The Amazing Race Oz – US Season 26 Cast Assessment + Preview Episode!


Another season of The Amazing Race is right around the corner with a brand new cast and twist! Join our resident recap extraordinaire Alex Morella, as he walks you through the 11 teams of 2 competing on the 26th season of The Amazing Race and  discusses the new blind dating twist this season. You can then download our FULL preview episode as Colin takes over hosting duties (Noah was presumably busy meeting the Pearly King and Queen at the time of recording) and is joined by the Ozlets (or ARzlets as they are sometimes referred for this episode) for full cast analysis and opinions on how this season of the race will shape up!

A very special guest host in ARzlet/Ozlet Colin Hilding took control as he hosted a special preview episode of the 26th season of The Amazing Race! You can download the episode below!

You can now read our extended written preview written by the amazing Alex Morella!


So after 25 seasons of teams of two with a pre-existing relationship racing around the world…how do you make season 26 different?

It’s simple…you combine it with a dating concept to create maximum drama!

The Amazing Race Season 26 has…a different feel to it with 11 dating couples. Firstly…no more hashtag of #TheDatingCouple because well…that’s all of them!


It’ll be a wild ride for many of these couples looking for true love! With 5 couples meeting on the mat for the first time (yikes!) and well…as the dating couples generally provide the most entertainment, arguments and meltdowns…let’s look forward to a season where their relationship is the focus!

Actually that sounds kind of lame…ewwww!

But anyway…the race is the race! Phil is back in all his glory! And this show hasn’t let me down much in the past…so let’s hope these new teams can provide us with a memorable season!

So…I guess the main question on this season are…

Will anyone pop the question?

Will any of the blind date couples fall in love?

Will we see more fighting between the member of teams than ever before?

What the hell is up with the dates at the end of each leg?

Who will win the Amazing Race?

Hopefully not in that order…but it feels a bit like it is in that order after seeing the previews…

A key note of these previews…I will be quickly summarising each team…how they met…any pro’s and cons we can take away from their introductory segments…the predictions of our very knowledgeable ARZLETs (also Jarrod’s picks), and potential Hashtag names…as #TheDatingCouple can’t be used for every team…and proved to not help my picks to win last season, Dennis and Isabel…who floundered in 10th…so it really can’t get any worse for me! Why did they let me do the recaps? I clearly know nothing!!!

As well as reading this…you should all check out the podcast we recorded, with guest host Colin, and ARZLETs Kristan, Rossi, Jarrod and myself, who had a great time previewing this season.

Initial thoughts in terms of grading teams…it’s hard this year! Nearly every team has a strong male, and we really have no clue at all as to how the matched up couples will go! It’s a lot harder to predict…although I think predicting The Amazing Race is so hard because you never really know how teams will cope with challenges…and one bad leg can cost you the whole race!

But let’s not worry about that! Let’s meet our teams!

Aly and Steve


Quick Summary: Winter Olympians who have won medals and kicked butt in the Winter Olympics and then fell in love…they are athletic…and it seems…inseparable! They won Bronze Medals…Steve does Bobsled…Aly does Short Track Speed Skating (The Best Sport in the Winter Olympics! And for that reason…I hope she wins…what an amazingly wonderful sport!)

How did they meet?: The Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi…not going into specifics…but given how many condoms are delivered into each Olympic village to help the athletes with their…urges…it might’ve all started in the 1-star village! Pure speculation…but it’s more fun like that!

Strengths: Well…their physical prowess and impressive history suggests they will be beats at challenges. This also means they will be very competitive, and that generally has boded well for teams in the past, they generally get far, although it has been pointed out the number of teams that are athletically exceptional and go on to win is…low! The fact no one remembers Winter Olympic Athletes unless you’re Apolo Anton Ohno and Charles Hamelin or Torah Bright, Alisa Camplin and Steven Bradbury for our Australian viewers, should also help them…I wouldn’t recognise them…and I assume people in the nations we visit would think the same…

Weaknesses: Steve says he’s achieved more than Aly…so…competitive streak between the two? If they say who they are…they will absolutely be targeted as well…and if they don’t say who they are…people will probably pick up on it when they win all the early legs! They’ve only won bronze medals…so…they don’t know how to win…

Potential Hashtag Names: #TheOlympians #SochiSweethearts #TeamBronze

Predictions: Colin – 2nd, Kristan – 2nd, Rossi – 2nd, Jarrod – 4th, Alex – 1st

So…we like them…or at least think they’ll be around for a long time!

