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After the disappointment that had been Season 15, Season 16 was not much of an improvement, and led to the show losing the "Best Reality-Competition Show" award for the first time ever at the Emmys. It had many of the same problems as its predecessor, a large number of boring and/or unlikable teams, an overdose of Stunt Casting, and an annoyingly low level of understanding of the Metagame. This is the oldest cast the show has ever been put together, with 11 of the 22 contestants being over the age of 35, and it is also one of the most hated casts (though the two are not related). There was an overwhelming amount of bickering and negative feelings going around, which led to possibly the most hated rivalry in the series, where fans did not like either team involved. However, despite being one of the weakest seasons overall, it did produce possibly the most popular team to ever run the race, was the first season to feature two Roadblocks in the same leg, and featured one of the most memorable, if not controversial, finales in the show's history.


Daniel "Dan" Pious & Jordan Pious
Jordan: I obviously have annoyed the cowboys, but, you know, this is a race, it's a game, and there's a million bucks at the other end, so I'm going after it.

Brothers, one straight, one gay, and one of the most surprising teams to ever win the race. They were immediately dismissed by most of the fans and were a favorite to be eliminated in the first leg after Dan made it abundantly clear that he was not a fan of the Race, nor was he particularly excited to be on it, but was just doing it for his brother. They were never one of the strongest teams, nor were they one of the weakest. They were stuck in the middle of the pack for most of the season, with their only leg win prior to the finale being via Fast Forward, and did not stick out that much, with most fans not really having an opinion about them either way. They went into the finale as the underdogs to "obvious favorites" Jet & Cord and "villains" Brent & Caite. At the Shanghai airport, they cut in front of Jet & Cord in line while waiting to book tickets on the prearranged flight, angering the Cowboys and their fans, but ultimately giving themselves no real advantage. What did give them an advantage was Dan taking the initiative to move them up to first class without additional cost during the flight, which gave them a lead they never gave up. They ended up beating the Cowboys by 25 minutes, one of the largest finale wins ever.


  • Ascended Fanboy: A main part of Jordan's story.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The final leg turned into this thanks to their jumping up to first class and the other teams struggling with the Industrial Light & Magic task. They won by 25 minutes, one of largest finale deficits ever, and are one of only two teams post All-Starsnote  to lead for the entire final leg (the other being Nat & Kat). A Deleted Scene showed that Brent & Caite knew Dan & Jordan had to have already won by the time they left the ILM building, as both they and the Cowboys had been stuck there so long after the brothers had already left.
  • Dark Horse Victory: They even said at several points over the season that their strategy was to fly under the radar, play nice, and just try not to get eliminated, then go all out in the final leg.
  • The Drag-Along: Dan made it very clear early on the he did not like traveling, and was not a fan of the Race, but came on to help his brother fulfill his dream. By the end he was fully invested in the game, and making strategic moves that would help them win the Race.
  • Driving Stick: They had issues driving stick, and celebrated in France when they were given a car with an automatic transmission.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The finale is probably the single biggest example of this trope the Race has ever seen. Specifically, not many had a real strong opinion of Dan & Jordan until they cut in front of Jet & Cord at the Shanghai Airport. Most Jet & Cord fans (especially casual fans) let lose the cries of, "Cheaters!" and decried the show for letting two such heinous villains cheat their way to victory, while others simply realized that the cutting in line was of no real benefit to Dan & Jordan outside of throwing the Cowboys off their game. Some were still complaining about it a year later when Jet & Cord returned for Unfinished Business, not that the show itself helped matters, as "Dan & Jordan cutting in line" was repeatedly cited as the main reason for Jet & Cord losing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: They lost one of their brushes during the painting task in the first leg, both costing them time as they stopped to look for the brush, and getting them a further 15-minute penalty, that combined to drop them from 3rd to 8th.
  • Failing a Taxi: Used to try to drum up drama in the finale, as they had trouble finding a taxi to take them to the Finish Line.
  • Flat "What": Jordan, at the Starting Line, when Phil said they had to use public transportation to get to LAX.
  • Follow That Car:
    • Jordan said this to their cab driver in leg 10, when they and Louie & Michael were the last two teams to leave the Shanghai fashion district, and were fighting to avoid last.
    • They did this to Louie & Michael again in the next leg, this time while looking for the Garden Bridge.
  • Global Ignorance: Lampshaded by Jordan in the finale when he asked Dan if California was in the United States, then immediately broke down laughing when Dan gave him a look.
  • Incompatible Orientation: The women in Chile started cheering Jordan on when he did a striptease while taking off his jacket before the llama Detour, after which Dan made a snarky comment about, "if only they knew."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Brandy & Carol. Dan called Carol the lesbian aunt he never had, and they were the one team sad to see Brandy & Carol go.
  • Language Barrier: They hit this hard in the penultimate leg, and their frustrations with trying to communicate with Chinese people who knew no English caused them to lose a two hour lead on Louie & Michael and to nearly melt down.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: They were an afterthought up until the finale, where they dominated the final leg. Dan himself stepped up big in the last two legs after coasting along for most of the race.
  • Loophole Abuse: It is well known about the rules regarding first class tickets (as this is what happened to Azaria & Hendekea, their mistakenly printed business class tickets forcing them off the flight). However, nothing in the rules had stated that you could move up without cost.
  • Mood Dissonance: While the other three teams were celebrating Brandy & Carol's elimination, they weren't quite as happy, and questioned the logic behind it.
  • Mood Motif: Discussed by Jordan at the champagne glass pyramid Detour, where he said that the accompanying musicians started playing more bleakly when their pyramid was in danger of falling.
  • No Sense of Direction: They got lost driving to Petrohue in the second leg, dropping them to the back of the pack.
  • One Steve Limit/Gender-Blender Name: With Jordan Lloyd.
  • Only Sane Man: They were the only team to question the logic of using the second U-Turn on Brandy & Carol instead of Jet & Cord, saying that they would all come to regret it eventually.
  • Precision F-Strike/Pixellation: Dan snapped at Cord following all the Griefing at the ILM task in the finale, finally telling him to, "Shut the, f*** up."
  • Read The Freaking Clue: Jordan did not complete the leg 8 Roadblock correctly on his first try, as he just gave his colored coconut to the judge instead of using it to build an offering. Dan then yelled at him to read the clue.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: While stuck in traffic on their way to the Detour in Malaysia, they decided to leave their cab, despite not knowing where they were going or how far away it was. They naturally fell far behind the other teams, along with Steve & Allie, who made the same mistake.
  • Sibling Team: The first team of brothers to win the race.
  • This Is A Race: Jordan's "I'm going for it," quote from the finale.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Jordan was both gay and Jewish.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: They were the first really huge upset since the final leg started being run all in the same city, reducing a lot of the luck that had determined the winners for the first eleven seasons, and proved that underdogs could still win the race after three consecutive seasons of dominating teams winning.
  • Undesirable Prize: They told Phil they would never use the motorcycles they won in leg 9.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: They tended to bicker, and Jordan would intentionally annoy Dan to amuse himself, but Dan came on the Race, despite not liking to travel, to fulfill his brother's dream.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jordan's faced his fear of heights in the rappelling Roadblock in leg 6, and to win the Fast Forward in leg 9 by climbing on the outside of a Ferris wheel.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: They said at the beginning of leg 9 that their strategy was not to "throw elbows" like Joe & Heidi, or for the exact reasons that Brandy & Carol were targeted with the U-Turn later that leg, unless it was totally make or break for the Race. Once they made the final leg and they no longer had to worry about retaliation, they stopped playing nice.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Jordan did a dance for the locals while taking off his jacket in Chile.

