojin, Hayley said, “Great way to start a relationship, not listening to the one that knows, huh?” They ripped the clue in last place and chose Syncing Steps.


Harley and NKOTB member Jonathan arrived at Samurai Sake and began memorizing the names. Harley then took the order, and Jonathan chose the bottle from the shelf. They nailed it on the first try, and ripped the clue in second place. Their good luck continued as they immediately flagged down a taxi outside – just as Jeff & Jackie finally found one. Jackie said, “If they get there before us, I’m going to be pissed.” Harley & Jonathan feared being U-Turned, and hoped everyone was “tripping over their two left feet” at the dance challenge. His hopes were confirmed as Laura & Tyler and Jelani & Jenny both fumbled their dance attempts. Jeff & Lyda and Bergen & Kurt arrived at the task, although Tyler remained in high spirits as he took a selfie video, calling his team “a dancing machine.” But he became more worried when Mike & Rochelle arrived, noting that they’d been on the second flight. Matt comically fumbled his and Ashley’s seventh attempt at the dance. Meanwhile, Alabama couple Libby & CJ asked for directions to the park, and were told to get on the train – the thing they feared to do earlier in the leg. In the station they wandered around cluelessly amidst throngs of people. Finally finding the right platform, CJ said, “The navigation is killing us.” They boarded the train, hoping they weren’t last.


Hairstylists Matt & Ashley fumbled yet another attempt at dancing as medics Hayley & Blair showed up. Hayley said that seeing teams from the first flight was the “biggest relief ever.” Everyone struggled through practice, pilot Jeff comparing it to line dancing in the eighties: “Line dancing was invented by women to make men look stupid.” Libby & CJ finally arrived as SoCal couple Laura & Tyler began their second attempt. They completed the dance successfully, took a selfie with their instructor, and ripped the clue in third place. In the taxi Laura said she and Tyler work well together. “He’s someone that has what I want in a potential partner.” Lawyers Jelani & Jenny then successfully completed their eighth attempt at the dance. They received the clue in fourth place, and as Jenny jumped around screaming, Kurt said, “I’m acting just like that.” In their taxi, NKOTB member Jonathan confessed to suffering from anxiety since he was a kid, and said he’d have to work to rein it in and stay focused. They were then dropped off at a bank rather than the park. Meanwhile, Jeff & Jackie found the park – and the double Blind U-Turn board. Phil explained that two teams could now force two other teams to complete both sides of the Detour. But Jeff & Jackie opted out, believing they were in first place. They ripped the clue, which told them to find Phil at a rare Tokyo commodity – a parking space in the vicinity of the UDX Building. Standing in a small alley off the sidewalk, Phil said the last team to check in would be eliminated.


Back at Synching Steps, Matt & Ashley fumbled their twelfth attempt, Matt adding, “I’m getting frustrated now, babe.” After an immediate fumble by Bergen & Kurt, Olympians Aly & Steve began their tenth attempt. They were approved, and ripped the clue in fifth place. At the U-Turn board, lawyers Jelani & Jenny and SoCal couple Laura & Tyler arrived together, and both declined to U-Turn. The lawyers then jumped in a taxi, hoping to win the Express Pass. But Laura & Tyler had trouble finding a taxi, and got left behind. Harley and NKOTB member Jonathan continued to wander the streets looking for the park. In their taxi, Jeff & Jackie were excited about getting the Express Pass. They arrived at the UDX Building, but began running around in the massive underground parking garage. In their taxi, Jelani & Jenny noted that the clue said “vicinity” of the building, and figured that meant Phil would be outside. They then joked about lawyering up with their attention to the wording. Standing in the parking garage elevator, Jeff & Jackie finally began to wonder if Phil might be outdoors. Jackie said, “If this mistake cost us the Express Pass, it would be really devastating.” Jelani & Jenny reached Phil first, performing the dance again by running in slow motion to the mat. Phil told them they were team number one, and handed over the Express Pass. Jeff & Jackie then ran in behind them, and despite being team number two, they hugged and were happy. Jelani said, “You’d think the pre-existing couples would have an advantage, but we’re proving right now that that’s not necessarily the case.” They topped off the Pit Stop by taking a selfie with Phil.


Back at Synching Steps, teams continued to struggle. As Bergen & Kurt performed their third attempt, Rochelle said it’s hard for her to memorize things. Mike told her, “Just calm, just breathe. Have fun – we’re in Tokyo.” They then took a selfie with Matt & Ashley, Hayley & Blair, and Libby & CJ – just as Bergen & Kurt got approved. The blind-dating guys ripped the clue in sixth place. Laura & Tyler arrived at the Pit Stop in third. When asked if there was a potential for love, Tyler said: “Yeah. We’re happy to be partners and we’ll see where it goes.” Harley and NKOTB member Jonathan finally found the U-Turn, but chose not to use it. They ripped the clue and ran off just as Olympians Aly & Steve arrived. They too chose not to U-Turn, and ripped the clue in fifth place. Back at Synching Steps, medics Hayley & Blair were approved on their seventh attempt, and ripped the clue in seventh place. CJ said, “The line just got a little shorter.” As hairstylists Matt & Ashley began their twenty-fifth attempt, truck stop manager Mike said they’d caught up to teams from the first flight, which they didn’t think was possible. “We did it once, we can do it again.” But Matt & Ashley were approved, ripping their clue in eighth place. Mike tried to stay positive, saying, “There’s no need to be frustrated…. We’re both doing great.” But Rochelle was already wiping away tears. Mike added, “If it takes all night, we’ll get this done.”


