The Amazing Race 15
|The Amazing Race 15|
|Presented by||Phil Keoghan|
|No. of teams||12|
|Winners||Meghan Rickey & Cheyne Whitney|
|No. of legs||12|
|Distance traveled||25,000 mi (40,000 km)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Original release||September 27 –|
December 6, 2009
|Filming dates||July 18 –|
August 7, 2009
The Amazing Race 15 is the fifteenth installment of the American reality television show The Amazing Race. This season featured twelve teams of two, with a pre-existing relationship, in a race around the world, and was the last season to date to feature twelve teams of two, as subsequent seasons have featured eleven teams of two as normal.
The fifteenth cycle started on Sunday, September 27, 2009, with a two-hour premiere. It aired on CBS in the United States, and CTV in Canada, on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT with the season finale on December 6, 2009. The show was hosted by Phil Keoghan. In Asia, it was aired on AXN.
Dating couple Meghan Rickey and Cheyne Whitney were the winners of this season.
Development and filming
CBS aired the fifteenth season during the start of the 2009–2010 television season. CBS was the first broadcaster to announce that the show would be broadcast on Twitter, following Keoghan's own announcement of the show's renewal via Twitter.
The fifteenth season spanned eight countries in 21 days. Teams traveled 25,000 miles (40,000 km) visiting Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, and Sweden, as well as first time visits to Estonia and the Czech Republic.
All route markers and clue boxes in Vietnam were colored yellow with a center white stripe rather than the typical yellow with a red stripe to avoid confusion with the flag of the former independent state of South Vietnam. This was also done previously in Season 10. These were also the original route markers in Season 1.
This season introduced two new twists. A Starting Line Task and a Switchback. The Starting Line Task is where teams are forced to complete a nearby challenge before receiving the clue to their first international destination. Often, the challenge merely determines which teams will receive the right to take the quickest flight; on several occasions, the last team to finish received a penalty to be served later in the race, or was immediately eliminated from the race altogether. The Switchback is where teams faced one of the series' challenges marked either memorable or infamous with minor changes. The Switchback that debuted on Leg 8 revisited the infamous Swedish Roadblock from Season 6, in which one team member had to unroll one of 270 hay bales with only 20 containing clues. Instead of being an exact duplicate, however, this Roadblock involved fewer bales (186) and instead of 20 clues, only seven Amazing Race flags were hidden. Additionally, the original version had the nine teams competing, but by the time this season reached the task, only five teams were involved. Also, the original version's task leg was an elimination leg, but the leg that featured the Switchback was a non-elimination leg.
This was the second season since Season 10 to feature a surprise elimination at a location other than a Pit Stop, which occurred at the Starting Line. The eliminated team at the Starting Line, Eric and Lisa Paskel, acknowledged in a post-show interview that they were the first team to leave the show voluntarily instead of spending the remainder of filming at the Elimination Station, as they had previous plans to travel to India. As a consequence, they were not allowed to have any further involvement in the show. Although their travel was over by the time the season ended, they were not told where the Finish Line was and as a result they were the second team to be absent at the Finish Line to cheer for the top three teams (the first was Toni & Dallas from Season 13), and had no knowledge of the outcome of the season before the season finale aired.
This season was the first since Season 11 to have more than two non-elimination points (Season 11 had four non-elimination points). This was also the first American season in which the first leg was a non-elimination leg. As such, all clues leading to the Pit Stops, including the first leg, ended with the sentence "The last team to check in may be eliminated."
Applications were originally due by February 24, 2009, but the deadline was later extended. Semi-finalist interviews were held between March 20 and March 29, 2009. Following this, finalists were invited to Los Angeles between April 23 and April 30, 2009, for final interviews with the producers. From there, 12 teams were selected as contestants and to date, this is the final season, which featured the 12 teams of two concept. Filming took place around July and August 2009.
Casting calls were also held as host Phil Keoghan cycled across the United States during the months of April and early May 2009 to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, during which Keoghan made stops to help with those casting calls.
Some of the more prominent members of the cast are professional poker players Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle, Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap, Harlem Globetrotters Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton, and country singer-songwriter Canaan Smith. One member of the cast, Zev Glassenberg, has Asperger's Syndrome, and his teammate, Justin Kanew, is the son of Jeff Kanew, who directed Revenge of the Nerds.
Meghan & Cheyne were married on May 7, 2011 with the teams of Sam & Dan, Maria & Tiffany, and Brian & Ericka were in the wedding party. Brian & Ericka recently decided to divorce prior to this event.
Friends Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew and Harlem Globetrotters Nate "Big Easy" Lofton and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang raced again in The Amazing Race 18 among a cast made up of returning teams from seasons 12-17. Flight Time & Big Easy were also chosen to compete in the second All-Stars edition.
In 2010, Flight Time & Big Easy each competed on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Tiffany later competed on Season 3 of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America and was eliminated in episode six. Brian later appeared on Season 7 of ABC's Shark Tank to secure funding for a potty training product called "EZPeeZ" but was unable to secure a deal. On May 25, 2016, Flight Time & Big Easy appeared on an Amazing Race-themed The Price is Right primetime special. In 2019, Maria appeared as an imposter on To Tell the Truth. In 2020, Brian hosted the HGTV show 100 Day Dream Home with his wife Mika. Flight Time & Big Easy also appeared on 100 Day Dream Home in 2021. In 2021, Brian competed on the HGTV show Rock the Block.
