The Amazing Race Asia (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Amazing Race Asia is a reality game show based on the American series, The Amazing Race.
On 17 October 2005, CBS gave other countries the chance to franchise The Amazing Race. The Asian cable TV network AXN Asia was among the first to acquire the rights to produce a version for its territories. The show is produced by Australian television production company ActiveTV, for AXN, in association with Buena Vista International Television-Asia Pacific (BVITV-AP). The host for the show is Singapore based Chinese-American actor Allan Wu.
The ultimate prize is 100,000, whilst the American show gives away 1,000,000. The general manager of SPE Networks-Asia which runs AXN, Ricky Ow explained the smaller prize, saying, "It is not really about the money but the adventure and opportunity to be in one of the world's greatest reality shows".
In 2010, The first three seasons of the show premiered with Hungarian voiceovers in Hungary on AXN Hungary and Animax Eastern Europe as "The Amazing Race Ázsia" on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 7 February.
The Amazing Race Asia is a reality television competition between ten teams of two in a race around the world. The race is divided into a number of legs wherein teams travel and complete various tasks to obtain clues to help them progress to a Pit Stop where they are given a chance to rest and recover before starting the next leg twelve hours later. The first team to arrive at a Pit Stop is often awarded a prize while the last team is normally eliminated from the race (except in non-elimination legs, where the last team to arrive may be penalised in the following leg). The final leg of each race is run by the last three remaining teams, and the first to arrive at the final destination wins the 100,000 cash prize.
Each team is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. A total of 80 participants have joined The Amazing Race Asia, a majority of which have been local celebrities.
The participants are all required to be able to communicate in English despite various languages around Asia. The contestants chosen to appear are from various Asian countries and not limited to one country of origin. Participating countries include all citizens of the continent of Asia except the Middle East, Myanmar, Laos, North Korea, Russia and East Timor, but including Pakistan, Palau, Fiji and the Maldives as well as non-Asian workers who are living in Asia for a long period of time. From Season 2 onwards, Japanese residents were eligible to participate, having been ineligible for Season 1.
Route Markers are yellow and red flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks, or may be used to line a course that the teams must follow. Route Markers were, however, coloured yellow and white in the second leg of Season 3 to avoid confusion with the flag of South Vietnam.
Clues are found throughout the race in sealed envelopes, normally inside clue boxes. They give teams the information they need and tasks they need to do in order for them to progress through the race.
Route Info: A general clue that may include a task to be completed by the team before they can receive their next clue.
Detour: A choice of two tasks. Teams are free to choose either task or swap tasks if they find one option too difficult.
Roadblock: A task only one team member can complete. Teams must choose which member will complete the task based on a brief clue about the task before fully revealing the details of the task.
Fast Forward: A task that only one team may complete, allowing that team to skip all remaining tasks and head directly for the next Pit Stop. Teams may only claim one Fast Forward during the entire race.
Teams may encounter the following that may affect their position during the race:
Yield: It is where a team can force another trailing team to wait a pre-determined amount of time before continuing the race. Teams may only use their ability to yield another team once throughout the race.
Intersection: Introduced in season 2, It is a sign indicating that two teams must complete further tasks together until a clue indicates that they have been unintersected.
U-Turn: Introduced in season 3, It is located after a Detour where a team can force another trailing team to complete the other option of the Detour they did not select. Teams may only use their ability to u-turn another team once throughout the race.
In Seasons 3 and 4, both the Yield and the U-Turn were seen in separate legs (the U-Turn replaced the Yield in the 12th season of the American version) and since a team can use each once during the Race, it is therefore possible for a single team to use their U-Turn power even if they have already used their Yield power in a prior leg (Geoff and Tisha, Season 3).
At the beginning of each leg, teams receive an allowance of cash, usually in U.S. dollars, to cover expenses during the race (except for the purchase of airline tickets, which are paid-for by credit cards provided to the teams). Teams penalised for being last in certain non-elimination legs have to surrender all of their money and will not receive any allowance on the next leg.