Jet McCoy & Cord McCoy (The Cowboys)

Brothers and professional bull riders. They are quite possibly the most popular team to ever run the race, displacing B.J. & Tyler from that spot just a few episodes into the season. They quickly established themselves as the favorites to win, claiming victory in both the second and third legs, and grabbing two more legs wins on their way to the Final 3, all the while captivating fans with their Southern charm. Despite looking like a shoe-in to win against some of the weakest Final 3 competition ever, they fell apart when Dan & Jordan cut in front of them at the Shanghai airport, and took so long to complete the Industrial Light & Magic task that Dan & Jordan cruised to victory. Their popularity would get them invited back for Unfinished Business and later the second All-Stars.

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Jet saying "muy rapido" to their Chinese cab driver, after which he Lampshaded it by saying he didn't know how to say anything in Chinese.
  • Call-Back: In the finale, Cord quoted, "It's on like Donkey Kong," previously used by Frank, Chip, B.J., Jen, and Cara.
  • Catchphrase: Oh, my gravy.
  • Country Mouse: They tended to struggle more when racing in cities, and do better in rural areas.
  • Cowboy: The rodeo riding kind.
  • Death Glare: Jet, towards Jordan, after he cut in line at the final airport.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Despite being early favorites to win all three of their seasons, they've lost all three times. They came the closest to winning on this season, yet still managed to lose despite some of the weakest Final 3 competition ever.
  • Failed a Spot Check/No Peripheral Vision:
    • They overthrew one of their coconuts at the Ox Trot Detour in leg 7, forcing them to ride their ox cart all the way back to the start of the Detour to retrieve it, putting them in last, though only temporarily, as Brandy & Carol made them same mistake.
    • They passed by Brent while looking for the clue box at the Longhua Temple in leg 11, yet did not see him despite spotting his bags against a wall, looking right over his head, and being close enough to touch him.
    • They had one in the finale that ultimately cost them the race. The Industrial Light & Magic task involved one teammate walking through a virtual reality world, following instructions from their teammate (similar to the game Knightmare, though much easier). At the end of the task, the director was given their next clue on the computer screen, but it was swirling in circles. To get the clue, the other team member had to spin in circles, thereby making the words stay still on the screen. Jet & Cord failed to figure this out for the longest time despite Jet's path during the challenge being blocked by a spinning Jordan. Cord did not notice either, as he was too busy taunting Dan.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Averted at the beginning of the tenth leg, where Jet talked about his wife and 17-month old daughter, and Cord mentioned his fiancee, both for the first time, but they then went on to win the leg (their last leg win).
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Their reaction towards Dan & Jordan cutting in line, up to saying that they could at least walk away from the game with their heads held high and their integrity intact.
  • Follow That Car: They accused Joe & Heidi and Carol & Brandy of doing this to them in the third leg, and stopped to allow the two teams to pass so they wouldn't be followed all the way to the destination. Averted in that the editors kept cutting back to Carol & Brandy complaining about how slow the Cowboys were driving, and trying to pass them.
  • Global Ignorance:
    • In the first leg, when flying to Chile, they proceeded to exchange all their money for Brazilian currency, because LAX had no Chilean currency, and Brazil was the closest country. Naturally, this was not accepted in Santiago, and they dropped to last place when they went to re-exchange their currency.
    • They were surprised to discover there was actually a town called Champagne in France.
  • Goshdang It To Heck: Good Southern Christian boys, they used swears like "Daggummit!" and "Gosh darnit!"
  • Griefer: At the ILM task in the finale, while waiting for Jet to get ready, Cord started yelling random instructions to try to screw up Dan & Jordan's concentration.
  • Honor Is Fair Play: They took it far too personally when Jordan cut in line, and made comments at the Finish Line about how, though they lost, they kept their integrity intact.
  • Iconic Item: Their black and white cowboy hats.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Cowboys.
  • Jerk Jock: How they acted towards Dan & Jordan after Jordan cut in line at the airport. They acted aggressively, made vague threats of violence, and even threw some insults. They basically stopped just short of outright bullying.note 
  • Leitmotif: They got their own generic Western movie theme.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Completely averted. They really didn't mix much with the other teams, but were liked by both the fans and the other teams anyway. Being cowboys probably helped, as cowboys are expected to be loners by trade.
  • Never Live It Down/Once Done, Never Forgotten: Jet missed lassoing his target while doing the Roadblock on the third leg. After successfully roping in his target on his second try, he said how everybody will be ribbing him about missing it the first time back home.
  • Nice Hat: They would never be seen without their cowboy hats, and always kept them on, Jet even wore it while bungee jumping. In the final leg, Jet's character avatar at the Industrial Light & Magic challenge was even given a cowboy hat.
  • No Sense of Direction: Especially when they had to navigate in cities.
    • They actually drove to the wrong town in France twice in leg 6, the first time because they didn't realize there was actually a town called Champagne in France. The second time was more excusable, though, as three other teams also got the same bad directions to the wrong place, going to the Taittinger winery instead of the vineyard, which were in two separate towns.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Phil turned them away from the 7th Pit Stop to go retrieve their clue from the boat.
  • Read The Freaking Clue: Cord did not complete the leg 7 Roadblock correctly, leaving the bottle containing their clue on the boat, and wandering to the Pit Stop by chance. Phil forced them to go back, which dropped them to last, though they were saved by a non-elimination.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Twice in leg 7. First when they went to eat at the airport before getting their tickets on their reserved flight, which resulted in them being put in the back of the plane and being the last team in line to board their helicopters in the Seychelles. Later in the leg, they checked in 5th, but stood there talking to Phil as he hinted that they had not completed one of their Roadblocks, Jet even saying they must have missed the clue in the bottle, neither seeming to realize that they needed all their clues to check in.
  • Sequence Breaking: They managed to find their way to the 7th Pit Stop in the Seychelles despite not solving the puzzle to lead them there (albeit, it was a very small island). In the time it took them to retrieve the clue, they dropped from 5th to last, but were saved by a non-elimination.
  • Sibling Team
  • Sore Loser: They were not happy about Dan & Jordan cutting in line, saying that, though they lost, at least they left with their integrity intact. They continued to complain about it a year later during Unfinished Business.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They got their own theme, had their own commercial for the Country Music Awards, and got a couple of cowboyish themed tasks. They were the only team to have new footage appear in the preview for Unfinished Business at the end of Season 17, and their going from last to first on leg 8 while having a Speed Bump was chosen as the best comeback moment in CBS's Top 10 Amazing Race Moments video over Uchenna & Joyce's comeback in the Season 7 finale, where they had no money and had to beg their way onto a closed flight to win the race.
  • The Teetotaler: Jet claimed he had never had a beer in his life at the Boot of Beer task in leg 4. He mentioned on the way to the Pit Stop that he never wants another beer again.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: They were horrible at navigation, airports, and most mental challenges. They also had a knack for diving in head first, screwing up challenges because they missed little details. However, they could blow through most physical challenges with ease. They were able to overcome the Speed Bump and win the 8th leg simply because they were the only team physically capable of doing the faster side of the Detour by balancing the flags on their heads.

