Amazing Race’ premiere: First leg has ‘a very dramatic finish,’ says Phil Keoghan

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“The Amazing Race” returns this weekend with teams that include Chippendales dancers, a double amputee and a Megadeth rocker, plus a two million dollar prize for the winners of the first leg shoudl they win the whole race. Host Phil Keoghan tells Zap2itthat raises the stakes right at the start.

“We definitely set a high bar and you can see right from the start the teams are amped up,” says Keoghan. “There’s a very dramatic finish … it’s one of those endings where the teams are really fighting, they’re very very close. There’s a couple of decisions that are made there that really had a detrimental effect on a couple of teams. Really exciting, right to the last team.”

Along with the exciting start, Keoghan also teases a few of the challenges the show sets up, which include eating something unusual and bringing back something from a past season.

“We do have a local delicacy that we share with the teams. We don’t have them gratuitously eating some piece of food, like a ‘Fear Factor’-type of stunt. We give them a delicacy that the local people really love,” says Keoghan.

“There is also something that comes up that many of the teams and the audience would have seen on the show before,” he continues. “Something that’s historic in the history of the race and we decided to bring it back.”

As far as the teams go, he says that there isn’t one team that sticks out as more colorful than any others. The show really prides itself on its diverse casting, which this time around includes Amy Purdy, a snowboarder who is a double amputee. Which Keoghan says does not slow her down one bit.

“Quite frankly, she moves faster and is more athletic than may of the guys running around with beer bellies. If I were going to choose over having her athletic ability over the guys carrying a little extra weight around the middle, I’d choose her,” he says.

“The Amazing Race” Season 21 premieres Sunday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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