The following teams participated in the season, each listed along with their placements in each leg and relationships as identified by the program. 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||Position (by leg)||Roadblocks|
|Meghan & Cheyne||Dating||1st||6th||2nd||5th||1stƒ||1st||2nd||2nd||1st||1st||1st||1st||Meghan 5, Cheyne 6|
|Sam & Dan||Brothers||9th||2nd||5th||1st||5th||3rd||1st||4th||2nd||2nd||2nd||2nd||Sam 6, Dan 6|
|Brian & Ericka||Married||6th||10th||4th||3rd||2nd||4th||5th7||3rd||4th||4th||3rd9||3rd||Brian 6, Ericka 6|
|Flight Time & Big Easy||Harlem Globetrotters||5th||3rd||1st||2nd||3rd||6th||3rd||1st||3rd||3rd||4th10||Flight Time 5, Big Easy 610|
|Gary & Matt||Father/Son||7th||1st||3rd||4th||4th||5th||4th||5th||5th||Gary 4, Matt 5|
|Maria & Tiffany||Professional Poker Players||11th3||7th||6th||8th||6th||2nd||6th8||Maria 2, Tiffany 5|
|Mika & Canaan||Newly Dating||10th2||8th||7th||7th||7th||7th6||Mika 1, Canaan 5|
|Lance & Keri||Engaged||3rd||4th||9th||6th||8th||Lance 3, Keri 2|
|Zev & Justin||Friends||2nd||5th||8th||9th5||Zev 2, Justin 2|
|Marcy & Ron||Dating||4th||9th||10th||Marcy 1, Ron 2|
|Garrett & Jessica||Dating On & Off||8th||11th||Garrett 1, Jessica 1|
|Eric & Lisa||Married Yoga Teachers||12th1||Eric 0, Lisa 0|
- A red team placement indicates that the team was eliminated.
- A green ƒ indicates that the team won a Fast Forward.
- An underlined blue team's placement indicates that the team came in last on a non-elimination leg and had to perform a Speed Bump task in the following leg.
- A brown ⊃ means the team chose to use a U-Turn; ⊂ indicates the team who received it.
- ^ Eric & Lisa were eliminated at the Starting Line as per the provisions of the first task (see below).
- ^ Mika & Canaan initially arrived 10th but had lost one of the tourists that they were required to bring to the Pit Stop. They were required to backtrack to find their missing tourist before being allowed to check in. This did not affect their placement.
- ^ Maria & Tiffany lost two of the tourists that they were required to bring to the Pit Stop. They chose not to backtrack to find the missing tourists and instead took a 2-hour penalty that would be given after checking-in at the Pit Stop. They arrived at the Pit Stop last, but were notified that the leg was a non-elimination leg. The 2-hour penalty they incurred from the task would be instead applied at the starting time at Leg 2.
- ^ Leg 3 featured an unaired Blind U-Turn.
- ^ Zev & Justin initially arrived and checked in 1st but soon discovered that Zev did not have his passport. They were not allowed to be checked in until they found it and brought it back to the Pit Stop. All other teams checked into the Pit Stop before Zev's passport could be found, resulting in Zev & Justin's elimination.
- ^ Mika & Canaan did not finish the task at the Atlantis The Palm resort due to Mika's fear of heights and swimming/water. After all of the other teams checked into the Pit Stop, they checked in last and were eliminated without a penalty being issued.
- ^ Brian & Ericka initially arrived 5th, but were issued a 30-minute penalty as they did not travel by bicycle to the Detour as instructed in their clue. This did not affect their placement.
- ^ Maria & Tiffany were unable to complete either of the Detour tasks and elected to quit the task. Long after all the other teams had checked-in at the Pit Stop, Phil came to the Detour location to inform them of their elimination.
- ^ Brian & Ericka initially arrived 3rd but were issued a 30-minute penalty for writing down the letters in the Roadblock task before reaching the office, which was explicitly prohibited in the clue. However, this did not affect their placement, and it was unaired.
- ^ Big Easy chose to forfeit the Roadblock at Leg 11 and he & Flight Time were issued a 4-hour penalty at the Roadblock site. By the time their penalty was over, all the other teams had checked-in at the Pit Stop. After arriving at Kryocentrum, instead of performing the remaining tasks left for this leg, Flight Time & Big Easy received a clue that instructed them to go directly to the Pit Stop for elimination.
Episode title quotes
Episode titles are often taken from quotes made by the racers. The first episode was a two-part episode that featured Legs 1 and 2 of the season.
