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HOME > The Amazing Race > The Amazing Race 20

'The Amazing Race' eliminates sisters Misa Tanaka and Maiya Tanaka


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/20/2012 

The Amazing Race's twentieth season eliminated Misa Tanaka and Maiya Tanaka during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition.

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The "Sisters" team became the first team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's first Pit Stop at the Patios de Cafayarte Hotel & Spa in Salta, Argentina in last place.

"It's just beyond disappointing that we're going to go out like this. We've proven that we have a lot of heart, but it's just the hardest thing knowing that sometimes, that's not enough," said Maiya, a 25-year-old professional golfer from San Diego, CA, following her team's ouster.

The first episode of The Amazing Race's twentieth season began with the Race's 11 teams bicycling alongside The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan to arrive at the destination where their Race would begin, a vineyard in Santa Barbara, CA.

The 11 The Amazing Race teams included "Married Couple" Dave Brown Jr. and Rachel Brown, "Friends" William "Bopper" Minton and Mark Jackson, "Federal Agents and Friends" Nary Ebeid and Jamie Graetz, "Engaged Couple" and former Big Brother houseguests Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly, "Friends" Joey "Fitness" Lasalla and Danny Horal, Misa and Maiya, "Married Clowns" Dave Gregg and Cherie Gregg, "Twin Brothers" Elliot Weber and Andrew Weber, "Cousins" Kerri Paul and Stacy Bowers, "Dating Divorcees" Vanessa Macias and Ralph Kelley, and "Border Patrol Agents and Friends" Art Velez and J.J. Carrell.

Phil then explained to the teams that the winner of the first leg would earn the Express Pass, which would allow the couple to skip one challenge at any point in the Race that they would not want to complete, giving them a big advantage.

The teams then learned in order to earn their first clue, they would be required to run through the vineyard and pull down balloons scattered across the field in the hopes a clue would be present in the balloon's basket they selected. Out of 100 balloons, only 11 contained a clue. Once the teams retrieved a clue which featured their next set of instructions, they had to hop in a vehicle and head to the Race's next location.

Elliot and Andrew were the first team to luckily choose one of the 11 balloons, and they were followed by Joey and Danny, Vanessa and Ralph, Kerri and Stacy, Brendon and Rachel R., Dave B. and Rachel B., Nary and Jamie, Dave G. and Cherie, Art and J.J., Bopper and Mark, and finally Misa and Maiya -- who didn't find one of the balloons until about one hour and 45 minutes into the task.

Upon opening their departure clues, the teams were instructed to fly to Santa Barbara, Argentina. They were required to make their way to Los Angeles International Airport's American Airlines check-in counter to pick up tickets to Buenas Aires. Only the first six teams to pick up their tickets would get booked on the fastest connecting flight to Salta, the province which featured the closest airport to Santa Barbara.

The teams rushed to the airport and the first six pairs to secure seats on the fastest flight were Elliot and Andrew, Brendon and Rachel R., Nary and Jamie, Art and J.J., Rachel B. and Dave B., and Vanessa and Ralph.

The flight would arrive two-and-a-half hours ahead of the other five teams on the next available flight.

Once the six teams who were in the lead landed following their flight to Salta, they learned they must drive themselves to the town of Santa Barbara, Argentina to pick up their next clue.

Art and J.J. were the first team to arrive in the town and retrieve their next set of clues, which instructed them to make their way to Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque and search for their next clue.

Following Art and J.J. were Nary and Jamie, Brendon and Rachel R., Dave B. and Rachel B., Vanessa and Ralph, and Elliot and Andrew.

Meanwhile, the other five teams who were on the second flight touched down in Salta and raced to catch up.

The teams then hustled their way to the Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque and Art and J.J. were the first pair to arrive. They were then followed by Brendon and Rachel R., Dave B. and Rachel B., Nary and Jamie, Vanessa and Ralph, Elliot and Andrew, Joey and Danny, Bopper and Mark, Misa and Maiya, Kerri and Stacy, and Dave G. and Cherie.

Upon arriving at the Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque, the teams learned they had to complete a Roadblock task.

