The Amazing Race 26 is the twenty-sixth installment of the American reality television show The Amazing Race. In this installment, eleven teams of dating couples (six existing couples and five blind date teams who met for the first time at the start of The Amazing Race) competed in a race around the world for a US$1 million grand prize. The season premiered on CBS for the 2014–15 television season with a special 90-minute episode on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Following the premiere, the program aired in the same time slot that the previous season of The Amazing Race took. The season finale aired on May 15, 2015.
|The Amazing Race 26|
|Presented by||Phil Keoghan|
|No. of teams||11|
|Winners||Laura Pierson & Tyler Adams|
|No. of legs||12|
|Distance traveled||35,000 mi (56,000 km)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Original release||February 25 –|
May 15, 2015
|Filming dates||November 12 –|
December 6, 2014
Blind date couple Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams, known as "Team SoCal," were the winners of this season.
This season covered 35,000 miles (56,000 km), five continents, and eight countries, including visits to Japan, Thailand, Namibia, Germany, and for the first time Monaco. In some legs, a special clue was available. Teams that received the special clue were given a Date Night reward, an opportunity to participate in a romantic activity.
For the second season in a row, four teams competed in the final leg. However, the host of the show, Phil Keoghan, eliminated one team in the middle of the final leg, leaving only three teams to race to the Finish Line for the $1 million grand prize.
Starting with this season, the scenes in which host Phil Keoghan described the country and Pit Stop were removed and replaced with the teams discussing what happened during the previous episode or a team having their date night before the next leg began.
The cast included Olympic couple Aly Dudek and Steven Langton, as well as New Kids on the Block member Jonathan Knight, racing with his boyfriend, Harley Rodriguez. This season was the first in the history of the American edition or any international edition of the program to not include at least one all-female team. The reasons for not casting at least one lesbian dating couple, whether preexisting or blind date, are unknown.
At the Pit Stop of Leg 3, Matt Cucolo proposed to Ashley Gordon, who accepted, becoming the third team to do so after Hayden & Aaron from The Amazing Race 6 and Chad & Stephanie from The Amazing Race 17.
No team from this season has competed on a subsequent returnee season.
In June 2015, Jackie Ibarra and Jeff Weldon were revealed as additional contestants on the seventeenth season of fellow CBS reality show Big Brother by Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan. Weldon was evicted third on Day 29. Ibarra was evicted eighth during a double eviction on Day 57 and became the second member of the jury.
Travelocity and Ford continued their sponsorships with The Amazing Race. Fitbit became a new sponsor this season. Each team member received Fitbit devices, which were used in one of the tasks in Leg 10. This was also the last season to have Ford as a sponsor for the show.
The following teams participated in the season, each listed along with their placements in each leg, their relationships at the time of filming, and their team name. Note that this table is not necessarily reflective of all content broadcast on television, owing to the inclusion or exclusion of some data. Placements are listed in finishing order:
|Team||Relationship||Team name||Position (by leg)||Roadblocks|
|Laura & Tyler||Blind Dating||Team SoCal||3rd||2nd||4th||4th||6th||6th||2nd||1st⋑||1st||4th||3rd||1st||Laura 5, Tyler 6|
|Jelani & Jenny||Blind Dating||The Legal Team||1st||1st||3rd||7th||4th||5th||4th||4thε4⊂||3rd||2nd||2nd||2nd||Jelani 6, Jenny 5|
|Hayley & Blair||Blind Dating||Rx For Love||8th||9th||2nd||2nd||5th||1st||3rd||3rd||2nd||1st||1st||3rd||Hayley 5, Blair 6|
|Mike & Rochelle||Dating for 8 Months||Truck Stop Love||7th⊃||8th||1st||6th||7th||3rd||5th||5th||4th||3rd||4th||4th5||Mike 6, Rochelle 4|
|Matt & Ashley||Dating for 3 Years→Engaged2||The Hairstylists||9th||7th||6th2||8th||2nd||4th||1st||2nd⊃||5th||5th||Matt 5, Ashley 3|
|Aly & Steve||Dating for 7 Months||Sochi Love||4th||3rd||5th||3rd||1st||2nd||6th||6th⋐||Aly 3, Steve 3|
|Jeff & Jackie||Blind Dating||Team JJ||2nd||6th||8th||5th||3rd||7th||Jeff 2, Jackie 2|
|Bergen & Kurt||Blind Dating||The Blonde Date||6th||5th||7th||1st||8th3||Bergen 1, Kurt 1|
|Harley & Jonathan||Dating for 7 Years||Team New Kid||5th||4th||9th||9th||Harley 1, Jonathan 1|
|Libby & CJ||Dating for 10 Years||Team Tuskegee||10th||10th||Libby 1, CJ 0|
|Jeff & Lyda||Dating for 4 Years||Flight Crew||11th⊂
|Jeff 0, Lyda 0|
Episode titles are often taken from quotes made by the racers.
