Characters: The Amazing Race 21
The 21st Season of the Race, and the only one to offer a prize of $2 million to the team who won the first leg if they went on to win the Racenote
. While they continued Season 20's
trend of a more physically tough and varied course, the producers improved on Season 20's main flaw (the generally unlikable cast) by finding one of the most fun and entertaining casts the show had ever seen. The season focused mainly on the personalities of the teams, allowing it to not only overcome, but thrive despite the biggest production snafu since All-Stars
, when missed flights and a lost passport pushed half of the teams over ten hours behind the front teams. The cast, the numerous dramatic and memorable moments, and one of the most shocking endings in the series all added up to a great season.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge (The Beekman Boys)
Life Partners and Goat Farmers, they were the stars of the reality show The Fabulous Beekman Boys
, and are quite possibly the most unlikely team to ever win the race. They barely avoided elimination for seven straight legs, slipping by as other teams hit some horrible luck and made game breaking mistakes. They would not finish above 4th place until only four teams remained, and not finish above 3rd until the final leg. In the end, Josh passed up Lexi on the Hello
/Goodbye Final Exam Finale
puzzle, becoming poster boys for the fact that anyone really can win the race.
- Camp Gay
- Chekhov's Hobby: At the mattress sewing Detour in Dhaka, Brent let Jaymes & James know why Josh was so good at sewing.
Brent: Josh used to sew a lot of his costumes when he was a drag queen.
- Dark Horse Victory: They are easily the weakest team to ever win the race (even acknowledging this in post-race interviews saying they'd rather be the worst winners than the best losers), having finished in the bottom-2 for seven straight legs, yet survived all seven legs. In comparison, only one other team had survived six bottom-2 finishes (Kami & Karli), and they held that record for eight years until Josh & Brent broke itnote . They also have the the least number of top-2 and top-3 finishes of any winner in race history, as well as the worst finishing average. They're also the second team to win after being 13 hours behind at one point (Eric & Danielle). In the final leg, Trey & Lexi twice said how they weren't worried about the Beekman Boys, as the Chippendales were their real competition.
- Deus ex Machina: They were saved by another team's catastrophic disaster that was not under their control not once, but twice:
- James & Abba lost a six hour lead because their cab driver drove off with their passports. This was on a leg in which Josh & Brent incurred a four-hour penalty for failing to complete the Detour.
- Ryan & Abbie not only missed a connecting flight through Frankfurt, but their second connecting flight was also delayed due to a mechanical malfunction. Had either flight landed on time, the U-Turn would not have killed Abbie & Ryan, and Josh & Brent would likely have been the team eliminated instead.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They survived the legs in Russia due to James & Abba's lost passport.
- Elimination Houdini: They discussed this in leg 10, saying they were lucky to still be around, and that there was one team like this every season.
- Face Palm: Brent, when Josh suggested that they could go help Abbie & Ryan complete their U-Turn.
- Failed a Spot Check: Brent struggled with the scale construction Roadblock because he kept misplacing a pin. They only survived because of the non-elimination leg.
- Follow That Car: Their strategy in the penultimate leg was to follow the three allied teams since they knew all the other teams would all be sticking together, and it was in their best interest to stay with the pack as Natalie & Nadiya still had their Speed Bump ahead.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Josh hurt his ankle during the ditch vaulting Roadblock.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Josh, during the Hasma Roadblock:
I never pictured you eating fallopian tubes.
- Good Is Not Soft: As they proved in the last two legs, they were not the pushovers the Final 3 alliance thought they were.
- Honor Before Reason: After Abbie & Ryan were U-Turned, Brent had to convince Josh that it was stupid to wait around while they did the other Detour, or even to help them do it, saying that Abbie & Ryan wouldn't hesitate to run right by them to the mat. Even Phil lampshaded this at the Pit Stop, asking Josh if he would like to be eliminated instead.
- Lame Pun Reaction: When preparing for the bull races in Indonesia, they had this exchange:
Brent: We have been dieting, so hopefully it won’t take much horsepower to beat that bull.
Josh: Or cow power.
*Cut to cow giving a groan-like moo*
- Let's Get Dangerous: After Abbie & Ryan's elimination, they started running the race more seriously. Then came the final leg.....
- No Sense of Direction: Twice they lost leads to the twins in leg 11 due to poor navigation.
- Odd Friendship: They bonded with Abbie & Ryan due to the two of them being hours behind the other teams for three straight legs, and seemed to be the only team who wanted Abbie & Ryan to stay in the race.
- Plucky Comic Relief: At the start of the game, but subverted big time in the finale.
- Quizzical Tilt: Josh towards Brent when Brent tried to get him to do Lamaze breathing to work through the pain in his ankle, then actually started Lamaze breathing in the middle of the airport.
