Rob Cesternino (@RobCesternino) and Amazing Race Blogger Jessica Liese (@HaymakerHattie) are joined tonight by Amazing Race 7 Winner and Amazing Race All-Stars racer Uchenna Agu (@Uchenna_Agu not @Uchenna as he stated in the Podcast) to recap episode 5 of The Amazing Race 23 – Get Our Groove On which took the teams from Norway to Poland.
Uchenna is disappointed in the fact that his hometown team Chester and Ephraim are back at home watching the Race from the couch. Rob rubs it in by pointing out that the Texans aren’t doing so great this season in the NFL, but points out he doesn’t have much room to brag as a Jets fan.
Uchenna thinks that the producers need to throw twists in there to keep it interesting. He feels that his race was easier because there was less strategy involved in the race. He points out that All-Stars was the first time the U-Turn was used in the race. Uchenna was sad to see the beards Brandon and Adam go home. He liked their style of racing and felt that they had good race vibes. He likes the fact that this leg was “Just Keep Racing”, because it allows team to race while having the teams bunch up. Jessica’s theory was the fact that the producers knew that there was a 40 hour boat cruise and had they stopped at the pit stop, there would have been a longer downtime.
Uchenna’s Pit Stop Excursions
Uchenna points out that he had a double leg on his race. He says that they are essentially the same as a pit stop because they are always followed by a long transportation period. He said that he and Joyce slept with one eye open in the train ride in their season so they did not miss their stop although they had a 20 hour ride. Jessica points out that the teams are sequestered during the new Amazing Race seasons, and Uchenna recollected that they got to mingle with the other teams and even went on an excursion with the other teams to a pool where some of the teams did laundry. He also told a story of an excursion during a pit stop that he went on with the other teams to feed the lions in Africa and a lion almost got into his Jeep. He also visited a Palace in India during a pit stop during a 36 hour break.
Rob mentions the cliffhanger that last week’s episode ended on in which Nicole forced Tim and Marie to give her the Express Pass for the location of the Pit Stop. Uchenna loved that move and thought that it was a tough decision and Tim and Marie made the wrong move. He brings up the fact that he raced with the “Ultimate Gamers” Boston Rob and Amber Mariano so he always had to be on his toes with them. Uchenna states that Tim and Marie should have given the Express Pass to someone right behind them who would not U-Turn them. Rob brings up how sassy Nicole was this episode. Uchenna says that the race pushes you to your limits and brings out that side of you. He mentions how he lost 18 pounds on his first race and 14 in his second.
U-Turn and Who Wears The Dress?
Uchenna mentions how surprised he was by Tim and Danny for U-Turning the Afganimals. He said that was a persona change for Team Oklahoma and how he didn’t see it coming. Jessica thought Team Oklahoma used the U-Turn too early and they got excited to do something on the episode or venting some anger from the polka task. Rob compares the team Oklahoma to Mark and Bopper with the dance task that did their undoing. Rob said that this dynamic is challenging for Male/Male teams. Uchenna said that Danny should have embraced his feminine side and let Tim lead. The other two teams had little/no debate over who would be the woman in the dance. Rob thinks the whole point of the race is to avoid the meltdown and that Tim and Danny almost hit that point in their debate of who wears the dress. Uchenna said that the most important thing in the race is to minimize the situations of lost control. He said that he and Joyce were lost 90% of the time and made it up at the pit stop.
Both Jessica and Uchenna agree with Leo and Jamal’s decision to use the U-Turn once they knew that they were U-Turned. Uchenna was impressed with the way the Afganimals were able to draw attention to themselves during the task. Uchenna brings up how the Beards (Brandon and Adam) didn’t do anything to really earn that money besides just standing still. Uchenna believes that the Beards started from Zero when they restarted the Neptune task. He brings up a task where Joyce had to do a task with a horse and how she couldn’t change horses.
How easy is TAR 23?
Uchenna felt that the teams have it a lot easier this time with the donut eating. He brings up in TAR 7 how the teams had to eat cow tongue and liver and how the flies invaded the meal. Uchenna brings up how his whole strategy revolved on successfully completing the task, and how Boston Rob quit the task.
Rob brings up how Phil Keoghan was sweet to the Baseball Bunnies and broke the news to them kindly. Uchenna points out that Phil is human too and compares him to a car. Uchenna points out that Phil is one of his favorite people and he is disappointed that the current teams don’t get to spend as much time with him and the crew as they did back in the day. He does feel that Phil goes lighter on the Girl/Girl teams then he does with the others.
Season 7 Plane Controversy
The exchange between Taxi Drivers is mentioned and how the Beards cab driver called Jason and Amy’s cab driver and Jason and Amy made sure not to give the beards any information. Uchenna brings up the situation on the season finale of The Amazing Race 7 with the flight where the plane went back to the Terminal to let Uchenna and Joyce on. He said that there was a lot more to the controversy then the cameras saw and that it was depicted inaccurately.