The prize for each leg was awarded to the first place team for that corresponding leg. The Date Night reward was a romantic activity at the Pit Stop, and its invitation was found at random inside a clue envelope.
|Destinations|| Air travel Rail travel Water travel Bus travel |
Helicopter travel Bicycle travel Gondola travel
|Route Markers||Detour Roadblock U-Turn Speed Bump Pit Stop|
|Icons placed after a location indicate the clue was picked up at this location,|
while icons placed before a location indicate that the clue was picked up at a prior location.
Airdate: February 25, 2015
This season's first Detour was a choice between Syncing Steps or Samurai Sake. In Syncing Steps, teams had to travel to Shinjuku Central Park and learn and perform a series of synchronized "robotic" dance moves with members of World Order to the satisfaction of World Order leader Genki Sudo to receive their next clue. In Samurai Sake, teams had to travel to Nakanosakaue Chicken Tavern, where they were shown ten bottles of sake (tōkō, nanbubijin, okunomatsu, kanbe, yoshinogawa, michisakari, tsukasabotan, zaou, momokawa, shōchikubai). One team member had to take an order from a pair of samurai, while the other team member had to find the correct bottle from a large display of bottles. When the correct sake bottle was presented, teams would make a toast with the samurai before receiving their next clue.
Airdate: February 27, 2015
In this season's first Roadblock, one team member had to solve a traditional puzzle box called yosegi that contained the password they would need to tell the guards to receive their next clue. One of the clue envelopes contained a Date Night reward.
This leg's Detour was a Blind Detour, where teams would learn about the task they chose at its location, was a choice between Share or Chair. In Share, teams made their way to the Takesan Donabe restaurant and had to feed each other a bowl of noodles, using only a pair of chopsticks while sitting in front of a large fan, to receive their next clue. In Chair, teams traveled to the M-Wave Olympic Arena. One team member would sit on a chair mounted on a sled while their partner pushed the chair around a speed skating track and then switch places after one lap. Teams had to finish both laps within a combined time of three minutes and fifty-five seconds to receive their next clue from a coach.
Airdate: March 6, 2015
This leg's Detour was a choice between Ski or Tree. In Ski, teams traveled to Phuket Wake Park, where each member had to ride one lap of the wave pool on a wakeboard to receive their next clue. In Tree, teams traveled to Flying Hanuman, where they dressed as waiters and had to deliver a full meal intact to customers by zip line to receive their next clue.
Airdate: March 13, 2015
This leg's Detour was a choice between two public forms of Thai transportation: Wheel or Water. In Wheel, teams had to travel on foot to Sathon Road and then take a tuk tuk to the Snooker Club. Once there, they had to play snooker until they sank a red ball. Then, they received a bottle of milk for them to take to the Caturday Café and give to the resident cats. Once the cats were fed, the café's owner would give teams their next clue. In Water, teams had to travel on foot to Sathorn Pier, take a water taxi to Wat Intharam Pier, and then search for Wat Klang Food Market. At the market, each team member had to eat a thousand-year-old egg. Then, they received a metal placard clue sending them to the Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen temple to participate in a traditional Thai prayer before receiving their next clue.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to use power tools to remove the transmission from a faulty engine block. Inside the transmission was a screwdriver with the next clue tucked inside that handle. One of the Roadblock clue envelopes contained a Date Night reward.
