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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Amazing Race, Sept. 30 – And How Do YOU Pronounce Abacus?

It's time to see how the rules behind this new season of The Amazing Race. The eleven teams this season will take off from a starting line on the Colorado Street Bridge Pasadena, California. They seem to be arriving in the Partridge Family bus. Groovy. The teams are:

Trey and Lexi. Dating, from Austin, Texas. He was a football player for the University of Texas, and she was a cheerleader. They're traditional people and don't want to live together until they get married. One of their dreams is to win the Race and get married to start their lives together. I have a feeling they'll be annoying.

Natalie and Nadiya. Twins born in New York, but raised in Sri Lanka. They feel the stuff they have experienced together is amazing, from taking each other's exams and mid-terms to stealing each other's boyfriends. They can admit it now, as they've already graduated, so aren't in fear of getting in trouble. They feel lucky to be twins.

James and Abba. Rock star and lawyer from Los Angeles. James is a rocker, starting out with the band White Lion and moving on to Megadeath. He's played with Ozzy and Slash. Adam is an entertainment attorney based around the hard rock and heavy metal side of things. They've traveled around the world extensively and are comfortable being uncomfortable.

Josh and Brent Goat farmers from Sharon Springs, New York. Hey, I recognize these guys. They had a show of their own on the Planet Green Network, The Fabulous Beekman Boys. They're two city guys who ended up owning this farm in the country. They both lost their jobs within a few months and had to figure out how to make the farm pay for itself, but are now a Grade-A Goat Dairy.

Amy and Daniel. Dating on and off for ten years, from Crested Butte, Colorado. When she was 19 she contracted bacterial meningitis. She lost her spleen, kidneys, hearing in her left ear, and both of her legs. It was a mission to get a new pair of legs in order to start snowboarding again. She's the top-ranked female snowboarder and this year won three World Cup golds. He says she's such a beautiful person and inspires him every day.

Caitlin and Brittany. Best friends from the midwest. Caitlin played soccer at Auburn, and Brittany played basketball. She was always getting technicals while Caitlin was getting yellow-carded. They think they're pretty mean when it comes to being on the court. She realizes they aren't signing up for a beauty pageant.

Rob and Sheila. Engaged from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He started a lumberjack sports career at 6 years old and was a champion at the age of 17. She spent the last fifteen years as the director of sales at a major cosmetics company and gave up that job to move to Pigeon Forge with Rob. And that, Folks, is love. He's the boss of the relationship and has taken over the planning of the wedding. She just hopes he picks out a cute dress for her.

Gary and Will. Substitute teachers and best friends for thirty-five years. They have applied for the race seven times. Gary is 6'6″, while Will is 5'1″. Will corrects him that it's 1-1/4″. People laugh at them and call them Mutt and Jeff, but they're secure in their friendship. If they don't win, Will wants a divorce.

Abbie and Ryan. Dating divorcees from San Diego. Physically speaking, he thinks they're both very strong. She's a dance instructor and choreographer, and he not only trains, but also competes, in jujitsu. Having that competitiveness, when someone's arm is wrapped around his throat, it will be a metaphor for how he expects to win the Race. He wants world domination and to be bowed down to. Sigh.

Jaymes and James. Chippendale performers from Las Vegas. Most people probably think they swing around stripper poles with dollar bills in their pants, but they don't. It's a production show, and one sings, while the other plays guitar. If need be though, they will slap on the cuffs and collars to draw attention. James refers to the look as “I'm here to party, but I want to be formal.”

Rob and Kelley. Married monster truckers from Boston, Georgia. They are one of the top independent teams in monster trucking, and he has four world championships. She talks about the crazy adrenaline she gets from monster truck driving. He predicts the other teams will either think he's arrogant and an ass or they're going to love him.

Phil welcomes all eleven teams to the Race, telling them there are twelve legs on the race taking them to nine countries and over 25,000 miles. There are a lot of surprises along the way. The fact is, he'll be eliminating most of them. If they make it to the final leg, for the firs time in Race history, they have a chance at doubling their money. If they win the first and last legs of the Race, they will win $2 million.

They will start this Race right out of the gate with a ten-story rappel off the bridge. Once they get the clue, they'll get behind the wheel of an all-new Ford Escape and be on their way. Good Luck. Travel Safe. Go!

Jaymes and James (James2 for easier reference) are deciding it's a long way down off that bridge. Trey and Lexi start their rappel, and Josh and Brent struggle early on. James2 gets it going. Josh and Brittany are nearly at the end, as are Caitlin and Brittany. Trey and Lexi land first. Gary is trying to talk himself through it, and Abbie is doing some weird yodeling thing. James and Abba try to talk each other through it, and Amy and Daniel jump off. Gary yells at Will right out of the gate for trying to help him mentally through the jump.

James2, Trey/Lexi, Josh/Brent, Caitlin/Brittany, get the first clues and find out they're headed to Shanghai, China. Rob/Sheila and Natalie/Nadiya start their rappel. James2 get to the Escapes, as do Trey/Lexi and Caitlin/Brittany. Turning on the cars they find a video message from Phil, saying that they may fly to Shanghai on one of two flights, China Airlines Flight 7, scheduled to land at 10:50 AM and Flight 15, scheduled to land at 12:05 PM. Only the first seven teams to check in will get Flight 7.

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