Rob and Amber tried to pull a fast one on Uchenna and Joyce and did not tell him about the flight and Uchenna found it at the last minute. Rob and Amber got their ticket and were mingling around. Uchenna and Joyce were in the duty free ship when Uchenna saw the earlier flight on the departures board. They ran to the desk and where the workers were surprised to see them. He asked the clerk if he let someone in a Red hat board the flight. The agent was flustered and Uchenna accused him of withholding information from a client. Then the clerk called the plane and asked if it was alright to let two more people on and the pilot said yes. He said the look on Robs face was priceless and how it was a great moment to see it. He does point out that the same situation happened to Rob and Amber in legs previous though. Uchenna said for the record that there was no producer intervention in catching that flight.
Stay With the Pack… Or Not.
Uchenna stresses how important it was is for Racers to stay with the Pack. He face palmed when the NFL players made the same mistake that led to his undoing in Amazing Race All-Stars. Uchenna thinks that it was a coincidence that Phil was in the airport at the same time that the football players got into the airport.
Rob points out the dynamics between the teams in the Jelly Donut task. Uchenna loves the move that Travis made by pushing all the buttons on the Baseball Bunnies. He also feels that the move that Travis made by sticking with Tim and Marie and the Jason and Amy was a good move, but feels he stayed too long in that alliance because it cost him first place in the leg. Uchenna said that Travis should have ditched them after he found the Jelly donut. He feels that an alliance is only as good as the alliance is good, but eventually they blow up. He feels because of the nature of the race that they do not work because everyone is out for themselves.
Uchenna Answers Your Questions
Uchenna is really glad that he did not have to do the Polar Bear Plunge task in Alaska. He regrets that he wasn’t challenged physically as he thought he would be and he attributes this to the fact that the producers made the tasks easier for the less physically fit teams (S7 – Meredith and Gretchen and TAR All-Stars – Charla and Mirna). He feels if everyone was like Chester, they would not have been physically challenged enough. He did say that some of the tasks were scary, but none were physically hard.
Uchenna addresses the rumor that he was almost on TAR 6, and says that he was eliminated from casting at the last minute. He feels that he would have been eliminated earlier had he been a part of that season. He thinks that he didn’t get on because Chip and Kim had won the previous season and they had a lot of physical similarities.
The most important thing to remember about Cabbies according to Uchenna is to not get so caught up in the race. He said that is easy to forget about the cabbies and they are just trying to feed their families. He points out that although they are in race mode, the whole world is not in the game. He brings up a situation where he was short a couple of dollars with the cab driver and he was far enough ahead to salvage the situation.
He says that you can’t mention the fact that you are on the Race when you are trying to beg for money and that the cameras pull back. He said that if he mentioned the race when you are begging for money, they would not be allowed to keep the money. He recalls when he did that once in Puerto Rico and Boston Rob called him out to a producer.
According to Uchenna, you only need to have everything with you when it states it in the clue. Since it did not mention having the picture of the Viking Longhouse in the clue, Tim and Marie were fine. Uchenna mentioned that he lost clues all over the world. Jessica believes that had they not gotten the actual clue, Phil would have made them go back.
Uchenna thinks that Tim and Marie will expose Travis and Nicole eventually as the team with the Express Pass because information is key. Jessica believes that the teams will no longer suck up to Tim and Nicole because they do not care about it anymore.
If Uchenna was on this race, he feels that he would look better in the spandex Neptune onesie. He feels that the Neptune suit was race streamlined. He would also go for the conch shell that Brandon had pointed out in the episode.
Jessica and Uchenna were surprised when Tim and Marie decided not to U-Turn Travis and Nicole. Had he been racing though, Uchenna would have passed on the U-Turn though.
Both Jessica and Uchenna thought that the good manners rule on the Jelly Donuts task was put in for Marie. Uchenna felt that it is easy to get frustrated, but you do need to remember that you are in someone’s home. He said most likely they had a polish producer go out and scout that location for the race and recruit apartments for the tasks.
Uchenna feels that Season 18 – Unfinished Business was the most competitive season of the race. He thought that Season 11 – All Stars was going to be, but he thought the other players were popular verses good players and they didn’t cast for strength.
Jessica felt that the beards demise was just bad luck. Uchenna agreed and thought that this episode was a nail biter until the U-Turn at the end.
If given a choice between the Ice Queens or the Baseball Bunnies, all three would choose the Baseball Bunnies. Jessica compared the Ice Queens to barnacles on the Afganimals.
Jessica feels that Marie is very aware of how she is being portrayed on TV and didn’t want to come off as an idiot by being eliminated with the Express Pass in hand. Uchenna feels she is wearing Tim down.
Join us next week as Rob and Jessica are joined by special Amazing Race guests Ryan and Abbie from TAR 21 on Monday at 10:00 to recap the next episode of the Amazing Race 23
Special Thanks to Michael Shaheen for this Fantastic recap of The Amazing Race Podcast