The 23rd Season of the Race started off with a lot of potential. There were some likable and interesting teams, a few potential good villains, and it looked like Season 23 could follow up on the momentum built by the previous two seasons. Unfortunately, it then suffered perhaps the worst possible elimination order in the show's history. Starting in the second leg, all the interesting fan favorite teams started dropping off one by one, as the season ended up with an uninspiring top five full of teams that many felt were either unlikable, or alternatively just kind of boring. To make matters worse, one of the few remaining likable teams did a hypocrisy-fueled Face-Heel Turn
, and entered into an answer sharing alliance that was responsible for the elimination of two teams. Add to that a final leg that was decided by the first, luck-based, task, and all in all, Season 23 ended up on the weak side.
Jason Case & Amy Diaz
Former Miss Rhode Island and her boyfriend. They were a consistently good team, almost always finishing near the top of the pack, but, at least for the first nine legs, never at
the top of the pack. Both having A-type personalities, this proved to be an annoyance for them, and their quest to win a leg became their key storyline of the season. They also became good friends with Travis & Nicole, the only other couple in the season, and formed a somewhat unhealthy alliance with them. Amy twice helped Nicole complete Roadblocks that might otherwise have eliminated the doctors from the Race, and assisted the team that had dominated the first two-thirds of the season in making the Final 3. In the final leg, Amy was able to complete the supply drop Roadblock on her second attempt, which gave them enough of a lead to propel them to the win.
- Always Second Best: Discussed frequently, as they finished 2nd place five times before finally winning leg 10, and they became more and more frustrated with each 2nd place finish. When they hit the mat in leg 8, they weren't even surprised, guessing their placement before Phil even said it. Phil even added to that, "I think you know what place you're in."
- Brains and Brawn: Super brainy Amy and brawny Jason.
- Brainy Brunette: Amy's accomplishment she is most proud of is completing two Master degrees by the time she was 22 years old.
- Call It Karma: Amy said Leo & Jamal's Detour troubles in leg 10 were karma for lying (Leo & Jamal then proceeded to get saved by a non-elimination).
- Dumb Struck: Jason, when they realized they had just been outsmarted by Nicky & Kim for standby tickets at the Sao Paolo airport.
- Face Palm: Amy, when Jason asked if the people who lived in Indonesia were Chinese or Indian.
- Failed a Spot Check: Amy and Nicole had issues building their robots in Japan as they switched the shoulder and hip pieces.
- Felony Misdemeanor: They were furious that Tim & Marie took their cab after the choir Roadblock in Austria, leading to a nasty confrontation with them at the Pit Stop mat, and Jason even requested that they be penalized (they were not, as they had not broken any rules).
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: Amy did this to Jason to at the beginning of the third episode when he started listing off the things that had caused them trouble so far, none of which were under their control.
- Flawless Victory
- Global Ignorance: Told to fly to Indonesia, Jason asked what kind of people live in Indonesia, if they were Chinese or Indian.
- Go-Getter Girl: Amy is a Type-A overachiever, who had two Masters by 22, while also being Miss and Miss Teen Rhode Island. Their constant 2nd place finishes obviously annoyed her because of this.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Amy helped Nicole complete the Roadblock in Leg 9, with Amy even laying out the pieces for her in the correct order. Never mind that Nicole & Travis were perhaps the strongest team at that point, and they just might have saved them, both teams were trying to avoid elimination as well.
- In the next leg, they waited at the Roadblock for Travis & Nicole to finish so they could go to the Detour together.
- Amy helped Nicole complete a Roadblock again in leg 11, though they claim in post-race interviews that their reason, aside from altruism, was so they could capitalize on their mental breakdown, as they had written off Travis & Nicole as a threat in the final leg.
- Horrible Judge of Character: After getting their cab stolen by Tim & Marie, Jason had a moment where he couldn't believe that Marie would steal their cab and try to force them behind.
- Hostile Weather: The wind kept them from doing the Fast Forward in Austria, forcing them to backtrack and complete the rest of the leg.
- Idiot Ball: Shared with Travis & Nicole in the penultimate leg. They, along with Tim & Maire, decided to run the leg as a six-person team in order to eliminate Leo & Jamal (because that's never failed before). Things got worse at the Singapore airport, where, despite knowing about a flight through Hong Kong that got in 10 minutes earlier, and even though both Amy and Travis had earlier said that they knew Leo & Jamal would go for that flight, the three teams sat around at the gate, talking about where Leo & Jamal were, while Leo & Jamal were getting on the flight. Then, in Tokyo, they found only two cabs outside the airport, so Jason & Amy and Travis & Nicole attempted to ditch Tim & Marie, only Marie was the only one who thought to look up the address for where they were going, and, because they made their drivers think they were together, the drivers refused to split up. Marie said she wasn't surprised that the plan to stick together fell apart.
- In-Series Nickname: Jamynote .
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Jason asking if Indonesians were Chinese or Indian.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Travis & Nicole.
- Keeping the Enemy Close: Invoked by Amy in the episode after getting their cab stolen by Tim & Marie.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Amy's desire to win a leg caused her to press for the Fast Forward in Austria, despite logic dictating otherwise. First, because they went for it despite Travis & Nicole also telling them they were going for it. Once they arrived, she wanted to stick around and wait after the instructor already told them that it was too windy to jump, just in case the weather changed. Jason finally talked her into giving up the Fast Forward and going on with the leg.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Jason saying their record tying six 2nd place finishes made them one of the best teams to ever run the race. Besides the obvious of those being 2nd place finishes and not leg wins, individual statistics like that only gauge how a team did against teams in their own season, and cannot be used to accurately compare how they would fare against teams in different seasons.
- They expanded on this assertion in post-race interviews, citing such things as that they would have easily won the sixth leg if they hadn't gone for the Fast Forward, and that, new rules and changes in the game, such as two Express Passes, meant they had to face difficulties prior teams had notnote , so you couldn't just compare them straight up to previous teams with better statistics.