Blind-dating couple Bergen & Kurt chose not to U-Turn anyone, and headed to the Pit Stop. Meanwhile, Olympians Aly & Steve arrived on the mat in fourth place, followed by Harley & Jonathan in fifth. Jonathan said, “Going on stage after fifteen years… was less scary to me than this.” Back at Syncing Steps, Mike & Rochelle and Jeff & Lyda both failed again, but on their eighth attempt Libby & CJ were approved. The Alabama couple ripped the clue in ninth place. Rochelle continued to be emotional, and shrugged off Mike when he tried to comfort her. “I just need to be alone for a second. This is brutal.” The truck stop couple began their fourteenth attempt, Rochelle saying that Mike “kept his cool and just encouraged me. He’s like, the best teammate I think I could ask for.” They were finally approved in tenth place, leaving Jeff & Lyda there alone. But on the road, medics Hayley & Blair were only just finding a taxi to head to the U-Turn. They were followed by Mike & Rochelle who figured they were in second-to-last place.


While hairstylists Matt & Ashley struggled to remain composed at the train station, Bergen & Kurt arrived at the Pit Stop in sixth place. The blind-dating couple said that if they don’t work out as a couple, they’ll still be good friends. Back at the dance, Jeff & Lyda considered switching Detours, but figured they were too tired to remember ten sakes. Alabama couple Libby & CJ arrived at an empty parking lot, thinking it was the U-Turn. Meanwhile, Mike & Rochelle got to the U-Turn and, believing they were in second-to-last place, used it on Jeff & Lyda. They felt terrible, but knew they had to be cutthroat to stay in the Race. Hayley & Blair finally arrived at the U-Turn, saw it had been used, and left. Then hairstylists Matt & Ashley showed up and also decided against using it. Back at Syncing Steps, Lyda said, “I don’t want to give up – that’s not my thing. So we’re going to be out here all night.” To Jeff she said, “Get your head in the game.” Finally, on their twenty-third attempt, they were approved and left to find a taxi. Mike & Rochelle arrived at the Pit Stop and admitted to using the U-Turn, Rochelle saying, “It felt like it was do or die at that point.” She added that the million dollars would mean security for her and her son.


At the U-Turn board, Jeff & Lyda arrived and saw their picture. But looking in the clue box, Lyda saw two clues remaining. Realizing they never saw blind-dating couple Jeff & Jackie at the dance, they thought maybe they never made it through Samurai Sake. So they decided to U-Turn them, Jeff saying, “I hope we picked the right one.” They ran off, Lyda saying, “We’re still in it. There’s one place behind us – we still have a chance!” But that one place belonged to Alabama couple Libby & CJ, who were still wandering aimlessly. Medics Hayley & Blair arrived at the Pit Stop in eighth place, followed immediately by hairstylists Matt & Ashley. Phil asked the latter if they knew what love looked like, and indicated Hayley & Blair. Matt joked, “I see it, I see it!” At Samurai Sake, Jeff & Lyda took the order. Jeff said, “They picked the one bottle I kind of remembered.” They delivered the correct sake, Jeff adding, “Boy do I wish I’d done this one first.” They ripped the clue in last place and jumped in a taxi back to the U-Turn board, hopeful that another team was still behind them.


Meanwhile, Libby & CJ were still unable to find the park. Coming upon a taxi driver they’d spoken to twice already, Libby said, “You’re about to make me say some ungodly words to you.” But the driver finally seemed to know where he was going. While Jeff & Lyda continued back to the park, the Alabama couple found the U-Turn board. Relieved not to be on it, they ripped the clue in tenth place. Then Jeff & Lyda arrived, ripped the clue, and headed to the Pit Stop. Lyda said, “This is so painful.” Libby & CJ arrived at the UDX Building… and ran to the underground parking garage. After some searching, CJ noticed that the clue said “in the vicinity” of the building. They headed to the ground floor as Jeff & Lyda pulled up. Both teams searched around the building – but Libby & CJ found Phil first, thrilled to still be in the Race after their long day. When Jeff & Lyda arrived on the mat, Phil told them they were eliminated. Lyda said, “It was very short, but… we never gave up.” Jeff said their relationship was as strong as ever. “We’re very happy and we love each other.” Lyda added, “No regrets.”