A very special treat for you today as we bring you our first ever ‘spin off’ episode of Survivor Oz by presenting to you the first ever episode of The Amazing Race Oz! With the upcoming season of The Amazing Race Australia about to debut on our screens, join Ben & the Ozlets to give their thoughts on the cast and look ahead to the season in general which puts 5 couples from Australia up against 5 couples from New Zealand in an epic race around the world! We also hear the thoughts on the cast from Aussie Ozlet Lynda and Kiwi Ozlet Nick and how they think they will go! Click to read and hear more!
As a show that has always dedicated itself purely to Survivor, we thought we would try something different for the return of the Australian version of The Amazing Race by giving our unique insight into the Australian take on one of the biggest reality shows on the planet! Ben sat down with Ozlets Noah, Nick, Jarrod, Julian and Alex to hear their thoughts on the season as well as where they thought each couple would finish and everything else in between from the third season of The Amazing Race! There are even plenty of New Zealand jokes to keep all those Kiwi listeners in ‘chick’. Download the episode below:
We also wanted to get a unique take on the cast by asking our only Kiwi Ozlet Nick Chester to take a closer look at the Kiwi couples heading into the race, as well as getting an Aussie viewpoint on the Aussie couples by asking Aussie Ozlet Lynda Phoa for her take! So here are each of their viewpoints on the couples, starting with Nick and the Kiwi 5.
Overall Cast Impressions
This seems like a really strong cast with lots of interesting personalities, pairings, strengths and weaknesses. There should be points on the race where different teams have an advantage, so that should keep things pretty even. However, as a Kiwi I do feel on the losing side of this and that the deck is already stacked well in the favour of the Aussies. There are at least 2 Kiwi teams that I am very sceptical can win at all whereas I think all 5 of the Aussie teams look strong. So my expectations are not high, and my favourites to win are sadly one of the Aussie teams. However, there is more than meets the eye and experience watching TAR over the years leads me to believe that strong teamwork and knowledge of your race partners strengths and weaknesses is more likely to lead to success, rather than physical strength or smarts. The Kiwi teams also have a lot of life experience and this can come in pretty handy at times. Being able to be blunt and direct with your partner is also a critical element as there will be times when things don’t go right, so loved up couples and newlyweds may not fare quite so well as you may expect.
The theme of the season is pretty cool and different from anything I have seen on TAR before. I have to admit, I haven’t watch TAR Australia before, but have watch all the American versions and the idea of having the teams divided in two by nationality is really fascinating. It could play out in a variety of ways. Is this how alliances will form, or will teams reach across the Tasman-shaped divide to create bonds with players they have more in common with than their compatriots? It also puts more pressure on the Aussies, because everyone is expecting them to win, so they may slip up in unexpected ways. Well, here’s hoping anyway. Here’s my take on the teams representing New Zealand:
Cat and Jesse –Married Parents
When I saw the cast, this guy was very familiar. That’s because he’s been on TV before. That’s right Aussie’s: meet NZ’s answer to Rupert Boneham. Jesse has been on two seasons on NZ Idol. The first he had to withdraw from as Cat was having a baby, and he made it pretty far the second time around. He also pops up on TV from time to time, including State Insurance TV advertisements. And they are also from my hometown of Hamilton so I occasionally see them. So I’m officially naming them “Team Overexposed”. They are the loveable middle age parents couple and I imagine their lack of fitness will catch up with them at some stage. I genuinely think they are pretty nice people, they say they regularly have foster children and I imagine they are very likeable but in the same way that Rupert (and Laura) could be grating at times on Survivor, these guys could just be a little too nice. They strike me as the sort that wont enjoy other teams who play with anything other than “honour” and will probably find themselves on the outside of an alliance. I also don’t see them arguing with each other, but there could be plenty of conflict with other teams. I don’t see a particularly long run on the show for these guys, but I think they will bring a lot of colour and personality. They are a bit older so they bring variety and aren’t just the standard model team you see a lot of. Hopefully they will prove wrong by being both interesting and successful.
