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Season 20
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February 19
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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 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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Bust Me Right in the Head With It
March 4

PREVIOUSLY ON THE AMAZING RACE...ten teams scrambled from Santa Barbara, Argentina to the capital of Buenos Aires...though not before boiling water with solar power and dragging firewood for a mile. En route to Buenos Aires, they dealt with broken buses and, once there, they had to count heads of cattle. At the PIT STOP, Rachel & Dave (Team Yellow Ribbon) won again while Dave & Cherie (Team Married Clowns) were last and sent back to the circus they came from. Nine teams are left to circle the globe for a million dollars...who will be going back home NEXT?!



At the 200-year-old rubber tree which I'm sure Goodyear would LOVE to get its greedy hands on, the soldier and his wife, rip 'n' read the starting clue for Leg 3:



Fly over 650 miles to Asuncion, the capital and largest city in Paraguay (which, BTW, is a country the Race has never been to before). Once you land, travel by taxi to the Metalurgica Punta de Rieles supply store and search the store grounds for your next clue.

You have $200 for this Leg of the Race.

Yeah, they know they're a HUGE target now due to their aggressive gamepaly...but they'll muddle through. Art & JJ (Team Border Watch, who leave three minutes later) are happy to stay where Spanish is the primary language as they speak it well. They also have a quasi-alliance with Rachel & Dave, hoping that together they'll dominate.

(No other departure times because...well, before the first flight leaves, they all show up at...


Team Yellow Ribbon arrive and see a direct flight to Asuncio departing at 8:45am. They clue in Team Border Watch and try to get on it. But...the travel agent says the flight is packed so they'll have to go stand-by and hope for the best. They sigh and go to the ticket counter to get on the list.

Inevitably, the other teams arrive. Nary & Stacy (Party In the CIA) wave to the other teams to get on standby. They are sticking with the lie that they're teachers so that the other teams will like them more...but this action makes Art & JJ hate them more! And, when the OTHER teams try to get the ticket agent to get them bumped-up the list,...oh, man, it is ON!!

Good news for the Border/Ribbon Alliance: THEY can make the early flight! They get the tix and argue about not trusting anyone else for the rest of the Race. BAD news for them: Nary & Stacy and Bopper & Mark (Sons of Anar-KY) ALSO made the flight. The bad news for everyone ELSE: the flight is closed. They - meaning Brendon & Rachel (Team Oh, Brother!), Kerri & Stacy (Team Double Trouble), Vanessa & Ralph (Team It's Complicated!), Joey "Fitness" & Danny (Team Clubbers) and Elliot & Andrew (Team Twins? Really?) - have to take a 10:40am flight...meaning they're essentially in a race to avoid last when they arrive at:


At the "heart of America" (that's what "corazon de America" means), eight Americans arrive and look for cabs to this supply shop. Team Border Watch acquire one first, but Sons of Anar-KY tail them, followed closely by Party In the CIA and Team Yellow Ribbon.


The place is essentially a store for backyard stuff. Grills, mobile broilers, playground sets...they got it. Art & JJ enter the place via slides and look around the grills for their clue. Art finally finds it and they read it aloud:



STACKED UP: Travel by taxi to Mercado Centro de Abasto, the largest fruit market in Paraguay. Once there, find a truck full of watermelons and stack them (in a perfect 10x10 pyramid) just like the local vendors do every day. When the vendor is satisfied with the mountain of melons, he will hand over your next clue.

STRUNG OUT: Travel by taxi to the auditorium at the Campus of the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion in San Lorenzo, go inside and choose a harp (the nation instrument of Paraguay) that is unstrung. Following the ongoing demostration, string up the harp with 36 strings. When the harp conductor feels the harp is ready to be tuned, he will give you your next clue.

The lead team decide to stack melons and, as they leave the way they came in, they bump into Bopper & Mark. Nary & Stacy arrive in third, followed closely by Rachel & Dave. They ALL choose to get STACKED UP.


Huh...guys are passing watermelons around like trout at a San Francisco fish market. Team Border Watch arrives and learn exactly what must be done. Well, hey, they're used to getting dirty and grimy so...they get to it, tossing the melons like pros. As they work on the 10x10 foundation, Team Yellow Ribbon arrives to start the task. Party In the CIA and Sons of Anar-KY then show up...and the race is on! Tossing, stacking, sometimes dropping and shattering...the melons keep moving along with the Racers in the heat and humidity. Bases are done so they go to the 9x9 level...and Bopper gets bopped in the head with a melon thrown by Mark (at least wasn't a slingshot).