- Read the Freaking Clue: They had to do the Speed Bump in Istanbul twice because they didn't read to look for the marked ice cream stall, and just bought two cones from the first stall they saw.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Their decision to take a tight connecting flight through Frankfurt in leg 7 was less blatantly bad than Ryan & Abbie's (due to starting way behind the other teams, and they were just scrambling to find a flight and catch up to the other teams), but they still made almost all the same mistakes.
- Rubber-Band A.I. : In Leg 7, they fell half a day behind the front teams thanks to a missed flight connection in Frankfurt, then incurred a further 4-hour penalty for being unable to complete either Detour before they closed. They would stay behind in legs 8 and 9 (up to 13 hours at the beginning of leg 9) until they were able to catch up to the front teams at a once-a-day ferry in Leg 10.
- Smart Guy: Both of them. After struggling through the synchronized swimming Detour in Moscow, they breezed through the next three tasks, including Brent acing the time zone Roadblock on the first try (when all the other teams needed at least eleven tries, or used the Express Pass). Then there was Josh breaking down the Hello/Goodbye Final Exam Finale Roadblock to finish ahead of the other two teams and win the race.
- Smooch of Victory: At the Finish Line.
- Spanner in the Works: With the U-Turning of Abbie & Ryan, everything had fallen into place for the Final 3 alliance between Natalie & Nadiya, Trey & Lexi, and Jaymes & James. None of them expected the Beekman Boys to put up as much of a fight as they did.
- This Is A Race: Josh talked about how there were the "serious" teams, and then there were the teams just trying to do their best. Then said that, more often than not, the teams who are great people end up winning, which was eventually revealed as Foreshadowing. Though they did have a change of heart towards this by the penultimate leg, where they started Trash Talking and playing cutthroat with the twins.
- Trash Talk: With Natalie & Nadiya in the penultimate leg, psyching them out at the dog food Detour.
- Underdogs Never Lose: And how.
- Unluckily Lucky: Part of the reason they kept winding up so far behind everyone else was they kept catching unlucky breaks, but at the same time they repeatedly got saved by dumb luck.
Brent: We’ve had good luck, we’ve had bad luck, we’ve had dumb luck.
Jaymes Vaughan & James Davis (The Chippendales)
James: If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough.
, Jaymes also released this ridiculous music video
. They came on the Race to help their parents, particularly Jaymes's dad, who was suffering from cancer. They proved to be surprisingly sweet and funny, managing to overcome the stigma that had plagued many recent Stunt Casting
teams (particularly among long time fans), on their way to becoming fan favorites. Though their racing skills were a bit lacking at first, they would vault to the front of the pack during all the flight snafus, and would never fall below 2nd after that. In the final leg, they would fall behind when they kept missing the boardwalk clue at Coney Island
, then had their cab driver disappear while Jaymes was doing the Houdini Roadblock, and they were never quite able to catch up to the Beekmans.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In Moscow:
Jaymes: Si... 'Si'. Si? What country am I in? Aw, what an idiot I am.
- Badass Gay: Jaymes.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: When leaving the train to catch a cab in Istanbul, Jaymes told this to the camera:
Jaymes: Just look at the bottom of the screen right now (points to where "Jaymes & James, Currently in 6th Place" just popped up), it’ll tell you what place we’re in, cause we ain’t got a clue.
- Call Back: Jaymes recognized the ditch vaulting Roadblock as their bus was pulling up.
- Chewing the Scenery: Jaymes. While on a ferry in Istanbul:
Jaymes: (pointing at the two continents in Istanbul) Europe! Asia! Europe! Asia!
- Clothes Make the Legend: Like with the Globetrotters, they brought their collars and cuffs along with them in case they needed an advantage with the locals. It would come in handy during the Organ Grinder Detour as they used them to collect cash from locals. They were even planning on wearing them for the Moscow swimming Detour until the production team told them they couldn't.
- Even the Guys Want Them: After they switched into their Chippendales gear at the Organ Grinder Detour, even men started giving them tips.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- In their own words, they passed the woman with an abacus in the first leg "twenty times," dropping them from 3rd to 10th in the process. At one point they even followed Caitlin & Brittany to the Pit Stop without getting their clue first (though this did help them pass up Rob & Sheila to stay in the race, as they now knew where the Pit Stop was located).
- In Bangladesh, while doing the bamboo Detour, they forgot three of their pieces of bamboo after taking them off their rickshaw and were turned away from the construction site, dropping them to second-to-last.
- All the teams took a while to find the clue at Coney Island, but they took the longest, and it dropped them to last.
- Fan Disservice: Jaymes In-Universe during the Hasma Roadblock. He spilled some of his frog fallopian tubes on the table, and the restaurant's patrons were shown looking disgusted as he sucked it up off the table.
- Game-Breaking Injury: James injured his ankle in the first leg, but it didn't prevent him from completing the Dance Detour in Moscow, allowing them to get their first leg win.
