In October of 2005, CBS gave other countries the chance to franchise their own version of The Amazing Race. The first of these new series to hit the air was The Amazing Race Asia, produced by AXN Asia, starting four days after the eighth episode of The Amazing Race 10, and ending two weeks before the beginning of the first All-Stars. As the first international version, it started the trend of different versions of the show borrowing locations and tasks from each othernote , but, unlike some versions of the show, also contained many original tasks and locations.
While there were many good aspects to the season, such as the likable cast, the lack of any single dominating team leading to a competitive season, the franchise's first all-female winners, and, also for the first time in the franchisenote , a final leg which took place almost entirely in the same city, negating the mid-leg equalizers which had led to so many surprising upsets caused by the luck of the cab in U.S. finales, there were several negative aspects as well. The teams were very friendly with each other, even leaving money for those who'd been stripped of cash by non-elimination penalties. While this meant almost no ugly bickering, it also meant a relative lack of Conflict. Also, the longer episodes allowed by the fewer commercial breaks, along with the relative lack of usage of Confession Cam footage and voiceovers, led to long periods of airtime spent showing teams completing tasks without commentary, giving certain segments the feel as if the producers had Left the Camera Running. These two things, plus the presence of five non-elimination legs,note caused a lot of the season to drag. Overall, though, it was a solid, generally enjoyable season.
Zabrina Fernandez & Joe Jer Tee
- Zabrina: Always girl teams never get very far, and we just wanna try to break that spell. Anyone can win, so why not?
Co-workers from Malaysia, alongside Dustin & Kandice, they helped destroy the misconception that women could not succeed at the Race. They were the first all-female winners in the franchise, and the first team to win without any previous individual leg victories. The started out the first half season as the most consistent team, never finishing higher than 3rd, but also never dropping to the back of the pack like all the other teams did at some point. However, starting with being saved by a non-elimination in leg 7, they suffered five straight bottom-2 finishes, causing most to see them as a non-threat. In the finale, they made the decision to hire a cab driver to lead them around Kuching, Malaysia all day, which kept them at the front of the pack despite the other two teams generally performing better overall at the tasks. Both Sandy & Francesca and Andrew & Syeon made critical navigation errors, allowing them to squeeze out a victory, holding off Sandy & Francesca on the final sprint to the Finish Line.
- Big Eater: Joe Jer destroyed the Bengali meal, doing it faster than anyone except Sandy, who had to eat Francesca's portions as well, and later breezed through the brains Roadblock to help them make the Final 3.
- Born Unlucky: Part of the reason they kept coming in second-to-last in the second half of the season is that they kept getting bad cab drivers.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Zabrina, when she started falling during the rock climbing Roadblock.
- Dark Horse Victory: They were underdogs, not athletic, never won a leg prior to the finale, and finished in the bottom-2 five straight times. Add to that how only one female team had even made the Final 3 in the US version up to that point, and their win came out of nowhere.
- Elimination Houdini: In-Universe. Discussed in leg 10, where Zabrina pointed out how they kept coming in second-to-last.
- Read the Freaking Manual: Read the Freaking Clue: They were fighting for 1st in the first leg, until Joe Jer only did three of her four laps at the go karting task, forcing her to start the task over again and dropping them to 5th.
- Underdogs Never Lose
- Unwitting Pawn: Averted, Andrew & Syeon formed a late game alliance with them because they thought the ladies would be easy to beat in the finale, and Mardy & Marsio called them the weakest team left of the final four.
- Weak, but Skilled: In the UAE, they lamented how they would be doing fine, then hit a physical task and suddenly be at the back of the pack again. When they didn't have to do something physical, they performed much better.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes for Zabrina.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Said almost word for word by Joe Jer as she encouraged Zabrina to finish the hiking Detour at Ski Dubai.
Francesca Etzdorf & Sandy Sydney
Dating couple from Hong Kong (though origninally from the U.K. and New Zealand, rexpectively), Sandy was feared for being a powerhouse who could breeze through any physical challenge. However, they tended to struggle with almost everything else, and were saved by two non-eliminations on their way to the Final 3. In the finale, they managed to get a bit of a lead on Zabrina & Joe Jer, but their decision to take the long way back to their car at the Sarawak Cultural Village dropped them behind the ladies, and they could not manage to make up that time, leaving them in 2nd.
- Big Eater: Sandy ate both portions of the Bengali meal, and managed to finish first.
