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The Amazing Race
Season 17
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Bonds will be forged, tested, and strained, as eleven teams of two, joined by family or relationship, follow a path of twists and turns in a frenetic race around the world for $1 million.

Who will be the first to cross the finish line?

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Chris Wolvie, GSNN

Host Phil Keoghan
Creator Bertram van Munster
Elise Doganieri
EP Jerry Bruckheimer
Bertram van Munster
Jonathan Littman
Elise Doganieri
Mark Vertullo
Packager Jerry Bruckheimer TV
Worldrace Productions
Amazing Race Productions
CBS Television Studios
ABC Studios
Web www.cbs.com/amazingrace
Airs 8p Sun, CBS

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Ali Baba in a Suit
November 14

Skipping through St. Petersburg, Russia, the Racers donned clown noses while spinning plates and play accordions. They solved a mystery en route to the Peter & Paul Fortress where they (literally) played Russia's version of "Bowling for Dollars". In the end, Nat & Kat (Team Rhyming Docs) won their third leg and 5 grand each...and Kevin & Michael (The WuTubers), courtesy of TWO half-hour penalties, were sent home to their webcam. A dozen players remain in the Race for a cool million.


St. Pete is STILL rather high, latitude-wise, so there's a feeling of dawn over the shoulders of Nat & Kat as they kick off Leg 8...



Head to Pulkovo Airport in and fly more than 4000 miles to the city of Muscat in the sultanate of Oman in the Middle East. Upon arriving, head for the Burj Al Mabkharah. Once there, a man will hand you an ingot with a prescribed time for you to climb the steps of the fort to receive your next clue.

And, remember, Nat's a diabetic...and scheduling her insulin is KINDA hard when the time zones keep changing. They look for an open travel agency. The other teams' depart times (local time) are:

Brook & Claire (Team HSN): 0128
Nick & Vicki (Team Ick): 0129
Gary & Mallory (Miss KY & Dad): 0146
Jill & Thomas (Team No I'M Right): 0153
Chad & Stephanie (Team Almost Engaged): 0245
[Remember, Chad & Steph ALSO had a half-hour penalty from the last Leg so it was tacked on before the start of this Leg]

At UniFest Travel, the Docs look for the fastest trip to Oman. The best connection, according to the agent, goes through Amsterdam and arrives at Muscat at 2055. Once confirming, they get the tickets. As they are getting things organized, Team HSN and Team Ick stop in and use OTHER agents. More teams, more waiting for agents to open up. But as Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire depart, already booked through to Muscat, the agents inform the other teams that THAT fight is full. Ut oh. The next flight arrives in Oman at 2235...a full two hours behind the ladies. The other three teams get that flight.

Speaking of waiting, 0245 comes and goes...and Chad & Stephanie are not on the PIT STOP mat to open their clue. Why? Because they OVERSLEPT! At 0343, we check in...and they're STILL checked out. Again, ut oh...


The teams all arrive and await their flights...wondering where Almost Engaged are.

4:37am...a scream of "Oh, my gosh!" is heard from the hotel room where the two spent the day. Only NOW have they found out they have a Race to run! They quickly pack up, run to the Fortress...and, two hours after the were SUPPOSED to leave, they finally leave. It's been nothing but a relationship strain for them since they left Massachusetts. At the travel agency, they get booked on a THIRD flight to Oman...but, lucky them (sorta), it arrives a mere 10 minutes after the second flight. So...THAT'S something...right?

1st Flight: Team Rhyming Docs, Team HSN
2nd Flight: Team Ick, Team KY & Dad, Team No I'M Right
3rd Flight: Team Almost(?) Engaged


No, I won't be doing the all TOO obvious play on the country's name, thankyouverymuch.

The first flight lands, comfortably in the lead. But the four ladies want to hustle because they have no idea what times the ignots have for them. Compared to Scandinavia and Russia, Oman is hot and humid...and it's NIGHTTIME. A few hours later, the second flight touches down. As for Chad & Steph, THEIR plane made up some time en route and they actually caught UP with the second group.