Nearly two hours after the first group of teams land, the second group does and they run for cabs. Brendon & Rachel are the first out of the airport, Kerri & Stacy a minute behind, followed by Elliot & Andrew, Vanessa & Ralph and - currently in last - Joey "Fitness" & Danny. When they arrive at the backyard store and look around the grills, they arrive at the DETOUR in the same order and they ALL choose to get STACKED UP...save for Team Twins? Really? who choose to get STRUNG OUT instead (well, why not, as Elliot's a musician?).

After all that time in the Iraqi desert, it's natural that Rachel & Dave should have some...communication problems once they got back together and are forced to be together 24/7 on this Race. Like Dave yelling at his wife to help instead of "supervise" and Rachel yelling back that her husband's "unsupportive". The weather gets warmer, the pyramids get higher...and Art & JJ finish theirs first! They get the thumbs-up from the vendor and get this clue:



Make your way to the Plaza de la Democracia and search the grounds for your next clue.

As they get a cab and head, they make a solemn vow to come in first as they're the only ones who looked like their stack was perfect. "There's no excuse for NOT finishing first," they exclaim. And they may have a point...because the other pyramids look like if the Egyptians used cross-eyed Hebrew slaves back in the days of Exodus. And...yup, there goes Nary & Stacy's stack a-tumblin' down. Aaaaand there goes Bopper & Mark's. Aaaand...well, actually, Team Yellow Ribbon's looks good; the team gets over their communication difficulties and are getting them stacked well eno...oops,...never mind...there it goes. Three downed pryamids...and six frustrated Americans. While Party In the CIA and Sons of Anar-KY decide whtehr or not to start over, Team Yellow Ribbon U-TURN themselves and head to string up some harps instead. Dave suggests using the EXPRESS PASS...but Rachel doesn't want to hear about it. Soon afterwards, the other two teams decide to do the same.

As Bopper & Mark leave, Kerry & Stacy arrive. When the girls ask the guys if it's hard,...well, of COURSE, the guys are gonna say it's easy! What's more, the guys TAKE the girls' taxi, which Team Double Trouble doesn't seem to mind. The cab goes...and girls realize that the Sons of Anar-KY spent two hours and didn't finish! What's more, now they need a new cab to get to STRUNG UP because there's no WAY they're stacking 385 melons! Their message to the Kentucky boys: "all bets are off!"


At one end of Asuncion's Historic Center, Team Border Watch exit their cab and find a rare Clue Box on the grounds. It is there that they find their next:



Time to take part in a Paraguayan tradition: the Bottle Dance! One team member must go to the brass band nearby and observe the Bottle Dancing girls balancing wine bottles on their heads. Then, they must go through a choreographed dance with the dancers...without dropping the bottle banaced on THEIR head. If they succeed, the head dancer will hand them the next clue.

WARNING: You are given a lot of bottles to work with (enough to cover one table nearby the dancers) but, if you break ALL your bottles before completing the task, you will be assessed a two-hour penalty upon reaching the PIT STOP.

Art (having a "big, fat head" according to JJ) decides it's time to dance. While JJ watches in a covered gazebo, Art gets to work...though he is throroughly intimidated by the dance the women do. Bottle after bottle falls off his head as he tries desperately to keep up.

Back at STACKED UP, Team Clubbers and Team Twins? Really? decide to stay and stack melons...though their catching ability leaves a deal to be desired. And when Team It's Complicated and Team Oh, Brother! shows up, it's a smack-talk war as they BOTH unloaded from the same truck and jockeyed for position. After a while (and Vanessa talking about Rachel's...ahem...panties bunching up front, if you catch my drift), Rachel says they need to go string harps instead. of course, that's exactly what Vanessa was HOPING for..

Art spins around with a bottle on his head. He gets on his hands and knees with the bottle on his head. He does a "swimming" motion with the bottle STILL on his head. And he gets back on his hands and knees...and, since the bottle is STILL on his head, the head dancer hands him a clue! JJ joins him as they read this important clue:



Make your way on foot to the monument at Escalinata de Antequera, the PIT STOP for this Leg of the Race.

WARNING! The last team to check-in MAY BE ELIMINATED!

Nothing in the clue saying they can't ask for directions so, using their knowledge of Spanish, they ask a policia where to go. They half-walk, half-stroll to...