- Genre Savvy: In France, James correctly guessed that the leg prize would be a pair of Ford Escapes after they were given the car to drive during the leg, and one of their tasks included showing off a feature of the car.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: James, self-described, although it did not show during the race.
- Healthcare Motivation: Jaymes came on the show to pay for his dad's cancer treatments.
- Hide Your Gays: Jaymes.
- Honor Before Reason: They struggled with this regarding their friendship with Abbie & Ryan. Starting in Moscow they teamed up with Natalie & Nadiya and Trey & Lexi, helping each other to stay in the front of the pack. In leg 9, they had to decide to keep being the friendly guys, or to play the game and ignore their friendship with Abbie & Ryan and U-Turn them.
- Idiot Ball: Pointed out in Bangladesh, as they had skipped eating in order to save money during the race, and consequently were not at their strongest.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: James, when Nadiya beat him on the bus repair Roadblock.
- In-Series Nickname: "The Chippendales".
- Let's Get Dangerous: In Moscow, when missed flights and lost passports were taking out the previous front runners.
- The Load: James. During the sherbet Roadblock, Jaymes had to direct James from the sidelines to keep Brent and Kelley from passing him.
- Manly Gay: Jaymes.
- Mr. Fanservice: They used their looks and skills as Chippendale dancers to breeze through the Organ Grinder Detour.
- My Nayme Is
- One Steve Limit: Averted with James LoMenzo and each other.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Taking the train instead of a cab in Istanbul, but unlike Rob & Kelley they at least had the sense to switch to a cab midway to their destination.
- Satellite Character: James took a backseat to Jaymes most of the time.
- Self-Deprecation: Of their racing skills in general. They realized they spent a lot of time in the back of the pack, and weren't shy about making fun of themselves for it. Also of their sewing skills on the mattress making Detour.
Jaymes: We never get to places and can't find anyone because we're first, we get places and can't find anybody because we're last.
- Sequence Breaking: They followed Caitlin & Brittany to the Pit Stop in the first leg before finding their final clue.
- Shirtless Scene: In their part of the credits, in their intro, the Organ Grinder Detour in Amsterdam, and at the beach in Barcelona.
- This Is A Race: To justify U-Turning Abbie & Ryan.
- Unskilled, but Strong: At least at first, they proved to be much more competent once they started eating again.
Trey Wier & Alexis "Lexi" Beerman
Lexi: The amount that we’ve learned form this race is just a huge laundry list. I mean, we didn’t even know what customs was before we left for the race.
Former college football player and his former cheerleader girlfriend, both having recently graduated from the University of Texas. Despite having never left the country before, they created an alliance with Natalie & Nadiya early on, which helped them familiarize themselves with the skills needed to excel at the race. They would establish themselves as the favorites heading into the Final 3, winning the most legs, and dominated most of the final leg until Lexi fell apart on the Hello/Goodbye Roadblock, dropping them to 3rd.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When told to go to Aeroflot to look for tickets to Moscow, they go to Alitalia instead, Lexi getting confused because, "it has a funny name to it."
- "Begone" Bribe: A man bought a cup of sherbet from Lexi during the sherbet Roadblock so that she would leave him alone.
- Break the Cutie: Lexi on the Final Roadblock. Not being as systematic as Josh or James, she started to freak out when she couldn't figure out the greetings from each country, then fell completely apart after she hit herself on the head.
- Commitment Issues: A Running Gag was Lexi bringing up marriage, and Trey refusing to talk about marriage.
- Dumb Blonde: Initially, Lexi played it straight until it was subverted with a strong performance in Moscow, first at the Alphabetize Detour, then again during the next leg when she pulled Jaymes through the Time Zone Roadblock despite an initial hiccup, figuring it out much faster than self-titled "numbers wiz" Ryan.
- Expy: Lexi is essentially Mallory. Even when she's being cutthroat she's energetic and adorable.
- Genki Girl: Lexi wasn't a cheerleader for nothing.
- Global Ignorance: Like Natalie & Nadiya, they mistook the flag for the Netherlands for Francenote and thus thought they were going to Paris, only they did not even know enough to think it was France on their own, and were told this by their cab driver.
- Honor Before Reason: When Trey saw that Nadiya had found James & Abba's money, he argued towards giving the guys their money back. The twins and Lexi had to convince him otherwise.
- The Lancer: To Natalie & Nadiya. Lexi was just as eager to keep James & Abba's money, and they were both fully invested in the U-Turn plan, to the point where the both looked very upset when Jaymes started vacillating on the issue.
- The Load: They were accused of being this by Abbie & Ryan, claiming they were latching onto Natalie & Nadiya.
- Loophole Abuse: At the Double U-Turn, with Abbie & Ryan already U-Turned, they U-Turned James & Jaymes, who were ahead of them at the time, in order to prevent Abbie & Ryan from using their U-Turn power to save themselves. The plan was a joint collaboration between them, Nadiya & Natalie, and James & Jaymes, but they executed the last step.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Lexi lost it when she cut her finger during the bullfighting Detour. She would lose it again after getting hit on the head during the final Roadblock, which would prove more costly.