Brent Horne & Lauren Caitlin "Caite" Upton

Caite (In the Miss Teen America competition): I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.

Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 and her boyfriend. Yes, that Miss Teen South Carolina. She came on the race wanting to prove to people that she was not as dumb as the "U.S. Americans" quote made her seem. In the first leg, Jordan Pious recognized her, and immediately started mocking her behind her back with Brandy & Carol. Louie & Michael couldn't help but pass this on, causing Caite to instantly hate the "Mean Lesbians" (but not Dan & Jordan for some reason) and endeavor to get them eliminated. Caite spent the next twelve legs saying the same three things over and over, that (1) she hated the mean lesbians, (2) she was smart, and anyone who said otherwise should shut up, and (3) yelling at Brent to shut up, and that he was an idiot. They argued their way to the Final 3, Caite doing little to dispel the viewpoint of her as a Dumb Blonde, where they fell behind early due to a bad cabnote , and never really got back into it, finishing 3rd.

  • Alpha Bitch: In the first leg, Caite said that people who meet her expect her to be an Alpha Bitch, but then find her to be much nicer than they expect. She then proceeded to act like an entitled Alpha Bitch for the entire season.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Caite said "danke" to their task judge in Chile.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: Caite, while imitating the locals trying to sell them stuff at the Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai.
  • Aside Glance: Brent, after Jet & Cord passed within feet of him, looking right over his head, yet did not see him, at the Longhua Temple in leg 11. He then decided to hide form them while they looked for their clue.
  • Attention Whore: Caite, whose favorite topic of conversation was about how stupid people were for not realizing how awesome she was.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: During the beer boot challenge, Brett was the only contestant to throw up, and got himself mocked by a local as a result.
  • The Ditz: Both of them. In France, Brent called planes, "some sort of flying things."
  • Driving Stick: Brent couldn't drive stick, so Caite did most of the driving.
  • Dumb Blonde: Caite, who tried her best to insist that she was not this, but did things like confuse Joan of Arc with Noah's Ark.
  • Evil Gloating: Caite, after U-Turning Brandy & Carol, leading to their elimination. She gloated to the other teams at the airport in the very next leg as they waited to board their plane to Shanghai.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • They overthrew one of their coconuts at the Ox Trot Detour in leg 7, forcing them to ride their ox cart all the way back to the start of the Detour to retrieve it, and losing them their hour lead on the second helicopter group.
    • In the final leg, they had caught up to Jet & Cord after the Industrial Light & Magic task, but left their fanny pack behind at the task location, forcing them to go back and get it, ensuring their third place finish.
  • Follow That Car: Lost looking for the Taittinger vineyard in leg 6, they spotted Brandy & Carol getting directions from a cop, and immediately proceeded to follow them to the wrong location, as the couple had already completed the Detour at the vineyard.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Caite got sick before the third leg, causing them to miss their Pit Start time by three hours, and leaving her fatigued for the rest of the leg.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Showing 20-year-old Caite drinking during the beer boot challenge. Sure it was legal because they were in Germany, but they still managed to show an underage girl drinking on American television.
  • Hypocrite: Caite constantly complained about Brandy & Carol being mean, despite she being just as nasty, if not more so, and spent more time insulting Brandy & Carol than Brandy & Carol did them (at least until after the U-Turn). She even said to Phil that she had been nothing but nice to them despite having been complaining about the "mean lesbians" since leg 1.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Caite's need to prove her intelligence caused her to constantly boast about how smart she was, and even told people who doubted her intelligence that they could go screw themselves. This was an obvious overcompensation for the inferiority complex caused by the fallout from her Miss Teen America speech.
  • Instant Web Hit: Caite's speech, which exploded to tens of millions of hits on YouTube.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Louie & Michael.
  • Irrational Hatred: Caite towards Carol & Brandy, her hatred stemming from a comment she heard second-hand from Michael & Louie. This led to her constantly complaining about Brandy & Carol, and even U-Turning them.
  • Last of Her Kind: Caite made a huge deal out of being the last woman in the Race, and her trumpeting of this fact is what set Brandy off at the Finish Line.
  • Lucky Seven: Said this about finishing 7th on the first leg and again at the fourth leg.
  • Malaproper: Brent made such mistakes as using "anonymous" instead of "unanimous," "license" instead of "incense," and "barrier" instead of "bearing".
  • The Masochism Tango: "Shut up!" "You shut up!" "You're an idiot!" "No, you're an idiot!" "I hate those mean lesbians." Repeat ad nauseaum.
  • My Nayme Is...: Caite (pronounced "Katie", not "Kate").