Near the top of a LONG flight of concrete stairs, Phil and the female local greeter await. The two border patrolmen jog up the steps and hit the mat in front of them. After the greeter...well...GREETS them, Phil gives them the great news: they are Team # 1! And for that, they win a 5-night stay at Paradise Island in the Bahamas via the Roaming Gnomes at Travelocity. And...chances are they'll get a LONG lead at the start of Leg 4 for "smoking" the competition today!

OK, back to the NON-trip-winners...


Elliot & Andrew (the first actually CHOOSE to be STRUNG OUT) are the first to arrive at the auditorium and hear the heart strings being pulled...though Bopper & Mark are minutes behind and Nary & Jamie are minutes behind THEM. As it turns out, the strings are already strung to he bottom of the harp and are tangled together. All the teams have to do is untangled the strings and, watching the demo, pull them up to the top and tie them to the tuning pegs. The Sons of Anar-KY are good with untying...and Elliot of Team Twins? Really? feels it's no different than stringing a guitar. Of course, when Kerri & Staci arrive, they have NO love for the Kentucky boys.

And then in comes Rachel & Dave...and when they see all the teams lined up, they felt it a good time to use their trump card:


The Express Pass will allow one team the opportunity to bypass ANY task. If you cannot or will not perform a task, simply hand the presiding local your Express Pass, and he or she will give you the next clue, no questions asked!

You may only use the Express Pass ONCE, up to and including the 8th Leg, so you must determine when it is in your best interests to use it.

As they don't know about the teams left at STACKED UP and they feel in danger of ending up in last, they hand the EXPRESS PASS and leave the DETOUR in 2nd, letting the others deal with harps and melons. As they leave, Brendon & Rachel show up and, feeling cool and more relaxed, get to work. The athmosphere is more light-hearted here; Bopper even sings "Folsom Prison Blues" as close to the tune of the harp-playing as he can, eliciting a laugh from everyone. The one having the MOST difficulty...is, oddly enough, Elliot & Andrew. Turns out stringing a harp is WAY harder than stringing a guitar..

Speaking of STACKED UP, the melon rinds are plentiful as the workers look on in mild disgust at the mess they'll have to clean up. Team It's Complicated!'s pyramid topples on one corner but they work them back up. Team Clubbers is tossing melons like Eli Manning tosses miracle catches and the two muscular men are well on their way to finishing.

At the Plaza, the ex-EXPRESS PASS holders get to the ROADBLOCK and Dave decides to use his head...or, more like the BACK of his head from the looks of where he's balancing the bottle. And, one-by-one, the bottle fall off his odd-shaped head and crashing to the ground. Already Rachel is thinking they'll have to take the penalty...but she's still optimistic. Dave goes through all the bottles rather quickly...and thus gets the next clue by default. They walk to the PIT STOP and Phil says they're the second team to arrive...but that being unable to do the ROADBLOCK means they have to wait two hours before being checked-in. As of now, they're still in second...but the question is, with two teams still pushing watermelons and the others stringing harps, will they STAY in second? Or, for THAT matter, will they even stay in the RACE?!

Back at the auditorium, the teams work fast and thoroughly. Strangely enough, it's Team Oh, Brother! who gets their harp checked first by the conductor. The man looks it over...and gives them the thumbs-up! They leave the DETOUR in 3rd, much to the chagrin of the other teams. But they keep working... and the Sons of Anar-KY are the next to get the inspection and the thumbs-up, departing in 4th. This does NOT sit well with Team Twins? Really? A musician being beat in a task with musical instruments?! Incomprehensable!!

As Vanessa & Ralph's pyramid collapses again, Joey "Fitness" & Danny's is completed. To the applause of the workers, the young men are given their clue and leave for the Plaza in 5th. Ralph thinks of U-TURNing themselves...but Vanessa wants to stick with it...even though more melons are dropping. They get up to the last melon...and it tumbles down yet again! As Vanessa stands still in sadness, Ralph gets ready to re-build it from the bottom up..

Team Double Trouble gets their harp checked...and they leave the DETOUR in 6th, leaving two other teams to wallow. But not for long: Party In the CIA finish in 7th. So the twins - the first ones to PICK this task and the first to ARRIVE at it - are left alone in their angered misery...and the fact that they have to RE-string because they missed a hole. Finally, they throw up their hands and try to leave for STACKED UP...but there're no cabs in the area. Elliot bites on his foolish pride and goes back into the auditorium, determined to finish the job!