- "They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street" – Flight Time
- "It's Like Being Dropped on Planet Mars" – Lance
- "Sean Penn Cambodia Here We Come" – Justin
- "I'm Like Ricky Bobby" – Cheyne
- "Do It for the Hood! Do It for the Suburbs!" – Flight Time and Sam
- "This Is Not My Finest Hour" – Ericka
- "This Is the Worst Thing I've Ever Done in My Life" – Meghan
- "We're Not Meant for the Swamp" – Brian
- "We're Not Working With Anybody, Ever, Anymore!" – Ericka
- "It Starts With an 'F', That's All I'm Saying" – Dan
- "Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound" – Elvis Presley impersonator; a cluegiver (non-racer)
The prize for each leg is awarded to the first place team for that leg. Trips were provided by Travelocity. The prizes were:
- Leg 1 – A trip for two to Aspen and Vail, Colorado
- Leg 2 – A kayak for each person
- Leg 3 – A trip for two to Aruba
- Leg 4 – A pair of motorcycles (Unaired)
- Leg 5 – A trip for two to Runaway Bay, Jamaica
- Leg 6 – Two personal watercraft
- Leg 7 – A pair of dune buggies
- Leg 8 – A trip for two to the Turks and Caicos Islands
- Leg 9 – A red cedar sauna
- Leg 10 – A trip for two to Lanai, Hawaii
- Leg 11 – A pair of 52 inch HD LCD TVs
- Leg 12 – US$1,000,000
After elimination, five of the first six teams were sequestered at a villa in Phú Quốc, Vietnam to await the finale. The exception was Eric & Lisa, who chose to leave the show upon their elimination. CBS posted short videos on its website after each episode aired in the Pacific Time Zone to show the eliminated teams interacting at the villa.
- Leg 1 was a non-elimination leg, hence no team was sent to the villa and no episode was shown. Eric & Lisa were eliminated at the Starting Line and the first team to be eliminated, but they did not go to the Elimination Station (see above).
- After Leg 2, Garrett & Jessica were the second team to be eliminated and were the first team sent to the villa. They both expressed their disappointment after having been in second place earlier in the leg and then being the first eliminated. Garrett believed that either Maria and Tiffany or Mika and Canaan would be the next team eliminated but both agreed that any of the teams could be eliminated next because of the animal challenges that faced them in the prior leg. Garrett noticed that Jessica was extremely bummed since being eliminated and he wanted to ask her to marry him at the Finish Line. Garrett proposed to Jessica at the beach and she said yes, after which her mood was significantly raised.
- After Leg 3, Marcy & Ron were the third team eliminated and were the second team sent to the villa. Ron told Garrett & Jessica that the intensity had gone up a notch between the remaining racers in the last leg. The eliminated teams did a Vietnamese Martial Arts Exercise, then went out to a luxurious restaurant called Việt Xưa. They had different views as to who would be the next team eliminated; Marcy believed that Flight Time & Big Easy would be eliminated next, Garrett, Jessica and Ron went with Meghan & Cheyne, Sam & Dan, and Mika & Canaan, respectively.
- After Leg 4, Zev & Justin were the fourth team eliminated but were not immediately sent to the villa due to Zev losing his passport. At the villa, Marcy and Ron asked Garrett and Jessica about the marriage proposal. Noting it had been two days since the next eliminated team was supposed to arrive, the two teams discussed what might have happened to the next eliminated team. Ron speculated that the team had either lost their passports or were seriously injured. Meanwhile, in Phnom Penh, Zev & Justin went to the U.S. Embassy to request a replacement passport for Zev, only to find it had been found in a temple near the Roadblock and was turned in. They grew even more disappointed when they figured out the passport likely fell out of the fanny pack when Justin opened it to retrieve a headlight while they were searching for the Roadblock in the wrong place. They later called the villa and informed the two teams there of their elimination because of the passport mishap and told them that they would join them as soon as they could.
- After Leg 5, Lance & Keri were the fifth team eliminated. The two teams at the villa were discussing Zev & Justin, speculating about their elimination. A van arrived at the villa and the teams went outside, fully expecting to see Zev & Justin. They were surprised to see that the van contained Lance & Keri; the third team to arrive at the villa. They explained to the other teams that their bad directional skills had led to their elimination, as well as the lodging conditions during the Cambodia Pit Stop. The three eliminated teams drove to a nearby river and started a race in a traditional Vietnamese boat between the boys (Garrett, Ron and Lance) and the girls (Jessica, Marcy and Keri).
- After Leg 6, Mika & Canaan were the sixth team to be eliminated. In the race teased in the previous episode, the eliminated girls managed to beat the boys in the boat race by nine seconds. Back at the villa, as the other three eliminated teams were relaxing, they noticed that Zev and Justin had showed up; the fourth team to arrive at the villa. The three eliminated teams were happy to see Zev & Justin who explained how they were eliminated and what they went through after this. The four eliminated teams went out to the night market where Zev sampled a chicken foot. Mika & Canaan were the fifth and last team to arrive at the villa. They explained to the other four eliminated teams of Mika's fear of water and heights that led to their elimination. Canaan noted they were at the water slide for around 45 minutes.
- After Leg 7, Maria & Tiffany were the seventh team to be eliminated. While the eliminated teams were playing cards, Maria & Tiffany called the villa to inform them of their elimination. They tried to explain to the other teams the true reason they were eliminated, but none of the other teams believed their story, as Maria & Tiffany had lied about their professions in the early stages of the season. Maria & Tiffany told the teams they would see them at the End City. Several teams expressed their resentment of Maria & Tiffany as well as their satisfaction that they were eliminated and would not be joining them at the villa. The teams at the villa traveled to a rough-looking soccer field where they believed they would be playing against 7- to 9-year-old children from the area, but instead played against a teenage-looking group of soccer players.
