The Amazing Race 27 :: And the winners are…

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The 27th season of The Amazing Race has come to an end with at least two teams that were root-able. But the season’s most divisive team, paparazzi Chris & Logan, improbably started the final leg in first place, with super fans Justin & Diana just squeaking into third place at the end of the previous leg, an unfamiliar spot for the seven-time first place finishers (who, granted, nearly were the first team to go home).

But starting position this leg didn’t matter — Justin & Diana started almost 2 hours after Chris & Logan — as all three remaining teams (let’s not forget perennial second placers Joey & Kelsey) left for Long Island, NY on the same flight. The great equalizer put all teams at the same place at the same time, so it came down to playing smart.

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Justin & Diana got to the first challenge first, followed by Chris & Logan. Joey & Kelsey were really lagging at the task which required one team member to participate in a real fire department academy training exercise: climbing a ladder with a hose, entering a burning building, rescuing a dummy, and arranging a row of helmets with national capitals in the order they were visited on the race. Justin finished first while Joey was still in the building, putting the Green Team back in first place.

Except, Justin allowed their cab driver to leave, basically stranding them far away from the next available cab which was in New York City. Of the two cabs still waiting, both drivers refused to ditch their fares, but Chris & Logan’s driver had had enough of the drama and left, making them believe Justin & Diana stole their cab. So what to do? Steal Joey & Kelsey’s cab … except the Reporters were having none of that, nearly physically pulling Chris out of their cab (Logan, not happy, kept reminding Chris it was perfectly allowable by the show’s rules to steal a cab from another team). The cab incident put Joey & Kelsey in first place while the other two teams were forced to bus it into the city.

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The Reporters were on a roll, getting to the next challenge first: flying by helicopter to The Hamptons and then jet skiing out to a lobster boat to raise seven lobster pots and replace them with seven new ones. It was an amazingly grueling task that required teamwork and a whole lot of stamina. Who knew those cages were so heavy? The Reporters and The Paparazzi were virtually tied, with Green pulling up the rear, but Joey & Kelsey finished first and then had to arrange a series of flags in the order of the countries visited before they could get off the boat. They had no trouble, but Chris & Logan struggled, allowing Justin & Diana to catch up and pass them. The problem was that there were ten flags but only nine countries and that extra flag really threw them off.

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With a comfortable lead, Joey & Kelsey returned to the beach where they then had to build six Adirondack chairs, and then arrange them in order by a picture that corresponded to a visited country. Justin & Diana caught up to them, but the challenge really came down to precision. If the chairs were even slightly off, they had to be corrected before getting the next clue. It was a real nail-biter, at least as far as the editing went, but The Reporters finished first and got the last clue to find Phil at the Pit Stop. It wasn’t far from the challenge so after a record breakeing run of second place finishes, Joey & Kelsey are the official winners of The Amazing Race 27. (And even though I was upset they U-Turned the Texas guys a few legs back, Joey & Kelsey have been the most consistently pleasant team this season so that alone makes their win more than acceptable.)

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Justin & Diana finished in second, and not quite as close as the editing made them seem. After fulfilling a dream and winning seven legs, it was disheartening for them to finish second. We’ve seen many times on a final leg that a lousy cab driver lost the race for a team, but this time it’s very easy to pinpoint exactly why the Green Team finished second: letting their cab driver leave a location. It’s certainly one of the worst decisions any team has made on The Amazing Race, and one that is sure to haunt Justin for quite some time (or at least until they’re invited back for an All-Stars edition). Chris and Logan finished in a very distant third place, brought down by their bickering. Any win that didn’t involve those two is a good win. I think the fans would have revolted if they had won.

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Overall, season 27 was a good one with a collection of mostly engaging teams and deserving winners. Next season, we’ll be subjected to a collection of teams comprised of social media “stars” (Tyler Oakley is the only one I’ve ever heard of). I’m a little concerned about teams of people who are already aware of the cameras, so they could get a bit annoying. The start of the race was actually streamed live and the teams seemed more interested in playing to the cameras instead of actually racing, so the next season (premiering in February) will either be an interesting experiment or a total mess. We’ll see how it goes, and we hope you’ll join us and comment on the race!

What do you think? Did the best team win? Tell us in the comments section below!

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