The Amazing Race 12 premieres Sunday, November 4 at 8pm on CBS. Here's a brief look at this season's lineup of teams, as well as my initial predictions for how each team might fare.
Kynt and Vyxsin - Dating Goths
Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, this team begs the question: Will they be able to maintain their hair and makeup throughout the Race? Both waiters, Kynt and Vyxsin share similar interests in life, including music, fashion, MySpace, and science fiction.
PREDICTION: You've got to have mojo to live an alternative lifestyle in a not-so-alternative city! They seem fearless and driven, two qualities that I believe will take them far in the Race. They're my number one pick so far.
Jennifer and Nathan - Dating
This team of Californian twenty-somethings are one of two "bickering couples using the Race to test their relationship." Yes, they're opposites. Yes, they're physically fit. Yes, we've seen them on almost every season of the Race before.
PREDICTION: Teams like Jennifer and Nathan tend to do rather well on the Race, but they'll probably self destruct just before the final leg.
Ronald and Christina - Father and Daughter
I'm a sucker for a father-daughter team. Ronald and Christina are no exception. After years of work-related travel, Ronald hopes to strengthen the bond with his daughter through the million-dollar Race.
PREDICTION: It takes tenacity and perseverence to win The Amazing Race. I'd say an immigrant who worked his way up to Vice President of sales for a large company, and a Policy Analyst from our nation's capital have those qualities, and then some.
Shana and Jennifer - Friends
Rumor has it that Shana, the actress and tv host in the pair, dates American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Whether this is true or not, Shana and her partner Jennifer, a legal assistant from Los Angeles, seem determined to win the Race...or at least stay in the running long enough to get plenty of television exposure.
PREDICTION: Don't let their blonde bombshell appearance fool you - if these two can handle the Hollywood rat race, they could very well conquer The Amazing Race, too.
Azaria and Hendekea - Brother and Sister
Siblings! Hooray! Azaria, a Facilities Engineer from Louisiana, and Hendekea, an Aerospace Engineer from California, definitely have the necessary brains to go far in the Race. Will their self-admitted confrontational relationship trump the intelligence factor?
PREDICTION: Power struggles never end well on the Race. Teams must work well together in order to succeed. Their own descriptions of themselves lead me to believe we will be saying goodbye to this family sooner than later.
Lorena and Jason - Dating
Actor/bartender Lorena and actor/videographer Jason are from...you guessed it! California! And just so you can tell them apart, Lorena and Jason are the brunette couple testing the waters for future bliss...on an Emmy Award-winning reality show.
PREDICTION: Of the two fighting couples on the Race, my instinct gives the spoils to Jennifer and Nathan over Lorena and Jason. I think they'll be out mid-Race.
Nicolas and Donald - Grandson and Grandfather
Teams like Nicolas and Donald give The Amazing Race big-time cred in my book. The first grandson and grandfather team in the history of the Race, this team seems primed for the adventure of a lifetime. Nicolas, a 23-year old pilot from Chicago, has the travel experience and know-how that might give this team a real advantage. Combine that with Grandpa Donald's old-school common sense, and we've got one fun team to watch.
PREDICTION: These unlikely underdogs may surprise us. I'm placing them in the top four; we might even see them on the finale.
Ari and Staella - Best Friends
This laid-back pair from California looks like they may offer viewers some comic relief. Ari in particular seems like he can talk a blue streak. But will the gift of the gab be enough to unnerve their competitors?
PREDICTION: This team has described their Race strategy as "carefree." Unfortunately, this kind of approach is often synonymous with "losing." I fear they will be knocked out of the running quite early in the Race, which is too bad, because trash-talking on the Race sure is fun to watch.
Marianna and Julia - Sisters
Positive attitudes are this team's secret weapon. Opposite strengths, such as Julia's wit and Marianna's athleticism, could be harmonious or destructive for them. Either way, these two Floridians are in it to win it, and they're not above batting a few eyelashes to get what they want.
PREDICTION: Positivity worked for season 9 winners BJ and Tyler. If Julia can keep her emotional side in check, and rely on sister Marianna when the going gets tough, they could go far. I'm putting them in the top 5, at least.
Rachel and TK - Newly Dating
Rachel, a florist, and TK, a substitute teacher seem to epitomize the laid-back California beach lifestyle. Happy people usually make happy teams on the Race, and even if they don't win, this is a team that will enjoy every moment of the adventure.
PREDICTION: Free spirits. Hmmmm. I fear they may be the first team to go, but I'm hoping to be proven wrong.
Kate and Pat - Married Ministers
Kate and Pat are the first lesbian team to run The Amazing Race. These clergywomen are devoted to their families, to their faith, and to each other. While Pat worries a bit that Kate's shaky relationship with the clock could cause problems for their team, both women are determined and ready to take on whatever challenges the Race gives them. It's about time a single-sex female couple had an opportunity to run the Race! Congratulations, Kate and Pat!
PREDICTION: I'm going to place Kate and Pat at the halfway mark, but not for lack of teamwork or cooperation. I think this team is going to be a delight to watch.
What are your thoughts and predictions about this season's teams? Join me in the Primetime TV Forum to discuss The Amazing Race 12, and be sure to take the Hopes and Predictions Polls.
The world is waiting!