- Ms. Fanservice: Amy got into a bikini twice during the season: at the salt pool Detour in Leg 2 and the phone booth Detour in the penultimate leg. (The camera mounted in the latter got a closeup view of her cleavage as she exited the water.)
- No Sense of Direction:
- They lost 1st place in the third leg due to their inability to correctly read the signs pointing them to Castelo dos Mouros, and they directed their cab the wrong way. Travis & Nicole passed them, and they ended up 2nd, making it the third leg in a row where a team lost 1st place right at the end of the leg due to a stupid mistake.
- They got lost several times while driving in Al Ain, though they still managed to finish a predictable 2nd place.
- One Head Taller
- Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe. Their In-Series Nickname, "Jamy."
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- Neither of them had any idea how Nicky & Kim had managed to put themselves on the standby list for tickets to Lisbon before the gate was open, and repeatedly complained that it wasn't fair, as they had been first in line waiting at the gate.
- When one of the season's strongest teams (Nicole & Travis) is struggling and could possibly be eliminated, you don't help them complete the task to stay in the race... nor do you do it again two legs later. Nor do you wait around for them to finish a Roadblock so you can go to the Detour together. Fortunately, Nicole's struggles during the Supply Drop Roadblock kept Travis & Nicole from being a factor in the final leg.
- Second Place Is for Losers: After their fourth 2nd place finish without winning a leg, Jason said that it meant they were just the biggest losers. Amy reiterated this point in the finale.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Jason started off the final leg by saying they were one of the strongest teams to ever run the race, merely because they had tied the record for 2nd place finishes. They only had one leg win at that point, and were nowhere even close to the record for top-2 finishesnote . Amy then said Travis & Nicole were hopeless without their help, even though the doctors dominated the first eight legs without their help.
- Stubborn Mule: The first camel they chose during the Beauty Contest Detour fought them as they tried to dress it up, refused to go over to the judges, and rolled in the dirt to ruin all their work and causing them to fail their first attempt.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: Heights for Jason.
Timothy "Tim" Sweeney & Marie “Reebs” Mazzocchi
Marie: [Rowan] started telling the guy that I was the devil. Like, in Spanish. Like, "She's the devil. She's the devil."
Tim: I kinda agree.
Exes, the first pair to appear on the show since John Vito & Jill during All-Stars
, and the first new pair since Season 6
. Marie made an instant impression with her bullying attitude and her constant yelling at Tim. After winning the double Express Passes, Marie attempted to use the second Pass as bait to get other teams to help them, at times even demanding help from them, which got on the nerves of everyone. However, with all of the fan favorites dropping out so early, her aggressive, no nonsense attitude, combined with the borderline abuse she heaped on Tim, became one of the most entertaining parts of the season. Despite a few rough patches, mostly due to Marie trying brute force her way through the game without listening to Tim's suggestions, they made the Final 3, where they fell behind early at the Supply Drop Roadblock, due to Amy's lucky second drop being a little more on target than Marie's first lucky drop. They would never catch up with Jason & Amy, ending up in 2nd place. They were invited back and were one of ten teams included in the initial cast leak for All-Stars,
but Marie said in interviews that she never wanted to run the Race again due to her portrayal in the first half of the season.
- Aside Glance: Marie, during Nicky & Kim's small talk with the ticket agent at the Vienna airport, before just yelling at them to get away from the ticket counter.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Marie's elimination speech at the Finish Line ended with her saying she really did love Tim.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: While commenting on the Tiles Detour:
Marie: We know when it's my thing, and when it's his thing, and I'm sure there'll be times coming up on the Race where it's all him and I'm just gonna step back and take instructions.
Tim: Wait, hold on.
Marie: I'm trying not to make you look like a bitch. Like, I don't think that that's gonna happen, actually, but when people watch this at home, I would like them to think that I don't think that you're that terrible of a partner.
- Bribe Backfire: Like Jessica & John, Marie decided to use the extra Express Pass to get teams to suck up to them and help them. Except she did it in a very blunt, and non-subtle way. She held it over every team, at times demanding the other teams help her by repeatedly bringing up the Express Pass, and ended up irritating everyone. Though they ended up getting a few small favors, when it came to the big stuff, people had no problem withholding information from her. In leg 4, Brandon & Adam left them at the Fish Heads Detour, yelling back that they didn't need the Express Pass.
- This is further exacerbated by that fact that by keeping the second Express Pass to use as suck-up bait, they ended up handing it over to Travis & Nicole, the team who was probably the most dangerous at that point, in exchange for help getting to the Pit Stop in leg 4. Had she just handed it over to Nicky during the shoeshine Roadblock when Nicky was pleading for it, the second Express Pass would have been burned and out of the game instead of in the hands of a dangerous team late in the game.
- Chekhov's Hobby: Tim's musical background helped him complete the angkulng construction Roadblock faster than any other competitor.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Marie was always thinking up ways to screw over the teams she regarded as "friends", stealing Jason & Amy's cab, U-Turning Nicky & Kim, suggesting they use the first U-Turn on Nicole & Travis to burn the Express Pass they just handed over...
- Control Freak: Marie, first shown by her bullying the other teams into a backpack line while at the overnight equalizer at the beginning of the second leg.
- Crowd Chant: The other teams chanted Tim's name at the Finish Line for putting up with Marie throughout the season.
- Dark Action Girl: Marie. Best shown when she passed all the other teams on the robot-building Roadblock in Leg 11 (and being the only one to not make any mistakes) while Amy and Nicole had to work together to build the models.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Marie was not pleased with thenote "stunt" Nicky & Kim pulled in getting standby tickets to Lisbon and decided to punish them by U-Turning them in Leg 8, causing Nicky & Kim's elimination. This bridges into Kick the Dog territory when her later comments made it clear that this was a personal move, not a strategic one.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They won the Express Passes after Travis & Nicole were issued a penalty for taking a cab to the Pit Stop instead of walking.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Very much averted. No one was happy with the way she treated Tim.
