'The Amazing Race 10' starts with double elimination surprise
By Andrea Sellers, 09/18/2006
In a season promising unexpected surprises, last night's broadcast of The Amazing Race 10's first episode hit the racers with a big one, eliminating two teams by the end of the first leg. What appeared as a routine check-in at a route marker turned out to be the end of the Race for best friends Bilal Abdul-Mani and Sa'eed Rudolph, while married couple Vipul and Arti Patel were eliminated in the more traditional method when they were the last team to scale the Great Wall of China and reach the Race's first Pit Stop.
The Amazing Race 10 began in Seattle, Washington, where host Phil Keoghan promised this season's twelve teams -- the most teams in six editions -- that there would be "surprises you'd never expect." After leaving Seattle's Gas Works Park, the teams' first challenge was finding their way to Seattle-Tacoma airport for one of two flights to Beijing, China. Three teams had trouble even driving away from the starting line, but beauty queens Dustin Konzelman and Kandice Pelletier, coal mining couple David and Mary Conley, and father/daughter team Duke and Lauren Marcoccio were eventually all able to get back on track and figure out how to operate their fancy Mercedes SUV's.
At the airport, the teams were split in two groups, with the first six teams scheduled to arrive in Beijing an hour before the remaining six. Despite having been the first team to leave Gas Works Park, Bilal and Sa'eed had trouble finding their rental car return location and ended up on the later Korean Air flight along with Vipul and Arti, gay partners Tom Rock and Terry Cosentino, cheerleaders Kellie Patterson and Jamie Hill, dating couple Rob Diaz and Kimberly Chabolla, brothers Erwin and Godwin Cho.
As the teams waited to board, Erwin and Godwin drew the attention of airport security when they pulled out some squirt guns. Meanwhile, Peter Harsch and Sarah Reinertsen were able to pre-board their flight because of Sarah’s artificial leg -- a fact that did not sit well with some of the other teams, particularly single moms Lyn Turk and Karlyn Harris. In the end, the earlier United Airlines flight was delayed 20 minutes, lessening the gap between the two groups.
Once they arrived in Beijing, teams were told to travel by taxi to the Gold House restaurant. Even though Dustin and Kandice had been on the first flight, they ended up behind some of the second flight teams when their cab driver took them to the wrong restaurant. At the restaurant, teams were asked "Who's hungry to stay in the Race?" and tasked to complete the Race's first Roadblock. One member of each team had to eat a bowl of fish eyes before the teams could move on to the next route marker, the Meridian Gate in the Forbidden City. While none of the teams seemed to particularly enjoy the fish eyes meal, they all managed to complete the task in a fairly quick fashion.
After completing the Roadblock and taking another taxi to the Meridian Gate, the teams had to locate a kiosk that contained placards representing three departure times for the next morning. In addition to the eleven 7:00AM, 7:15AM, and 7:30AM placards, there was also a twelfth placard marked "Last Team." Although they had completed the Roadblock before Erwin and Godwin (the last place team) arrived at the restaurant, Bilal and Sa'eed's navigation problems continued when their taxi driver got lost on the way to the Meridian Gate, allowing Erwin and Godwin (whose own taxi driver had originally taken them to the wrong restaurant) to beat them to the final 7:30AM placard.
After Bilal and Sa'eed arrived and pulled the final marker, they were directly down toward the Race's secluded finish mat, where Phil unexpectedly emerged from the shadows. To everyone's astonishment, Phil said, "You are the last team to arrive at this point in the Race. I said there would be surprises -- even though this is not a Pit Stop, I'm sorry to tell you you've both been eliminated from the Race."
The next morning, the eleven remaining teams put aside their surprise to focus on moving forward in the Race. The first group of teams were given their next set of instructions -- to ride in the sidecar of a World War II motorbike to the junction of 14 Hou Hai North Bank Road, where the pedicab manager would provide them their next clue. As they prepared to depart, Peter and Sarah became concerned that a hydraulic fluid leak in Sarah's prosthetic knee would adversely affect her ability to compete in the Race.
Once they met with pedicab manager, the teams were presented with their first Detour -- "Labor" or "Leisure." Teams that chose "Labor" would need to lay bricks in a specified pattern, while the "Leisure" teams would need to learn and perform a Chinese relaxation ritual. All four of the 7:00AM departure teams chose "Labor."
Despite being the last of the four 7:00AM teams to arrive at the "Detour" location, former drug addicts and models Tyler Denk and James Branaman pulled into the lead when they decided to take a moment to study the pattern and realized that before they could lay the red bricks that formed the interior of the pattern, they needed to create a border using some much larger gray stones. Since all three of the other teams had to start over and redo all their work, Tyler and James' observation (which seemed surprisingly obvious to home viewers but was again missed by many of the subsequent teams) turned out to be a vital one. Kellie and Jamie and Tom and Terry were the only teams to decide to complete the less strenuous "Leisure" task.
After completing the Detour, the teams were told to take a taxi to Juyongguan, a Great Wall of China gateway that would serve as the Race's first Pit Stop. However once they arrived at the ancient fortification, the teams received a second surprise -- instead of just jumping on a mat, each team member had to scale up the side of the Great Wall of China before they reached the check-in point.
Given they were already in the lead and physically fit, Tyler and James had little trouble completing the climb and reached the mat first, winning a $20,000 bonus. Most of the other teams -- including Peter and Sarah, who were put at a significant disadvantage due to Sarah's artificial leg -- struggled to complete the climb. Making the task look easy were Kellie and Jamie, who despite arriving at the location in tenth place, compared the climb to "cheerleading step-up drills" and passed four teams on their way to a sixth place check-in. In the end, Vipul and Arti, who had been at the back of the pack for most of the Race, were the last team to climb the wall and were eliminated from the Race.