- Leg 8 was a non-elimination leg, hence no new teams were sent to the villa. In the soccer match teased in the previous episode, the Vietnamese soccer players easily defeated the eliminated boys 4-0. The eliminated teams at the villa had a Shaman visit the villa and the teams had their futures told to them. Canaan decided to break up with Mika, saying the reason was not because of the Race, but because he was not ready for a relationship and hoped they would remain friends. In a post-show interview, however, they mentioned that they made up.
- After Leg 9, Gary & Matt were the eighth team eliminated. Prior to the call, the eliminated teams at the villa made predictions as to who would be eliminated next. All teams believed it was Brian and Ericka, except for Zev & Justin who believed it would be Gary & Matt who would be eliminated next. Gary & Matt then called the teams at the villa to inform them of their elimination. They told them about their Speed Bump that helped lead to their elimination, saying they were just minutes behind the last team. When asked who would win, they believed any one of the teams could win.
- Leg 10 was a non-elimination leg, hence no new teams were sent to the villa. A taekwondo instructor was brought in to teach the eliminated teams how to spar. Lance, who was a blackbelt, took on the taekwondo master's student – ultimately cheating by wrestling him to the floor. They all then tried breaking tiles with their hands. All the eliminated teams had to pack up and fly to the End City. Jessica believed it was in Portland, Oregon, or maybe in Los Angeles, while Lance wished for it to be on the East Coast so he could easily return to Boston afterward.
- After Leg 11, Flight Time & Big Easy were the ninth and final team eliminated. Elimination Station showed five of the six eliminated teams arriving at the End City in Las Vegas, Nevada. After arriving there, the teams checked into a hotel. Once they checked in, they discussed with each other who would be eliminated next prior to a phone call from the ninth team. The teams at the hotel were shocked and disappointed to hear about Flight Time & Big Easy's elimination especially Zev & Justin who wanted them to win. They told them about what went wrong at the Roadblock. Flight Time & Big Easy said that they wanted to see Meghan & Cheyne to win it all and told them that they would see them at the Finish Line. Lance & Keri were happy to see the end of the season and to know who they think is going to win. Garrett said that it's anybody's race. All the eliminated teams wanted to see Meghan and Cheyne to win, except for Garrett & Jessica who wanted to see Sam & Dan to come in 1st, Brian & Ericka in 2nd, and Meghan & Cheyne in 3rd.
- Leg 12 was the final leg of The Amazing Race 15. Maria & Tiffany, Gary & Matt, and Flight Time & Big Easy reunited with the other eliminated teams (except Eric & Lisa) at the Finish Line at Casa de Shenandoah. Most of the teams believed that they wanted to see Meghan & Cheyne win. Teams expressed their opinions about the final three teams at the Finish Line along with their joys and disappointments.
|Destinations|| Air travel Rail travel Water travel Bus travel |
Helicopter travel Bicycle travel Gondola travel
|Route Markers||Detour Roadblock Fast Forward 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.
Leg 1 (United States → Japan)
Airdate: September 27, 2009
- Los Angeles, California, United States (Los Angeles River overlooking the Sixth Street Viaduct) (Starting Line and Elimination Point)
- Los Angeles (Los Angeles International Airport) to Tokyo, Japan (Narita International Airport)
- Tokyo (Minato – Tokyo Tower Studios)
- Tokyo (Shibuya – Shibuya Scramble Crossing)
- Tokyo (Shibuya – Konnō Hachimangū Shrine (in Japanese))
In this season's first Roadblock, one team member had to participate in a Japanese-style game show called Sushi Roulette. Once all the teams arrived at the Roadblock location, the host would spin a wheel with eleven plates of sushi, two of which were "wasabi bombs" – temaki-style sushi filled with hot wasabi. If the racer received a wasabi bomb, he or she had two minutes to eat it to receive their next clue. If they failed to finish it within the time allotted, they had to play again until they received a new wasabi bomb and could complete the task. Racers who received plain sushi had to eat the sushi and play until they received a wasabi bomb.
- Additional tasks
- At the Los Angeles River, teams had to search through over 1,000 license plates for one of eleven Japanese plates from Shinagawa and present it to Phil to receive tickets for one of two flights for their first destination: Tokyo, Japan. The kanji for Shinagawa (品川) were provided in the clue, though not explicitly. The first six teams to find the correct license plate would receive plane tickets on an American Airlines flight that would leave thirty minutes before a United Airlines flight with the next five teams. The last team without the correct license plate was eliminated.
- After completing the Roadblock, teams received a colored flag along with their next clue and had to lead a group of 20 Japanese tourists wearing the same colored visors as their flag via the scramble crossing in Shibuya to the Pit Stop at Konnō Hachimangū Shrine. Teams were not allowed to check in unless all 20 members of their group were present at the mat. If at least one member of their group was not present, teams had to go back to find them and bring them to the Pit Stop before being allowed to check in.