- Dumb Struck: Marie, when they realized they had just been outsmarted by Nicky & Kim for standby tickets at the Sao Paolo airport.
- Evil Is Sexy : Tim said that Marie's violence turned him on, and Leo & Jamal said that it was hot the way she bossed Tim around.
- Epic Fail: Tim during his first attempt at the Knock It Down Detour only knocked down one pin. Though not that bad for a first attempt, the host turned it into this with his over the top reaction, where he yelled at Tim for hitting only one, threw a giant bowling pin at him, and got the crowd to boo him.
- Face Palm: Tim, during Tim Wiyninger's first horrible attempt at the choir Roadblock. Then again when Marie said she didn't know how to boil eggs at the Roadblock in Leg 10.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- They screwed up three times over the course of leg 4, and twice on the same Detour. First they started stringing up their fish heads wrong, putting eight to a string instead of ten, until Amy pointed out what they were doing wrong. Later in the Detour they strung up their fish heads on the wrong pole, three teams passing them before they spotted the race flag that was missing from the end of their poles. Finally, they only picked up their satchel of viking coins, missing the Pit Stop clue, at the truck hitching task, and they drove off with no idea where they were going.
- After completing the Detour in Leg 8, the clue instructed them to find the tower and the U-Turn. They ended up dismissing the giant and very noticeable tower at the Detour location, and ran almost a mile out of the way trying to find the U-Turn, dropping them from 2nd to 3rd in the process.
- Failing a Taxi: They left the Detour in 1st in Austria, but immediately fell to 6th as five other teams managed to hail a cab before them.
- Frameup: Discussed in the fifth leg. When they stole Jason & Amy's cab, Marie ordered Tim to tell Jason & Amy that they saw Leo & Jamal steal the cab. Instead, Jason & Amy arrived at the final task/Pit Stop location in time to see Tim & Marie's bags still sitting in the back of the cab.
- Genre Savvy:
- They immediately used the Express Pass before even starting the Detour in Poland, as they had struggled to get to the Detour, knew they were potential U-Turn targets, and wanted to get to the U-turn mat before anyone else would have a chance to use the U-Turn on them. It worked out in their favor short term as they won the leg, but their lack of goofy Detour costumes alerted all the other teams that they had used their Express Pass.
- While they had a system to alternate Roadblocks during the race, Marie was willing to toss away that system in Leg 9 when she correctly deduced that the leg's Roadblock was a music related challenge that Tim (who was musically inclined) could complete easily.
- Hair Contrast Duo: Blonde Marie was the aggressive and mean one, brunet Tim was laid back and much more amicable.
- The Hopeless Replacement: Tim, according to Marie. He did nothing to prepare for the Race, and the only reason she picked him was because she only had one day to apply, and he was sitting right next to her when she made the decision. Though she said he ended up being a pretty good partner after all.
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: They didn't even wait for the season to start, invoking it in their Pre-Race interviews. Later used after stealing Jason & Amy's cab.
- Jerk Jock: Marie is a rare female version. She did a good job of alienating a good chunk of the other teams with her controlling demeanor, such as snapping at Danny for telling Ashley where the entrance to the shoe-shining depot was when she asked, despite the fact that there were three contestants gathered around it with their shoe-shining equipment when she arrived.
- Every time she wanted something from another team, and they really didn't want to share the info, she threatened to not give them the second Express Pass. You could argue that some teams didn't even want the second Express Pass just because of the way Marie used it to get her way. Brandon & Adam even called her a manipulative bitch for the way she tried bribing them with the Express Pass.
- In the final leg, they even discussed how Marie would have refused to run the race with Tim unless they split the winnings (including leg win prizes) 60-40 in her favor.
- Jerkass: Marie.
- Lethal Chef: Marie did not know how to boil an egg. When she went off to do the Roadblock in leg 10, Tim was notably anxious, and hoped she realized that she had to put the egg in the water to boil it (she figured that out eventually, but only after hovering the basket of eggs over the water for a few minutes). He then said the only bit of optimism he had was that she tended to overcook everything, to the consistency to a hockey puck (and this tendency made her the only person to finish the task on her first try).
- Loophole Abuse: As Marie repeatedly asserted, it was not against the rules for them to take Jason & Amy's cab as they did not touch the other team's bags themselves, but instead the cab driver took them out of the car. Though this specific rule has never been brought up during the U.S. version of the show (See Australia Season 2 for one example), teams have been penalized for moving another team's belongings (Such as Don & Mary Jean and Flight Time & Big Easy).
- Moral Myopia:
- Never My Fault: Marie immediately blamed Tim for them missing the Al Jahili Tower and running a mile out of their way following the Detour in leg 8, and in the next leg got into an argument with Tim over who had made the most mistakes when he was just trying to make peace.
- Old Shame: Tim expressed this about being in chorus in high school before the musical Roadblock in Leg 9.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Tim Wiyninger.
- Picky Eater: Marie struggled at the cobra eating task in Leg 10, claiming she doesn't like to eat meat.
- Read the Freaking Clue: At the start of Leg 10, they failed to read the part of the clue telling them to go to the north gate of the campsite, and instead went to the south gate, which dropped them from 2nd to last place.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- They were one of four teams to let their cab go at the paragliding Roadblock, which was at a secluded location on top of a mountain, and had to wait for another to show up to complete the Roadblock.
- They apparently didn't see the backlash Jessica & John got for using the Express Pass to bribe favors out of other teams (or any episode of any Sitcom ever). However, unlike Jessica & John, Marie was so unbearable that everyone got sick of her constant demands for help, leading to the backlash happening even earlier than it did to Jessica & John.
