'The Amazing Race': The season 15 winner revealed
Stop number one was the Graceland Wedding Chapel and the necessary singing Elvis minister. Man, I was going to be hugely disappointed if we didn't get at least one Elvis tonight.
Mandalay Bay was stop two and featured a truly excellent Roadblock: a face-first rappel down the side of the hotel. How fun did that look? Plus, it was a great task -- perfectly safe but still tested the contestants in the extreme.
I'd like to think I would have tried to run down the side of the building, but I probably would have forced my partner to do the task instead. All I know is that I pray I would have done better than Cheyne; it seemed like the task was done for him by the people holding the lines. In any case, Brian & Ericka, who took a different route to the hotel than the other two teams, got there first with Cheyne & Meghan not too far behind. Brian & Ericka were off to the next stop -- The Mirage -- before Sam even started down the side of the building.
Purportedly, the teams got to work with Cirque du Soleil's "Love" show tonight, one teammate using a bungee cord to launch the other to some hanging flowers. The scenes we saw of the show itself looked pretty cool, but the teams weren't really working with the performers: There was no show going on while the teams were there, and in fact, only one or two performers even seemed present (though obviously the backstage folks were there).
Anyone watching the show to that point might have thought Brian & Ericka stood a chance at winning it all. They arrived at "Love" first, but Meghan & Cheyne left first. Not only that, but Ericka had something of a hissyfit in the bungee harness, insisting she wanted to switch spots and launch Brian. She got all angry and poked Brian in what seemed like an awfully forceful manner. After Sam & Dan got their flower bouquet and moved on, Ericka, on the verge of tears, agreed to switch back to being in the harness. At that point, their inevitable collapse was complete. Yes, they may have been close later in the game, but they were always going to need to be in front to win. Their coming from behind was never a viable option.
What happened next though was truly odd. Meghan & Cheyne, the unstoppable duo, blew their lead. Looking at their next clue, they couldn't figure out that it was leading them to the Monte Carlo (the clue told them to go to the biggest casino in Monaco). Sam & Dan didn't know the answer either - though those two were smart enough to call the Mandalay Bay and ask. Meghan & Cheyne drove to the Venetian before asking the folks there who gave them the answer.
Meghan & Cheyne arrived at the Monte Carlo third, and there the teams had to count out $1,000,000 worth of poker chips. Sam & Dan arrived first, but then bickered about how to do the task. I'm not sure that the bickering led to them miscounting the chips, but I suspect it did. Meghan & Cheyne, despite showing to the Monte Carlo last, managed to leave first (Brian & Ericka also blew their count).
From there Meghan & Cheyne were a hop, skip, and a visit to Wayne Newton (Balki Bartokomous would have been so excited) away from taking home the money. Wayne told them to visit his house, and while he didn't give the address, it is something of a Vegas landmark and the cabbies all knew it.
It turned out to be -- or at least looked like -- a close finish with Meghan & Cheyne beating out Sam & Dan. They may not have been the team I wanted to win, but Meghan & Cheyne ran a great race and were the strongest team on a regular basis. They deserved to win.
Bits and pieces:
- Each team didn't know who the other two were at the start of the leg - Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne were shocked to see Brian & Ericka at the airport. And here I thought they always talked between legs.
- Sam was pretty impressive going down the side of the Mandalay Bay, no?
- Did you notice that this was the first time in several seasons that we haven't gotten one of those "do you remember everything you did on the race" Detours? Probably a good call.
- Sam & Dan didn't know Wayne Newton's name. They didn't seem nearly as embarrassed as they ought to have been.
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Photo credit: CBS