Leg 2 (Japan → Vietnam)
Airdate: September 27, 2009
- Tokyo (Narita International Airport) to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Tan Son Nhat International Airport)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Bến xe Miền Tây (in Vietnamese)) to Cái Bè (Cái Bè Bus Terminal)
- Cái Bè (Bến Tàu Du Lịch Dock)
- Tân Phong Island (Fruit Farm Mud Pits)
- Cái Bè (Cái Bè Township Sports Ground)
- Cái Bè (Mekong – Bassac III Riverboat)
For their Speed Bump, Maria & Tiffany had to prepare a serving of the Vietnamese soup phở for the Bến Tàu Du Lịch dockmaster by collecting the ingredients at a soup stand, combining the ingredients, and serving the completed phở to the dockmaster before they could continue racing.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to herd 150 ducks out of their pen, lead them across a bridge and back, and then herd them back into their pen in ten minutes using two flags to guide the ducks. When they completed the task, they could get their next clue. With only six available fields, if the team member failed to complete the task within ten minutes, they had to relinquish their spot to other teams before they could start over.
- Additional task
- Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, teams had to travel by bus to Cái Bè and make their way to Bến Tàu Du Lịch Dock. At the dock, teams had to take a sampan along the Mekong Delta to a fruit farm mud pit. There, teams had to collect nutrient-rich mud in buckets and pile it at the base of a fruit tree to a designated line to receive their next clue.
Leg 3 (Vietnam)
Airdate: October 4, 2009
- Cái Bè to Mỹ Tho (Mỹ Tho Boat Pier) (Pit Start)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Ho Chi Minh City Post Office)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Tao Đàn Park (in Vietnamese) or Hotel A Dong)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Điện Cơ 008)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Reunification Palace)
This season's first Detour was a choice between Child's Play or Word Play. In Child's Play, teams had to find a kiosk named Nhiep Anh Công viên Tao Đàn Kiosque Giao Anh in Tao Đàn Park and deliver a concrete animal statue to a children's playground, along with five different colored balloons they collected along their route, to receive their next clue. In Word Play, teams had to go up to Hotel A Dong's observation deck and search the traffic circle of Ngã sáu Cộng Hoà (Six-way Intersection of the Republic) in front of the hotel for six Vietnamese letters hidden atop vehicles passing through the circle. Once a security guard approved their letters, teams had to get assistance from the locals to unscramble the letters to spell the Vietnamese word Độc Lập, which means "independence", to receive their next clue.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to disassemble two VCRs and organize the parts into separate piles to receive their next clue.
- Additional task
- At the start of the leg, teams had to travel to Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre in Ho Chi Minh City. There, teams had to grab an Amazing Race-colored ribbon from the mouth of a dragon puppet moving about in the water. Inside the ribbon was a small metal capsule with a postage stamp concealed inside, leaving teams to figure out that the stamp depicted the Saigon Central Post Office (referred to as the "Ho Chi Minh City Post Office" in the show), where teams would find their next clue.
- Additional note
- During the Pit Stop, the Bassac III traveled from Cái Bè to Mỹ Tho, where teams would begin the third leg.
Leg 4 (Vietnam → Cambodia)
Airdate: October 11, 2009
- Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Phnom Penh International Airport)
- Phnom Penh (Foreign Correspondents' Club)
- Phnom Penh (Hotel Le Royal)
- Phnom Penh (Russian Market (in Khmer))
- Phnom Penh (Wat Toul Tom Pong)
- Phnom Penh (Wat Phnom)
This leg's Detour was a choice between Cover or Wrap. In Cover, teams traveled to a marked motorcycle helmet shop located at the Russian Market, choose four helmets, and had to sell them to a family of four (two adults and two children) for US$10. When the sale was completed, they had to exchange the money with the store owner for their next clue. In Wrap, teams had to travel to the Russian Market and find stalls 980 and 981, where the shopkeeper would hand them a silk scarf. They then had to search the market for a woman wearing an identical scarf and bring the woman back to the stall to receive their next clue from the shopkeeper.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to put on a monkey mask and tail and perform three Classical Khmer monkey dance maneuvers as demonstrated by the monkey dancer to receive their next clue from the monkey master.
- Additional tasks
- Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, teams made their way to the Foreign Correspondents' Club and had to find an assignment editor reading a newspaper and whisper for their next assignment. Teams would then be given a newspaper with a duplicate photo of King Norodom Sihanouk and Jacqueline Kennedy taken in 1967. Teams were instructed to find a suite with this photo and had to figure out that such a photo could be found at a hotel suite named after Kennedy at the Hotel Le Royal, where they would receive their next clue.
- After completing the Detour, teams were instructed to travel by foot to Wat Toul Tom Pong for their next clue.
Leg 5 (Cambodia → United Arab Emirates)
Airdate: October 18, 2009
- Phnom Penh (Hotel Le Royal) (Pit Start)
- Phnom Penh (Phnom Penh International Airport) to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Dubai International Airport)
- Dubai (The Dubai Fountain)
- Dubai (Burj Dubai – Observation Deck)
- Dubai (Dubai Autodrome)
- Dubai (The Dubai Mall – Car Park P2)
- Margham (Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve)
- Dubai (Mall of the Emirates – Ski Dubai)
- Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah)
This season's only Fast Forward instructed teams to travel to the Dubai Autodrome, where one team member had to drive a Formula Three open wheel race car and complete a single lap around the track in 45 seconds or less. The first team to do so would win the Fast Forward award and would be driven to the Pit Stop in a Maserati.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to pick a traditional water bag and search the desert reserve for a series of urns buried in the sand. Some of the urns contained water, while others were empty. When they filled their bag with water, they had to give it to a Bedouin and his thirsty camels to receive their next clue.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Build a Snowman or Find a Snowman. In Build a Snowman, teams had to take snow from Ski Dubai and carry it outside, where the temperature was approximately 120 °F (49 °C). They then had to build a snowman complete with two coal eyes, a carrot nose and a top hat before the snow melted. If the snowman was to the attendant's satisfaction, she would hand teams their next clue. In Find a Snowman, teams had to ride a ski lift to the top of the artificial mountain, sled down to the bottom, and dig through a mound of snow for a toy snowman buried within it. When teams found one, they had to give it to a person in a polar bear suit in exchange for their next clue.