- As stated in Bribe Backfire, their use of the second Express Pass backfired, and it led to Marie giving it to a very dangerous team, Nicole & Travis.
- Not only did she not understand how Nicky & Kim had managed to outsmart them for standby tickets to Lisbon, but Marie seemed to think that Nicky & Kim would for some reason give up their five hour advantage, just because she swore not to give them her extra Express Pass.
- Later in that same leg, she almost got them eliminated because she refused to use the Express Pass at the Tiles Detour, even though there was a good chance they were in last and they had a shot to pass Leo & Jamal by using it. If not for Chester & Ephraim's three delayed flights, they would have been eliminated.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Major aversion with Marie.
- Selective Obliviousness: When Brandon & Adam refused to help them at the fish heads Detour, Marie whined about how she was always so nice to everyone.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: For the first two-thirds of the season, Marie's outbursts took up a lot of airtime, and were often featured in the previews at the end of each episode. This was reduced somewhat later on when Leo & Jamal and Travis & Nicole started clashing.
- Stealth Pun: Tim and Marie's opening credit clip shows Marie with boxing gloves hitting pads held up by Tim. Guess which person fought with every other team, as well as her partner during the race.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Enough so that both Marie and Phil pointed it out during pre-Race interviews.
- This Is A Race:
- To justify taking Jason and Amy's cab in Vienna on the way to the Pit Stop.
- In the final leg, Marie said she didn't come on the show to enjoy a trip around the world (though Tim said he did), she was there to win.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Marie, when she found out she would have to do an eating task, and again when she saw it was fried cobra.
- Too Awesome to Use: In both the second and third legs, they got into situations where they could only assume they were racing to avoid last, but in neither situation did Marie use the Express Pass, finishing 8th in both legs. She seemed to be completely unfazed that she was playing with fire by doing this. They finally used their Express Pass to bypass the Detour in the fifth leg when a lost cab driver put them way behind before even reaching the first route marker.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Marie was a lot nicer over the last three legs, possibly because she stopped yelling at Tim as much, or maybe because the other teams became worse than her, but they were arguably the most likable team during the finale.
- Underdressed for the Occasion: Teams were required to wear either the black body suits or the traditional Polish clothing used in the Detours for the entirety of the leg. Tim & Marie's lack of one of these told all the other teams that they had used their Express Pass.
- What You Are in the Dark: Marie used this to try to counter Jason & Amy's accusations at the Pit Stop mat after stealing their cab, saying they had no way of knowing what they would have done in the same position. Jason countered with how there had been two other cabs there (belonging to Ally & Ashley and Tim & Danny) and they had not attempted to steal either of those.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Marie said eating any kind of meat would be her worst fear, so of course she had to eat fried cobra.
- Working with the Ex
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Marie's pink highlights.
Nicole Jasper & Travis Jasper
Married ER doctors. They dominated the first two-thirds of the season, looking like they were cruising to an easy victory. This was helped along by them getting one of the most positive edits in the show's history, as they were even gifted the nickname, "The Power Parents," by the production crew. However, the ninth leg saw them suddenly become much less likable. They went on a crusade against Leo & Jamal's lying, yet Nicole was not above trying to copy off Leo at a Roadblock, and Travis asked Jamal to lie to Marie for them, which led to the cousins loudly exclaiming their hypocrisy. This was further exasperated by Travis berating Nicole for struggling with tasks, to the point where she was crying for not being able to live up to his expectations. In the final leg, it took Nicole 28 tries to complete the Supply Drop Roadblock, which guaranteed them a 3rd place finish.
- Elevator Buttons Mash: During the Roadblock in Poland, Kim was using the elevators instead of the stairs to move between floors, so Travis decided press the elevator call buttons on each floor to slow Nicky down. It only served to annoy Nicky, as she immediately switched to the stairs.
- Face-Heel Turn: For the first two-thirds of the season they were edited heavily as a likable pair of doctors and parents, almost to the point of being Invincible Heroesnote , and they were even gifted the nickname "The Power Parents" by Phil. However, after U-Turning Leo & Jamal, they went on a crusade against the Afghanimals' "lying," and started talking about how they were above lying and cheating. This came to a head during the ninth leg when Nicole started chasing Leo around to take a peek at his angklung, while the editors made sure to point out her hypocrisy with a few choice sound bites.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- During the Makeup Detour, the judge rejected them twice, as Nicole failed to see the black smears of makeup on Travis's face.
- Amy and Nicole had issues building their robots in Japan as they switched the shoulder and hip pieces.
- Genre Savvy:
- When they checked into the first Pit Stop, Nicole immediately knew that they hadn't gotten the leg victory and the Express Pass, despite arriving first, because Phil said, "You are the first team to arrive," instead of, "You are team number one."
- Griefer: See Elevator Buttons Mash.
- Holier Than Thou: Instead of U-Turning a more dangerous team like Tim & Marie or Jason & Amy in Al Ain, they decided to punish Leo & Jamal's lying about U-Turning Brandon & Adam by U-Turning the Afghanimals, then repeatedly saying how they deserved it because they weren't running the race the right way, like they were. They continued to complain about Leo & Jamal's lies throughout Leg 9, saying their faith put them above having to lie just to win a game.
- Honor Before Reason: Travis got upset when Leo & Jamal started lying to get their train to Bandung to leave a bit early, even though by doing so they could have been getting an hour jump on Tim & Marie and Jason & Amynote .
- Hypocrite: The entirety of episode 9 set them up to show that they were not as morally superior as they had claimed to be all season. The episode was heavy with them complaining about Leo & Jamal lying and how the two of them were playing fair as an example for their kids. However, when Nicole started struggling to assemble her angklung at the Roadblock, she had no qualms running into the judging area to try to look at Leo's completed instrument (while the editors played a clip of Nicole talking about her honesty), and even complaining when he wouldn't let her look. Leo & Jamal rightly called them hypocrites for their behavior. Made even worse when you realize many of their self-righteous quotes came after the incident in question.
