Amazing Race 31

I started to hear some murmurings on the weekend – a new season of the Amazing Race. Of all the reality shows out there, this is the only one I really enjoy most of the time.

Over the years, they’ve experimented with different styles of races – all-star alumni teams, families, matchmaking, teams that know each other, teams that don’t. Some have been better than others.

I don’t remember a lot of the details of shows once I’ve watched them. I guess I save that part of my brain for the phone numbers of my childhood friends and every birthday I’ve ever known. I remember thinking that the last season was an improvement over the more recent years. The tasks were getting more challenging than they had been in years.

Since its inception, Amazing Race Canada has been putting its parent show to shame with legitimately arduous tasks that made fans feel like any winning team had more than earned their title. Meanwhile on the Amazing Race, the activities got softer and softer and the road blocks were decreasing in difficulty. The show started to flounder.

Last season, they ramped it back up a little and that made for a much more entertaining show. My hopes are high that they’ll keep it up.

This season they’re doing an all-star kind of approach, only the all-stars come from a number of shows – previous Amazing Race contestants, some from Survivor, others from Big Brother. I’ve only ever watched one season of Survivor and three seasons of Big Brother. I recognize a handful of contestants, but not all of them.

I’m just putting the finishing touches on our Amazing Race pool and getting the draft started. It’s going to be tough when it comes time to pick my team, but I’ll figure it out.

Haven’t heard anything about the season? Check out the show’s website and study up. Here’s the rundown on the teams.

Art Velez (49) and John James “JJ” Carrell (49)

Friends from Temecula and San Marcos, Calif.

Previous season: The Amazing Race 20

Colin Guinn (38) and Christie Woods (40)

Life Partners from Austin

Previous season: The Amazing Race 5

Becca Droz (28) and Floyd Pierce (23)

Friends from Boulder and Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Previous season: The Amazing Race 29

Leo Temory (31) and Jamal Zadran (30)

Cousins from Pasadena, Calif. and Houston

Previous seasons: The Amazing Race 23 and The Amazing Race: All-Stars

Tyler Oakley (31) and Korey Kuhl (33)

Friends from Los Angeles and San Francisco

Previous season: The Amazing Race 28

Chris Hammons (40) and Bret Labelle (44)

Friends from Moore, Okla. and Dedham, Mass.

Previous season: Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Corinne Kaplan (39) and Eliza Orlins (35)

Friends from Denver. and New York

Previous seasons: Survivor: Gabon and Survivor: Caramoan (Corinne); Survivor: Vanuatu and Survivor: Micronesia (Eliza)

Rupert (54) and Laura (49) Boneham

Married from Indianapolis

Previous seasons: Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Rupert); Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Laura)

Janelle Pierzina (38) and Britney Haynes (30)

Friends from Lakeville, Minn. and Tulsa, Okla.

Previous seasons: Big Brother 6, Big Brother All-Stars and Big Brother 14 (Janelle); Big Brother 12 and Big Brother 14 (Britney)

Rachel Reilly (34) and Elissa Slater (32)

Sisters from Van Nuys, Calif. and Las Vegas

Previous Seasons: Big Brother 12, winner Big Brother 13, The Amazing Race 20 and The Amazing Race: All-Stars (Rachel); Big Brother 15 (Elissa)

Nicole Franzel (26) and Victor Arroyo (28)

Dating from Ubly, Mich.

Previous seasons: Big Brother 16, winner of Big Brother 18 (Nicole); Big Brother 18 (Victor)

Who do you think will win?

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