Bergen and Kurt


Quick Summary: Our first Blind date team…these two guys appear to be quite different! Bergen is a Human Resource Project Manger from California who is driven, but also level-headed, while Kurt is a Beauty Pageant Consultant from Kentucky who is…more…eccentric and flamboyant.

How did they meet?: At the Starting line…they’re both gay so…no one else to pair them with! (And I kind of feel that’s the angle the casting group has taken…two gay guys…let’s just find the 2 most interesting ones and put them together…because they don’t seem like a match!

Strengths: Bergen seems very smart and confident in himself! They’re both good at Volleyball…so…maybe there’s some volleyball tasks…they both are confident and proud of who they are and seem motivated….i hope they are anyway!

Weaknesses: Lack of travelling experience…And for that matter…a lack of relationship experience…Bergen hasn’t held a relationship for over a year, and Kurt HAS NEVER HAD ONE! So…how they will be able to co-exists… I don’t quite know!

Potential Hashtag Names: #Burt #VolleyballBoys #NewtoDating

Predictions: Colin – 8th, Kristan – 3rd, Rossi – 3rd, Jarrod – 10th, Alex – 9th

Less confidence in these boys…but Rossi and Kristan are backing them in!

Blair and Hayley


Quick Summary: Another blind date team…Blair is a Physician from Florida who has been a doctor in the Navy…while Hayley is an ER Nurse from Florida…Hey look! They already have some stuff in common! Both seem very confident…with Blair standing out as someone who could deliver some great one-liners…not sure how they will go long term though!

How did they meet?: At the mat…the fact they both work in medical professions and are from Florida was probably enough to put them together!

Strengths: They both work in high pressure industries and would be used to time constraints and being able to think under intense scrutiny! They are both from Florida…I guess that’s a similarity they share that might help…and they both appear very driven! We might even see some great banter between the two of them…A history of outdoor activities for both is a positive too, and a desire to visit South East Asia for both of them means…they might be on the same page?

Weaknesses: They could fight…and not just fight…but blow up with each other! They seem strong headed and like they might not listen to each other…so…they better not let tht happen! From promos…Hayley seems like a bit of a liability…

Potential Hashtag Names: #FutureMeltdown #FloridaPhysicians #TeamTreatment #Blairyley #BlairleySurviving

Predictions: Colin – 5th, Kristan – 7th, Rossi – 11th, Jarrod – 11th, Alex – 4th

So….i think we honestly have little clue on these two!

CJ and Lebya


Quick Summary: Long time sweethearts from Alabama who have known each other for 15 years…and after dating for 10…Lebya is ready for marriage! There should be a count on how many marriage references she can make! It’s just up to CJ to keep her in check while they try and race around the world! The story for these two will be all about the ring…and when CJ will propose…not IF he will propose…but…WHEN! They remind me a bit of Trey and Lexi in the fact that Lexi always was always suggesting marriage and Trey just kind of…awkwardly smiled and dodged comments about it…

How did they meet?: High School…he flirted with her in a…unique way that many guys have used…by slamming her locker closed…then…eventually he escaped from the friendzone and it’s been a quality 10 years ever since! YOU CAN ESCAPE THE FRIENDZONE BOYS! IT JUST TAKES A LONG TIME!

Strengths: Longevity of relationship means they should be on the same page! Their passion and determination should be able to push them through any challenge!

Weaknesses: Sounds like there are serious communication problems! This can definitely haunt teams during the race if they don’t address this issue! There seems to be less determination in winning the race…and more determination in getting the dang Wedding ring…so…I don’t know how driven they’ll be if the going gets tough…Both parties seem to be controlling…but relationships don’t work like that!