Airdate: April 3, 2015
This leg's Detour was a choice between Stein or Stack. In Stein, teams traveled to Wolfsee Halle restaurant, where they had to carry twenty-two steins full of beer and carefully deliver them all at once while walking through a crowd without dropping or spilling them to receive their next clue. In Stack, teams traveled to the grounds of Hasenöhrl-Hof and had to vertically stack fifteen empty beer crates without the one team member standing on top of them falling or toppling the crates to receive their next clue.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to learn a Bavarian love song and then serenade their partner with the correct word pronunciation and key while perched on a ladder to receive their next clue. If they sang incorrectly, a bucket of water would be dumped on them and they would have to start over.
Airdate: April 10, 2015
In this leg's Roadblock, which homaged Grace Kelly, one team member had to travel by foot and order a bouquet of roses at St Martin Gardens and a box of chocolates at Chocolaterie de Monaco. Then they delivered them to their partner waiting on a marked yacht at Port Hercules for their next clue.
At the Casino de Monte Carlo (see additional tasks below), teams had to take part in a Detour which was chosen for them by their roulette spin. A Black Spin took teams to Win By a Nose, where teams had to make Fragonard Parfumeur's signature perfume and cologne using 12 essences to match the original scents. When the perfumer confirmed that teams recreated the scents, they received their next clue. A Red Spin would send the teams to Don't Slack Off, where each team member had to zip-line 2,000 ft (610 m) above the city to La Turbie, then walk back across a tightrope to receive their next clue.
Airdate: April 17, 2015
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to work with bushmen and build a traditional hut using wooden sticks and dried grass to receive their next clue.
The leg's Detour was a choice between Track or Pack, each with a limit of three stations. In Track, teams had to choose a truck and use a telemetric device consisting of an antenna and beacon to track down an elephant to receive their next clue. In Pack, teams worked as butchers and had to cut slices of wildebeest meat, avoiding the bones, until they completely filled a bucket. Teams then boarded a truck and fed the meat to a pack of African wild dogs to receive their next clue.
Airdate: April 17, 2015
For their Speed Bump, Aly & Steve had to properly assemble six toy planes from repurposed soda cans before they could continue racing.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to watch a yellow supply case drop 1,000 feet (300 m) from an airplane and retrieve it on foot. After locating the supply case, they had to walk to a hilltop to pick up the Travelocity Roaming Gnome and reunite with their partner at the starting point to open the supply case containing their next clue.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Work or Play. In Work, teams had to attach five tires to their vehicles and drive 5 miles (8.0 km) over a bumpy dirt road to smooth the road to a foreman's satisfaction and receive their next clue. In Play, teams had to cross-country sand ski across a series of sand dunes and then slide down on a sand board to the bottom of a dune, where Henrik May would give them their next clue.
Airdate: April 24, 2015
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to don a traditional Dutch costume and search among hundreds of klompen (traditional wooden shoes) for one that exactly matched the one on display to receive their next clue from the cobbler.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Soak or Shuffle. In Soak, teams had to pilot an electric-powered hot tub called HotTug through the city's canals, while solving a rebus along the route. Once teams wrote down the right answer, "Ice Skating Rink", they would receive their next clue. In Shuffle, teams had to play a traditional shuffleboard game called sjoelen and score 51 points to receive their next clue.
Airdate: May 1, 2015
For their Speed Bump, Matt & Ashley had to use an old-fashioned typewriter to properly type out a llama loan application before they could continue racing.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Mamas or Papas. In Mamas, teams had to walk through the busy streets of Otuzco's marketplace to find five different shops and purchase nine ingredients used to prepare chicha, a Peruvian moonshine, from a provided recipe, then deliver them to an elderly lady known as La Señora de La Chicha. She would trade the ingredients for a glass of chicha that teams had to drink before receiving their next clue. In Papas, teams traveled to a lush potato field and had to pack potatoes into bags. They then had to deliver the potatoes to a market and correctly arrange each type of potato in a separate bin of a marked stall to receive their next clue from the potato vendor. If the potatoes were incorrectly sorted, the stall would collapse and teams would have to start over.
Airdate: May 8, 2015
This season's final Detour was a choice between Shake Your Hips or Make Some Bricks. In Shake Your Hips, teams had learn and perform the marinera dance in traditional costume to the satisfaction of a head judge to receive their next clue. In Make Some Bricks, teams traveled to the famous Chan Chan ruins, where they had to make twelve wet bricks from mud and sand. Once all twelve bricks were completed to the foreman's specifications, they then used a wheelbarrow to transport twelve dry bricks to a work site to receive their next clue from an archeologist.
