Welcome back to a Race with 99 percent less facial hair than it had last week. Cue my harrumphy sigh.
The teams take trains from Poland to Vienna, Austria. Overachiever Amy is excited to go where "The Sound of Music" was filmed.
Everyone ends up on the same train from Warsaw, and the Afghanimals are put under the interrogation spotlight. Their story: they did not U-Turn the Beards, no, they never saw the Beards! They must think it makes them appear less dangerous, but none of the other teams buy it.
Fast Forward of Weather Dependency
The first clue in Vienna is for a Detour, but it also has a Fast Forward. Team Daters and Team Married both decide to go for it, but the Married cab seems far behind and they change their minds while en route. So it’s the Daters, for the win!
Except not. The task is to bungee jump off of Vienna’s tallest structure, a jump of 500 feet. Amy panics in the elevator and says she’s now afraid of heights. Unfortunately, the very handsome Extreme Sports Manager of Bungee Jumping says that it’s too windy at the moment. The wind knocks over a potted plant for emphasis.
Jason and Amy argue about waiting. She wants to wait, he wants to leave. She wins. But after Jason claims they’ve been waiting for an hour, and the wind hasn’t changed, they give up and join the rest of the Racers.
No one cares about chandeliers!
The first Detour option is Light Brigade, wherein they dress up as court servants and assemble an elaborate crystal chandelier. No one chooses it, which makes me sad, because delicate little things bring out the worst in people.
Instead, everyone chooses the second option, Masquerade. They wear ornate masks and head into a ballroom with lovely couples dancing the Viennese Waltz. The teams must match their masks with those of a dancing couple. All of the masks are shaped the same, the differences are in small color blocks.
The Exes finish first, then the Bunny Wives, Afghanimals, Pink Ice, OK, and Marrieds. The Exes lose time looking for a cab.
Jason and Amy arrive at the Detour after everyone has gone, which is never good for anyone's confidence.
Best Roadblock of the Season?
The Vienna Boys Choir has been around since 1498. I love them. For the Roadblock, team members must sing a solo with the choir from the song “Die Forelle” by Franz Schubert. They will be judged on pronunciation and musicality. Will this be another performance task that sounds harder than it is?
Each person gets a personal coach who takes them to a private music room. They start off with pronunciation, then the coach plays piano and coaches them on singing. Jamal transcribes things phonetically. Ally says she is bad at all other languages. Nicky says the words aren’t hard for her because her father is Czech and he speaks German, but she has a terrible voice. OK Tim says he can’t even sing in English. Travis says that he sings at work and sings to his kids.
The waiting partners are on chairs at the edge of the room, watching everyone audition. The choir doesn’t stand there singing all day, which is nice. They just hang out like little boys do until someone is ready to sing. Then their instructor sits at the piano. The choir sings a few lines and then the Roadblocker has to take over.
It’s so awesome. Singing in front of people is scary enough, but then you’re singing with the Vienna Boys Choir?! And what if you’re not even a good singer? I loved watching the coaching. OK Tim was nervous-sweating and his instructor told him to sing like an opera singer, or like Justin Timberlake, or like a child; anything crazy to help him stay in tune.
Husband Travis is the first to pass, on his second try. He’s all, “I nailed the tenor.” Then Wife Nicky passes on her second try, even though she doesn’t sound very good. I wondered if everyone would pass on their second try. Jamal and Ex Tim pass and Amy passes, leaving Pink Ally and OK Tim.
It is heartbreaking and painful to watch Ally and Tim try for the third, foruth and fifth times. At least Danny, whose ankle had been bothering him, gets to prop his foot on a chair while he waits. Ally finally passes on her fifth try, and then so does Danny.
Team OK is in last place. Danny tells Tim that it’s OK, he couldn’t have done any better himself. Tim says, “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, but we can race.”
Cab drama! Cab drama! Cab drama!
Most teams had their cabs wait for them outside of the choir building. The Bunny Wives did not; they try to take a waiting cab, but they see Jason and Amy’s bags inside. The cab driver removes the bags and offers to take them, but they don’t want to mess with that. They go to the street for another cab.
Tim and Marie’s driver dropped them off at the wrong end, so they plan to steal a cab on their way out. They see the bags on the grass, consider the cab “unclaimed” and take it. Marie tells Tim that they’ll blame the Afghanimals.
The driver looks at them. “You started with me, yeah?” “No,” they say. Cab driver gets nervous. “Ah, I took the wrong team!” Then Marie waves a blue Route Marker at him. “No, we’re all on the same team, we’re all blue, it’s OK.” She does it so calmly.
In an interview, Marie says that they had to weigh winning a million dollars against having drinks with Jason and Amy after the show; the money won, obviously. What’s amusing to me is that either last week or the week before, Marie tweeted a picture of herself, Tim, Jason and Amy, watching the show together at a bar and having drinks.
When Jason and Amy see their bags on the lawn, not inside their cab, they are not happy. Rather than steal someone else’s cab, though, they go out to the street and get another one. Amy says, “Providence Amy will definitely come out if someone else took our taxi. I’m going to flip out.”
Pit Stop drama! Pit Stop drama!
After the choir, the teams are sent to Schoenbrunn Palace. The grounds are huge, and the clue is inside a hedge maze. The maze isn’t too challenging, though. From the maze they are sent up a hill to Gloriette, the centerpiece of the garden, where Phil is waiting and wearing a sun hat. The greeter is a beautiful woman wearing a fancy ball gown and sparkly stars in her hair. I want to be her.
Travis and Nicole are in first place for the second time. Phil points out that their nickname is Power Parents. I haven’t heard that before! The Bunny Wives are second and the Afghanimals are third.
The Exes are in the maze when Jason and Amy pull up. They recognize their old cab driver waiting, and they recognize the bags in the car. Oh, it’s on. The Exes get to the mat and are still there when the Daters sneak up.
Phil senses the tension and lets them get it out. Jason does most of the arguing, while Marie says that the Daters would have done the same thing. There’s some yelling and talking over each other; Jason says they’re mainly disappointed because they had been friends. But then he says it doesn’t matter. “We went to a Fast Forward, all the way back, we’re here now and we’re going to kick their ass. We know we’re a better team.” Marie doesn’t look threatened.
It’s now girls versus boys. Pink Ice gets to the maze first, finds the clue and starts walking up the hill. Team OK tries to be quiet in the maze so the girls don’t start running, then they book it up the hill. But I guess they just weren’t fast enough because, sniff, they are the last team to arrive. I hoped for a last-second non-elimination, but I was denied. Farewell, Team Oklahoma.
I’ve lost my two favorite teams two weeks in a row. Why is the universe so mad at me?
Next week: Abu Dhabi, where teams race fast cars and Marie freaks out about some olive platters.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun