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The Amazing Race 34 Is Making A Major Change, And I Have Mixed Feelings About It

Phil getting ready to address the camera on The Amazing Race.
(Image credit: CBS/ The Amazing Race)

The Amazing Race is gearing up to return for Season 34 in September, but when the show does, it’ll be with a key change to its rules. You know how every season there are a few teams saved by a surprise non-elimination leg? Well, that’s gone. At least for this season, every leg will now feature an elimination. 

The announcement was slipped into the press release touting the beloved reality show’s return, which will feature some reality stars. There will be 12 teams racing around the world, this time starting in Munich, but after the end of every single leg, a duo is getting the big ugly axe. It’ll mark the first time in the show’s history there hasn’t been at least one non-elimination leg, and it’ll likely both add and reduce tension. Let’s talk out why.

On the one hand, this change will for sure increase the pressure and tension going into every single leg. There’s always that thought in the back of every team’s mind that maybe, just maybe if they’re last, there’s a chance they’ll be saved by a non-elimination leg. I don’t have the exact data, but it feels like it happens like three times a season. Sometimes the contestants even directly say to host Phil Keoghan something like, “Please tell me this is a non-elimination.” I’m not saying teams aren’t always racing hard, but we’ll probably see some teams pushing a little harder since they know there’s not a chance they can get lucky.

That being said, the removal of non-elimination legs is also going to greatly remove tension from at least a few legs. Every season, there are a few legs that are an absolute freaking blowout. Maybe a team gets lost trying to drive somewhere. Maybe a team misses a flight. Maybe a team just cannot execute a roadblock no matter how long they’re there. There are always a few times a season in which one team is hours behind everyone else. The lingering possibility of a non-elimination leg always kept a little bit of drama, and that’s now going to be eliminated.

My feelings are mixed on this, but I’m going to go into the new season positive because change, in general, is good. The reality competition is not the same as it was during the first season because it’s a constant evolution. They didn’t mandate a more equitable split on roadblocks until Season 6. U-Turns weren’t introduced until Season 12. They didn’t tell teams to slow down on helping each other until last year. These alterations were all good for the show. Every wrinkle, of course, hasn’t been great, but some new wrinkles (as well as competitors) always help the show eventually find great new things. So, let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

The Amazing Race will return on September 21st at 10 PM ET/ 10 PM PT, which is a Wednesday night. There's no word on whether some of the other pandemic-related changes will return, but it’ll broadcast on CBS and also be available on Paramount+ for those who would prefer a streaming option. Announced locations the contestants, who all have been revealed, will visit include Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Iceland and Jordan, as well as Nashville in the United States. 

Mack Rawden
Editor In Chief

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.