- One Head Taller
- Out of Focus: Until their first win in leg 6, though Trey got it through the finale.
- Running Gag: Lexi's obsession with Trey's muscles, and her obsession with marriage while Trey didn't seem to be in such hurry.
- Tempting Fate:
- At the beginning of leg 4, Lexi talked about how she felt they were due for a leg win. They would barely avoid coming in last that leg to Gary & Wil.
- In the finale, first they talked about how they weren't really worried about Josh & Brent, then got excited heading into the Final Exam Finale puzzle, saying they had taken notes throughout the race and were ready for it.
- Unskilled, but Strong: By their own admittance they did not know what they were doing at first, and mostly got by on their strength until they picked up the game after spending so much time with Natalie & Nadiya.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Trey had an American flag bandanna.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Trey did not like heights or being restrained tightly, so of course he did the Houdini Roadblock.
Natalie Anderson & Nadiya Anderson (Twinnies)
Nadiya: We’ve always been evil, we’ve never been nice.
Twins, and the only family team on the season, they were born in New York before moving to Sri Lanka when they were three years old. Their manic energy grabbed the attention of the cameras right from the start. They were one of the early favorites to win, and would engineer one of the most ingenious moves in Race history when they used two other teams to U-Turn their biggest competition out of the Race. However, they would also pull one of the most controversial moves in Race history when they picked up the money James & Abba dropped in Bangladesh, and decided to keep it. They were in 3rd heading to the Pit Stop in the penultimate leg, but a local sent them in the wrong direction, putting them out in 4th place. Their manic energy and spotlight stealing natures
got them invited back for the second All-Stars
, and later cast on Survivor San Juan Del Sur
- Action Girl
- Affably Evil: Despite being one of the most viciously competitive teams to ever run the Race, and even describing themselves as "evil" in their final leg, they managed to make friends with most of the teams, and were even shown to be friendly with Abbie & Ryan after their elimination.
- Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: How you saw them was determined by which side of the Broken Base you were on, but they were either a wildly entertaining team who played a cutthroat game that would have made Dustin & Kandice blush, or they were a horribly annoying team who managed to make friends with all the other teams.
- Base Breaker: They cited themselves as this during their pre-Race interviews for All-Stars.
- Brutal Honesty: They didn't seem to care who heard what they thought about them.
- Camera Abuse: When leaving the U-Turn mat in Indonesia, Nadiya bumped her head on the camera. Later, in Bangladesh, they whacked the camera with their bundle of bamboo during the Detour.
- Catch Phrase:
- It is not recommended to take a drink every time you hear them say "Oh my God". You won't even survive one episode.
- Them calling others, "fools," which became their trademark in both the Race and Survivor fanbases.
- The Chessmaster: They created a plan to exploit the rules of the Double U-Turn in leg 9 to ensure that Abbie & Ryan were more than likely eliminated. They convinced James & Jaymes and Trey & Lexi to U-Turn Abbie & Ryan with the first slot of the U-Turn, and then burn the second slot on the team that used the first slot. Thus, when presented with the Fast Forward during the leg, they went ahead with it, leaving Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi to do all the heavy lifting. With this done, Abbie & Ryan would not be able to U-Turn Josh & Brent, who were also behind them. Even Abbie & Ryan were not aware during their elimination that this was staged by Natalie & Nadiya, blaming Jaymes & James the entire time.
- Crazy-Prepared: Discussed in Spain, though it did not actually apply to anyone, when Brent & Josh found a map in Mallorca:
Natalie & Nadiya: "He has a map! Why don't we have a bloody map in this place?" "I don't know, they're super prepared, they're gay."
- Crowd Chant: Natalie got a crowd chant started for Nadiya at the Hasma Roadblock.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of their dialogue was said in a tongue in cheek manner, though in a way where it was often hard to determine whether they were joking or being serious.
- Distracted by My Own Sexy: When racing to avoid elimination in the third leg, Natalie stopped to check out their picture in the Double Blind U-Turn, and Nadiya had to yell at her to get her moving again.
- Driving Stick: Nadiya was supposed to take lessons, but her sheer overconfidence caused her to think she had gotten it after one lesson.
- Elimination Montage
- Failing a Taxi: For an hour in Moscow, which, due to the team spread, pretty much stuck them in 3rd place for the next two legs.
- Fatal Flaw: Their overconfidence. In particular, Nadiya was so confident in her ability to drive a stick after one lesson that she didn't bother practicing any more.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Portions of the fanbase erupted with howls of protest when Natalie & Nadiya were not "punished" after they picked up James & Abba's dropped money in Bangladesh. As mentioned under Loophole Abuse, it wasn't against the rules to pick up money that was dropped by another player.
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: They did this in the Netherlands.