Emily and Jono – Brother and Sister
OK Aussie, meet the other classic Kiwi reality TV cliché…good looking young people from Christchurch with sad or hard luck story about being affected by the earthquakes. Don’t get me wrong, what happened in Christchurch absolutely devastated the city and country but it is a bit of a go-to for reality TV producers. These two seem like a better looking version of Ben and Libby – winners of NZ’s first season of The Block. They seem a little bit to be irritating overachievers but very easy on the eye (for both genders, and whatever your preference). But they are a bit too annoyingly perfect and positive and they remind me of Tammy and Victor, winners of TAR14. However, they could come across as having little reason to hate them, and so may end up being non-entities, not central to the action, but great eye candy. They are clearly very Expect them to still be in the mix near the end of the race and with a good mix of intelligence and athleticism, it would not surprise me at all if they are the winners. Of all the Kiwi teams, they appear the most equipped to win.
John and Murray – Best Mates (well, kind of)
Another mid 30’s team, John and Murray – or as they wish to be known – “Raspberry and Coke” (sigh) – show that you don’t have to be in your early 20’s to come across as complete knuckleheads. They don’t dress the same or like the same kind of girls so they are “completely different”. Of course you are lads. While Murray rebuilds earthquake damaged Christchurch (honestly, if you don’t play a hobbit or rebuild Christchurch I don’t think you are a real Kiwi anymore), John manages professional athletes. Hopefully not Todd Carney. Anyway, although John is Murray’s best friend, Murray is only John’s second best friend. Ouch. The guys have spent a fair time apart which may be a blessing or a curse, depending on how they interact with each other. Being friends rather than spouses or family members can be easier as these teams don’t tend to get so invested in the other person but they can also lack that deep ingrained knowledge of their race partner that helps them out in tricky moments. I think they will fly through the early legs but when the pressure is on, I don’t know how well they will be able to trust each other with that kind of lived in knowledge that the best teams have. They are both super competitive and strike me as both wanting to take the lead, which could lead to a bit of conflict. Apparently their biggest weakness is girls (if you are going to look like tools, you may as well try and tick every tool-box), so if they start flirting with other female racers, it could derail their chances to win. They look a strong team on paper, but I’m not confident of their teamwork or their ability to stay focussed on winning in the end, so a 2nd-5th place finish is where I would think they will finish.
Carla and Hereni – Fitness Mums
I really like these two. Again, we have a late 30’s early 40’s team, so a real lack of young Kiwis here. But these two seem really capable and motivated to their fitness (A Zumba cruise? Nothing would make me want a Titanic re-enactment more). They are proud Maori women and want to empower others to do great things. This is a great platform to do so and can really catapult this team to the late stages of the game. Nothing like a thirst to prove yourself for motivation. However, I am a little worried they will get caught up in the emotions of this a little too much, a bit like the Brazilian football team and could have a similar catastrophic ending. They haven’t known each other long but do have a lot of similarities and bonds. For this reason, I’m unsure of their versatility – the race will require a variety of skills and they seem to have a very similar skill set and thought process. This could mean that when one of the tem gets stuck on a task, they wont have someone else to steer the (zumba) ship back on course and they may just come to a frustrating end. But I do get good Nat and Kat type vibes from them, and I think they have a pretty good mix of teamwork, positivity and athleticism that could make them formidable opponents on this race. They are also not likely to be the immediate targets of things like U Turns so they have a chance to avoid an untimely exit due to a game twist. Potential winners? Maybe not, but they are at least dark horses.
Aston and Christie – Feisty Friends
Oh god. I don’t even know where to start with these two. The other teams may be naming them “The Redheads” but they have to be “Team Trainwreck”. Aston is currently researching psychology and consciousness, Christie “considers herself to be a an entrepreneur”. They openly admit they will clash and have not spent a lot of time with each other lately. This may look like TV gold, and could very well turn out to be just that. To me, it looks like a recipe for first team eliminated. I’m sure they will be kooky and eclectic, but they seem to lack any of the key elements that make up a good team. However, they are big fans of the race and have a lot of travel experience, so they could surprise. They are also the same age as a lot of other racers, and Aston has a 3 year old son, which could be something that she can use to bond with other teams like Carla’s and Hereni or Cat and Jesse. So the potential for an alliance is there if they can get people to see past the crazy appearance. But it could be a big ask and they are up against some pretty athletic teams so the chances aren’t high. And much like the Maori Mums, they are very similar in terms of their background and interests, which means getting stuck on a task may be tough because they won’t have the flexibility and point of difference to work through the issue. My hopes for this team are rock bottom. So with that ringing endorsement, you can fully expect them to win.
The whole cast looks pretty entertaining and diverse. It should be a great season and Grant Bowler (honorary Kiwi due to his role as Wolf on Outrageous Fortune) is by all accounts a great host and not just a Phil impersonator. From what I understand, the distance travelled is one of the longest in TAR history, so it should be pretty epic.
