Will “Amazing Race” pick up yet another Emmy?

There’s not a lot of suspense when it comes time to rip open the envelope announcing the Emmy winner for best reality program.

“Jeff (Probst) and I have sat together and lost together. We’re used to staying in our seats (after the winner is announced). There’s not a lot of cardio after our category” says American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. “Your heart beats for about a minute and then they say Amazing Race and about 100 people jump up on stage.”

The Amazing Race has become the perennial Emmy winner, and with good cause.
Let’s face it. The awe factor’s amped up considerably when people are zip lining off Victoria Falls rather than scooting across a dance floor or warbling to cranky judges. There’s an obvious big budget production scale working here with fabulous locales coupled with the element of strangers trying to navigate in a new environment.

And that doesn’t even take in the soap opera that takes place between the contestants – or between team members. As race fans know, every competition teams two people with an existing relationship (newly dating, father and daughter, married, separated, siblings) – and those relationships are seldom trouble-free.

Here are a few teams you might remember from past TAR seasons:

10. The Cho Brothers – These two sibs spent so much time helping others that they ended up getting cut out of the race early because they keep falling behind in a an effort to boost other teams. The couple they really gave a leg up to was David and Mary.

9. David and Mary – The Kentucky coal miner and his wife didn’t seem like the kind of people who would be able to compete against world travelers, but they hung in for quite a while especially when they got so much help in the beginning from other racers including the Cho Brothers. D and M didn’t win the million bucks, but The View” showered them with presents including a new house and car just for being so gosh-darned nice.

8. Dustin and Kadice – They looked like a couple of ditzy blonds who couldn’t find their way out of a mini-mall, much less exotic locations. But they became fierce competitors. Beware the blond.

7. Chip and Reichen – They insisted on being called married on the show, and then promptly split right after they won the race. The couple claimed the relationship couldn’t withstand the post-race pressure and the glare of the cameras. But soon after Reichen was N’ Synch with Lance Bass. Ah, fame.

6. Charla and Mirna – Please stop the words “Run, Charla run. Run, Charla, run” from looping around my brain. Charla was the little person with massive determination who kept up with her leggier cousin. They ended up cashing in after outperforming the competition.

5. Kynt and Vyxsin – Just how cute is it to have Goths with Kentucky accents and southern manners? Turns out Vyxsin’s dad was some sort of military guy who taught the duo the ropes when it came to those crazy challenges. Kynt insisted on Vyxsin remaining civil at all times and only seemed to slightly lose his cool when she was snappish.

4. B.J and Tyler – Turns out you can be Bay Area slackers and still win a million bucks in a race. In a complete fluke, the team came in last in two legs of the race, but both were non-elimination pit stops. Host Phil Keoghan says they boys enjoyed every moment in the race whether they were first or last. But first was obviously better: At the finish line where the two came in first, Tyler quipped that “If it’s this successful to be hippies, we might as well stay hippies.’’ Woodstock forever, man.

3. Uchenna and Joyce – Viewers loved them, but fellow racer Rob (formerly of Survivor) cried foul when the couple won the race after they were allowed on a flight that had previously been closed to them.

2. Jonathan and Victoria – Has anyone been more universally hated in TAR history than Jonathan? He claimed he was “butchered” by bad editing, but the man called the vilest contestant in TAR history was caught on tape far too often. He actually pushed his wife Victoria while the cameras were rolling. But as contemptible as he was, Victoria’s constant whining could bring out the worst in anyone.

1. Rob and Amber – Cheaters. OK, too hard? Rob and Amber took their Survivor”fame and cashed in on people around the world willing to help the two connivers out as they took unfair advantage. Turned out cheaters never prosper. Or at least they don’t win The Amazing Race.

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