amazing race cast 19 'Amazing Race' premiere: Ethan Zohn, Jenna Morasca lead the newest season“The Amazing Race” premieres, kicking off in Los Angeles with their 11 teams of two. Are you excited for the 19th season?

Thoughts during intros:

  • It’s great to see Ethan Zohn of “Survivor” looking so great after his battle with cancer.
  • Love that there is a pair from Stone Mountain, GA. Isn’t that where Kenneth the Page is from on “30 Rock”?
  • The twins need to dial down on the use of “literally.”
  • I’m a big Colts fan, so it’s great to see Marcus Pollard on the show.

The First Challenge

The winners of the first leg once again win the Express Pass, which they can use up to the end of the eighth leg to skip any challenge. The first challenge is a tricky word puzzle that will reveal  their first location (Taipei, Taiwan). The team that’s last receives a Hazard penalty, which they have to complete sometime during the first leg. At least they don’t eliminate that team right off, which was really uncool.

The challenge is just dumb luck choosing of umbrellas with letters on them and showing them to Phil until he tells them they’re right. Huh. In their product-placement vehicles, a video Phil congratulates them on figuring out their first location. Except nobody figured out anything, they just started trying random umbrellas. Dumb.

The team that finishes last and receives the Hazard are the Showgirls (Kaylani and Lisa). They stop to get directions to the airport and one of them drops her passport. Doh. It does not look good for the showgirls. They go back to look for it at the gas station and don’t find it (the camera does not indicate it’s still there).

Eight of the teams get on the first China Flight to Taipei and the showgirls stand in the airport and scream at each other. Meanwhile, Ethan and Jenna say they aren’t going to tell anybody they were on “Survivor” (and that they both won), but some of the teams know and promptly tell everybody else.

Yeah, honestly? I wouldn’t want them to win “TAR” – they’ve won $2 million between them just on “Survivor.”

Um, then in a rather dubious turn of events, someone “finds” Kaylani’s passport. From the gas station?! And brought it to LAX? Apparently he tweeted about it and someone told him to take it there. Huh. Well, that’s cool if it’s true.

Taipei, Taiwan

The eight teams from the first flight are on a bus and Marcus Pollard says he isn’t telling anyone what he did for a living. The nice thing about football players in particular is that other than the really famous ones, no one can pick them out of a crowd unless they follow that team. They wear helmets. You don’t just see their faces everywhere.

The second flight lands and it has the twins, showgirls and grandparents on it, but the grandparents miss the bus and are now in last place. But they manage to catch up a bit because everyone struggles trying to find the clue on a billboard in a big commercial area.

The Confucius Temple

The clue finally sends everybody to the Confucius Temple. The Roadblock is calling 1-800-Confucius and memorizing a proverb that is said to them, then repeating it to a monk. It’s long, so everybody has a decent amount of trouble with it. Some of them aren’t even CLOSE and it’s taking them like 20 times of hearing it. Good lord.

Meanwhile, the grandparents are riding up an elevator. Wow.

The Park

The team members have to help row/keep beat in a dragon boat racing team. Fun. Engaged couple Ernie and Cindy leave this with a decent lead and head for the pit stop.

The Hazard

Kaylani and Lisa, after their Confucius proverb, have to bungee jump in a mall. Wow, that’s it? Meanwhile, the twins are getting increasingly frustrated by the proverb, but the grandparents still haven’t found the clue, so …

The Pit Stop

The finishers go Ernie/Cindy, Jeremy/Sandy, Justin/Jennifer, Jenna/Ethan, Marcus/Amani, Laurence/Zac, Andy/Tommy, Ron/Bill, Lisa/Kaylani, Liz/Marie and then the grandparents, Bill and Cathi. BUT – it’s non-elimination and next week is a double elimination. Wow.

So what did you think of the premiere episode?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."