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'The Amazing Race' and its not so amazing moments: From fighting couples to the B-52 Memorial backlash

These are at the top of the most horrible moments on 'The Amazing Race'
Jonathan Baker had once pushed his wife Victoria Fuller while on the show in anger (jonathanbakerdirector/Instagram; IMDb)
Jonathan Baker had once pushed his wife Victoria Fuller while on the show in anger (jonathanbakerdirector/Instagram; IMDb)

'The Amazing Race' premiered in September 2001 and has had its share of shocking moments in the years later. Let's take a look back at some of the scandals that the show and its contestants have been involved in before Season 34 releases at the end of September.

The CBS game show follows two-person teams as they race across the world accomplishing various activities and mental tests in order to win a million dollars. The reality show, hosted by Phil Keoghan, has won 13 Primetime Emmy Awards. Because of the long-running nature of the series, there have been several disputes in the show throughout the years. From near-death situations to the inclusion of blatantly abusive participants, there have been several occasions throughout the series that have shocked viewers to their core.


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James and Will's alliance

Will and James entered the race as superfans, essentially rigging the system by forming the 'Mine Five alliance'. With their dubious answer-sharing tactics, the alliance went on to dominate the race, eliminating their competitors one by one to reach the final five. Despite their own driving difficulties and a rivalry with Leo and Alana, Will and James made it all the way to the final three because of their superfan expertise and controversial but successful methods. They took the lead early in the last leg and never looked back, winning the race. Will proposed to James at the finish line, and he accepted.

The Season 32 winners, on the other hand, spurred a debate among fans over whether alliances were beneficial to the game. Throughout the season, the "Backpack Boyfriends" collaborated closely with a few other teams, even swapping notes and openly giving away answers to some of the race's riddles.


The first-class flight of Dan and Jordan

The brothers entered the race with Dan, in an effort to assist Jordan, realizing his ambition of competing in 'The Amazing Race'. However, they swiftly resolved their issues by driving stick shift and fighting with one another. The brothers decided to maintain a low profile in a season rife with inter-team rivalry, in order to avoid being singled out and advance to the final four. Then, in the last two legs, they displayed their tactical skill, first by sticking with Louie and Michael when the other team received a Speed Bump and so eliminating the detectives. While their rivals slept on the last part of the journey to San Francisco, the brothers were able to upgrade to first class. This gave them the opportunity to board the aircraft first and establish a lead that they never lost, earning them victory.

Before their major success, the siblings, who ultimately won Season 16, faced criticism for traveling first class and for appearing to use a cheat sheet during a memory task. The racers can utilize notes they have prepared in advance for some tests, and they can upgrade their aircraft tickets after originally purchasing economy seats, according to the regulations of the program.

Jonathan pushes Victoria

The two often argued and chastised one another during the race, and Jonathan notoriously shoved Victoria in Germany after they lost a footrace to the Pit Stop for the first position on the fifth leg. Nevertheless, for most of the race, the two continuously placed on top. However, finally, their strained relationship would bring them down when they misinterpreted a clue in Ethiopia as a result of their arguments, falling behind the other teams and being eliminated in sixth place.

Tara and Wil compete despite being separated

They were the inaugural "fighting couple" team, and the audience's attention was drawn to their disintegrating relationship. Despite Wil's concerns that they should be competing for themselves, Tara continued to flirt with Alex. The conclusion served as a warning to all future teams to be cautious while forging partnerships because Tara was unable to keep up throughout the long run to the Finish Line, allowing Chris and Alex to pass them and leaving them in second place. The couple divorced after finishing the season in second place.

The Hanoi B-52 Memorial

The producers and CBS of 'The Amazing Race' were forced to issue an apology for a Season 22 episode that received flak for utilizing a B-52 memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam, as a significant component of the leg. In the episode, participants visited the monument to look for their next clue, which was a model of the wreckage of an American bomber jet that had crashed during the Vietnam War. Veterans of foreign wars, a number of Fox News hosts, and viewers all objected to the memorial's use.

John Hamilton, the national commander of the VFW, wrote a nearly 500-word letter to Leslie Moonves, the head of CBS Corp, saying, "The B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show’s plot, which speaks volumes about naive producers who think they’re in charge when they are not." The apology was read out at the beginning of the following episode by Keoghan.

Season 34 of 'The Amazing Race' will premiere on Wednesday, September 21 at 9 pm ET. It will open with an hour-long episode, followed by a 90-minute episode the following week on September 28.