- Additional tasks
- At the start of the leg, teams were only told to find the tallest building in the world in the Persian Gulf, leaving them to figure out that their next destination was the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Upon arrival, teams had travel to The Dubai Fountain and sign up for one of two departure times to Burj Dubai (now Burj Khalifa) the following morning. At their designated time, teams boarded an elevator bound for a balcony located on the 124th floor of the then still-under-construction building, where teams would locate their next clue.
- Teams who didn't choose to attempt the Fast Forward had to travel to a parking area in The Dubai Mall, search for a marked car, and drive themselves to Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, where teams would be driven in a 4x4 vehicle to their next clue.
Leg 6 (United Arab Emirates)
Airdate: October 25, 2009
- Dubai (Dubai Creek – Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club)
- Dubai (Old Textile Souq Quarter – Abra Station)
- Dubai (Dubai Old Souk Abra Station to Deira Old Souk Abra Station)
- Dubai (Gold Souk – Deepu Jewellers or Spice Souk)
- Palm Jumeirah (Atlantis The Palm – Aquaventure (Leap of Faith))
- Palm Jumeirah (Atlantis The Palm – Dolphin Bay Beach)
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to row an inflatable dinghy out to a yacht anchored offshore and meet a sheikh on board, who would give the team member a watch. After rowing back to the dock, they had to open a locked briefcase they picked up at the beginning of the leg, by figuring out that the time displayed on the watch corresponded with the combination to the briefcase's lock (8:35 → 8-3-5), to retrieve their next clue.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Gold or Glass. For both Detour options, teams had to travel by abra across the Dubai Creek to the neighborhood of Deira. In Gold, teams had to find Deepu Jewellers in Deira's Gold Souk, where they would use a precision scale to weigh out US$500,000 worth of gold to the nearest ounce to receive their next clue. The price of gold per ounce was displayed on a television monitor but would change by the minute. In Glass, teams made their way to the Spice Souk in Deira, where they had to open a crate and properly assemble twelve hookahs using all parts from the crate and three displayed hookahs as guides to receive their next clue.
- Additional tasks
- At the start of the leg at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, teams had to pick up a locked briefcase and bring it to their next destination.
- After the Detour, teams made their way to Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah. There, both team members had to slide down the resort's Leap of Faith water slide, which dropped them six stories down a nearly 90° incline and through a tunnel beneath the aquarium's shark lagoon, before retrieving their next clue. If multiple teams were at the top of the slide at the same time, the leading team had two minutes to go down the slide before relinquishing their spot. This task was later referenced on Season 28 during the Roadblock at Aquaventure.
Leg 7 (United Arab Emirates → Netherlands)
Airdate: November 1, 2009
- Dubai (Dubai International Airport) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
- Den Oever (Afsluitdijk – Cornelis Lely Monument)
- Groningen (Martinitoren)
- Vierhuizen, De Marne (Windmill De Onderneming (in Dutch))
- Zoutkamp (Harbor)
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to climb to the top of the Martinitoren and count all of the bells in the carillon. When the team member provided the correct number (62) to the carillonneur, they received their next clue. Otherwise they had to climb back up to the carillon to count again.
This leg's Detour required teams to dress in traditional Dutch costumes – one male and one female – and to ride bicycles to their Detour: Farmer's Game or Farmer's Dance. In Farmer's Game, teams had to strip down to their Dutch underwear and swim across a creek. On the other side, they had to retrieve a special set of golf clubs and play 3 holes of Farmersgolf. Team members took turns with each stroke and had to finish within par of eight strokes on each hole to receive their next clue. In Farmer's Dance, teams had to find a country festival, where one team member had to hit the bell on a high striker (team members would alternate until one team member successfully hits the bell). They then had to enter a dance hall to learn a traditional Dutch folk dance and perform that dance in front of a crowd. If the dance was to the instructor's satisfaction, each team member would be given a serving of soused herring, which they had to eat to receive their next clue.
- Additional tasks
- Upon arrival in Amsterdam, teams picked up a marked vehicle and drove to the Cornelis Lely Monument on the Afsluitdijk to find their next clue.
- After completing the Detour, teams had to ride their bicycles to the Pit Stop at Zoutkamp Harbor.