  • Never My Fault: In leg 8 they both complained about how they had been struggling at the back of the pack due to bad luck, completely ignoring all the mistakes they had made.
  • No Sense of Direction:
    • They had a huge lead flowing the high wire Roadblock in the first leg, but couldn't find the funiculars they were supposed to ride in or the house they were supposed to paint, dropping them behind Jeff & Jordan.
    • They got lost looking for the route marker at the saloon in the third leg, taking so long to find it that they only avoided elimination due to Shawne struggling with the Roadblock.
    • When doing the Intersection with Jordan Lloyd, she and Caite managed to get on the wrong train.
    • They went north instead of south when leaving the Detour in leg 5, missing their next clue and coming across the one after it instead. Made worse by Caite's constant insistence that they had been going south.
    • They had issues finding the Taittinger vineyard in leg 6, which led to their Sequence Breaking moment below.
  • Oh, Crap!: Caite's reaction to the sharp pains she suffered in Leg 4 during the penalty kick Detour.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Her main reason for coming on the Race was that three years after the fact, people still weren't letting her forget the "U.S. Americans" speech, and she wanted to prove to people she's not an idiot. Any sympathy she got from this angle disappeared quickly, when she started acting ugly.
  • One Head Taller
  • Potty Emergency: Brent desperately had to use the restroom right when they arrived at the Pork Chop Detour in leg 11, yet Caite would not stop the Detour to let him go, despite the fact that he was not searching for their stamp, but instead just standing there complaining about how bad he had to go. She finally acquiesced, after which they ended up winning the leg.
  • Rage Quit: Both of them threw temper tantrums and threatened to do this when they realized they had forgotten one of their coconuts at the leg 7 Detour.
  • Read The Freaking Clue:
    • After leaving the high wire Roadblock in the first leg, they were supposed to take a funicular down to the next clue, however, they just walked down the hill, earning themselves a 30-minute penalty that dropped them from 2nd to 7th.
    • They were twice turned back from the Pit Stop because they missed a clue and had to go back and finish the leg correctly.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Along with Jeff & Jordan, they took the initiative to take a connecting bus to Puerto Varas in the second leg. Unfortunately for them, Temuco, where they had to change buses, had two bus stations, and the bus they bought tickets for was at the other station. By the time they figured this out, it was already time for their bus to leave, yet they decided to make a fruitless attempt for it anyway, even though there was another bus leaving from the station they were at half an hour later (which the Cowboys were on), and ended up missing both buses because of this.
  • Redemption Quest: Subverted with Caite. Sure, she may have accomplished her goal of being the last woman standing and getting to the Final 3, but, as a result of several stupid mistakes, constant bickering with Brent, and her feud with Brandy, she did nothing to improve her image, and instead of people seeing her as smart, they instead saw her as a nasty, entitled Alpha Bitch who earned her reputation as a Dumb Blonde.
  • Revenge Before Reason: They U-Turned the "mean lesbians," even though Jet & Cord were in last place at that point, simply because Brandy & Carol had been "rude." Dan & Jordan even pointed out how both they and Louie & Michael were making up all these reasons to U-Turn Brandy & Carol, when the only reason they were really doing it was because they didn't like the lesbians.
    Jordan: ...[it] was so much driven by personal issues that they have. It was a very poor decision to U-Turn them. The Cowboys are incredibly strong competitors, and that's the team you U-Turn at that point in the game. We're all gonna look back on that and question that decision.
  • Sequence Breaking: They did it twice:
    • In leg 5, they went north when the clue told them to go south, but since the clue told the teams to make an "about face," they ended up coming across the following clue, and made their way to the Pit Stop, where Phil forced them to go back for the missed clue. Though they lost a lot of time, they didn't end up losing any spots due to Jeff & Jordan being so far behind and Joe & Heidi being stuck by their U-Turn.
    • In the next leg, they were lost looking for the Taittinger vineyard, when they spotted Carol & Brandy asking for directions from a cop. Not knowing the couple had already completed the Detour, they followed them to the Pit Stop, and were turned back by Phil, dropping from 3rd to 6th by the time they found and finished the Detour.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Caite With Brandy.
  • Tempting Fate: Approaching the gold statue Roadblock in leg 11, Brent said it would be a perfect opportunity for Caite to show the world how smart she really was. She would take four tries to complete the task, Louie & Michael being the only other team to even need two attempts.
  • Villainous Underdog: Once Brandy & Carol were gone and they became the villains.
  • What an Idiot!: Invoked by both Brandy & Carol and Dan & Jordan for their decision to U-Turn the lesbians instead of another team that had actually won a leg. Dan & Jordan even said they would all regret them allowing the Cowboys to survive.
    • The reaction was the same with the teams at the Elimination Station.