- Honor Before Reason: After hours of searching to find "the girl on the swing" in New Zealand, Sandy wanted to tell the other lost teams where she was because he felt sorry for them, but Francesca told him he better not dare.
- The Load: Zabrina, while summing up the final four teams, said Sandy was their whole team, and could run the race by himself. While meant as a compliment towards Sandy, it also had the effect of calling Francesca this.
- No Sense of Direction:
- They lost the first leg when they fell so far behind while looking for Shah Alam Stadium, that they arrived after all the other teams had already completed the task and left.
- They managed to be the last team to make it to the Queenstown airport at the beginning of the seventh leg, despite leaving the Pit Start in 1st, with a three hour lead over Andy & Laura, and almost missed the first flight as a result.
- At the beginning of the final leg, Zabrina said she hoped there was some self-driving, as that would effectively eliminate Sandy & Francesca from contention. There was driving, they did get lost, and they eventually hired a taxi to lead them.
- At the Sarawak Cultural Village, their decision to run back the way they came to get to their car instead of the much shorter route Zabrina & Joe Jer took gave the women the final lead they would need to win the Race.
- Read the Freaking Clue: They failed their first attempt at the batik painting Detour, as they didn't read the additional information in the clue, and failed to match the colors to the example painting.
- Sequence Breaking: They managed to find the end point of the seventh leg's Egg Detour before finding the starting point.
- Stubborn Mule: Their camel initially refused to move for them at the Detour in leg 11, resulting in them switching to the metal detector Detour and back, and falling out of 1st place.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Sandy said the brains at the leg 11 Roadblock tasted like chicken.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Francesca gorged herself before flying to India so she wouldn't have to eat there, as she was afraid of getting sick, then she read the clue saying, "you must be hungry." She then made Sandy eat her portions.
- Unskilled, but Strong: In India, Andy & Laura repeatedly said Sandy & Francesca were weakest team, getting by solely on their strength, while screwing up everything else. Andy & Laura had a point, as they did tend to fall to the back of the pack during mentally intensive portions of the game.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes and throwing up for Francesca.
Andrew Tan & Park Syeon
Dating couple from Malaysia, other than a few early struggles, they were the most consistent team on the season, and overcame Syeon's leg injury to make the Final 3. However, their decision to rely on the maps in their Malaysian travel guide instead of hiring a cab driver to lead them through the final leg like the other teams dropped them to last place, and they ended up finishing in 3rd.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Andrew had a dream prior to leg 11 that they would have a numeric task, and the answer would be his birthday, November 19th. When they got to the ferris wheel task, in which only five of the 42 cars contained clues, they jumped into car 19 and immediately found the clue. All the other teams took at least half a dozen tries, giving them a lead they sorely needed as Syeon struggled with the brains Roadblock.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Syeon hurt her leg in India, effecting her ability to run.
- Honor Before Reason: Leg 10 saw them in last place during their boat ride to the golf Roadblock. When Mardy & Marsio's boat broke down in front of them, they were prepared to stop and give the brothers a ride, until the brothers' boat started working again.
- Long-Distance Relationship: Until shortly before the Race, when Syeon moved to Kuala Lumpur to be with him.
- No Sense of Direction: In the finale, their decision to rely on a map instead of hiring a taxi to lead them like Zabrina & Joe Jer cost them the Race.
- Potty Emergency: Syeon suffered one in leg 7, which led to her stopping their cab to pee on the side of the road.
- Read the Freaking Clue: They arrived 1st in the first leg, but got turned back from the Pit Stop because they had not followed the marked path to get there, instead wandering up through the parking lot, giving Mardy & Marsio the win and dropping them to 5th by the time they ran the correct path.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They were the only team to avert this in leg 5. The first clue told them to fly to Auckland, New Zealand, take a ferry to Devonport, and look for a girl on a swing. They were the only team to immediately look in the vicinity of the ferry terminal, while the other teams walked all over Devonport, some for hours, before returning to the terminal to find the clue.
- Sequence Breaking: See Read the Freaking Clue.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Syeon, when she read the "you must be hungry," clue in India. Her response was bleeped out.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Andrew.
Mardy Juwono & Marsio Juwono
Brothers from Indonesia, they were horribly out of shape, and frequently got winded while running from task to task. Despite this, they shocked everyone by winning the first leg, and, though they were never the favorites, were a threat throughout the season thanks to their brains. Their physical struggles eventually caught up to them in the UAE, pushing them into last place and getting all of their money taken away heading into the penultimate leg. However, any chance they had of catching up and making the Final 3 disappeared when the usually Big Eater Mardy struggled to eat brains at Roadblock, and they were eliminated in 4th.