Potential Hashtag Names: #ProposeAlready #EngagedYet? #HurryUpCJ

Predictions: Colin – 7th, Kristan – 11th, Rossi – 7th, Jarrod – 9th, Alex – 5th

More of a flash in the pan according to the ARZLETs, but we’re all hoping they’re a heap of fun along the way!

Harley and Jonathan


Quick Summary: Jonathan is a member of the 90s boyband ‘New Kids on the Block’, while Harley is a Fitness trainer from New York. They two are in their 40s and have been dating for 7 years! They’re fit…musical and ready to experience this adventure together!

How did they meet?: A random night out in Los Angeles…that sounds good right?

Strengths: They are well travelled, especially Jonathan…and while he is well known…I don’t see many (if any) racers recognising him…as I haven’t heard of New Kids on the Block for Years! They’re fit, and have the benefits of a strong long term relationship…much more than most other teams!

Weaknesses: Not sure how much travelling Jonathan has done around the world without someone booking it all for him! And at the same time…not sure if these guys are willing to get down and dirty to complete challenges and to get ahead! They seem…like they’d be good at talking the talk…but walking the walk would be a different issue all together!

Potential Hashtag Names:#OldKidsontheBlock #ManBand #Flashbacks #NKOTB

Predictions : Colin – 9th, Kristan – 10th, Rossi – 8th, Jarrod – 6th, Alex – 11th

Another team expected to provide entertainment but not trouble at the business end of the season!

Jackie and Jeffrey


Quick Summary: She’s a trained dancer in Vegas, he is an account salesman from Florida…Florida is clearly a big hit this year as Jackie used to dance for the Miami Heat as well! They’re a blind dating couple that like adventures and being fit…two crucial things on the Amazing Race!

How did they meet?: At the start mat…another pairing that seems like it just…works

Strengths: They’re fit! And they love the outdoors! Those really are attributes that a lot of dating couples bring to The Amazing Race and it usually works out well…sooo…that seems good! They appear to click in terms of personality and what they’re both looking for…but you never know until the race starts! They both seem confident…maybe too confident…

Weaknesses: Not knowing each other…Both appear to have strong personalities which may clash…

Potential Hashtag Names: #JacknJeff #ConfidenceCentral

Predictions: Colin – 10th, Kristan – 9th Rossi – 1st, Jarrod – 5th, Alex – 2nd

A lot of different views…because it is really hard to make a call on these two!

Jeff and Lyda


Quick Summary: The Oldest Dating Couple…Jeff is a 57 year old Pilot from Idaho, while Lyda is a 49 year old Flight Attendant from Arizona. The two have been involved in the flying industry for over 20 years, and have been dating for 4 years.

How did they meet?: They met over 20 years ago on the planes…but Lyda was married…So Jeff just bided his time and waited for Lyda to be heartbroken and divorced…and…BAM…he snuck right in! Persistence pays off kids!

Strengths: A strong understanding of each other…an understanding of flights and airports…and a huge willingness to work with each other to find love!

Weaknesses: Well…they say they sometimes talk over each other…but I’m more worried about the whole…age thing! They do seem fit yes…but keeping up with the younger teams who are all very fit this year might be too much to ask! Airport experience has also not necessarily brought success…as their flights and information are always just provided instead of having to sort it out themselves…See…Ron and Bill!

Potential Hashtag Names: #Oldies #LongTimeLove #MileHighClub

Predictions: Colin – 6th, Kristan – 8th, Rossi – 10th, Jarrod – 3rd, Alex – 10th

I can’t seem them going far…but others disagree…especially Jarrod…so we shall see how it goes!