- In the next leg, Travis and Jason told Jamal that he should lie to Marie about how long it took to complete the Roadblock in order to delay her. After being U-Turned and constantly criticized by him for lying before, Leo & Jamal were quite justifiably annoyed that Travis would try to get them to lie for him, and Jamal ended up not lying to Marie as a result.
- Idiot Ball: Shared with Jason & Amy in the penultimate leg. They, along with Tim & Maire, decided to run the leg as a six-person team in order to eliminate Leo & Jamal (because that's never failed before). Things got worse at the Singapore airport, where, despite knowing about a flight through Hong Kong that got in 10 minutes earlier, and even though both Amy and Travis had earlier said that they knew Leo & Jamal would go for that flight, the three teams sat around at the gate, talking about where Leo & Jamal were, while Leo & Jamal were getting on the flight. Then, in Tokyo, they found only two cabs outside the airport, so Jason & Amy and Travis & Nicole attempted to ditch Tim & Marie, only Marie was the only one who thought to look up the address for where they were going, and, because they made their drivers think they were together, the drivers refused to split up. Marie said she wasn't surprised that the plan to stick together fell apart.
- In-Series Nickname: Supposedly "The Power Parents," as said by Phil after they won leg 6, but it was never used by anyone other then Phil and Travis & Nicole themselves, and was dropped after their Face-Heel Turn in leg 9.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Jason & Amy.
- Jerkass: Travis was already showing signs of this whenever Nicole was struggling, but he fully transformed into an unbearable jerk towards her staring in Leg 9 when she struggled with the instrument roadblock. This continued through the finale, where he criticized Nicole for taking too long at the Robot Roadblock, and then yelled at her for being The Load during the last four legs of the race at the final puzzle.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: In Leg 4, they ran into a lost Tim & Marie while traveling to the Pit Stop. When Marie asked for help, Nicole demanded the second Express Pass in exchange for the clue. In retrospect, this was one of the first signs of the team's darker side, though at the time it was seen as karmic payback for the way Marie had been bribing every single team with promises of the Express Pass in exchange for favors.
- The Load: Nicole started struggling during the net building Detour in leg 7, and continued to struggle through every task she participated in after that. She even had to rely on help from Amy to complete the anklung and robot Roadblocks. She took so long on the Delivery Drop Roadblock in Alaska, she put them out of contention. Travis's continual berating and frustration did nothing to alleviate this situation.
- Loophole Abuse:
- Averted. Jamal yelled at Leo to destroy his instrument during the Leg 9 Roadblock to prevent Nicole from taking a peek at how to complete it, though she tried very hard to anyway. They later revealed that it was illegal for more than one team to be in the judging area at a time, which means she very well could have gotten penalized had she succeeded.
- Later played straight in the same Roadblock when she was able to get help from Amy in completing the task. It happened again in Leg 11 when Amy and Nicole worked together on the Robot Roadblock.
- The Masochism Tango: Only over the last four legs, though signs of it were shown as early as Leg 2 when Nicole struggled with bicycling in Chile and later with the fishnet in Dubai.
- Moral Myopia: They had the general "This Is A Race" viewpoint where they would do anything to get an advantage, but would also complain when others did it to them. A Deleted Scene from episode 2 showed that they took issue with Leo & Jamal ignoring Marie's make believe line at the ship Esmeralda, and sprinting along the dock to jump in front of everyone, something which gained the cousins a matter of seconds on them, but had no issue in the next leg taking advantage of Chester & Ephraim's travel agent issues to snatch the last tickets on the first flight to Lisbon, something which gained them five hours. This would become a much bigger issue later on, when they U-Turned Leo & Jamal for lying, yet Nicole had no issues trying to peek at Leo's completed angkulng in the next leg, and Travis had no problem telling Jamal to lie to hold up Marie at the Roadblock in Leg 10.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Nicole Getz.
- Read the Freaking Clue: They took a taxi, as opposed to walking to the Pit Stop in the first leg, and lost the Express Passes because of this. Phil even lampshaded this by asking them "What's the first rule of The Amazing Race?"
- Real Men Love Jesus
Travis: We wanna be a beacon for God's light to show through us, so that people can see that you don't have to resort to lying or cheating or stealing or doing any of those things that we just consider not a good part of anybody's life.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: While racing Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy to the Pit Stop In Poland, Travis said, "It's really rough if you use your Express Pass and don't win the leg." Though Tim & Marie won the leg, they were only the second team to do so after winning the Express Pass, and the first to do it without a torn Achilles tendon having already ended their chances at winning, as most teams tend to use it to save themselves when they're in danger, not as a "free first place" coupon. However, they ended up becoming the third team to win a leg after using their Express Pass, using it to bypass the Detour immediately in Leg 8 and gain them a huge advantage over the other teams, allowing them to win the leg by a large margin.
- Single-Issue Wonk: They would just not let the whole "Leo & Jamal lying" thing go.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Apparently their king cobra tasted like chicken.
- Technician Versus Performer: This was the main theory, particularly from Tim & Marie, as to why they fell apart during the last four legs. As doctors, their way of thinking was naturally dictated by logic, and they weren't very imaginative. Early in the season, when things were easier and straightforward, they were able to logically work their way through the game. Later, when things got harder, and logic became less useful, they weren't able to deal as well.
- That Liar Lies: They openly accused Leo & Jamal of lying several times.
- Villainous Breakdown: Arguably this happened to Travis slowly over the last four legs. However, the most obvious point of breakdown occurred during the robot building Roadblock, when Nicole struggled with the task, and he started hurling insults at her.
Travis: She's just, like, weak.