For the Roadblock task, one member of each team was required to use their sense of direction and search for their partner, who would be taking a 10,000-foot sky dive. Once the pairs reunited on the ground, they would receive their next clue.

J.J., Rachel R., Rachel B., Nary, Elliot, Vanessa, Mark, Joey, Misa, Dave G., and Stacy all opted to jump out of the plane for their teams, while their partners took on the navigating portion of the Roadblock task.

While Misa was in the clouds, Maiya's vehicle got stuck in the sand below. She worried she wouldn't be able to find Misa in time for her landing, but she fortunately received help from a passerby and quickly got back on track.

While many of the Racers were thrilled about getting the opportunity to sky dive, Stacy was extremely afraid of flying and taking the risk. However, she worked up the nerve to jump and ended up enjoying the experience.

Art and J.J., still maintaining their lead, were the first team to finish the Roadblock task and they were followed by Brendon and Rachel R., Dave B. and Rachel B., Nary and Jamie, Elliot and Andrew, Vanessa and Ralph, Bopper and Mark, Dave G. and Cherie, Joey and Danny, Kerri and Stacy, and Misa and Maiya.

Upon completion of the Roadblock task, the teams learned they must drive themselves to Patios de Cafayate and search the grounds for their next clue.

Art and J.J. arrived at the Patios de Cafayate first and they were soon followed by Brendon and Rachel R., Dave B. and Rachel B., Nary and Jamie, Vanessa and Ralph, Elliot and Andrew, Bopper and Mark, Dave G. and Cherie, Joey and Danny, Kerri and Stacy, and finally Misa and Maiya.

The clue then instructed the teams to make 60 meat-filled empanadas and 60 just with cheese. The trick to the task was that the pairs needed to figure out there were specific dough-crimping patterns for each type of empanada. Once all 120 empanadas were completed and approved, they were then required to race to the Pit Stop at Patios de Cafayarte Hotel & Spa.

Many of the teams had trouble figuring out how to crimp their dough correctly, but Rachel B. and Dave B. along with Rachel R. and Brendon seemed to breeze through the task. Art and J.J. struggled a bit, while and Joey and Danny experienced many failed attempts and had a lot of difficulty completing the task. 

Because Joey and Danny took so long to finish their empanadas, Misa and Maiya got a jump on them since they completed the task fairly quickly and efficiently although they had arrived much later than the guys. However, despite being within visible distance, Misa and Maiya could not find Phil on the Pit Stop mat and circled the grounds, getting themselves lost when time was crucial.

Rachel B. and Dave B. were the first team to finish the empanada task and arrive at The Amazing Race's twentieth season's first Pit Stop. They were greeted by Phil and thrilled to learn they had earned the Race's Express Pass.

Rachel R. and Brendon were the next team to arrive at the Pit Stop in second place and they were followed by Art and J.J. in third place. Nary and Jamie then arrived and secured fourth place, while Vanessa and Ralph made it to the mat in fifth place.

Elliot and Andrew were the next team to be greeted by Phil in sixth place, and they were then followed by Kerri and Stacy, Dave G. and Cherie, Bopper and Mark, and Joey and Danny -- who finished the empanada task last but were able to pass Misa and Maiya because they had failed to find the Pit Stop's specific ending location.

Stepping onto the mat in last place was Misa and Maiya.

"Misa and Maiya, I'm sorry to tell you that you are the last team to arrive and you have been eliminated from the Race," Phil told the girls.

"You were standing right there."

"We didn't see you at all," explained Misa, a 27-year-old car buyer from San Diego, CA.

"We wanted to find you," Maiya said.

"We've never had that happen before where a team has been that close to the mat while another team has managed to over-take them like that," Phil said.

"I can't believe we made this mistake. I can't believe it. It's just really, really frustrating," Misa said.

"It's like when you're really, really, really focused and you want it that bad, it's literally tunnel vision. I couldn't see anything besides a few feet in front of me and you're just standing there," Maiya explained.

"We had so much fight in us that it's just so surreal that we made such a huge mistake that cost us a million dollars, basically," Misa noted.

(Photo credit CBS)


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