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Buckle Up for The Amazing Race Asia Season 5

By Freddy  /  14 Oct 2016 (Friday)

Image credit: AXN Asia

After a 6-year hiatus, The Amazing Race Asia returns with its fifth season. This time, the viewers get a more immersive experience. The episodes on your screens are accompanied by Facebook Live chats and webisodes on social platforms for you to join the conversation and interact with the contestants.

The concept of the show remains the same. Eleven teams travel around Asia to compete in a series of physical, mental - and often emotional - challenges in the shortest possible time. The team who finishes last will be eliminated each episode, and the first team who reaches the final destination will bring home US$100,000.

At the end of each episode, viewers can virtually hang out with the newly eliminated team via Facebook Live to ask them about their experience. On Saturdays at 1.10pm, fans can chat with the teams who survived to the next episode.

Image credit: AXN Asia

Fans also get to watch webisodes to see what happens behind the scene. The series will start with T-O Racers, showing how each team prepares for race day at 4am. Watch Singaporean siblings Rei and Keiji devour chicken satay before the race. Other webisodes include Racers Reflect, featuring eliminated teams pondering what went wrong; Allan’s P.O.V. where he films the race from his perspective and Challenge Accepted where the hosts Allan and Tara attempt to undertake the team challenges, proving they are not as easy as they seem.

InCinemas.sg interviews returning host, Allan Wu, and the two Singapore teams: siblings Rei and Keiji (#TARAJKMike) and the radio DJs JK and Mike (#TARAJKMike).

(Check out the official Facebook page for more updates!)

Image credit: AXN Asia

Q: Hi Allan, what do you think sets this season apart from previous seasons?

Allan: Good question. First, I’d say that there’s a lot of different things happening. We haven’t done it in a while. We have a co-host. You can watch the performance and see what you think of me. It’s the first time ever in 20 or 25 franchises of Amazing Race that we have a co-host.

On top of it, it’s a different world now. I mean, I think honestly, if we have done The Amazing Race back the first season when it was 10 years ago, there was nosocial media, internet, you know, everything with lifestyle bloggers, with Instagram, and with WeChat or with Facebook. It’s a whole different world. But I’m a dinosaur now trying to catch up with all you young guns on this stuff too.

So what’s really exciting for me this year is you get to see a lot more of the show. It’s a much more immersive experience this time. Before, all you had was the one hour that you see on AXN, but now Sony and AXN and The Amazing Race Asia have a much more comprehensive programme, where you can see me trying the challenges on their channel. You can say “All you do is to see what they’re doing and say you’re number one or two”. I’m like “But I talk to teams for a long time.”

Q: And your thoughts on the quality of this year’s teams?

A: Oh, I think they’re great. I think definitely we have the deepest lineup of teams. There’s so many good, exciting teams here. The fact that we had to eliminate two teams in the first episode kinda sucks, beause I would have really loved to see more of them too, Rei and Keiji, and Lisa and Nicole, especially Lisa and Nicole. That sucks, beause it’s a long, arduous process to get on the show and then when I found out they were gonna be eliminated I was like, “Oh shit. It sucks for one of eleven teams,” you know. It was like “You’re so stern.” I’m like “I’m not gonna be happy about it, right?” So it’s tough. They’re exciting teams, you know, they’re funny.

Q: And why should people watch The Amazing Race Asia?

A: It’s the most exciting, exhilarating, heart-pounding show in all of Asia. Honestly, the show will be aired throughout the whole week. But you wanna watch it the night it premieres on Thursday because everyone’s gonna talk about on Friday about how great it is. You can see so many amazing places as well! We go to a lot of locations that people never heard of. So you have a travel component in there. You can see us there and be like, “Wow, I wanna check this place out!”

Then you see people, you know, test their relationship. It’s a reality show about individuals who have chosen someone who they think they can really do well on a programme with. It’s not a show when you’re just on the stage singing a song, or you’re stuck on an island trying to use diabolical, devious means to try to vote them off. It’s not a show where you just line up and try to show your talent. It’s a show about relationships. 

And it’s a competition. It’s all very admirable. They are all very above-the-table, trying to do their very very best to try and succeed and try to see me first.

Image credit: AXN Asia

For the two Singapore teams, unfortunately, only one team continues The Amazing Race Asia Season 5 leg after the first episode. Siblings Rei and Keiji were eliminated after the first episode.
InCinemas speaks to JK, Mike, Rei and Keiji as they share their epic adventures.