Leo Temory & Jamal Zadran (The Afghanimals)
Cousins, only the third pair in the show's historynote
, and the first pair of male cousins. They were cutthroat racers who never missed an opportunity to ham it up for the cameras. They tried to gain any advantage that they could get over the other teams, mostly by (unnecessarily) lying about anything and everything, which caused the other teams to dislike them. They were very inconsistent, zooming up and down the standings depending on how well they paid attention to detail in any given leg. In the penultimate leg, despite jumping on a flight that the other teams knew about, yet did not bother to try to get standby tickets on, thereby all but negating their Speed Bump, Leo struggled with the robot-building Roadblock, his attention to detail failing them once again, which left them out in 4th place. Their constant scenery chewing got them invited back for All-Stars.
Allison “Ally” Mello & Ashley Covert (The Ice Queens)
Friends, and members of the LA Kings Ice Crew. They formed a leg 1 alliance with the Afghanimals (with Leo constantly referring to them as his "race wives"), which led to them being Leo & Jamal's only friends during the season. Despite the help their alliance provided, their relatively weak racing skills left them constantly just scraping by at the bottom of the standings, as they never finished in the top half of the field, and finished in second-to-last for five straight legs. They would be done in during the 9th leg when, despite having an hour lead on Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy thanks to being on the first train to Bandung, they botched the Elephant feeding Detour. They had a chance to catch up at the Roadblock, as Nicole struggled to construct her angklung, but Amy helped Nicole finish the task, putting Ally & Ashley out in 5th place.
- Driving Stick: They had to ask Tim & Danny for help putting their truck into reverse during the fourth leg's rock towing task.
- Dumb Blonde: They were the only team to struggle with the fairly obvious viking coin code in leg 8, despite having four legs to work out the code before they had to use it.
- Failing a Taxi: Leaving the Roadblock in second-to-last in Austria, they were shown struggling to catch a cab. Used to add tension and make it look like Tim & Danny actually had a shot of catching and passing them to survive the leg.
- Flat World: Lampshaded In-Universe during the Miles Detour in Lisbon, where they had to measure out Magellan's circumnavigation route via a giant compass and a flat map. They (along with Leo and Jamal) forgot the world was round when they got to the end of the map, and kept giving ridiculously large numbers to the task judge until they just gave up and switched Detours.
- Follow That Car: They tailed Nicky & Kim at the beginning of leg 8 due to their inability to navigate and knowing Nicky & Kim still had their Speed Bump ahead.
- Malaproper: Upon being told to fly to Abu Dhabi in Leg 7, they repeatedly called it "Abu Dubai".
- Ms. Fanservice: Especially during the salt pool detour in Leg 2.
- No Sense of Direction: They got lost several times driving themselves around Al Alin in Leg 8, and Nicky & Kim did not want to follow them around, knowing of their difficulties navigating.
- Out of Focus/Satellite Character: Their airtime was severely limited due to their alliance putting them in the shadows of Leo & Jamal.
- Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe. Their alliance with Leo & Jamal was called the "Ice-ghanimals".
- Read the Freaking Clue:
- Ally forgot what she was supposed to be looking for during the Hot Lap Roadblock in the UAE, and just started listing off names and times one by one.
- In Leg 9, they blew an hour lead over Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie because they incorrectly went straight to the zoo during the For The Elephants Detour instead of going to the market to pick up their food first.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They were one of four teams to let their cab go at the paragliding Roadblock, which was at a secluded location on top of a mountain, and had to wait for another to show up to complete the Roadblock.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Said word for word while they were starting up the hill to the Pit Stop in Vienna while trying to avoid last.
Nicole “Nicky” Getz & Kim DeJesus (The Baseball Bunnies)
Friends and wives of baseball players Chris Getz and David DeJesus. Pegged as probable early outs at the beginning of the season due to their lack of physical abilities and pampered home lives, they kept up positive attitudes and enjoyed their experience on the race while flip-flopping in the standings, finishing low in legs stocked with challenging physical tasks, and finishing high in legs without them, becoming a pair of the most surprising fan-favorites in the series. After being saved by a non-elimination in Abu Dhabi, they fell behind early in the next leg due to the lack of an equalizer, and then got U-Turned by Tim & Marie as payback for outsmarting them for plane tickets in the third leg. This, coupled with facing a very challenging Speed Bump, caused them to finish in 6th place.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When trying to get to Castelo Dos Mouros in Portugal, they said "Mucho Gracias" to their cab driver. While it can be pointed out that the Portuguese and Spanish languages are very similar, the actual term for "Thank You" in Portuguese is "Obrigado".
- Breakout Character: No one expected them to be as likable or popular as they were, as most really expected them to be Canon Fodder. They said that even their own husbands weren't expecting them to last more than two or three legs. Instead, they were the most popular team left at the halfway point of the season.
- Broken Tears: Averted. Phil pointed out that he expected them to start crying when they were eliminated, but they left the race with their heads held high. They did had plenty of time to get the tears out before being saved in the previous leg and during the Speed Bump after all.
- Elimination Houdini: One of the "reasons" Marie gave for U-Turning them was that they didn't deserve to "survive another leg" after their second time finishing in last without being eliminated.
- Elimination Montage
- Failed a Spot Check/No Peripheral Vision:
- Nicky forgetting her rug during the shoe shining Roadblock, forcing her to go all the way back to the task's starting point to retrieve it. Only Rowan's bigger mistake saved her.note
- After they finished the ceramic tile puzzle Detour, Kim stood up to look for the task judge, but didn't see him directly to her right.
- While performing the Hammer of the Cods Detour in leg 4, Kim began panicking as she could not find their clue, until she realized she had put it in her mouth while trying to take one of the cods from Nicky.
- They ran right past the U-Turn marker in Poland, although the clue itself was facing in the other direction, which is why they likely missed it, and dropped from 1st to 3rd in the time it took them to backtrack.