Teams then have to follow clues and Route Markers that will lead them to the various destinations and tasks they will face. Modes of travel between these destinations include commercial and chartered airplanes, boats, trains, taxis, buses, and rented vehicles provided by the show, or the teams may simply travel by foot. Each leg ends with a twelve hour Pit Stop where teams are able to rest and where teams that arrive last are progressively eliminated from the race until only three remain. In some legs, the first teams to arrive at the Pit Stop win prizes, usually from the show's sponsors.
In Season 1, all teams were required to take, race-sponsored, AirAsia flights as opposed to choosing whatever airline they wished.
The clue which directs a team to the Finish Line mentions it not as such but as a "Final Pit Stop." Instead of having an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it as in the American edition, the Finish Line consists only of a regular check-in mat for the final three teams.
Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race.
In all seasons except the third, the first leg was a non-elimination leg. By comparison, the fifteenth season of the American version was the first season to have the first leg being a non-elimination one, although there was an elimination at the start of that season's Race. Before this, the first leg had always been an elimination one. The first season that has a non-elimination leg in the of the American one that has no one being eliminated at first is Season 18.
In Season 1, teams arriving last on a non-elimination leg had their money confiscated and did not receive any money prior to the start of the next leg.
In Seasons 2-4, two non-elimination penalties were in use. Teams were either marked for elimination (wherein they are required to arrive first in the next leg or face a 30 minute time penalty), or were required to surrender all of their money and would not receive any in the next leg.
Like in the show's American counterpart, the Amazing Race Asia often features double-length legs or "superlegs". These occur when a team reaches a Pit Stop only for Allan to hand them another clue and order them to continue racing. In season 1, teams were told to "Find Allan Wu". In seasons 2 and 4 these checkpoints were alluded to being normal Pit Stops with on screen route info displaying "Proceed to Pit Stop". This was so that viewers wouldn't guess that a superleg was coming up. Once the checkpoint had been revealed to be a continuation point, Allan referred to them as "Virtual Pit Stops". Clues the teams received however did not mention them as such, as Jess and Lani in Season 4 are seen reading "Allan Wu awaits".
In Season 1, the superleg was considered to be one large leg. In Season 4, the superleg was considered to be made up of two separate legs (leg 7 and 8).
Rules and penalties
Most of the rules and penalties are adopted directly from the American edition; but in some of cases, the Asian version has been seen to have a unique set of additional rules.
Each team will have to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing themselves from revealing the details of the Race before airing. Teams will be fined with five million U.S. dollars if the contract is breached.
If a team member is injured during the race, he/she has to pass medical evaluation to ensure they are fit to continue the race. In the American edition, if the injury is not serious or life-threatening, the team may choose to continue or quit the race. This occurred to Marshall & Lance during Season 5. Margie suffered heatstroke at the end Leg 7 in Season 14 and their team was allowed to continue.
Teams must follow local road laws and regulations and be responsible to pay any fines and demerits they incur during the race.
If teams violate speeding laws, the number of minutes for the time penalty is the amount of speed in kilometers per hour that the team traveled minus the legal speed limit then multiplied by two minutes. However, this penalty is only served at the beginning of the next leg of the race, and causes criticisms from among the teams (see criticisms). While speeding is also against the rules in the American version (as shown in Season 2 and Season 13), the penalty is not given in a measurement of time additional miles per hour over the speed limit but rather of time gained plus an additional 30 minutes.
In the American edition, the teams who quit a Roadblock must serve a four-hour penalty assessed starting from when the next team arrives at the task site, whereas in the Asian edition, this four-hour penalty applies at the Pit Stop prior to checking in and not at the Roadblock itself.
Hitchhiking (travelling in privately owned vehicles) is prohibited; if a team violates this rule, they incur a one hour penalty. In the American version, a hitchhiking team generally does not incur a time penalty. But if the clue says that the team must take an appropriate form of transportation, they are asked to go back and take it as directed (Nathan & Jennifer, Season 12). Note that Nathan & Jennifer committed this mistake on their way to the Pit Stop and had been possible to correct the mistake whereas Sahil & Prashant (Season 1) committed their mistake for one of the earlier tasks in the leg and may not be corrected before receiving their next clue.
The show first aired in 2006 with the first season premiere airing in November 2006 and ending in February 2007. The first three seasons were aired yearly, but Season 4 was delayed by a year and returned to television in 2010.