- Against My Religion: They were raised not to eat internal organs, so Mardy struggled to eat the brains at their final Roadblock.
- Big Eater: They had a tendency to eat while doing tasks, and all the other teams expected them to blaze through the Bengali meal. However, Mardy's struggles to eat Foreign Queasine cost them their best shot at making a comeback in their final leg.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They won the first leg because of Andrew & Syeon missing the jungle trail.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: As described in their intro, Marsio being the foolish, Mardy the responsible.
- Four Is Death: At the random luck ferris wheel task in leg 11, they (Mardy in particular) discounted all of the cars containing a 4, because they were "death."
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Mardy made fun of Marsio for getting beaten in the Shark Tunnel Roadblock by Syeon and Melody, when he was certified as an advanced divernote , and they had a fifteen minute lead thanks to taking the fast ferry.
- In-Series Nickname: M&M's.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Their constant physical struggles provided a lot of the season's comedy.
- Popping Buttons: Marsio during the Shark Tunnel Roadblock, and both of them during the ATV task in New Zealand, wasting time on both occasions as they went to change into a bigger body suit.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Neither of them listened to their wives and exercised before coming on the Race, leading to such scenes as them taking frequent rest breaks while walking the path to the Pit Stop in the first leg.
- Sibling Rivalry: It didn't show up too much, but exploded at the Roadblock in their final leg when Mardy struggled with eating brains.
- Sibling Team
- Shoo Out the Clowns
- Weak, but Skilled: They were horribly out of shape, and were shown getting massages and such at the airports in order to soothe their aches and pains, but that didn't stop them from constantly being in the front of the pack.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes for Mardy and heights for Marsio.
- Marsio freaked out the first time he got in the shark tank in leg 4. He swore it was because his wet suit was too small, but Mardy and the instructor both said he was hesitating because he was afraid.
Laura Kluk & Andy Lawson
Dating couple from the United Kingdom, now living in Thailand. On a season where teams were overwhelmingly friendly with each other, they stuck out as the one team who played overtly cutthroat, and were therefore pegged as the season's villains by the other teams. In India, they made the decision to snake Sandy & Francesca's idling cab driver following the "needle in a haystack" sari task, ultimately causing them to get targeted with a Yield in the second half of the double leg. However, it seemed that not even the Yield could slow them down, as they were back in 1st place by the Roadblock, and even though Laura struggled with the task, they still finished with a lead over other teams. Ultimately, though, they would have trouble finding a cab to the Pit Stop, Zabrina & Joe Jer swooping in to take their cab and their spot in the top 4, eliminating them in 5th place.
- Bad Liar: Andy repeatedly told lies to the other teams to try to get ahead, but as they contained such gems as "your eyes can pop out from bungee jumping," it's obvious why none of the other teams ever believed him.
- Batman Gambit: After an hour of fruitlessly digging at the surfboard Roadblock, with not a single team finding a surfboard, Andy proposed that everyone take the four hour penalty together so that they'd all be even and leaving the Roadblock together, and no one would have to dig anymore. The teams laughed it off at first, trying to bait him into taking a penalty so that they could have a four-hour buffer added onto the end of the leg, but one by one teams started coming around. Finally, Andy just decided to quit, lying to everyone that he had gotten a bit of information that told him it was beneficial to quit. He was followed quickly by Marsio, and then three other teams. This might have paid off if an operating hours equalizer hadn't caught all the teams up to them in the morning, both fellow quitters and those who had completed the task.
- Born Unlucky: Self-described during their intro.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Andy, when Sandy shoved him during the donkey Detour.
- Dartboard of Hate: During their final Roadblock, Andy told Laura to imagine she was slapping the dung patties onto Francesca's face.
- Enemy Mine: Before flying to India for the double leg, every single team decided to Yield them when they had the chance, due to Andy's lying, intentional efforts to sabotage the other teams (such as hiding maps at airports), and having the audacity to try and run the race without making friends. This became a solidified alliance once they stole Sandy & Francesca's cab.
- Failed a Spot Check: Even if they had gotten a cab earlier in their final leg, they forgot their fanny pack at the Roadblock, and Andy had to run back and get it before they could head to the Pit Stop.
- Failing a Taxi: What ultimately got them eliminated.