- Genre Savvy:
- When they were trying to book standby tickets at the Sao Paolo airport before Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy in Leg 3. Instead of waiting at the gate with the other two teams, they went directly to the executive lounge to get themselves put first on the list, and ended up securing the tickets that would guarantee them the earliest flight to Lisbon, despite leaving the Pit Start in last.
- During the Sort It Out Detour, they were the first team to spot the distant platters of dates the teams needed to complete the task, and decided to do everything they could to hide it from the other teams, knowing it was the best opportunity they had to catch up. This included brushing off the pleas for help from Leo & Jamal, as they knew Leo & Jamal would be super loud about it and alert the other teams (which they did).
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Invoked in Leg 3, when they are in a taxi and give each other a playful peck on the lips, the camera shows the taxi driver looking at them on his rearview mirror with a smile on his face.
- The Glomp: They did this a lot, especially to Phil. Kim also did it to Nicky upon completing the salt bath Detour, while they were both in bikinis.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Their move with the standby list at the Sao Paolo airport was a wake up call to Marie that they were not doormats she could easily take advantage of, and they were actually there to compete.
- Griefer: Marie at least thought they were doing this to her while behind them in line at the Vienna airport, as they kept the agent busy with their small talky questions (such as "Is it a nice plane?" and "Do we get delicious snacks?"). Marie finally called them annoying and told them to move.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Upon choosing to do the choir Roadblock, Nicky talked about how she was a horrible singer. This did not stop her from being the second person to finish the task.
- In-Series Nickname: The Bunnies.
- Jaw Drop: Kim, upon being non-eliminated in the UAE.
- Ms. Fanservice: This is lampshaded by Brandon and Adam at the Poses detour, see Sex Sells.
- One Degree of Separation: Kim tried forming an alliance with Tim & Marie, and made a play for the Express Pass, because Tim used to play college baseball at Rutgers with her husbandnote . Though it seemed to work at first, it only took Marie until the very next task to throw Nicky under the bus by refusing to give her the Express Pass when she screwed up the shoe shining Roadblock.
- This is not even Kim's only Race connection through her husband. At the time the season aired, he played for the same team as Jaime Faith Edmondson's boyfriend (and father of their child).
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Nicole Jasper.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They were one of four teams to let their cab go at the paragliding Roadblock, which was at a secluded location on top of a mountain, and had to wait for another to show up to complete the Roadblock.
- Satellite Character: Nicky. Except when Nicky was doing a Roadblock, Kim did most of the talking.
- Sex Sells: Upon their fatal choice to switch Detours in leg 5, Brandon said that Nicky & Kim had been able to collect money faster than them because they had boobs.
- Spoiled Sweet: They're married to professional baseball players who, while they're not huge stars making top dollar, are well enough off to comfortably support their wives, yet they were also the nicest and most congenial of the female racers this season.
- Unwitting Pawn: Marie's plan, upon learning of the connection between Tim and Kim's husband, was to use the baseball wives as this, as she thought they would be easy to beat later. Of course, in the very next leg they outsmarted her to the tune of a five hour advantage on standby tickets.
- Weak, but Skilled: At the beginning of episode 6, they talked about how the tended to do a lot better when the legs weren't "super physical." They then proved this by finishing 2nd on a leg that involved zero physical tasks.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: Kim, being afraid of heights, repeatedly had to face the height challenges, paragliding, rappelling, and jumping into a wave pool from a high ledge. She was also afraid of race cars, and she had to ride in one right after the rappelling.
Tim Wiyninger & Daniel “Danny” Merkey
Friends and oil field workers from Oklahoma who had never before left their home town, and hoped to win the money to provide for their families and cut down on their 80-hour work weeks. Despite being physically capable and using any opportunity they could to stay in the game, including unflinchingly using the U-Turn on Leo & Jamal, their lack of worldly experience and coordination repeatedly caused them trouble. In Austria, Tim struggled to complete the choir Roadblock, and they ended up finishing in 7th.
Brandon Squyres & Adam Switzer (The Beards)
Beard lovers and childhood friends. All the enthusiasm in the world could not save them in Poland, where, after starting the leg in 1st, their initial struggles to collect zloty during the Poses Detour caused them to make the fatal choice of switching Detours. This dropped them to last place, and with Leo & Jamal having been U-turned, the Afghanimals were able to pass that favor forward by U-turning the boys with the beards, all but guaranteeing their elimination, and they finished in 8th place.
- Big "YES!": Several when winning leg 4, first when when Phil told them they won, then again when Phil said they were still racing and gave them their next clue.
- Everyone Has Standards: They ignored Marie's pleas for help during the fish heads Detour, as they were tired of her Express Pass baiting, and felt it wasn't worth it to suck up to her anymore. They told her to keep her damn Express Pass as they ran off.
- Foreshadowing: At the end of the season, once the winner was announced and all that was left to do was take the final cast photo, Brandon talked about how nothing could beat their experience on the Race, except maybe getting to run it again, right before the All-Stars preview was shown.
- Red Herring: Their Foreshadowing moment about All-Stars led some fans to believe that they would be returning, like Mallory returned for Unfinished Business after her quote at the end of Season 17. However, Leo & Jamal would be the team returning, not them.
- Wild Hair: Phil Lampshaded this when they checked in during the second leg by comparing them to the lumberjack-like Pit Stop Greeter.
Chester Pitts II & Ephraim Salaam
Friends and former NFL teammates. They did well during the first two legs, even winning the second. However, their luck went down the drain in the third leg while attempting to fly to Lisbon, Portugal. A bizarre sequence of missed and delayed flight connections left them on a flight to Lisbon that arrived much later than the rest of the teams
, despite leaving the Pit Stop first, and having several hours more than some of the teams to find better flights. They arrived in Portugal long after the other teams had checked in, and Phil met them upon their arrival at the Lisbon airport, eliminating them in 9th place.