In this leg's Roadblock, both team members had to carry a caballito de totora to the beach on foot. Once there, the chosen team member had to paddle out to a buoy to get their next clue.
In this leg's first Roadblock, one team member had to dress in a Dallas Cowboys uniform, then get harnessed and pulled to the very top of the stadium, where they then collected a football playbook. After returning to the ground, they had to catch a touchdown pass and score a field goal to receive their next clue.
In this season's final Roadblock, the team member who did not perform the previous Roadblock had to rappel from the top of Reunion Tower and spot a row of yellow and red flags, which were near the Trinity River and where teams would find their next clue.
The Amazing Race 26 received mixed reviews. Daniel Fienberg of HitFix wrote that "'Amazing Race' tried to do something that 'Amazing Race' wasn't equipped to do this season and the experiment was an utter failure, but it speaks to the resiliency of the format that it didn't destroy the season entirely. I don't think this was a great season of 'The Amazing Race,' but whatever problems I had with the season were entirely about weakly integrated product placement, redundant challenges and problematic Race architecture that left too many Legs stagnant and unchanged from start to finish." Meredith Goodman of The Daily Northwestern was negative towards the blind date format calling it "the tackiest gimmick of all". Jodi Walker of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "this season has been a weird one, but it's certainly been interesting." Rob Moynihan of TV Insider wrote that the blind date "gamble paid off, with most of that season's memorable moments stemming from the contempt between blind dating medical professionals Hayley and Blair." Luke Gelineau of TV Equals wrote "I ended up liking this season a bit more than I thought I was going to." In 2016, this season was ranked 25th out of the first 27 seasons by the Rob Has a Podcast Amazing Race correspondents. Kareem Gantt of Screen Rant wrote that "it was a truly suspenseful race throughout the season, and the cast was thoroughly likable, so much so that you hated for any team to get bumped off of this season."
|1||"Great Way to Start a Relationship"||February 25, 2015[a]||1.5/4||6.16||0.9||—||2.4||—|||
|2||"I Got the Smartest Dude"||February 27, 2015||1.1/4||6.15||0.7||—||1.8||—|||
|3||"#MurphysLaw"||March 6, 2015||1.2/5||6.07||0.7||—||1.9||—|||
|4||"The Great Amazing Nasty Race"||March 13, 2015||1.3/5||6.29||—||—||—||—|||
|5||"Get in That Lederhosen, Baby"||April 3, 2015[b]||1.3/5||6.05||—||1.93||—||8.00|||
|6||"Smells Like a Million Bucks"||April 10, 2015||1.1/4||5.75||—||—||—||—|||
|7||"Back in Business"||April 17, 2015[c]||1.1/4||5.46||0.7||—||1.8||—|||
|8||"Moment of Truth"||April 17, 2015||0.7||—||1.8||—|
|9||"Can I Get a Hot Tub!"||April 24, 2015||1.1/4||5.75||0.7||—||1.8||—|||
|10||"Fruits of Our Labor"||May 1, 2015||1.1/5||5.52||—||—||—||—|||
|11||"In It to Win It"||May 8, 2015||1.1/5||5.48||0.7||—||1.8||—|||
|12||"Monster Truck Heroes"||May 15, 2015||1.1/5||5.72||0.6||1.81||1.7||7.53|||
|1||February 25, 2015||"Great Way to Start a Relationship"||1.97||10|||
|2||February 27, 2015||"I Got the Smartest Dude"|
|3||March 6, 2015||"#MurphysLaw"||2.05||9|||
|4||March 13, 2015||"The Great Amazing Nasty Race"||1.96||10|||
|5||April 3, 2015||"Get in That Lederhosen, Baby"||2.02||6|||
|6||April 10, 2015||"Smells Like a Million Bucks"||1.98||7|||
|7||April 17, 2015||"Back in Business"||1.53||19|||
|8||April 17, 2015||"Moment of Truth"|
|9||April 24, 2015||"Can I Get a Hot Tub!"||1.73||16|||
|10||May 1, 2015||"Fruits of Our Labor"||1.56||19|||
|11||May 8, 2015||"In It to Win It"||1.67||14|||
|12||May 15, 2015||"Monster Truck Heroes"||1.77||9|||