Louis "Louie" Stravato & Michael Naylor

Undercover police officers who came into the season with their egos flying high, saying that they wouldn't be surprised to win every leg. They stumbled out of the block, nearly getting eliminated in each of the first three legs, before turning it around and winning the next three legs. It was during this win streak that they decided they would be the judge of who did or did not deserve to run the race, and started targeting teams because of their "negative attitudes," and getting both of their targets eliminated via U-Turn. After their win streak, they fell to the back of the pack again, ultimately being done in by a combination of their Speed Bumpnote  and Louie failing to read the clue at the gold statue Roadblock, eliminating them in 4th.

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Subverted at the Horse Sense Detour. Michael, when seeing their list of directions, drew a diagram in the dirt calculating out where they would eventually end up if they followed the directions, allowing them to find the bag without counting out all those paces. After a short search the found a bag of loot... that belonged to Jeff & Jordan, allowing a different clueless team to complete the Detour. They eventually switched to the other Detour.
  • Born Lucky:
    • In Legs 2 and 3, they were saved from elimination by the eventual last place team struggling on the Roadblock.
    • Starting last in leg 4, they somehow got on the first flight to Germany though the show didn't explain how they managed to get on. This led to their first of three first place finishes.
    • With no equalizers on the next two legs in France, they nabbed first place on those legs as well.
    • They botched a good portion of Leg 9, with them heading to the Fast Forward even though they knew that Dan & Jordan were likely already there, switching from the drums to the ice cream Detour, and Michael screwing up the Chain Link Roadblock, but were saved by Caite U-Turning Carol & Brandy.
    • They were saved by a non-elimination on Leg 10.
  • Call It Karma: Michael wore a Karma shirt despite the fact that they had U-Turned a team, were constantly badmouthing other teams for their bad attitudes, tried to steal Brandy & Carol's cab, and were generally egotistical to the point of Tempting Fate.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Michael brought a counter with him to the Chain Link Roadblock in Leg 9, but his failure to Read The Freaking Clue cost him valuable time in completing it.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • In the second leg, they drove right by the farm where the Roadblock was because they missed the big sign in front of the farm, driving nineteen miles past it before they turned around.
    • In leg 10, they found their clue in Shanghai's fashion district and then immediately went running off to look for the fashion house to do their next task, even though the clue was right outside the fashion house. Lampshaded when Louie asked what kind of detectives they were when they walked right past the place.
  • Holier Than Thou: They targeted Joe & Heidi and Carol & Brandy specifically because of their "bad attitudes," and said they needed to be "humbled." They U-Turned Joe & Heidi despite the fact that Joe & Heidi were in 3nd place, and hours ahead of some other teams due to the leg having no equalizer. Only pure luck caused Joe & Heidi to get eliminated. Later, they bragged about "convincing" Brent & Caite to U-Turn Brandy & Carol, despite that move saving the much stronger Jet & Cord.
  • Hypocrite: Michael telling Phil about how Brandy & Carol deserved to be eliminated due to their negative attitudes, which, despite that statement itself being hypocritical due to him being negative by complaining about another team's attitude, also came after they had U-Turned Joe & Heidi to "humble" Joe.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: When U-Turning Joe & Heidi.
  • Informed Ability: Louie went into the noodle Roadblock in leg 10 saying how he used to make noodles with his grandma, and he could cook because he was Italian. He ended up struggling just as much as anyone else on the task.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Brent & Caite.
  • Loophole Abuse: At the ice cream Sandwich Detour in leg 9, they got their cab driver to buy the last five sandwiches.
  • Mighty Glacier: Louie had some massive muscles, but he couldn't run ten feet without getting winded.
  • Mistaken for Evidence: While looking for the Garden Bridge in the penultimate leg, they spotted two jackets left on a sign while looking off of a different bridge, and immediately assumed the clue was in them instead of in a clearly marked clue box because two jackets just hanging there couldn't be a coincidence.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: One of their more likable attributes is how they had fun running the race and weren't afraid to make clever quips every now and then
  • Precision F-Strike: Michael in Leg 2 when Jordan told him the location of the Roadblock, and he realized they had driven right past it.
  • Read The Freaking Clue:
    • Unable to find their correct house to paint in the first leg, Michael just decided that they were supposed to paint over some random graffiti he saw.
    • Michael did not grab the clipboard he needed for the chain counting Roadblock in leg 9, and fell behind Jet when he went to retrieve it.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Discussed during their Elimination Statement.
  • Read The Freaking Clue: Louie failed to count all the gold statues at their final Roadblock, instead just counting the Buddha statues. This ultimately got them eliminated.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: They went to eat at the airport before getting their tickets on their reserved flight in leg 7, which resulted in them being put in the back of the plane and in the second group to board their helicopters in the Seychelles, putting them an hour behind the lead teams.
  • Second-Hand Storytelling: As Brandy & Carol's "tiara" comment was never caught on camera (if it was even said at all), Michael & Louie's "passing on" the comment was repeatedly played over the course of the season.
  • Small Name, Big Ego/Smug Snake: They made frequent claims to "controlling the race," especially after "convincing" Brent & Caite to U-Turn Brandy & Carol over themselves, or Jet & Cord, who they seemed to want in the Final 3 with them despite them being the biggest threat. After winning their third straight leg, they declared themselves the team to beat, but they would not win another leg after that.
  • Team Dad: To Brent & Caite, Caite even called them "the daddies."
  • Tempting Fate: They boasted in their intro that they would not be surprised to win every leg, made several wolf/sheep analogies, U-Turned another team because they needed to be "humbled", badmouthed Brandy & Carol to Phil's face, and, to top it all off, they invoked I'm Not Here to Make Friends.
  • This Is A Race: After U-Turning Joe & Heidi, followed immediately by I'm Not Here to Make Friends.
  • Under Cover Cop Reveal: Phil said they were undercover cops in their intro, preventing them from ever serving as undercover cops again.
  • Unreliable Narrator: They served as this In-Universe, by telling Caite that Brandy & Carol and been mocking her, asking, "Where's her tiara?" starting their season-long feud. In fact, Jordan Pious had been the one doing most of the mocking while talking to Brandy & Carol, and Caite ended up having no issue with him.
  • Verbal Tic: Michael's tendency to add, "baby," to the end of statements when addressing Louie, and, "my friend," to strangers.
  • Victory Pose: Michael did one of these after completing the polo Detour (in 8th place), holding the trophy up in the air and yelling, "Sparta!"
  • What Have We Ear?: During the kuchen Roadblock, Michael did this to a task judge with an egg.
  • You've Gotta Be Kidding Me!: Michael, when he saw the horses for the polo Detour were made of wood.

