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The Amazing Race 19 Watch: Super Shady

Last week, the seven remaining teams stayed in Malawi. Engaged couple Ernie/Cindy used the Express Pass then won on Leg One, but still lost a footrace to the mat to the snowboarders, who won their fifth leg of the season. The Double U-Turn was also in play, but the only team that chose to use it was Laurence and Zac; unfortunately for them, the team they chose to handicap (Amani and Marcus) had already passed them, so it was all for naught. And it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as the female half of brother/sister team Justin/Jennifer got hopelessly lost during a Roadblock, falling hopelessly behind and then, finally, were eliminated. Six teams remain.

Starting Line - The Sunbird Livingstonia Resort in Lilongwe, Malawi. The first clue told them to fly 5,000 miles to the city of Copenhagen, Denmark (the first time the race has ever passed through there), and locate the Vor Frelsers Kirke bell-tower for their next clue. At the top, they would then scan the cityscape for an aeriel clue to their next task.

Since the Double U-Turn was not used properly in the last leg, the show’s producers evidently decided to implement it again on this leg. Andy and Tommy, having won five legs out of seven, were the obvious choice to get the U-Turn, provided that any group with the balls to use it got to the mat before them.

Clue #1 came in the form of two flags: a small one marked “Borg Slot” set at the top of the tower, and a large one marked “Frederiks” laid out on the roof of a building below. From this, teams were to discern that their next destination was the Frederiksborg Slot, a lakeside castle that was one a residence for royalty but is now the local Museum of Natural History. Once there, teams would search for the next clue box. But there was a twist… the “Frederiks” banner kept getting furled and unfurled by a crew of people, which means you had to be watching at the right moment or you’d miss it… which one team did.

Clue #2 was a Roadblock. It required one team member to dress up in period costume and learn a complex three-part dance from an instructor. Once they had mastered it to the satisfaction of a local countess, they would then be given their next clue. The dance itself was very stately and Renaissance-ish, and it was pretty awesome watching the racers don tights, stockings, ruffs, the whole nine yards.

Clue Box #3 was located at the Frilandmuseet, a museum in the town of Lyngby (on the northern outskirts of Copenhagen). Reputed to be one of the largest open-air museums in the world, the museum features more than 100 buildings, some of them dating as far back as 1650.

It was also the site of the leg’s Detour. The choices: All Hopped Up and All Churned Out. In the formers, teams had to lay out a proper “rabbit jumping” course, after which both team members had to pick out a rabbit and coax them through the course before they could get their next clue. (Think of the steeplechase courses they make show dogs run in those Kennel Club shows, you’ll get the idea.) In the latter, teams had to make six sticks of butter by using a traditional churn. Once completed, the supervising dairymaid would given them their next clue.

The Double U-Turn was their next destination, at the Karlstrup Windmill that was just up the road from the museum. From there, the next clue directed them to the Havet Ship, a large sailing vessel that has been converted into a hotel, which was located at the docks back in Copenhagen, and was also the Pit Stop for Leg Eight.

Below is the order the contestants finished in, along with some of their more interesting moments.

#1. Ernie and Cindy - This was easily Ernie and Cindy’s best leg since the first one. It was their goal to eliminate the small mistakes that kept causing them to fall behind other teams (usually the snowboarders), and they did. They got to the Roadblock in a tie for first with Laurence and Zac, and Ernie proved himself very capable when he mastered the complex dance in no time flat. Determined to get a win, they chose to U-Turn Bill and Cathi to make sure. (Boo. Hiss.) Anyway, they got their win, and won a trip to Fiji. I still like them, but really? To U-Turn Maw and Paw Kettle? Shame!

#2. Bill and Cathi - While Cathi was learning how to dance, Cindy asked Bill how he and Cathi met, and apparently they became sweethearts when they were in middle school. After that they were inseparable, and were married the same day they graduated from college. Wow, that’s old school. And awesome. You almost never see that any more. Anyway, the seniors powered their way through the entire leg, mistake-free, coming in second for the second time this season. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they could win a leg? I’d love to see them do that! They took being U-Turned with grace, of course, and also chose to U-Turn Laurence and Zac. Not sure why… again, the snowboarders were the obvious choice.

#3. Andy and Tommy - No matter what happens, where they go or what crazy stuff the show has them do, it just seems impossible to get the smiles off the faces of Andy and Tommy. They just do what they need to do with a positive attitude, and if they aren’t the most likeable team in the show’s history, they’re in the Top Five at least.

#4. Amani and Marcus - By all accounts, this team should have been eliminated. They took for granted that their connecting flight out of Amsterdam, which left the morning after the evening they arrived, would be the flight everyone was on. However, by the time they boarded their plane, everyone else was already in Denmark. After they arrived in Copenhagen, they had a full ninety minutes to make up. When they caught up with Jeremy and Sandy at the tower, it looked like they could come back strong… and then they got lost on the way to the castle. It was a day of misfortune for several teams, however, and they live to race for at least one more leg.

#6. Jeremy and Sandy - The dating couple had the misfortune, while on top of the bell-tower, to only get the second half of the Roadblock location, going instead to Rosenborg Slot (which was a restaurant, not a castle… oops). By the time they retraced their steps to the bell-tower, Amani and Marcus had all but caught up. It seemed almost certain that the eliminated team would be one of them (especially after they got lost on the way to the farm), but they both got a miracle save simply because Laurence and Zac got lost even worse than they did.

The following team was eliminated:

#6. Laurence and Zac - The yachtsmen decided to break off from the rest of the group at the Malawi airport, choosing to get to Copenhagen via London rather than through Amsterdam. It actually worked, too, and they landed in Denmark a full two hours ahead of the pack. Unfortunately for them, the bell-tower was closed by the time they got there, so that lead evaporated. They then grabbed the lead again, getting to Frederiksborg ahead of every other team. What tripped them up was Zac’s complete lack of dancing ability. It took him forever to master the basic steps, but they were still in a solid fourth place when the left.

If they’d been able to do both halves of the Detour quickly, it wouldn’t have cost them much time, since both tasks were fairly straightforward, and they had a good thirty minutes on Amani/Marcus and Jeremy/Sandy. They got passed by Amani and Marcus, but still left the farm in fifth place. However, their final mistake was taking the wrong road to Copenhagen, getting stuck in a traffic jam, and falling behind again. They weren’t my favorite team, but Zac seems like a good kid and I’m sure he’ll go far in his field of expertise. (There is money in yachting, right?)

Next week: It’s on to Belgium, where the teams do some acting, ride the teacups and then do some… bodybuilding poses? In Speedos?! Okaaaaaayyyyy…