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November 30

This year's newest 'twist' to The Amazing Race is the U-Turn.

In the same way as the Yield is used, a team arrives at the U-Turn clue box, and sticks a team photograph on the board. That team, upon later arriving at the U-Turn station, must then go back and complete the second half of the just finished Detour before being allowed to continue racing. The other teams only need to finish the one Detour task.

This means that a trailing team is going to trail even more after having to complete both halves of a task, while all of the other teams scamper ahead to Phil at the mat. What's the one thing that game (and 'reality' shows, for that matter?) rely on most? A compelling ending where the viewers don't know who will win until the very end.

Whether the penalty is losing money, or clothes, or just having to come in first or suffer a half hour wait, all of those things hamstring the team in last place, making their resurrection all the harder. Rather than hamstringing the losing teams, the show should be focusing on ways to introduce more competition into the race, perhaps some way for a lagging team to jump ahead in the game.

Travis Eberle can be reached at