'The Amazing Race' Season 21 premiere recap: Team could take home 2 million dollars

Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale emerge as the team to beat

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'The Amazing Race' Season 21 premiere recap: Team could take home 2 million dollars
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Amy Purdy (left) and Daniel Gale (right) of THE AMAZING RACE

Though Season 21 of "The Amazing Race" contains new faces and surprises, some reality show rules still hold true. Nice guys (and girls), for instance, may not always finish last, but they might just leave a million dollars on the table.

Doubling the money for Season 21

"Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan greeted 11 couples that represented a cross-section of relationships and career choices. Keoghan told the teams that there would be 12 legs that will span nine countries. If a team can win the first and final leg, their prize money will double to two million dollars.

The first leg started with a 10-story rappel off a bridge and a long flight to Shanghai, China. Upon arrival, each team took a taxi to Yuanshen Sports Center Stadium. Inside the complex, the racers had to score a single point off a junior table tennis champion in order to get their next clue. To make it more stressful, the junior champ showed his skill by using a tambourine and a frying pan instead of a paddle.

Native cuisine and queasy stomachs are a trademark of "The Amazing Race." During the first leg, the contestants encountered a roadblock at Cui Ping Jui Jia, a restaurant serving hasma (frog fallopian tubes). After choking down a generous portion of this delicacy, the teams receive an additional clue.

The homestretch was located at the Bund of Shanghai , a beautiful waterfront area. The teams had to find a woman using an abacus to get the final clue of the first leg. The pit stop was located at the 100-year-old Bund Observatory.

Here's where the 11 teams placed at the end of the first leg:

1) Dating divorcees Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz showed good teamwork. Ryan ate the hasma, and Abbie knew what an abacus was. Thanks to the generosity of Amy and Daniel, Abbie and Ryan now have a shot at two million dollars.

2) On-and-off daters Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale are emerging as the team to beat. Amy, a survivor of bacterial meningitis, powered down the hasma, but she told the first place team where to find the lady with the abacus. Amy is a woman who won't be stopped by anyone or anything.

3) Best friends Caitlin King and Brittany Fletcher from the Midwest said they didn't sign up for a beauty pageant. Their third place finish showed how serious they were about the race

4) Twins Natalie and Nadiya Anderson argued their way through the table tennis challenge. As the young champion used a tambourine instead of a paddle, Nadiya chided her sister for not doing better.

5) Married monster truckers Rob and Kelley French had to endure a double helping of hasma because they didn't fully read the rules of the roadblock. Still, they enjoyed their 5th place finish.

6) Friends James LoMenzo and Mark Abbattista did fairly well with the roadblock, but "Abba" said the hasma looked like overcooked macaroni.

7) Goat farmers/life partners Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge lost some ground when Josh let another team go ahead off them at the airport. Losing a 75-minute advantage, Brent badgered his partner, who said he was going to find a sleeping pill for the flight.

8) Best friends and substitute teachers Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola aren't above a little deception to gain an advantage during a pit stop. Unlike Amy and Daniel, they didn't tell other teams where the lady with the abacus was.

9) Dating couple Trey Wier (left) and Alexis "Lexi" Beerman were wearing down at the Bund but squeaked into 9th place.

10) Chippendale friends Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis held up well in the first leg. Jaymes knocked over his hasma and, because he was not allowed to use his hands, sucked the fallopian tubes off the tablecloth.

11) Engaged couple Rob Scheer and Sheila Castle had some difficulty on the 10-story rappel off a bridge. They came in last and were eliminated from the race.

Season 21 of "The Amazing Race" continues on Sunday, 10/7 at 8 PM ET/PT.

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