Carol Rosenfeld & Brandy Snow

Brandy: Dumb did us in.

Dating couple. They stole a lion's share of the screen time early on due to their bickering and Brandy's constant complaining when she did not take to being out of her comfort zone very well. Brandy's attitude did not make her very popular with the other teams, especially with Caite, who held an irrational hatred towards them because of a comment that they apparently made in the first leg about Caite's tiara. This rivalry led to Caite targeting them with the U-Turn in leg 9, which dropped them from 3rd to last, putting them far enough behind that they were never able to catch up, and they were eliminated in 5th place.

  • Always Second Best: They had several top-3 finishes, but never won a leg.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Subverted. Their elimination was initially played as this, until Dan & Jordan pointed out that the U-Turn could have just as easily been used to eliminate the more dangerous Jet & Cord.
    • The reaction was the opposite at the Elimination Station, where the teams were sad to hear they were eliminated, except for Jordan Lloyd, who didn't like Brandy badmouthing her friend.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    Brandy: How many languages have we butchered? ... My high school French is coming back to me, but it really is getting jumbled in my head with Spanish. Frenglish.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Both of them.
  • Dartboard of Hate: A variation on the leg 3 polo Detour, when Carol told Brandy to imagine that the polo ball was her face.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Joe & Bill, both being middle-aged, cultured, homosexual couples who got on the nerves of the other teams and got lots of airtime as a result.
  • Failed a Spot Check: They overthrew one of their coconuts at the Ox Trot Detour in leg 7, forcing them to ride their ox cart all the way back to the start of the Detour to retrieve it, putting them in last.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: They did not react well to the U-Turn. Carol hit Brent & Caite's picture on the U-Turn sign, and they both insulted Caite's intelligence through the rest of the episode. Brandy would carry this over to the finale, where she confronted Caite at the Finish Line.
  • Grumpy Bear: Brandy, who did not take to being out of her comfort zone well.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: With bleached blonde Carol being the good, and darker haired Brandy being the bad.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Dan & Jordan.
  • Jerkass: Brandy.
  • The Masochism Tango: They spent a lot of time bickering, and talking about how they bickered a lot.
  • No Sense of Direction: Carol accused Brandy of having no sense of direction while arguing over directions in the third leg. Carol ended up being right.
  • Omniglot: One of the reasons Louie & Michael saw them as a threat was that they knew a little bit of the language everywhere they went.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Carol accepted tickets at the back of the plane to the Seychelles, which resulted in them being in the second group to board their helicopters, putting them an hour behind the lead teams.
  • Rejected Apology: At the Finish Line, at Phil's prodding, Caite was about to issue an apologize to Brandy & Carol, when Brandy said she didn't want an apology, and started an angry rant about how stupid she was for U-Turning them instead of the Cowboys.
  • Satellite Character: Carol was overshadowed by her outspoken teammate.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: With Caite.
  • Sore Loser: Brandy's rant towards Caite at the Finish Line remains one of the ugliest moments in Race history.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: For the first half of the season. They had the most airtime, were featured in promos as much as Jet & Cord, and became not only the focus of their own storyline, but Caite & Brent's as well.
  • Stubborn Mule: Their turtle refused to walk in the right direction during the turtle racing Detour in leg 7, instead walking completely off the track, forcing them to switch Detours and putting them in last.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Sitting in 2nd at the sixth Pit Stop, Phil tried to get the normal soundbite out of them about how they were going to be the first female team to win the Race. Subverted when Brandy refused to make any proclamations, saying she didn't want to jinx them, then Double Subverted a few second later when she ended her statement by saying that yes, they would win.
    • They saw Caite & Brent still at the coconut Detour in leg 7 when they arrived, despite them wasting time at the Detour and Caite & Brent starting with an hour lead on them, and made anote  comment on on how Brent & Caite had obviously made a mistake because they were stupid, only for them later to make the same mistake.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Brandy lost it after the U-Turn, spouting a tirade of insults directed towards Caite's intelligence.
  • Weak, but Skilled: How Louie & Michael tried to justify the U-Turning of Brandy & Carol.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Brandy, which meant she obviously volunteered to do all three heights Roadblocks.
  • Wicked Cultured: They suffered quite a bit of culture shock being taken out of their lifestyle and forced to "rough it."