- Felony Misdemeanor: The other teams were not happy with Andy's cutthroat play, and constantly complained about him. Even the taxi stealing incident wasn't even all that personal, they went after what they thought was the best cab driver, who took them because he had already been paid off by Sandy & Francesca (what made it bad was that they seemed almost happy to have inconvenienced another team). While everything they did was legal within the game, they still got Yielded for "playing dirty."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: For the first four legs, they finished in 7th place, and no one really considered them much of a threat. Then they rattled off five straight top-2 finishes while playing antagonistically cutthroat towards the other teams.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Averted, Laura fell and hurt her knee during leg 4, and had to have it examined to see if she could continue, but not only did she continue, they immediately went from being bottom feeders to dominating the game.
- Jerkass: Both of them, though Andy was more hated by the other teams due to that all of them expected to be stabbed in the back by him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: During the first-half of the double leg in India, they stole a cab from Sandy & Francesca while they were doing a task. However, towards the end of the double leg, they had trouble finding a taxi to take them to the Pit Stop. Just when they thought that they had found a cab, it stopped near Zabrina & Joe Jer and the girls grabbed it instead, ultimately eliminating them.
- Likes Older Women: Laura is 35 and Andy is 28.
- Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe. For the other teams, them stealing Sandy & Francesca's cab was the final straw.
- Mustache Vandalism: They did this to Sandy & Francesca's "Courtesy Of" sticker after being Yielded.
- Second Placeis For Losers: Andy said this at the beginning of the double leg.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: Why they thought they would get Yielded in India, as they had finished 1st or 2nd five times in a row.
- This Is A Race: Their general justification for playing cutthroat.
Howard Bicknell & Sahran Abeysundara
"Best friends" of ten years from Sri Lanka. Nearly every single leg saw them come across a crippling fear that threatened to halt them in their tracks. Most of these phobias belonged to Sahran, though it Howard who ended up taking a four-hour penalty instead of completing a rather simple scuba diving Roadblock in Australia. They were saved by a non-elimination leg that time, but they would later fall behind when they struggled on both sides of the luck based Detours in leg 8. They would not recover, and ended up eliminated in 6th place.
- Claustrophobia: Howard's sole fear, and why he quit the Shark Tunnel Roadblock, as he could not take being in the wetsuit.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They got 1st in leg 3 because Joe Jer quit the mini surfboard Roadblock.
- Driving Stick: Howard had a hard time reacquainting himself with a stick shift in the first leg.
- Hide Your Gays: They'd been a couple of "best friends" or ten years. Though with comments like the one Sahran made at the Jakarta zoo, where he said they took their friends' kids to the zoo together, made it kind of obvious.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Upon receiving the very first clue, "shop til you drop," they took the clue at face value and assumed it meant a shopping challenge. Generally, the word "drop" in any clue means a height challenge.
- Security Cling: Sarahan to Sharon after he completed the first rappelling task.
- Who's on First?:Howard: What is this place called?Sarahan: Ayutthaya.Howard: No idea?Sarahan: No, Ayutthaya.Howard: Oh, you have an idea.Sarahan: Howard, it's too early in the morning.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: They spent a lot of time facing their phobias. These mostly belonged to Sahran, with the exception Howard's claustrophobia. During their intro, Sahran listed off a number of phobias, including snakes, deep water, public bathrooms, and heightsnote . Sahran ended up rappelling from the 8 floor of a mall in Malaysia, grabbed the clue from a cage full of anacondas in Indonesia, and rock-climbed in Thailand. As a result, lots of crying ensued.
Melody Chen & Sharon Wong
Best friends from Singapore, they spent the entire season pretty badly Out of Focus, their only shining moment coming in the third leg, when Sharon dug in the sand, looking for a mini surfboard well into the night, past the point that all the other teams had left. In the sixth leg, Sharon stalled out her ATV in an additional task, putting them in last. As the only task between them and the Pit Stop was a "first come, first serve" bungee jumping Roadblock, they had no chance to make up time, and were eliminated in 7th place. Melody would appear as the Pit Stop Greeter on leg 9 of Season 25 of the original version, when the show visited Singapore.
- Boyish Short Hair: Sharon.
- Crack Defeat: On their final leg, Andy & Laura received a speeding penalty that pushed them an hour and a half behind the second-to-last place team to start the next leg. Considering that all the teams were checking it at ten minute intervals, Melody & Sharon would have survived if not for the strange decision to tack on the speeding penalty at the beginning of the next leg instead of making Andy & Laura wait to check in like they would have on every other penalty.