At the fort, both ladies find the ingot man...and, Sod's Law, they BOTH get ingots labeled 7:30. They'll be the first to scale the fort...tomorrow morning. As they rest by the buttress, Team No I'M Right arrive and receive a 7:45 ingot. The last three teams arrive at the same time...but it's Chad & Stephanie who get the other 7:45 ingot. Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vick each get one with 8:00, bringing up the rear.

So, at 0600 ZULU, all the teams are awake. This INCLUDES the refreshed Team Almost Engaged, who are ready for a new start now that they're so close again. It is here and now that Chad asks Stephanie to take a walk with him away from the other teams. Yup, this is the moment we've been awaiting/dreading from the start: Chad gets down on bended knee and says to Steph, "I couldn't see spending my life with anyone else other than you..."


OK, plugs are done. Chad pulls out his mother's ring (she had died during Chad's freshman college year) and asks, "Will you spend the rest of your life with me? Will you marry me?" Through the tears, Steph quickly says, "Yeah, I will." (Everybody, now: "AWWWWWWW...[BARF!]") Well, at least the other Racers are happy about Team Alm...er, I mean, Team VERY-RECENTLY Engaged!

7:30am, all tears dried up...the Race is on again! Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire mount the steps of the fort. To the top of the roof and the top of the wall, they dash away...and you know the rest of the poem. At the top, they get this:



Take one of the marked vehicles in the parking lot and drive yourselves more than 140 miles to Jebel Shams, the tallest mountain in Oman (at roughly 10,000 feet above sea level). As you approach the base of the mountain, you will be stopped by a "safety driver" who has driven the dirt path up the mountain many times. Let him drive you to the top (due to treacherous conditions) where you'll find your next clue.

The ladies get in their cars and drive. Team Rhyming Docs...they get lost with a "vague map". At 7:45, Jill & Thomas and Chad & Stephanie mount the steps, receive the clue and likewise go mountain hunting. Team Very-Recently Engaged get directions from a kind motorist and feel confident again. Jill & Thomas ask a cabbie for help. The last pair of teams go up at 8:00 and Nick & Vicki and Gary & Mallory start off. While Miss KY & Dad use a map, Team Ick opt instead to ask a local at a gas station...the one which Brook & Claire show up at moments later to ALSO get directions. vicki helps Team HSN out...much to the chagrin of Nick who tells her to "just shut up". Gary & Mallory get lost as well.


Chad & Stephanie arrive at the base of the mountain first and get their "safety driver" who CONFIRMS they've gone from worst-to-first in just under 36 hours. The driver gets them up to 10K feet without a hitch and, among the goats, they find something VERY intersting:



The story of "Aladdin", while Chinese in setting, is Middle Eastern in origin as one of the famous "One Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights" stories. One of you must rappel 500 feet down a sheer cliff face of Jebel Shams to a narrow cavern (the "Grand Canyon of Oman") on the desert floor where hundreds of antique "Aladdin"-esque lamps are. You must then search the lamps for one that has Aladdin's magic ring in it. Once you find one, hand the ring to the shoaut (monk) nearby and he will hand you your next clue.

It's ALREADY been a "magical" morning for the couple, but Steph is NOT sure she wants to do this task...so Chad opts to do it. And, as soon as he sees the ledge,...he starts to freak. He's not acrophobic by any stretch,...but that was a WICKEDLY scary view. "This is freakin' crazy/gorgeous," are his most uttered words as he goes down.

Meanwhile, Team No I'M Right arrive in second and Jill opts to do the ROADBLOCK. As Chad touches down, Jill suits up...and we find SHE'S the acrophobe in this Race. Chad can't believe the number of lamps he has to search. Jill is freaking all the way down...but she's hanging in there (no pun intended).

Annnnnnnnnd the Docs and KY & Dad are STILL lost due to bad map-reading skills.

Almost as soon as Jill arrives to search for a ring, Chad FINDS one. He trades the ring and lamp for a clue and jogs up a trail to rejoin his bride-to-be. And the next clue?



Once the "safety driver" takes you back down the mountain and to the base, drive yourselves more than 140 miles to the town of Nizwa. Your next clue will be found on top of a stack of large books in the middle of a roundabout.