My Pick to Win: Daniel and Ryan
These guys have the full package and have the skill I think is the most important in TAR: the ability to follow directions and remain calm in a tense situation. This is what they do for a living. Plus, they know each other well, are reasonably fit without appearing threatening and seem like generally pretty nice guys.
Best NZ Team: Hoping for Carla and Hereni, but expecting it will be Emily and Jono.
Ashleigh & Jarrod – Newlyweds
Ahh, another Jarrod stirring the pot; this guy is getting A LOT of airtime on the Aussie previews for this new season with his infamous quote “Bloody Kiwis”. If anyone will ruffle Kiwi feathers it will be Jarrod! The all-around Aussie couple just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary and haven’t really ventured outside of Western culture, which may be a struggle and also great TV for the viewers. Jarrod admits he is not good with language barriers and doesn’t stray outside of his meat and three veg; can’t wait to see him complete a food challenge! The high school sweethearts claim that their relationship will withstand the pressure of the race and they look forward to kicking some Kiwi butt. Both are fit, competitive and have the drive to succeed, so if they play their cards right I reckon they will go far in the race. They are definitely my pick to be in the Top 3.
Elizabeth & Todd – Mother & Son
This mother and son duo is very well-travelled, so the exposure and culture shocks should not be an issue for them. Both are more ‘academic’ than ‘athletic’ and admit that they may struggle with that side of the race. They are competitive, but have already labelled themselves as the underdogs out of all the teams. Elizabeth even likens their chances of winning to Steven Bradbury’s infamous (and epic) Winter Olympic win. I’m not sure how they will go in physical challenges and this may cause them to fall behind, but I am not ruling them out. Never rule out the oldies! I think they will either make Top 5, or be eliminated in the first 3 episodes.
Inga & Tiharna – Pageant Models/Friends
Every reality show has to include ‘hot chicks’ and these ladies are this seasons Beauty Queens/Pageant Models. Inga and Tiharna met at a modelling competition and their friendship hasn’t looked back since! They both claim to have the full package; the 3 B’s. Not Brains, Beauty and Brawn, but “Brainy, Busty and Brunette”. Hmm. I guess being brunette can be a powerful trait to have. In saying that, Inga is a CPA Accountant, so there are some brains there. These girls are well-travelled, fit, multi-lingual and claim to be street smart. If they don’t make dumb moves they say they won’t they could absolutely make Top 3. It will be interesting to see how the show portrays these girls as well. Their nicknames are The Models and The Babes/Bitches.
Sally & Tyson – Dating/Fitness Couple
Hello tiny big power couple! Tyson or ‘Man Mountain’ is a personal trainer and Sally a veterinarian/bikini and fitness model. Both have a fitness-focussed lifestyle, live together, train together, and pretty much do everything together. The loved-up Perth couple apparently can’t seem to take their eyes off each other. Both Sally and Tyson claim that their biggest weakness is that they are too nice! Sally is worried Tyson will help the other teams too much. For me, I think this team will do well being athletic, very competitive and they seem to have travelled quite a bit in their jobs. The only downfall might be the willingness to help other teams and not being able to say no. They are both well-travelled and I see these two going deep into the race.
Ryan & Daniel – Nurses/Mates
Team Jesus. This pair of nurses met while working in the Intensive Care Unit in NSW six years ago and quickly became close friends. Their greatest strength claims to be their professional skill set from working in a hospital where they are constantly in high pressure situations. Ryan says he is a perfectionist which will hinder him on the race, and this includes maintaining his Jesus hairdo. The hairdryer is Ryan’s ‘luxury item’ on the race. Daniel is more easy-going and likes to go with the flow, which balances this team our perfectly. Both have travelled extensively around the world so they have great variety between them. Their team trademark is the Double Fist Pump. In general male teams do well on The Amazing Race and I see the same happening for Team Jesus… I will be shocked if they go home early.
So there you have it! The new season of The Amazing Race Australia: Australia vs New Zealand starts Monday the 4th of August at 8.40pm on Channel 7! Check your local guides for more details! We will be doing weekly recaps throughout the season so stay tuned! If you have any questions or comments you would like to add throughout the season then please get them into us and we will bring them up on the show! Looking forward to this new ‘branch’ of Survivor Oz with The Amazing Race Oz!