- El Spanish O: While fixing a windmill in Spain:
"Mucho... wasted time-o."
- Gambit Roulette: The U-Turn manipulation, though a good strategy, took a lot of luck to be pulled off successfully, and would have been ruined had Abbie & Ryan's flight not been delayed, as it would have either put them in front of Trey & Lexi, letting them use the U-Turn, or far enough ahead of Brent & Josh to allow them to complete the U-Turn and still have a lead on the Beekmans.
- Genki Girls: Both of them are very much "on".
- Genre Savvy:
- Heading into the Roadblock in Indonesia, given the clue "Who likes to party?", they immediately point out the misleading nature of the clue (the Roadblock involved peddling a children's ride while making balloon animals), and how they didn't make their decision based on the clue.
Natalie: If they were referring to real partying, I would have said me.
Nadiya: But because it's The Amazing Race and we know the challenge wouldn't be "down thirty bottles of tequila," I went with it.
- They engineered a plan specifically to target Ryan & Abbie for elimination, by U-Turning them with the first slot of the Double U-Turn, then burning the second by using it on a team who had already passed the U-Turn, disallowing Ryan & Abbie from using the second slot to save themselves.
- Global Ignorance: Pointed out when they mistook the Netherlands flag for France's.
- Glomp: Natalie did this to the young ping pong player in Shanghai when she finally scored a point on her. Nadiya picked up the judge at the Detour in Indonesia, and then did it to Phil when they won the leg. Of course, this was after the fish stall task, meaning she was soaked in fish juices. They also did it in France to the corset woman at the Speed Bump.
Phil: Thank you for sharing your smell with me.
- History Repeats: Their wins in legs 2 and 9 came after they did a fish related task, leaving them smelling like fish running into the Pit Stop.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Natalie has a nose ring, Nadiya has a nose stud.
- In-Series Nickname: Sri Lanka.
- Infectious Enthusiasm:
- Natalie pumped up the crowd during the Hasma Roadblock with her Bollywood style dance, to the point that the crowd continued cheering for every team that came afterwards.
- A minor example in Amsterdam, when they came into the Pit Stop after winning the Fast Forward, they did a victory shimmy, which Phil started doing as well.
- Large Ham
- Loophole Abuse: Picking up James & Abba's money was not against the rules as they picked it up off the ground after James & Abba had dropped it, not taken it off their person. It was later revealed in interviews that they had actually asked production if picking up the money was against the rules, and they were told they had not broken any actual rules.
- Motor Mouth: It had the added psychological effect of driving Abbie & Ryan crazy. When she discovered their yelling annoyed Ryan at the scale construction Roadblock, Natalie recruited a kid to yell with her.
- No Indoor Voice
- Not the Intended Use: While teams before them had wasted U-Turns by using them on a team who had already passed the mat, the twins were the first team to exploit that this could be done deliberately to waste a U-Turn slot.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Their Speed Bump involved lacing up a corset for a French woman.
- Oh, Crap: During the penultimate leg when they realize they have been given bad directions to the Pit Stop.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: They were stronger than they looked (Natalie hoisted a pair of bus seats over her head during the bus repair Roadblock to the surprise of many), and had the stamina to keep on trucking when other teams would collapse or stop for a break.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They considered using the Express Pass during the synchronized swimming Detour in leg 7 while suffering Killer Fatigue, until Jaymes & James pointed out that it would likely be wasted with Abbie & Ryan and Josh & Brent having disappeared from the race (even missing the several hour-long equalizer upon reaching Moscow). Eventually Subverted, as they realized their stupidity and finished the Detour, becoming the first team to keep the Express Pass until the final leg in which it can be used.note
- Self-Deprecation: They had the ability to laugh at themselves, like when Nadiya split her pants during the Russian dancing Detour, or when they mistook the Netherlands' flag for France's.
- Sibling Rivalry: Though it seemed to be good-natured, and at least appeared to not hinder them.
- Sibling Team
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Abbie & Ryan, calling them psychopaths. The two teams actually became friends after the season.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They soaked up a lot of screen time from the very first leg up until the Finish Line, where half the shots of the eliminated teams waiting at the mat included them. This would later extend to them being the first Race team to appear on another CBS Reality Show.
- Theme Twin Naming
- This Is A Race: When Nadiya found James & Abba's money, Natalie immediately told her to keep quiet about it so they could keep the money for themselves and Trey & Lexi (who saw them find it). While they said they would not have done that in real life, they justified doing it because of the race.
- Trash Talk: With Josh & Brent in the penultimate leg.
- Twin Switch: They used to do this with tests and breaking up with boyfriends.