- Determinator: Sharon, on the mini surfboard Roadblock. She kept on digging long after the sun had set and all the other teams had left or given up, telling Melody that even if they were definitely in last place, she just wanted to finish this task, no matter how long it took. This paid off for her in the end as she finally found the surfboard well into the night and overnight bunching enabled her and Melody to catch up to the other teams and pass those who had given up on the task and taken the 4-hour penalty. (They finished 3rd for that leg, out of 9.) Her efforts are best summed up in this exchange:Melody: "If we leave now, we give up now, we're the last team."Sharon: "If I-you know if we got eliminated today, because...we didn't give it our best shot? Ugh...I couldn't take that."
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They survived leg 5 after Sahil & Prashant received a penalty for hitchhiking.
- Jaw Drop: Melody when they were saved from elimination by Sahil & Prashant's hitchhiking penalty.
- Out of Focus: They didn't even get A Death in the Limelight episode.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Melody.
Sahil Shroff & Prashant Sachdev
Models and friends from India, they came on the Race because they thought it might help their careers. Despite being the season's biggest physical threat, their brief successes during the physical portions of the game were undone by their constant mental mistakes, as they rarely found themselves out of the back of the pack. They, along with almost every other team, got lost while looking for "the girls on the swing" near the beginning of the fifth leg, spending hours wandering around the streets of Devonport, New Zealand, and being the last team to find their clue. Though they were able to blaze through the Detour and Roadblock, to jump back up to 5th place, they received a one-hour penalty for accepting rides from three different locals. The other teams checked in during that time, and they were eliminated in 8th place.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: While pushing through the crowded teams racing for the taxis in Sydney, they knocked over Joe Jer, leading to Zabrina calling them out on this.
- Jerk Jock: Their first and last statements showed they were kind of full of themselves.
- Only in It for the Money: They came on the show not for the experience, but for the boost the exposure would give to their modeling careers.
- Out of Focus
- Read The Freaking Rulebook: Their hitchhiking, while it had yet to affect anyone on the original series,note was still a clearly defined rule that Marsio & Mardy discussed right before the models jumped in the woman's car, and Sharon & Melody and Sandy & Francesca later turned down several rides.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Their Sore Loser Elimination Statement, in which they called themselves the biggest threat despite their only two finishes above 5th place came on a Fast Forward and the penalties to the five teams that quit the mini surfboards Roadblock, which bumped them from 8th to 4th.
- Sore Loser: They were not happy about their penalty, and complained about the fairness of it, even though every other team who was offered a ride knew the rule. They said during their Elimination Statement that they had beat the other teams legitimately, and the other teams were probably having a party because their biggest threat was gone.
Aubrey Miles & Jacqueline Yu
Best friends from the Philippines. A model and an actress, they often seemed more preoccupied with entertaining themselves and making sure they looked good than actually winning the Race. They were one of the five teams to quit the mini surfboard Roadblock in leg 3, earning them a 4-hour penalty. As they were the last team to check in anyway, thanks to wasting time at the Ubud Monkey Forest sword fighting with sticks, they were eliminated in 9th place.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Aubrey, during the mini surfboards Roadblock, spent a lot of her first hour posing in the sand and flirting with passing men rather than digging.
- The Ditz: They didn't seem to think they would have to pay a cab driver for leading them to Shah Alam Stadium in the first leg, and Jacqueline took time to powder Aubrey's nose for her during the drive.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Aubrey assumed the Race's first clue, "shop til you drop," meant they would actually be shopping, though Jacqueline replied that she didn't think they would be.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: They said during the first leg that they planned on using their looks and charm to get ahead.
Ernesto "Ernie" Lopez & Jill "Jeena" Lopez
Married parents from the Philippines. In the second leg, Ernie was the first person to retrieve his clue from the snake pit at the Roadblock, and upon seeing the Fast Forward clue, he jumped at the opportunity to go for it. However, their cab driver didn't know where he was going, and dropped them off in the wrong place, allowing Sahil & Prashant to pass them and take the Fast Forward. Forced to return to the course, they never had a chance to catch up, especially as they were the only team forced to redo the bakso cart Detour, and they were the first team eliminated.
- Happily Married: Ernie was almost brought to tears talking about their ten-year relationship upon their elimination.
- Keeping the Enemy Close: They brought this up during their intro.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Jeena.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They didn't think to keep their taxi driver at the Jakarta zoo, resulting in them having to find another one. That new cab driver would cost them the Race.