Jelani and Jenny


Quick Summary: These 32 year old lawyers have been set up for the race…in the hope of finding love…and beating everyone else…I hope they weren’t set up as they were the two non-caucasian singles, as the others are all so…white! But as they are both lawyers and look like they have a lot in common…I’m hoping no one is that naïve or shallow…I certainly am not and hope that never crossed anyone’s minds! Jenny is a recently-divorced fashion blogger and lawyer (not a fashion lawyer as far as we know…but that would be pretty cool!) from LA, while Jelani is located in New York. Jelani is also a sports agent…I want to be a sports agent…but I also despise sports agents…and a sport agent/lawyer is a pretty nasty combination! Jenny says she can’t date anyone who has an aversion to desserts, and wants a male who looks like Leonardo DiCaprio…I hope we see a lot of her…she seems really fun!

How did they meet?: At the Mat…The computer hopefully searched Lawyer and they both came up…

Strengths: They both have similar careers…well…the same jobs essentially so they will most likely think similarly, and that should be a positive advantage! At age 32…they have a bit more experience than a lot of the other teams…and have strong resumes that should get them many jobs if nothing else!

Weaknesses: Possibly the culture shock and challenges…although they both appear to be comfortable with the majority of this! Jenny likes getting lost and finding her way back…which…is not something you want to ever be doing on The Amazing Race!

Potential Hashtag Names: #Jelannny (Yes…with 3 Ns…and pronounced like Jelan-nny) #Lawyered!

Predictions: Colin – 3rd, Kristan – 1st, Rossi – 9th, Jarrod – 1st, Alex – 7th

A few ARZLETs backing them to win the whole thing…they could do it…we’ll have to wait and see! I also hope to see some good lawyer skills at some point…just so I can post a picture of Marshall Eriksen saying #Lawyered!

Matt and Ashley


Quick Summary: Dating for 3 years after knowing each other for 10 years…Matt is a Master Hairstylist…yes…you read that correctly…not a hairstylist…a MASTER HAIRSTYLIST…THERE’S A DIFFERENCE…From New York…While Ashley is a Hairstylist from…New York…So…they’ll have gorgeous hair if nothing else!

How did they meet?: After he dated some of her friends…Ashley got sick of Matt being with girls that weren’t her…and started cockblocking him…so instead of going home with other girls…he went home with her…I can’t fault the plan…it worked for her!

Strengths: They have nice hair…and I assume they will always have nice hair…And the fact that they’ve known each other for 10 years despite dating for only 3 is good…as they should be able to understand each other from more than just a dating point of view

Weaknesses: There seems to be a few…the key word in nearly all of it being…COMMUNICATION…Matt thinks she doesn’t listen to him much, sometimes at all, and doesn’t listen to his opinion…while Ashley thinks he doesn’t listen to her…and as a result…they can fight a lot…this also brings to the issue of being alone together…as they seem like very sociable people…and long times together with just the two of them could be a major problem!

Potential Hashtag Name: #Mashley #Cockblocked #MasterHairstylists

Predictions: Colin – 4th, Kristen – 5th, Rossi – 4th, Jarrod – 8th, Alex – 6th

Could be serious competitors if they get the communication right…it’s a BIG if though…

Rochelle and Mike


Quick Summary: Dating for 8 months…Rochelle is a Roller Derby League Owner and Contract Engineer with an 8 year old son, wile Mike is a Pro Wrestling Promoter and Truck Stop Manager…I’m not going to lie…I think these two are freakin’ awesome! I have no clue how they’ll go at racing…but I’d love to be able to just chat to them about what they do…they seem so interesting and exciting and I’d love to meet a pro wrestling booker (I like Pro Wrestling…yes…it’s fake…but it still is great fun!) Also…that beard…glorious!

How did they meet?: Managing Events at the same Venue…I’m hoping there was a Roller Derby going on outside a Wrestling Ring…that would be…amazing!

Strengths: They are two very unique individuals that will probably think in a different way to other teams, but more than that…they are both very good at what they do, and have worked under pressure and with events that would require a lot of composure and control…Rochelle is athletic…which is good…they need at least one athletic member (Although Mike could surprise!)

Weaknesses: Well we saw Rochelle crying in promos…so hopefully she doesn’t lose her cool over everything…as that is a big problem in the race! They don’t seem that big on winning or making it far…it seems more like a bonding experience for them…and they haven’t had the long term relationship of some of the other teams!