- Who Is This Guy Again?: Possibly the hardest team to tell apart in race history, as not only are they twins with the same hairstyles, same style of clothing, and even both have nose piercings, but they refer to each other as "Twinnie". Though sometimes they will wear same style of clothing but different colors, and one will refer to the other by name early on, helping the audience to tell them apart.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Though they were very knowledgeable of the mechanics of the game, at times they had trouble applying their knowledge, and their game play style (such as creating a three team alliance to "select" the Final 3) was probably better suited to a game like Survivor, as alliances have a tendency to be tossed out the window as soon as elimination becomes a real threat. Incidentally, they would later become Survivor contestants, and Natalie would end up winning.
Abbie Ginsberg & Ryan Danz
Dating Divorcees, Ryan finished 4th on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
. They lived up to Ryan's boasting by finishing 1st in the first leg, making them the team with the chance to double their money. However, despite dominating the first half of the season, they hit a wall starting in leg 7, missing connecting flights to both Moscow and Amsterdam (both times in Frankfurt), and fell half a day behind the other teams. When they finally did arrive in Amsterdam in leg 9, they would find that Jaymes & James had U-turned them (along with having Trey & Lexi burning the second slot on the Chippendales to prevent Abbie & Ryan from U-Turning someone else), allowing Josh & Brent to pass them and leaving them out in 5th place.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Final 3 Alliance were overjoyed to see Brent & Josh show up in Spain instead of Abbie & Ryan.
- Backstab Backfire: They made it fully known throughout their final leg that they planned to throw Josh & Brent under the bus by using the Double U-Turn to keep themselves in the Race, even telling the Detour judge that Josh & Brent were ready to go home (even Josh & Brent were expecting this leg to be their last). While they expected themselves to be one target of the U-Turn, they found out they were unable to use the second slot due to it being wasted by Trey & Lexi. Their race was essentially over after that.
- Born Unlucky: There is a reason why Ryan does not like Frankfurt.
- Break the Haughty/Break the Cutie: Their Race story in a nutshell. Ryan as the haughty would switch from egotistic gloating to depressed defeatism every time something happened to put them in the back of the pack. Abbie as the cutie took longer, but getting U-Turned finally did it, leading to a shot of her crying on a lady's shoulder (who helped them finish the organ grinding Detour) in the rain.
- Call Back:
- Abbie's, "Tastes like two million bucks," line during the Hasma Roadblock, calling back to Kat's famous, "Tastes like a million dollars" line.
- In leg 5, Ryan twice brought up Rachel & Dave's leg win record.
- Competition Freak: To the point where Ryan would become upset when they came in second because he wanted to break the all time leg wins record.
- Death Glare: Abbie at Nadiya when she overheard Nadiya tell the camera that she wanted Trey & Lexi to win the leg in Istanbul instead of her and Ryan.
- Failure Montage: Ryan got one during the Russian Time Zone Roadblock in Leg 8 when he kept failing the quiz.
- Funny Background Event/Aside Glance: Abbie would often make a face or even mime a reaction to the camera depending on the circumstances.
- History Repeats: They missed connecting flights in Frankfurt in legs 7 and 9, both times dropping them to a tie for last with Brent & Josh.
- And this was not even the first time a team missed consecutive connecting flights in Frankfurt, putting them way behind the pack and eliminating them in 5th place. The same thing happened to Uchenna & Joyce, right down to the flights being missed in the exact same legs.
- Humiliation Conga: Starting with leg 7, they missed two connecting flights in the same city, Abbie struggled with the Trees of Love roadblock, Ryan struggled with the Russian time zone Roadblock, and they got U-Turned out of the race thanks to Natalie & Nadiya's manipulation of the Double U-Turn. Talked about during Abbie's speech while Ryan was the only one who struggled with the ditch vaulting Roadblock.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ryan - while initially a blowhard who got on everyone's nerves, he took a well-placed blow to the ego when he and Abbie missed the flight to Russia, and ended up spending a little under a week running the race in synchronization with Josh & Brent, to the point where both teams formed a mutual Odd Friendship with each other. It got to the point where Ryan was willing to stay behind at the Synchronized Swimming Detour and wait for them, something which pre-Russia Ryan would probably never have even thought of doing. In the finale, he was probably the most enthusiastic person to see Josh & Brent hit the finish line first. After the race, he even came out to defend Natalie & Nadiya after they "stole" James & Abba's money.
- Moral Myopia: In the first leg, after getting help from Amy & Daniel to find the clue then passing them up in the footrace to the Pit Stop, Ryan gave a rambling speech on how it was not personal, and they had to play to win. Fast forward to leg 9, they were flabbergasted that their friends James & Jaymes would "stab them in the back" and U-Turn them, this after stating that they would use the U-Turn on Josh & Brent to save themselves.
- Oh, Crap: When they hit the U-Turn mat and saw not only who had U-Turned them, but that the second slot was also full.
- Odd Friendship: With Josh & Brent. After being stranded with them behind the other three teams for days on end, they formed a bond that would last throughout the rest of the race and even after the race: the two of them actually watched the finale to the season at the Beekman's Farm.