Steven "Steve" Smith & Allison "Allie" Smith

Major League Baseball coach and his daughter, Steve was the third-base coach for the 2008 World Champion Phillies. After spending the first half of the season in the background, they made a mistake in leg 7 that led to them ditching their bags in order to win their first leg of the season. They did not have to run without their bags for long, as they made another mistake in the next leg, this one more costly, as they decided to switch Detours when their cab driver got lost only a few minutes away from their destination, only to switch back when they could not complete the flag balancing Detour. This put them far enough behind that they were eliminated in 6th.

  • Cool Old Guy: Steve might have been just as popular as Gary had he gotten any airtime.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: During leg 6, they crashed their front right fender on a curb. Loose parts were making an awful scraping sound against the wheel while they were driving, so Steve used some Duct Tape (that his wife packed him "just in case") to tape up the loose pieces.
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Niño": While trying to ask French locals where to find a statue of Joan of Arc:
    Ali: Maybe it's "Arc de Joan," like Arc de Triomphe is Arc of... Triomphe.
  • Loophole Abuse: Having trouble getting good leverage for a solid hit during the polo Detour in leg 3, Steve laid across the back of the wooden saw horse instead of straddling it like everyone else in order to get more solid contact with the ball.
  • Manly Tears: Steve, while talking about Allie during their Elimination Statement.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Season 26 couple Aly & Steve.
  • Out of Focus: They were just kind of there until their first leg win, then they got eliminated in the next leg.
  • Read The Freaking Clue: When they were unable to find their house to paint in the first leg, Steve led them inside a random house that was being painted on the inside, upon which Allie just started painting the walls because their red sort of matched the wall color.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • They left their bags behind at the turtle track during the leg 7 Detour, and did not think about them until they were on their boat to the Roadblock, forcing them to make the decision to ditch their bags and win the leg, or go back for the bags and give Dan & Jordan the win. Steve talked Allie into making the bold choice to ditch their bags.
    • While stuck in traffic on their way to the Detour in Malaysia, they decided to leave their cab, despite not knowing where they were going or how far away it was. They naturally fell far behind the other teams, putting them on their way to elimination.

Jordan Lloyd & Jeffery "Jeff" Schroeder

Jeff: We're so stupid. We definitely shouldn't reproduce.

Dating couple, who met on Big Brother 11, which Jordan won. As fans of Big Brother already knew, they were not very bright, and though they managed to win the first leg, they bumbled their way to the back of the pack from then on out. Leg 4 saw them get a bad cab driver who, by following bad directions from his GPS, put them hours behind the other teams. Though they managed to survive that leg due to it being a non-elimination, neither of the next two legs had an equalizer. They once again escaped elimination in leg 5 due to Joe & Heidi being unable to decipher Morse code, they fizzled out in leg 6, as their own bad navigational skills combined with all the driving they had to do, as well their champagne tower crashing down at the Detour, kept them from closing the gap with the other teams, and they finished 7th.

  • Don't Explain the Joke: During the condor Detour, in which they had to dress up as a giant bird:
    Jeff: At least we could go out with some dignity. You know what I mean? (beat) That was a joke.
    Jordan: I know.
  • Dumb Blonde: Jordan, who was even ditzier than Caite, even making the same Joan of Arc/Noah mistake in leg 6.
    Jeff: What are we on, San Juan?
    Jordan: San Jose. H-O-S-E.
  • El Spanish "-o": At the beginning of the second leg, Jordan asked their Chilean cab driver to take the to, "el bus."
  • Establishing Character Moment: At least for those who were not familiar with them from Big Brother. Their intro included a clip of Jordan on Big Brother talking about how she couldn't tell time from clocks.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: In leg 5, they had to locate their first clue by buying a baguette and tearing it open to find the clue inside. Jordan started eating her baguette while Jeff read the clue. At one point, she responded to him with a full mouth, leading to the subtitler putting "?????" across the bottom of the screen.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Averted in both the 5th and 6th legs. They started hours behind most of the other teams in both legs, with the closest team being Brent & Caite, who were 40 minutes in front of them, and neither leg had an equalizer. However, despite looking dead in the water both times, Joe & Heidi being unable to complete the U-Turn in leg 5 allowed them to make up a two-hour gap, and Detour switching by Brent & Caite in leg 6 briefly allowed them to catch up, before their own Detour switching caused them to get eliminated.
  • Global Ignorance: Despite being constantly reminded that they were going to Chile in leg 1, Jordan proceeded to request tickets to Santiago, China.
  • No Sense of Direction:
    • They had issues finding the second Pit Stop, dropping from 4th to 6th while looking for it.
    • When doing the Intersection with Caite, she and Jordan managed to get on the wrong train.
    • They had issues navigating in France, Jordan in particular had problems figuring out how to navigate a roundabout.
  • One Steve Limit/Gender-Blender Name: With Jordan Pious.
  • Read The Freaking Clue: They had many issues with the Horse Sense Detour in the third leg, the first and foremost being that they failed to read the part that they got their directions from the gunslinger, and turned in the loot to the lead bandit, but kept bringing their loot back to the gunslinger. Their realizing this mistake led to Jeff's "we shouldn't reproduce" line. (Of course, none of that would have mattered if Louie & Michael hadn't accidentally found their bag when looking for their own, allowing them to complete the task.)
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Along with Brent & Caite, they took the initiative to take a connecting bus to Puerto Varas in the second leg. Unfortunately for them, Temuco, where they had to change buses, had two bus stations, and the bus they bought tickets for was at the other station. By the time they figured this out, it was already time for their bus to leave, yet they decided to make a fruitless attempt for it anyway, even though there was another bus leaving from the station they were at half an hour later (which the Cowboys were on), and ended up missing both buses because of this.
  • Self-Deprecation: Their "definitely should not reproduce" remark counts as this.
  • Sore Loser: It took a while for Jeff to get over their elimination while at Elimination Station.
  • Wolverine Publicity: They were put on the show by CBS due to them being the Big Brother Super Couple of the moment.