Potential Hashtag Names: #BeardedOut #RollerWrestlers #TeamUnique #Alternatives

Predictions: Colin – 11th, Kristan – 4th, Rossi – 5th, Jarrod 7th, Alex – 8th

Tyler and Laura


Quick Summary: Our final team, and our final blind date team…Both from California, Tyler is a founder of…HORSE…whatever that is…some kind of app development…while Laura is a talent booker for a daily morning television show! They are both ambitious…and will take risks I feel to give themselves better opportunities! They are both enthusiastic and …well…again…good casting…they seem good for each other!

How did they meet?: At the mat…they seem like a good match…

Strengths: They are both very driven…and this is a positive in the Amazing Race! Both like cooking…and going outdoors…and…crafts…and reading…and…well…it seems a bit like everything!

Weaknesses: They just seem so similar…so surely they can’t just get on like that? There would be friction right? The only thing I really have is the fact they don’t know each other…they seem like they could well get on very well…I just worry they’re picked on hobbies rather than personality traits…although those seem similar too….they’re not related right?

Potential Hashtag Names: #TeamPerfect #CaliforniaDreaming #SimilaritiesGalore

Predictions: Colin – 1st, Kristan – 6th, Rossi – 6th, Jarrod – 2nd, Alex – 3rd

We seem to see these guys as serious contenders…I think that’s a fair call on them!

So there you have the 11 teams that will be racing around the world in a crazy blind date for some…and just a crazy race for others! There will be thrills…spills…and probably more tears than any other season! I look forward to it

To recap our predictions…here you go!

Colin’s Predictions


  1. Tyler & Laura
  2. Aly & Steve
  3. Jelani & Jenny
  4. Matt & Ashley
  5. Blair & Hayley
  6. Jeff & Lyda
  7. CJ & Lebya
  8. Bergen & Kurt
  9. Harley & Jonathan
  10. Jackie & Jeffrey
  11. Rochelle & Mike

Kristan’s Predictions


  1. Jelani & Jenny
  2. Aly & Steve
  3. Bergen & Kurt
  4. Rochelle & Mike
  5. Matt & Ashley
  6. Tyler & Laura
  7. Blair & Hayley
  8. Jeff & Lyda
  9. Jackie & Jeffrey
  10. Harley & Jonathan
  11. CJ & Lebya

Rossi’s Predictions


  1. Jackie & Jeffrey
  2. Aly & Steve
  3. Kurt & Bergen
  4. Matt & Ashley
  5. Rochelle & Mike
  6. Tyler & Laura
  7. Lebya & CJ
  8. Harley & Jonathan
  9. Jenny & Jelani
  10. Lyda & Jeff
  11. Blair & Hayley

Jarrod’s Predictions


  1. Jenny & Jelani
  2. Tyler & Laura
  3. Lyda & Jeff
  4. Aly & Steve
  5. Jackie & Jeffrey
  6. Harley & Jonathan
  7. Rochelle & Mike
  8. Matt & Ashley
  9. CJ & Lebya
  10. Bergen & Kurt
  11. Blair & Hayley

Alex’s Predictions


  1. Aly & Steve
  2. Jackie & Jeffrey
  3. Tyler & Laura
  4. Blair & Hayley
  5. CJ & Lebya
  6. Matt & Ashley
  7. Jelani & Jenny
  8. Rochelle & Mike
  9. Bergen & Kurt
  10. Jeff & Lyda
  11. Harley & Jonathan

Don’t forget we want your Hashtag ideas for this season! I will use the best one for each team…so please tweet us or send us an email at Survivor Oz or even comment us some of your ideas…I’d love to have some input from you guys!

Listen to the podcast…get excited…it’s only 1 week till racetime!


About Survivor Oz (2110 Articles)
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1 Comment on The Amazing Race Oz – US Season 26 Cast Assessment + Preview Episode!

  1. Ugh. What a dumb idea for a season.

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