Q: What is the biggest difference between being a viewer and a participant on a show like The Amazing Race Asia?

JK: It’s a lot tougher than it looks on TV because when you watch it, the cuts and edits are so fast! You get from Jakarta to Bogor in like 2 seconds, but the traffic there was crazy! It was like three hours… And then from the flag-off to the compasses challenge, we ran at least two kilometres. It’s a lot of running! 

Mike: Nothing in your life would ever have prepared you for that amount of running unless you are a marathon runner or an athlete or something. Plus, we weren’t just running, we were running with these heavy duty backpacks! So what you don’t see is the in-between where we panicked, perspired and almost died, and when we got there (location stops) we do it again and again. At these different locations, we were really panting.

JK: I really didn’t expect this much running.

Rei: It’s so different. It’s still fun and exciting and everything, but seriously, it’s mentally draining more than (it being) physically draining. Physically, we can actually prepare ourselves for the race - we can actually exercise and train - but mentally, we were not prepared at all. No phones, no talking to your loved ones, no money, nothing at all! 

Keiji: I don’t think anyone can really prepare for something like that. Things like these where you don’t even know when it’s going to start, they never tell us anything! Even the first five minutes when they said a group will be eliminated, all of us were very shocked! No one would want to be out in the first five minutes. That’s so painful. 

Q: How did you prepare for the race. Any intensive trainings beforehand?

(Mike & JK burst into laughter in unison) 
Mike (to JK): Explain! Explain! 

JK: There were some teams that trained like crazy. We witnessed the school friends team, they have been training for it. Even before the race when we saw them at the gym, they were running with backpacks on treadmills. Everyone was training! 

Mike: Let me tell you, up until we were there (in Indonesia), we hadn’t run or even carried our backpacks, once! 

Rei: We did quite a lot actually!

Keiji: Yeah, we did quite a lot of things. Obviously we ran and train our bodies for it, then we train our minds like doing puzzles. I think the most craziest thing was when we drove around Singapore with purely a map. I had to navigate her around. At that point of time, I thought it was really silly because I knew the road was just there, but I had to read a map! 

Rei: We tried our best to prepare for every aspect of the race, but I guess the preparation isn’t enough! Truthfully, you’ll never, ever be prepared for the race. But I’m glad we participated. Like JK said, it’s an experience you can’t buy, and although ours was a short-lived one, we really enjoyed it.

Keiji: It was really an unforgettable experience.

(For an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Race, check out the official website!)

Image credit: AXN Asia

Q: Were there any strategies you guys came up with?

Mike: Our strategy was don’t get eliminated in episode 1! The other strategy was that we were going to come up with a safe word (for each other), we have known each other as co-host for a long time but we never had been placed under race conditions, or really experienced the race like that together. Fans will know that this show will test your friendship and your relationship in every way. So we were like okay, what we are going to do is to have a safe word. When anyone of us utter this safe word, we will chill and just try to find some alone time. So our safe word was… 

JK: Pineapple! Something random like that. 

Mike: We wanted something cute, something random… and it didn’t work, at all!

JK: Thinking back, we really didn’t have a plan, man! We just winged it. 

Keiji: We did our research and we watched other seasons. I think for one of the seasons, the first task they had to do was to eat a whole bowl of insects. So strategically wise, my sister and I said ‘I’ll do the eating’, but most of the height elements, she’ll do it. Anything physically demanding, I’ll do it.

Q: For Keiji and Rei, what were going through your minds when you were on that mat when you realised you were the last team to complete the task.

Rei: We thought that it will be a non-elimination round because they eliminated someone in the first five minutes, so we really had hopes that it will be a non-elimination round. That was going through our minds the entire time until Allan said ‘I’m sorry guys’, and then we knew that our race was over. That was when we shut down. I mean, you eliminated one team already, how can you eliminate two teams in the first episode! That’s too cruel!

Keiji: Because in our heads we thought like maybe it was a joke, maybe they will call us back, until they took away our mic packs and we knew it was over…. it was really happening!

The Amazing Race Asia season 5 airs every Thursday on AXN at 9pm on Singtel TV (CH304) and StarHub (CH511).

Are you a fan of The Amazing Race series? Which team are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments below!
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