Not too soon after Team Very-Recently Engaged take off, Jill finds a ring, gets a clue and departs with Thomas after them. Just then, Team Ick arrives and, while a goat tries to eat the clue, Vicki chooses to repel. Team No I'M Right passes Team HSN going the other way. When the ladies arrive, Claire INSISTS on doing the task.

Annnnnnnd the other teams are STILL lost...but getting help en route to the mountain. The Docs think nobody's more lost than they...but Mallory is PRAYING that she and her father can catch up.

It's Vicki down next...and Claire...she's panicking.


Kinda hard to miss a stack of huge books in the middle of a roundabout. Fortunately, Chad & Stephanie DON'T. They park, mount the stone representations of literary works (with Jill & Thomas hot on their heels) and hit a:



WATER TABLE: Drive back to Muscat to the well marked on the map (Fanja) and pump water into a water truck. Once you're full, use the map to navigate the streets of Muscat to a marked residence. Connect the water hose to the residence and pump the water in and the owner of said residence will give you your next clue.

WEDDING TABLE: Head back to Muscat and go to a market. There, you must purchase 25 frozen chickens as well as all the ingredients for a traditional wedding soup called maqbous, meant to bring health and virility. Once you deliver the goods, a chef will give you a serving of maqbous to give to the bride and groom nearby. They, in turn, will hand you your next clue.

You'd THINK the choice would be obvious for the couple, considering they've been engaged for a few hours now. But, no, they decide to do WATER TABLE. Jill & Thomas mount the books (much to Chad & Stephanie's disappointment) and choose to follow them to WATER TABLE..

Back at the mountain, Claire and Vicki are still meandering through the lamps for a ring. But it's Vicki who finds one first. Claire, however, finds one right afterwards. As such, Team Ick and Team HSN will depart the DETOUR practically neck-and-neck.

Uh...hold that thought. Team Ick has a flat tire. So, as Brook & Claire head off, Nick has a fit as he gets help from the safety driver in changing the tire...and Vicki TRIES to calm him down. Nick is still frustrated as the tire is fixed and they start down the mountain, now a fair bit behind.

As Mallory continues praying for her and Gary to stay in the Race, Team Very-Recently Engaged arrive at the well, with Team No I'M Right almost literally on their bumper. All they need to do to pump water is to start a gas-engined pump. Chad & Steph stop the motor as the tank fills...Jill & Thomas OVERfill THEIR tank (as the workers laugh at their precious water being wasted).

Back at the books, Team HSN get to the DETOUR and, likewise, choose WATER TABLE because, well, they can't cook for crap. Back at the mountain, Team Docs FINALLY reach the ROADBLOCK and, because of Nat's acute acrophobia, Kat does the rappeling. Back on the road, Team KY & Dad are still bemoaning their poor map-reading.

The two water haulers ask the locals as to directions to their independent residences...but, Chad & Stephanie gets a clueless "new guy" that doesn't know...while Jill & Thomas find someone who has MORE than an inkling (as the residence belongs to the guy's COUSIN, of all things). Team Ick choose WATER TABLE at the DETOUR. Kat "Ohmygosh"es her way down the cliff face. Team No I'M Right connect the hose and start the pump up as the resident gives them the clue. But it ain't a PIT STOP clue yet:



Drive yourselves to the Muttrah Souq in Muscat and search for Ghalib Bakheet Salem Bait Kalshat Al-Maha Store. Receive a small coffer of frankincence from the vendor and search the market for the famed Ali Baba in a fabric store. Exchange the frankincense to Ali Baba for your next clue.

Feeling like forty thieves for passing Team Very-Recently Engaged, the couple head to the market. Chad & Stephanie aren't giving up, though; they find the house, start the pump, get their clue and head of on THEIR heels.

As two END their pumping adventure, Nick & Vicki somehow pass Team HSN and get to the well in third. As they fill up, Brook & Claire show up. The two leave minutes apart.