- Out-Gambitted: Despite all their plans to use Brent & Josh as a shield to keep them in the game, they were outwitted by the twins.
- Pungeon Master: Half of their dialogue early on was bad puns. The other half was Ryan talking about how awesome he is. When they missed their second connecting flight in Frankfurt, they started word-playing on "Frank".
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- Upon reading the leg 5 Roadblock clue, "It ain't heavy, it's a Roadblock," Ryan immediately interpreted that as, "It's not that heavy." Abbie naturally struggled through constructing a large scale to weigh wood.
- Much like Brad & Victoria, they took a risky flight to Russia with an incredibly slim connection time that would only get them into Moscow an hour ahead of the other teams. Much like Brad & Victoria, they failed to consider the fact that there would be equalizers in place at such late a time and would be best off looking for a flight that wouldn't strand them in a different country if there was a delay or if they didn't make the connection. Unfortunately, they didn't, which led to the last three legs of their race.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Natalie & Nadiya. They would mock the girls' cheering each other on at Roadblocks. The two teams actually became friends after the season.
- Smug Snake: Ryan constantly talked about how much better and more deserving his team was than everyone else. When he couldn't figure out the time zone task, he declared that the map program must be broken.
- Sore Loser: Ryan's elimination speech was him complaining about their elimination and blaming the Chippendales for U-Turning them.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: After their elimination, they were played off by the happy, jaunty tune from the street organ Detour.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: Having the chance for two million dollars put a huge target on their backs, and it was mentioned by both Natalie & Nadiya and Trey & Lexi. Jaymes's reason for U-turning them had to do more with their skill, though.
- Tempting Fate:
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This was the reason why they wanted to run the race with Josh & Brent when they fell behind in Legs 7 and 9, confident they could beat them in any footrace to the Pit Stop. Unfortunately, it did not work out as intended.
James LoMenzo & Mark "Abba" Abbattista
Metal Bassist and his attorney friend. James has played with White Lion and Megadeth
. They started out as a relatively strong, if not mistake-prone, team, winning two legs after claiming the Fast Forward in Bangladesh. They were cruising along in Moscow, having a six hour lead on two other teams, only to lose Abba's passport and be eliminated in 6th when they failed to find it. After the Race, Abba had a detailed interview with The AV Club describing the Race experience
- Born Unlucky: In four straight legs Abba hurt his knee, James found out his father's cancer was stage 4, they lost their money, and then they lost their bags and passports.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Abba is a lawyer who just happens to dress and act like the musicians he represents.
- Elimination Montage
- Failed a Spot Check:
- They dropped from 1st to 6th in leg 1 after passing right by the woman with the abacus.
- Abba forgot to close his money pouch and dropped their money in the travel agency in Bangladesh. Nadiya found it and snatched it up, forcing them to beg for money to move on.
- Fan Disservice: Their arrival at the Synchronized Swimming Detour in Moscow was accompanied by a Record Needle Scratch and the swimming coach saying, "I'm already afraid".
- Foregone Conclusion: After they lost Abba's passport in leg 7, they were pretty much dead men walking in leg 8.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Abba injured his knee doing the Fast Forward, and it hindered him from there on out.
- History Repeats: They lost Abba's passport in Moscow, the same city where Toni & Dallas lost theirs. Both times, a cab driver drove off with their passports still in the car.
- Ironic Nickname: A long-haired rocker type who goes by Abba.
- Loners Are Freaks: The other teams were kind of put off by the way they always kept to themselves. This may have helped James & Abba as all of the teams ahead of them skipped the Fast Forward in Bangladesh, thinking someone else had already taken it, allowing James & Abba to take it instead and ride it to two straight leg wins.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Of the Mercy Kill variety. Though they were technically eliminated for losing leg 8, they would have finished 4th in leg 7 had they not lost Abba's passport, as they were hours ahead of Josh & Brent and Ryan & Abbie, and they were only saved due to it being a non-elimination leg and the next leg being a second Moscow leg. They never had a chance after that, and were show doing the leg in Time-Compression Montage.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Jaymes & James.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Abba.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Abba deciding to keep his passport in his bag instead of in their fanny pack or on his person, then letting that passport get out of his sight for more than a second.
- Time-Compression Montage: Their last leg played out like this. After all the other teams had checked in they were shown doing the Speed Bump and running into the Pit Stop over their Elimination Statement.
Rob French & Kelley French (Monster Truck)
Rob: They are followers. We're not followers. We'll go our own way.note
Married monster truck drivers. Rob would constantly make hearty predictions about their performance, before they would inevitably struggle to keep up with the pack. They were eliminated in Istanbul when they took a train instead of a taxi from the airport, which put them behind all the other teams and out of the race in 7th place.
- Anime Hair: Rob had a dyed blond pseudo-mohawk and goatee, while the side and back of his head was covered in shaved gray hair.
