Phil Keoghan blogs 'The Amazing Race': episode 9

Philkeoghan_l_2And then there were four. We now have a really strong group of Teams set to battle each other for the $1 million prize. I love when we get to the point in the show when Racers start to realize they actually might have a shot to win this thing. It comes down to who can put it all together for the final stretch, who has the stamina to keep racing full speed ahead after almost a month on the road, who can remain focused with thepressure of $1 million staring them in the eye, and who can put aside any personal feelings about their competitors and simply run the Race of their lives. Easier said than done.

Quick thoughts on the four remaining Teams:

Victor/Tammy: Smart, analytical, and competitive, but do they have the street smarts to pull it off?

Luke/Margie and LaKisha/Jen: I’ll put these two together following last night’s meltdown. Both are strong competitors and the partners communicate really well, but will the teams’ feud with each other get in the way? Also, Margie and Luke have played out of their heads the past two weeks — can they maintain that level of play?

Cara /Jaime: Strong team, but can they get through the rest of the Race without coming to blows with the locals? Case in point, Jaime yelling at the man during last night’s dancing challenge because he couldn’t understand English. Yelling at someone who doesn’t understand your language when you’re in their country — are you serious?

After all these weeks of telling you about the "Most Memorable Mat Meltdown" of all time, we finally got to see it last night. What an episode. The throwdown between Luke and Margie and LaKisha and Jen was so intense. All of us in production knew that both teams were really going head-to-head throughout the entire leg, but no one could have predicted it would come down to a foot race to the mat and one of the most emotionally charged Pit Stops I have ever been a part of. It was downright uncomfortable.

Safe to say, Luke is not afraid of confrontation. I was surprised atthe intensity level at which he ran this leg. Never backing down, neverletting LaKisha or Jen get in his way. Last week I thought Margie wasthe driving force behind their Team, but this week Luke stepped up andtook the lead. On the flip side, I always knew that Jen had thattenacity in her; you don’t play Division I collegiate sports and notknow how to compete. That’s part of her DNA.

It was one of the longest times we’ve ever spent on a mat after theteams arrived. We were there for easily half an hour discussing who wasto blame for the pushing and shoving at the cluebox, who behavedpoorly, etc., etc. No matter how many times LaKisha said that shewasn’t making fun of Luke when she laughed, Margie never bought it. Idon’t think LaKisha was making fun of Luke. I think she just has anervous laugh and that’s what she does in those situations.

By that point in the day, Margie was so fed up with the way the twoTeams fought throughout the entire leg that anything was going to sether off…and it did. I have to say, though, even with all the yellingand arguing at the mat, one of the most comical parts of the entirescene was watching Victor and Tammy, who had no idea what was about toerupt when they landed at the Pit Stop.

And alas, Mark and Michael’s past missteps finally caught up withthem. They fought a valiant fight, but I think the hole was simply toodeep to climb out of from last week. They were a solid Team and Ihonestly think they could have made a run at the $1 million had theybeen able to avoid such costly penalties. Good competitive spirit withthose two guys.

Did you see that we just got the official pickup for Season 15?Great news. We’re holding casting calls in several cities thatI’m riding through on my Ride Across America.We’re in Chicago on April 24, Pittsburgh on May 1, and New York City onMay 8. Come out and apply…maybe I’ll blog about you next season.

More Amazing Race:
Amazing Race recap: Season of the Bitch

Comments (87 total) Add your comment
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  • Corran

    You rock Phil! You are the best host on tv! Probst would have exploited that fight, but you were calm and sympathetic about it. I agree with you, that Kisha was laughing out of the nervousness of the situation. I do that sometimes, and it isnt mean to be personally disrespectful at all.

  • Pope Buck I

    I felt sorry for poor Victor and Tammy. I pictured them asking you, “Um… would you mind if we just went over here and let these other guys fight it out?”
    From all the replays, it looked like Luke was more at fault in the first cluebox confrontation, and the second one was pure accident – but neither confrontation was purely deliberate on the part of either team. I hope everyone was able to calm down after getting to the Pit Stop. Margie is usually the picture of composure, but we now have a clear warning: you mess with Luke, she turns into a savage Mama Bear defending her cub!

  • Buckeye Chuck

    I thought the “meltdown” was more sad than anything else … both sides were to blame, but Luke & Margie seemed to escalate already tense situations (Luke with his elbow throwing and pushing, Margie by playing both the “deaf card” and the “race card” … i.e. the ‘you’re black so you should relate’ nonsense). Should Jen have called him a b*tch? Of course not … but it was pure competitiveness; it had nothing to do with deafness or race, so why bring those things up?
    Victor & Tammy proved to be even more annoying in Chinese than in English, and the cheerleaders did not fail to disappoint in their ignorance.
    Good human drama, but I feel like the ugly sides of the racers came through and tarnished the spirit of the race that Phil tries to uphold. I’ve liked the new and improved elements of the show, but I’m having a hard time getting attached to any of the remaining teams. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather watch Phil race around the world, solo =)

  • leon

    Could the producers of the Amazing Race bring the “Family” race as done several seasons ago??

  • leon

    Could the producers of the Amazing Race bring the “Family” race as done several seasons ago??

  • rockgolf

    It’s true. Luke never let LaKisha or Jen get in his way. Even if they were between him and the clue box.
    Did Margie sign “Luke, use the force”? Because Luke was willing to use force, alright.
    Deafness is no excuse for poor sportsmanship.

  • PamR

    Thanks Phil for the great blog. You gave us a lot of info this time and I am one fan that appreciates it!
    Also, love Elimination Station and your diary updates (except for the stairwell episode).
    Question…Why didn’t Mark and Michael go to Elimination Station? Last season someone said the last few contestants that are eliminated stick around to help with the race. Is this true?
    Some of the other bloggers and myself wondered why M&M were penalized for giving their stuff away for payment, but others in past episodes were not…what is the rule?

  • Adam
  • jds

    I think Luke’s deafness came into play at the first incident. I don’t think he knew that Jen was that close behind him and then — contact!

  • TAR Fan

    When the race started I was really rooting for Luke/Margie. Now I can’t wait to see them go. I can’t stand their “We can play as nasty as we want to be but don’t do anything to Luke because he’s deaf” mentality. Hopefully there’s a blind Yield coming up. I can only hope it’s used against them.

  • lostfan23

    Phil– You are the best. But I have one critical question? Does CBS picking up the show for Season 15 mean that only one edition of Amazing Race will air during the 2009-10 season, or is there still a possibility that they will order another edition to comprise a full TV season? Please answer in next week’s blog.

  • Jan in So Cal

    It’s sad that because of the way they play and the way their personalities come to surface, that I have lost all interest in which team wins! Margie & Luke started out as a fave, but now….meh. Kisha & Jen.. not a fan from the beginning. Jamie is just too awful to root for her, poor Cara. And, Tammy & Victor are just lame lame lame. But, they’re faces as they watch the other teams fight was just priceless! If I had to choose my team for the win…. I guess I would have to go with Victor & Tammy (can’t believe I just said that)I don’t want their parents to have to cry themselves to death.

  • davidfsf

    This is my first time reading Phil’s blog. Why exactly do you feel the need to capitalize “Team?” Are you German or something?

  • Sarah W.

    Hey Phil, I know you said that there aren’t any international contestants allowed because of passport issues. Any chance of developing international versions (namely Canada, where I am) of the series, like they did with Idol (we suffer through Canadian Idol all the time). It might be interesting to see how different and similar competitors from other countries travel. Also, I really want to apply :) Thanks for the interesting blog each week! Can’t wait for next season.

  • Heather

    ummm…isn’t her name just Kisha?

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