- Born Unlucky/Disaster Dominoes: Their entire third leg. From the beginning:
- The travel agent in Santiago made a mistake booking their flights, putting them on a flight that left one day later. By the time she realized the error, Travis & Nicole snapped up the last tickets for the earliest flight. To make this up, she booked them a flight to Lisbon that arrived at the same time, but had two connections, via Buenos Aires and Madrid.
- In Buenos Aires, their connecting flight to Madrid was delayed by 4 hours.
- They attempted to go to São Paulo instead to catch the connecting flight that Tim & Marie were on, only to have their flight delayed again and miss the connection.
- They attempted to fly to London from São Paulo to connect to Lisbon, only to find that the connecting flight to Lisbon was delayed to the late evening.
- Phil eliminated them at the Lisbon airport, making them the first team to get eliminated in a leg without even making it to a single route marker. Phil even lampshaded their horrible day by wishing them good luck on getting a flight out of Lisbon to (presumably) Elimination Station.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the paragliding Roadblock, Chester grabbed the camera attached to his rig and turned it around so that the audience could get a glimpse of his view.
- Call Back: They called themselves the "Beekman Boys Part 2" when they thought they had found a flight through London that could save them.
- Foreshadowing: At the beginning of their final leg, they commented on how during their time in the NFL, people would arrange their flights for them, and how they now had to do all of that for themselves.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They won the second leg after Leo & Jamal were turned away from the Pit Stop for failing to fully pay their cab driver.
- For Want of a Nail: In Santiago, the seemingly small mistake of booking the tickets to Lisbon for the wrong day sent Chester & Ephraim through the whirlwind of delayed flights and missed flight connections. To rub more salt into the wound, this same agent also later got Brandon & Adam on what turned out to be the second flight.
- Gentle Giant: They were both comparable in size to Big Easy, and while neither was as tall (Ephraim was two inches shorter), they both weighed more, being former offensive linemen.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Of the Mercy Kill variety. They were so far behind that Phil was actually waiting for them at the Lisbon airport to eliminate them.
- Oh, Crap: Chester's reaction when he turned around and saw Phil meeting them at the airport.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: A minor case in their final leg. They reacted badly to the travel agent screwing up their flight plans prompting her to suggest the 2-stop layover to Lisbon instead of a later one-stop flight to Lisbon. At this point, they were not racing for last, and teams have previously been broken with flights with 2 or more layovers. The two-stop flight to Lisbon would turn out to be their downfall, as it later turned out that the 1-stop flight would end up being the second flight to Lisbon, one which Brandon & Adam were able to take.
Rowan Joseph & Shane Partlow (Bingo)
Theater performers and best friends who star in their own stage show, "The Queen of Bingo". After a surprisingly good finish in the first leg, they fell behind early on in the second leg due to their cab driver getting lost, then made it even worse when they separated from the other trailing teams, thinking they were getting on a bus that left later, but arrived earlier, but in reality left later and got them in much later
. Although they managed to rectify this mistake and catch up to the teams on the second bus, Rowan's struggle to correctly complete the Roadblock left them out of the race in 10th.
- Call Back: They yelled Ian's catch phrase, "We're comin', Phil!" while running to the mat before they were eliminated.
- Genre Savvy: Subverted at the Iquique bus station when they thought they had found a bus that left later than the ones the other teams were on, but arrived earlier. They even faked getting on the bus, leading the other teams into believing they were all traveling together. However, once the bus was gone, they discovered they were mistaken about the bus's arrival time.
- Hope Spot: They had one when they caught up to the other teams at the shoe shining Roadblock, and Nicky made a monumental mistake by forgetting her rug. However, Rowan made an even bigger mistake, and they were eliminated anyway.
- Language Barrier: With the ticket guy at the Iquique bus station, which led them to believe they had found a faster bus, when in fact the ticket attendant thought they were just asking for any bus that left later than the one everyone else was getting on, not a faster one.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Rowan at the shoe shining Roadblock. Instead of finding a marked shoe shining cart, he went up to the first cart he saw and pulled the shoe-shiner away from his work, shined the shoes of his current customer, and dragged both the protesting shoe-shiner and his cart to the end of the Roadblock, and even got down on his knees to beg the shoe-shiner to come with him, before realizing that he was doing something wrong.
- Satellite Character: Shane, who almost never spoke on camera. It didn't help that the only Roadblock he did was the paragliding one, which involved Rowan paragliding while he rode in a cab.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: In their intro, which is from their show, The Queen of Bingo.
Hoskote Venkatesh & Naina Venkatesh
Daughter and her overbearing father. After getting stuck on the second flight to Chile, they fell behind at the first Roadblock when Naina's taxi took a longer route to the paragliding landing site. Further troubles at the second Roadblock dropped them further behind, as Naina read the clue wrong and ended up wasting time doing the task her father was supposed to do, and they were eliminated in 11th place.
- Arranged Marriage: Hoskote's wish for his daughter, and Naina's fear.
- Overprotective Dad: Hoskote, though they both credit it to him growing immersed in Indian culture, and her in American.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Like Leo & Jamal, they misread the clue for the second Roadblock, with Naina starting it even though she did the first Roadblock. Even though they figured it out and corrected the mistake, they were too far behind even before messing up this crucial detail to survive. Though in an interview, they claimed Hoskote let Naina do the Roadblock anyway since otherwise she would have went out without doing a single task.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Like Leo & Jamal, they didn't realize that legs with two Roadblocks are always forcibly split between the teammates. Of course, this might have been because the first Roadblock only involved riding in a cab, while the non-participating partner did the more Roadblock-like paragliding.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: They barely got any airtime until they hit the second Roadblock, and by then it was fairly apparent they were going to get eliminated.