(Rachel & Dave penalty time left: 47 minutes)

At the ROADBLOCK, Rachel does the task for Team Oh, Brother! while Joey "Fitness" goes for Team Clubbers and Mark for the Sons of Anar-KY. The three get to the kneeling-down part of the routine before the bottles shatter. As they try again, Party In the CIA selects Nary to do the ROADBLOCK and Team Double Trouble picked Kerri. The five Americans work on it...and it's Rachel who conquers it first. They leave the ROADBLOCK in 3rd...though they may not check-in that way. Joey "Fitness" is the next to get on his belly and finish the Bottle Dance so he and Danny leave in fourth.

The two teams run down the street towards the staircase, but Team Oh, Brother!, despite nearly getting run over, arrive at the mat first. As Rachel sucks in air, Phil informs them that they are the third team to ARRIVE...but, because Team yellow Ribbon is still in the "penalty box" nearby for another half-hour, they are actually Team # 2! Team Clubbers are then marked as Team # 3 (BEST IMPROVEMENT OF THE LEG).

Back at the dance, it looks like Mark is about to finish...Nary is getting there...and Kerri drops the bottle as she drops to all fours. Mark gets the clue and he and Bopper leave the ROADBLOCK 5th, Nary is on her belly...and Kerri drops ANOTHER bottle. Nary & Jamie depart in 6th.

5 minutes remain in Team Yellow Ribbon's penalty...Sons of Anar-KY and Party In the CIA run towards the PIT STOP together...15 seconds...the others see Phil and jog up...5 seconds...

...and the two teams hit the mat JUST as time runs out. Bopper & Mark are proclaimed Team # 4, Nary & Jamie as Team # 5 and Rachel & Dave as Team # 6 (BIGGEST DROP OF THE LEG)...making them the first team EVER to not complete a task and STILL be in the Race!

Meanwhile, back at the DETOUR - STRUNG OUT, Team Twins? Really? are still working on their harp...and at STACKED UP, Team It's Complicated! vows to be there til MIDNIGHT if they must to stack those melons. As they work and work, Team Double Trouble finish the ROADBLOCK and get checked in as Team # 7.

As Vanessa & Ralph's ugly-looking pyramid reaches its completion, Elliot & Andrew FINALLY finish their harp and leave the DETOUR in 8th...unaware that Ralph is placing the final melon to allow him and his girl to leave in last.

At the ROADBLOCK, Elliot choose to "use his head" in the task...with Andrew shaking his own head at the task and Elliot's greased hair. Vanessa & Ralph are certain they're last as they cab it to the Plaza. They'll finish "dirty and disgusting"...but they vow to finish. And look how happy they are to see the twins there! Ralph decides to do the task...and the Battle to Avoid Elimination begins!

The two men balance the bottles... they spin around...and the bottles drop. More bottles...more drops. Elliot gets around and starts to drop to his knees...but the bottle drops before he gets to all fours. Ralph still struggles just to spin around...but he gets there eventually. Elliot can't kneel down withour dropping his...so Ralph has a chance...and he DOES it! Team It's Complicated! leaves in eighth...much to Andrew's chagrin. But as they run off, Elliot finally gets on his stomach and keeps the bottle intact! Team Twins? Really? leave in last...but can their younger bodies pass the divorcees?

AThe twins sprint, even with backpacks...the couple starts to slow down due to Vanessa's exhaustion...they see Pihl and the greeter...they run up the steps Rocky Balboa-style...they hit the mat...and Phil exclaims...

"Vanessa & Ralph...you are Team # 8! You're staying in the Race!"

Try as they could, Elliot & Andrew just couldn't pull it off. Phil tells them they're last to arrive...and regrets to tell them that they're out of the Race. Still, a high-five by the twins and hugs by Team It's Complicated! on a Race well-run. Elliot thinks he let his brother down...but Andrew says they'll laugh when they see this on TV. This was a big opportunity for them and they'll remember it forever.



1) Art & JJ (+1) - Bahamas
2) Brendon & Rachel (+2)
3) Joey "Fitness" & Danny (+5)
4) Bopper & Mark (-1)
5) Nary & Jamie (+1)
6) Rachel & Dave (-5) - Express Pass (USED), Grenada
7) Kerri & Stacy (+2)
8) Vanessa & Ralph (-1)
ELIMINATED) Elliot & Andrew (EVEN) (9th)
ELIMINATED) Dave & Cherie (10th)
ELIMINATED) Misa & Maiya (11th)

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