Joseph "Joe" Wang & Heidi Wang

Married couple. Joe's forceful personality, combined with Heidi's more submissive one, put Joe in a negative light from the very beginning of the season. After hovering around the top of the pack for the first four legs, Louie & Michael hit them with a U-Turn during leg 5. Normally, this would not have posed much of a problem, as the leg had not had an equalizer, and they had started the leg over two hours in front of Jeff & Jordan, but their complete inability to decipher Morse Code dropped them to the back of the pack, and Phil came out to the Detour to eliminate them in 8th place.

  • Directionless Driver: Joe was so excited to learn that he could use his compass to help them at the Horse Sense Detour, that he completely ignored both the clue and Heidi telling his that he needed to count out the paces written next to the directions on the map, and just walked out random distances for each direction. Unsurprisingly, they did not complete the task, and switched Detours.
  • Epic Fail: Joe, during the polo Detour, swung at his polo ball so hard that he not only missed the ball, but his saw horse toppled forward, and he Face Planted in the dirt.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Their introduction explains Joe's personality making him the problem child.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Averted, as their inability to figure out the Morse code side of the Detour led to their elimination.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Joe's knee started bothering him in leg 4, keeping them from completing the soccer Detour.
  • Jerkass: Joe, most obviously during his Stay in the Kitchen comment below. It was also the reason Heidi speculated that Mike & Louie U-Turned them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During the penultimate Elimination Station, Jeff blew up at Joe because he was acting like a Jerkass during their phone conversation with the recently eliminated Mike & Louie. While saying the Joe had been U-Turned due to his attitude, he also said that Joe would have had an "unfair advantage" in China due to speaking Chinese. Joe rightly took offense to this, saying it was not his fault for speaking Chinese, but everyone else's fault for not that he had the advantage.
  • Loophole Abuse: During the llama dressing Detour, they spotted a llama lying on the ground, so they just threw their blanket and scarf onto it to complete the task.
  • No Sense of Direction: They got lost looking for the Detour in the third leg, dropping them from 3rd to 4th in the process.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: When they couldn't figure out the Morse Code Detour, they got the second Field Elimination of the season.
  • Security Cling: At the Morse Code Detour, after Jeff & Jordan passed them and they realized they were going to be eliminated. Beginning with the next leg, this was featured in their part of the credits.
  • Sore Loser: Joe, who said during the Elimination Station that he held a grudge towards Louie & Michael because of the U-Turn, and it became the major storyline for the rest of the Elimination Station. Though it was justified during the 7th webisode, as Jeff and Adrian both speculated that it had been personal move for Louie & Michael, not a strategic one.
  • Stay in the Kitchen : Joe made a comment about Heidi being in the kitchen when she did the kuchen Roadblock in Chile.

Monique Pryor & Shawne Morgan

Best friends and lawyers. These moms looked like they could be top contenders after strong showings on the first two legs. However, Shawne struggled with the lasso Roadblock during leg 3, taking over 100 tries to lasso her steer, putting them in last place. Though they had a chance to catch up at the Detour, they struggled with the polo side, eventually deciding to switch Detours and sealing their fate in 9th place.

Jordan "Jody" Kelly & Shannon Foster

Grandmother/granddaughter team. Jody was a former couch potato who got into shape post-retirement, and now ran half-marathons. Despite her new found fitness, she set low a standard for herself, stating at the Elimination Station that she hadn't expected to win the Race. They were the only team on the last bus to Puerto Varas in the second leg, putting them far behind to start the leg. Even though they were able to temporarily pass Louie & Michael (thanks to the cops driving nineteen miles out of their way), Jody struggled to milk her cow at the Roadblock, and they were eliminated in 10th.

  • And the Adventure Continues: Their final words were them talking about their next adventure.
    Shannon: What's the next great adventure?
    Jody: I'll go anywhere with you.
  • Cool Old Lady: Jody, who competed in triathlons and half-marathons. In fact, She is the oldest women to compete in the race, being 71 at the time.note 
  • Out of Focus: They spent their entire two legs in a comfortable last place, only emerging for brief spurts thanks to other teams' mistakes, so it's no wonder they got almost no airtime.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: When they found themselves as the only team on the last bus to Puerto Varas, they didn't attempt to try to find a better bus, and resigned themselves to their fate of being alone in last.
  • So Proud of You: Shannon toward Jody in their Elimination Statement for all she did during their short race.

Dana Davis & Adrian Davis

High-School Sweethearts suffering financial problems due to a failed business, they put on the poorest showing in Race history. Despite being the first team to reach the airport in the first leg, mechanical issues with their plane and a bad cab driver dropped them to the middle of the pack. All their bad luck proved to be irrelevant, as Adrian failed the high wire Roadblock twice, and Phil had to come out to the Roadblock to eliminate them in 11th. They were the third team to get eliminated without finishing a single leg, however both Bilal & Sa'eed and Eric & Lisa were eliminated at legitimate elimination points, whereas Adrian was unable to complete the Race's first task, the wire walking challenge, a variation of which appears on almost every season, and has been completed by every other team who has attempted it.

  • Epic Fail: They didn't even complete a single task.
  • High-School Sweethearts
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Their reasoning was that Adrian's greater strength would would allow him to pull himself along the high wire easier. However, his fear of heights caused him to go super slow across the wire, and, once he fell off, his greater weight meant that, unlike Dan in a similar situation, he could not recover by pulling himself back up or pulling himself along with just his hands.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Phil came out in the field to eliminate them when it became evident Adrian would not be able to finish the task.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Adrian fell down the high wire. Dana actually said this.
  • One Head Taller
  • So Proud of You: Dana towards Adrian.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Adrian, so of course he did their only task.


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