The Amazing Race" has been better as far as challenges go, and there were some fun new contestants (though we could have lived without whiny Team "Big Brother"), but just because we've enjoyed the 20th installment more than the last few doesn't mean that it was without fault. Here's our look at the best and worst moments of the race.This season of "
Best: You Play Worse Than a Girl
Art acted like a jerk, so it was pretty great to see him get beaten at cricket by Rachel (the annoying Rachel from "Big Brother," not the seemingly more athletic one). Especially when he and JJ thought they had the challenge in the bag because Brendon was stuck on a team with a woman. Score one for the ladies everywhere.
Worst: Lying Liars Who Lie
We appreciate players who keep their identity under wraps, like athletes who don't want people on "Survivor" to vote against them because they think they've got loads of cash, but here it didn't even make sense. Nary and Jamie, who are federal agents, told everyone they were teachers. Their plan was to seem like less of a threat, but when the Border Patrol guys figured it out, they should have fessed up. Continuing to lie was pointless, especially since they weren't a threat at all, what with their consistently back-of-the-pack performance.
Best: Hold Your Breath
Hands down the best challenge of the season? The roadblock where a member from each team got suited up, tossed inside a helicopter, submerged in water, spun upside down, and then had to escape. All while holding their breath. It looked hard and scary and not at all like something most people would want to do on a vacation, and that's the kind of challenge that makes for great TV.
Worst: Dance Dance Revolution
The Bollywood dance number was terrible for a lot of reasons, given the heat and Art and JJ acting like idiots about women again. But the trouble really came when Mark nearly passed out about three times and then did the challenge so poorly that the judges finally gave him the next clue just because they felt sorry for him, even though he clearly hadn't completed the task. We wouldn't have minded if Mark and Bopper had gotten eliminated, but it was a non-elimination leg, which always lessens what makes "The Amazing Race" amazing and not just a cakewalk.
Best: The Shape of Things
Take some guys with long beards and sculpt all that hair into bizarre shapes for a competition. That's… gross. But entertaining for those of us sitting on the couch. We liked that the bearded men were such good sports and we enjoyed the look of shock on the teams' faces as they realized what their task entailed.
Worst: Girl Fright
After tension built up over several legs, Vanessa and Rachel (from "Big Brother") finally came to blows… of the verbal variety. The two of them made some cutting remarks about Rachel being fat and wearing tacky clothing. And Rachel called Vanessa old and crazy. Rachel wound up crying (and we hate feeling remotely bad for Rachel) after Vanessa's culminating remark: "Honey, get your nose done before you get your boobs done… Do everybody a favor." Later on in the race, these two were still fighting about nonsense, even on the mat in front of Phil. No one looks good here, ladies.
Best: The Princess Is in Another Castle
Nothing makes us happier on this show than people getting lost. And to see more than one team bungle the castle challenge and end up at the wrong place was freaking funny. Especially when they had to trek up another giant hill to find Sleeping Beauty's dwelling.
Worst: I Feel Pretty
Rachel and Brendon had the chance to jump way ahead by using a Fast Forward, but they didn't take advantage of it because they would have had to shave their heads. Uchenna and Joyce did the same challenge many seasons ago and then won, but super-vain Rachel didn't want to lose her $500 extensions that make her feel pretty. Gee, 500 bucks or a million? Tough call.
Best: Share and Share Alike
Before we got to know and hate Art and JJ, they did a nice thing. The two of them won some cash for coming in first in a challenge, and decided to give half of their money to last-place team Mark and Bopper. Of course they made that generous gesture before finding out that Mark and Bopper weren't eliminated, but still, it was an unexpected act of kindness.
Worst: Let's Make a Deal… and Then Break It
Dave and Rachel made a deal with Art and JJ to U-turn their common nemeses (Brendon and Rachel) if given the opportunity. But Dave and Rachel decided not to be bad guys (given there was a last-place team who had no hope of catching up), which meant that Art and JJ had to do the dirty work themselves. A quick convo could have solved this issue, but of course JJ flipped out and started screaming about being betrayed and even brought Phil into it. Why make the host deal with these petty problems? And let it go quickly; don't hold a grudge and drag it out for several legs.
Worst: A Roll in the Hay
Dave belittled his wife and yelled at her at every opportunity, most notably on the hay-bale challenge, where she worked her butt off. He was just tossing down the bales, not listening to her at all, while she did some intense physical labor stacking the bales and arranging them. That and his self-righteous behavior throughout the race made us detest him.
Get a sneak peek at this week's "Amazing Race" season finale right here:
The season finale of "The Amazing Race" airs Sunday, 5/6 at 8 PM on CBS.
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