Leg 8 (Netherlands → Sweden)
Airdate: November 8, 2009
- Vierhuizen, De Marne (Windmill De Onderneming) (Pit Start)
- Amsterdam (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) to Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholm Arlanda Airport)
- Sigtuna (Arlanda North Station) to Stockholm (Stockholm Central Station)
- Stockholm (Terminal Nybroviken) to Djurgården (Terminal Allmänna Gränd (in Swedish))
- Djurgården (Tivoli Gröna Lund – Fritt Fall)
- Djurgården (Tivoli Gröna Lund – Ring Toss Booth)
- Håbo (Skokloster (in Swedish))
- Häggvik (Bögs Gård Farm)
This leg's Detour was a choice between Nobel Dynamite or Viking Alphabet. In Nobel Dynamite, teams traveled to a rock quarry and had to fill sandbags to create a protective bunker before setting off an explosion with dynamite, which unearthed a metal box containing their next clue. In Viking Alphabet, teams had to decode a message in Elder Futhark on a runestone (using smaller stones with both runes and letters) that told them to "Locate Trygve the Strong Viking" to receive their next clue.
This leg's Roadblock was a Switchback from Season 6, where one team member had to search through 186 hay bales to find one of seven Amazing Race flags. When team members found one of the flags, they could proceed with their partner to the nearby Pit Stop.
- Additional task
- At Tivoli Gröna Lund, one team member had to ride the Fritt Fall drop tower to look for an arrow that pointed them in the direction of their next clue, located among the carnival games. There, teams then had to play a game of ring toss until they ringed a large gnome hat with a Travelocity Roaming Gnome concealed beneath it. If successful, the game attendant would hand them the gnome, which contained their next clue on the bottom of its base. Teams had to keep the gnome with them for the duration of the leg.
Leg 9 (Sweden → Estonia)
Airdate: November 15, 2009
- Stockholm (Stockholm Free Port) to Tallinn, Estonia (Port of Tallinn)
- Tallinn (Mustpeade Maja)
- Tallinn (Pikk Hermann Tower Gardens)
- Keava (Keava Raba (in Estonian))
- Keava (Keava Raba Overlook Tower)
For their Speed Bump, Gary & Matt had to find a Saunabuss parked nearby. They then had to strip naked and spend five minutes in the sauna with some locals before they could continue racing.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to enter the cellar of the Mustpeade Maja and participate in a ceremony of the Brotherhood of Blackheads Guild. Team members had to pick up a candelabra with a room number attached to it from a table of revelers. When they found the room, they were given what appeared to be a blank scroll. Team members had to figure out that their next clue was written in invisible ink and could be revealed by holding the scroll over the light of the candle. The clue read "Pikk Hermann Tower Gardens", which was their next destination.
This leg's Detour was a choice between Serve or Sling. In Serve, teams participated in a game of volleyball in the Keava bog, where they had to score a total of five points against a local team to receive their next clue. Only two teams at a time could perform this task. In Sling, teams had to put on bog shoes and walk out onto a bog, where they used slingshots to fire assorted vegetables at a target, which when hit would collapse a table full of cabbages along with their next clue.
- Additional task
- At the start of the leg, teams were given a set of keys along with their clue, which instructed them to travel by ferry across the Baltic Sea to the city of Tallinn in Estonia. Upon arrival, teams had to make their way to Mustpeade Maja, where they had to find the right key that would sound an alarm and open the door to find their next clue inside.
Leg 10 (Estonia → Czech Republic)
Airdate: November 22, 2009
- Tallinn (Tallinn Airport) to Prague, Czech Republic (Prague Ruzyně Airport)
- Prague (Old Town Square)
- Prague (Vltava – Kajaky Trója)
- Prague (Estates Theatre)
- Prague (Prague Castle)
This leg's Detour was a choice between Fast & Furious or Slow & Steady. In Fast & Furious, teams had to row a kayak down a man-made whitewater rafting course used by professional kayakers and grab a ribbon suspended over the course which had their next clue written on it. If their boat capsized before reaching the clue, they would have to start the course over. In Slow & Steady, both team members had to pull themselves along an aerial rope course suspended above the rafting course to grab one of two ribbons that, when combined, had their next clue written on them.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to search the Estates Theatre for a miniature mandolin and bring it onstage to an actor dressed as the titular character from the Mozart opera Don Giovanni, which premiered at the theatre, to receive their next clue.
- Additional tasks
- Upon arrival in Prague, teams had to head to the Old Town Square and find a man in a vintage Praga, who would give them their next clue.
- Teams' ribbon clue from completing the Detour was written in Czech – Stavovské Divadlo – leaving teams to figure out that their next clue was at the Estates Theatre.
Leg 11 (Czech Republic)
Airdate: November 29, 2009
- Prague (Spanish Synagogue)
- Prague (Ekotechnické Museum)
- Prague (Kryocentrum)
- Prague (Charles Bridge)
- Prague (Old New Synagogue or Pivovar a Restaurace "U Fleků" and Restaurace Kozička)
- Prague (Střelecký Island)
For their Speed Bump, Brian & Ericka had to make their way to the M1 Lounge, where each of them had to prepare and drink a traditional shot of absinthe before they could continue racing.
In this leg's Roadblock, one team member had to enter the museum and search among several hundred ringing telephones for the five that had a person on the other end of the line. A voice from each phone would give the team member one letter of the word "FRANZ" – a reference to Franz Kafka. Additionally, team members had to memorize each letter they received and were not allowed to write any of them down for reference before entering the supervisor's office. There, the team member had to fill out a form with several biographical questions and attempt to unscramble the five letters to form his name. If they were correct, the inspector would hand them their next clue. If they were wrong, the team member would have to fill out the form again before they could unscramble the letters again. This task was later revisited on Season 30 as a Switchback.