- Busman's Vocabulary: Rob found a way to relate everything to working on monster trucks.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl
- In-Series Nickname: Monster Truck.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Rob Scheer.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Rob picked up his papaya during the Hasma Roadblock, forcing him to do the whole task a second time.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- In leg two, they were the only team to jump on the first flight out of Shanghai to Indonesia, which is because they didn't check arrival times, and therefore didn't know about the four hour layover in Hong Kong which put them in last place. Luckily, an overnight equalizer caught them up to the other teams.
- They took the train instead of a cab in Istanbul, something that was established early on in the series as a bad idea, as cabs are more direct and don't make frequent stops.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The editors loved setting up Rob to look like a fool by showing his big, boastful predictions before he inevitably fell on his face.
Gary Wojnar & Will Chiola
Substitute teachers and friends, they were huge fans of the Race who applied seven times before they were selected for Season 21. All their years watching the Race did not translate to actual skills, as they struggled right off the bat. Though they would be saved from elimination on both the second and third legs by drivers getting other teams lost, their luck would run out in Bangladesh, and Gary struggling with the bus repair Roadblock would put them behind and drop them out in 8th.
- Ascended Fanboy: They're Race "superfans".
- Audience Surrogate: They liked to see themselves as this, calling themselves "Superfans" and saying they were representative of the fanbase. Suffice it to say, the majority of fans did not share this sentiment, as they felt Gary & Will were as about a good of a representation of Race fans as Dan & Andrew were representative of Fratboys.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Will (5'1") doesn't even come up to Gary's (6'6") shoulders. Other teams nicknamed them "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "David and Goliath". This was also one of those rare occasions where the big guy was the one in charge.
- Grumpy Bear: Gary.
- Luck-Based Mission: They discussed how cabs were this a lot of times.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Gary slowed down every time he thought they were behind, seemingly blind to the fact that anything can happen on the race. Not only that, in leg 3, Will seemed to forget how the U-Turn worked, and started looking for it at the first route marker, before they had even done the Detour.
- Small Name, Big Ego: They called their comeback in leg 3 (the comeback that involved Caitlin & Brittany's cab driver getting them super lost) "probably the greatest comeback ever."
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They got a lot more airtime and story focus than an 8th place team who spent all of their time in last really should have gotten.
- Surprise Difficulty: Discussed at the beginning of the third leg.
- Tempting Fate: At the beginning of the third leg, Will pointed out that they didn't want to U-Turn someone in front of them. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as they hit the Blind U-Turn, they targeted Rob & Kelley, who had already U-Turned them. Luckily it didn't cost them.
- This Is A Race: To justify sending Jaymes & James the wrong way in leg 1. They had seen enough seasons to know not to help the alpha male team when they're struggling.
Caitlin King & Brittany Fletcher
Friends, they would fall in the third leg when their pedicab driver got lost looking for both the U-Turn and the Pit Stop.
- Born Unlucky
- Down to the Last Play: They managed to catch up with Gary & Will in the pedicab race to the Pit Stop and pass them, only for their driver to take a wrong turn at the worst possible moment.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Out of Focus
- Sequence Breaking: From various exit interviews (as it was not seen in the show), they had stated that they originally finished the Detour 6th, but their pedicab drive took them to the Pit Stop instead of the U-Turn location, putting them behind.
Amy Purdy & Daniel Gale
Double amputee and competitive snowboarder and her on and off boyfriend. They started off strong, finishing 2nd in the first leg, and coming out of the Roadblock in 2nd on the second leg, but then their cab driver got them dreadfully lost looking for Wijaya Motor, putting them out in 10th. Amy would later finish as the runner up on Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars
- Artificial Limbs: Both legs.
- Born Unlucky: Almost the entire blame for their elimination can be put on their cab driver.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Due to Neisseria meningitis, Amy lost both her legs, her spleen, kidney, and the hearing in her right ear.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: They lost their chance at the two million dollars because they told Abbie & Ryan where the woman with the abacus was, and were subsequently passed up in a footrace to the Pit Stop.
Rob Scheer & Sheila Castle
Engaged lumberjack and former marketing executive. They got stuck on the second flight on the first leg, then got bad directions to the Bund. They were the tenth team to find the final clue, but got passed up by Jaymes & James during the footrace to the Pit Stop, getting eliminated by 15 seconds.
- Down to the Last Play: Only the third time the first team was eliminated via a footrace (The other teams being Chuck & Ryan in Season 7 and Preston & Jennifer in Season 14).
- Failed a Spot Check: Passed right by the woman with the abacus when they first hit the Bund, costing them valuable time that could have kept them in the race.
- History Repeats: Rob's sister Tina was the first person voted off Survivor: Panama when she made a last minute gaffe by criticizing her tribemates at tribal council, saving future fan favorite Cirie Fields. Rob's last minute elimination would save future fan favorites Jaymes & James.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Rob French.
- Sore Loser: In post-race interviews, they accused Gary & Will of playing unethically by breaking their alliance.