Amid the goats, one clue remains at the ROADBLOCK...and, as Kat still scrounges for a ring, Team KY & Dad FINALLY reach the foot of the mountain. But Kat finally finds one and gets the clue. As she and Nat head down, Gary & Mallory head up...and Mallory does the ROADBLOCK.


Team No I'M Right arrive at the market first and get to the frankicense (sorry; gold and myrrh are for a DIFFERENT man). But, as stated, Team Very-Recently Engaged are on their heels. Mallory rappels, Team HSN drops off their water, the Docs choose WATER TABLE at the DETOUR, Team Ick drops off THEIR water...and Gary enjoys the view while waiting for her daughter. She finds the last ring fairly quickly and they head off...in last, but still hopeful.

Nearly choking on the incense, Jill & Thomas find the shop and Ali Baba. And NOW it's time for them to...



Drive yourselves to Al Alam Palace, a stately ceremonial palace for the Sultan of Oman. It is the next PIT STOP for the Leg of the Race.

WARNING: The last team to check-in MAY be eliminated!

A few minutes after they split, Chad & Stephanie arrive. Thomas gets a cabbie to head for the palace and they'll follow...but the soon-to-be-newlyweds just drive. Meanwhile, Nat & Kat fill up their water tank in the dusk hours.


"Jill & Thomas," says Phil as Team No I'M Right hit the mat, "you are the first team to arrive." The couple cheer without realizing he didn't declare them "Team # 1". That's when Phil drops the bomb on them: the Rules of the Race have been broken again! When a clue says "drive yourselves", that does NOT mean "pay a taxi and follow it". That last minute slip-up earns them thirty minutes in the Oman Penalty Box before they can check-in.

As such, Chad & Stephanie hit the mat in the early evening as Team #1! And, as an early honeymoon gift, Travelocity is sending them to Belize for 5 nights of snorkeling and a zip-line jungle tour! What a perfect ending to a perfect day!.

OK, Jill & Thomas, get back over here. You're Team #2. Don't ever misread clues again, you hear?!

Team HSN find the Souq.. but they're going the wrong way down a one-way street! Annnnd here come the cops, telling them dang Yanks to get off the road. Nick & Vicki, consequently, get the frankincense first. But...are they looking for "Ali Baba in the Souq"...or "Ali Baba in a SUIT"?

And Gary & Mallory, STILL not giving up, make it a clean sweep for WATER TABLE (good thing, 'cause the bride and groom at WEDDING TABLE must be wanting to "have a magic carpet ride" at this time of night, if you catch my drift).

Well, Ali Baba ain't in a suit, but Team Ick find him anyway. Team HSN are a minute or so behind. Team KY & Dad fill 'er up while the the inked ones and the TV stars (so to speak) race for the mat. Nick & Vicki check-in as Team # 3, with Brook & Claire as #4 (and there was MUCH rejoicing by Team HSN).

Nat & Kat get their water running and leave the DETOUR in fifth...and they PASS Gary & Mallory, unaware that the father/daughter team has yet to finish. They DO finish some time later, so the race to the Souq is on!

Most of the shops in the Souq are closed at this hour, so finding the frankincense is no prob for the Docs. No prob for KY & Dad, either, since Mallory says, "It smells like our church!" They both find Ali Baba without issue and both get their clues for the PIT STOP. They both find the fort that is NEARBY the palace...but the palace takes some more searching. So...who will show up in front of Phil and the Omanian greeter first?

It's Nat & Kat! They are Team #5 and still in the Race!

Now comes the sad news for the former Miss Kentucky and the one person she wanted to Race with: they are last...and they have been Philiminated. It was a great experience for Mallory. If not for her Dad, she couldn't have accomplished so much. "Live your life like it's a race," she says her father said. And they did.



1) Chad & Stephanie (+5) - Belize
2) Jill & Thomas (+3) - Express Pass [USED], Brazil
3) Nick & Vicki (EVEN)
4) Brook & Claire (-2) - Hawai'i
5) Nat & Kat (-4) - Belize, Costa Rica, $5000
ELIMINATED) Gary & Mallory (-2)

To see this episode in its entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "The Amazing Race", visit the official website at www.cbs.com/amazingrace