This season's final Detour was a choice between Legend or Lager. In Legend, teams had to build a golem by placing wet clay around a hay frame and then transport it to the Old New Synagogue. If the golem was to the satisfaction of the rabbis, teams would get their next clue. In Lager, teams had to carry a total of thirty glasses of beer from a brewery called Pivovar a Restaurace "U Fleků" through the busy town square and deliver them to a bar called Restaurace Kozička to receive their next clue.
- Additional task
- At Kryocentrum, teams had to strip down to their underwear and spend two minutes in a cryotherapy chamber, which reached temperatures of −160 °C (−256 °F), to receive their next clue.
Leg 12 (Czech Republic → United States)
Airdate: December 6, 2009
- Prague (Prague Ruzyně Airport) to Las Vegas, Nevada, United States (McCarran International Airport)
- Las Vegas (Graceland Wedding Chapel)
- Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay)
- Las Vegas (The Mirage)
- Las Vegas (Monte Carlo Resort and Casino)
- Las Vegas (MGM Grand Las Vegas)
- Las Vegas (Casa de Shenandoah)
In this season's final Roadblock, one team member had to rappel face-first down the exterior of the Mandalay Bay hotel tower to receive their next clue.
- Additional tasks
- Upon arrival in Las Vegas, teams made their way to Graceland Wedding Chapel and had to obtain their next clue from an Elvis Presley impersonator.
- At The Mirage, teams had to find the Love theater. One team member would be harnessed in a bungee cord and launched by his or her teammate in an attempt to retrieve a bouquet of flowers dangling in the air. Once the entire bouquet was obtained, they had to hand it to an actress dressed as a flower child to obtain their next clue.
- The clue after the flower task instructed teams to go to "the most famous casino in Monaco" and left them to figure out that this was a reference to the namesake of the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. There, teams had to count out a total of $1,000,000 worth of poker chips out of 8,400 chips of various denominations scattered on a poker table. Once the dealer verified their count was correct, they would receive a $1,000,000 poker chip along with their final clue. This task was incorrectly presented as a Roadblock.
- The final clue instructed teams to travel to MGM Grand, where they had to visit Suite 88 and find "Mr. Las Vegas", Wayne Newton, who would tell them the location of the Finish Line: his house at Casa de Shenandoah.
The Amazing Race 15 received mixed reviews. Jessica Shaw of Entertainment Weekly wrote "It wasn't the best race, but it wasn't the worst. I'm neither happy about the outcome nor angry. I guess all in all, it was pretty neat." Michael Hewitt of the Orange County Register wrote that the episodes during the mid-season were underwhelming but they picked up by the end of the season. In 2016, this season was ranked 18th out of the first 27 seasons by the Rob Has a Podcast Amazing Race correspondents. In 2021, Val Barone of TheThings ranked this season as the show's 7th best season.
U.S. Nielsen ratings
|1 – 2||September 27, 2009||"They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street"||6.5||10||3.3/8||10.40||#25|
|3||October 4, 2009||"It's Like Being Dropped on Planet Mars"||5.9||9||2.8/7||9.95||#26|
|4||October 11, 2009||"Sean Penn Cambodia Here We Come"||6.7||10||3.0/8||10.52||#20|
|5||October 18, 2009||"I'm Like Ricky Bobby"||5.8||9||3.0/7||10.92||#20|
|6||October 25, 2009||"Do It for the Hood! Do It for the Suburbs!"||6.4||10||3.4/8||11.20||#22|
|7||November 1, 2009||"This Is Not My Finest Hour"||6.5||10||3.3/8||11.22||#18|
|8||November 8, 2009||"This Is the Worst Thing I've Ever Done in My Life"||6.9||10||3.5/9||11.62||#24|
|9||November 15, 2009||"We're Not Meant for the Swamp"||6.6||10||3.2/8||11.39||#24|
|10||November 22, 2009||"We're Not Working With Anybody, Ever, Anymore!"||6.9||11||3.7/9||12.19||#20|
|11||November 29, 2009||"It Starts With an "F", That's All I'm Saying"||6.8||10||3.4/8||11.61||#18|
|12||December 6, 2009||"Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound"||7.1||11||3.7/9||12.32||#9|
|1 – 2||September 27, 2009||"They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street"||2.86||#6|
|3||October 4, 2009||"It's Like Being Dropped on Planet Mars"||2.67||#5|
|4||October 11, 2009||"Sean Penn Cambodia Here We Come"||2.00||#13|
|5||October 18, 2009||"I'm Like Ricky Bobby"||2.41||#9|
|6||October 25, 2009||"Do It for the Hood! Do It for the Suburbs!"||2.62||#5|
|7||November 1, 2009||"This Is Not My Finest Hour"||2.58||#3|
|8||November 8, 2009||"This Is the Worst Thing I've Ever Done in My Life"||2.76||#3|
|9||November 15, 2009||"We're Not Meant for the Swamp"||2.62||#8|
|10||November 22, 2009||"We're Not Working With Anybody, Ever, Anymore!"||2.26||#9|
|11||November 29, 2009||"It Starts With an "F", That's All I'm Saying"||2.42||#7|
|12||December 6, 2009||"Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound"||3.07||#1|
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