The Amazing Race 26: Power Rankings
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
March 5, 2015

They don't know it, but this dance has awakened the hell beast that will destroy us all.

Early editions of power rankings for The Amazing Race feature notorious guesswork. We’ve seen roughly 106 minutes in total for all nine remaining teams. And a portion of that time was wasted on CJ and Lebya’s train incident. In short, all we really know for certain at this point is that Hayley and Jackie are flirty while Jenny is in it for the money. So, this week’s rankings reflect a touch of logic, some inference, a few biases against teams that have annoyed us thus far, and a bit of gut instinct on a couple of teams. Let’s start (and finish) with the obvious.

1) Jenny & Jelani
After two legs, they are undefeated. You cannot argue with results. Thus far, Jenny has asserted her authori-tah over her partner, and he seems perfectly comfortable in this subservient role. As long as it works, why wouldn’t he be? Even if Jenny & Jelani fail to mesh as a couple, they will both have no problem getting dates when they attain the celebrity (and money) that comes from winning The Amazing Race.

2) Aly & Steve
In terms of performance, they should probably be slotted a spot lower in rankings, so this is one of those hunches. Aly & Steve are both Olympians, which gives them a huge advantage over most teams. They are used to taking advice from others, and their training focuses upon squeezing every second possible out of each heat. We don’t want to read anything into their most recent challenge, a combination of speed skating and bobsledding skills, since we are discussing a speed skater and bobsledder. We are simply anticipating future behavior predicated upon natural abilities. Then again, the same logic would have made Jeff and Lyda’s travel experience a huge asset. They were the first people eliminated. Similarly, professional athletes Ephraim Salaam and Chester Pitts spent several years practicing and playing together, yet they’re still stuck in an airport somewhere in Lisbon.

3) Laura & Tyler
After Laura mentioned a romantic fantasy ending in marriage within two minutes of her introduction, she has largely settled down, perhaps recognizing that she was coming on too strong. With a pair of top three finishes, the two of them have integrated quite well. Plus, Tyler proved that he was “the smartest dude” during the puzzle challenge. Admittedly, a couple of the other competitors probably would consider a Chinese Finger Trap lifetime imprisonment, but a win’s a win.

4) Harley & Jonathan
We are listing their names this way, because we doubt that Harley comes first in the relationship very often. It’s the downside of dating a celebrity, even one whose star has faded since the late '90s. Thus far, they have been a joy to watch. Almost every famous person to appear on The Amazing Race has acted a bit above it all thus far. Jonathan, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying an opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event with the love of his life. It’s refreshing to see a regular gay couple on reality television rather than the melodramatic ones producers seek out for the purposes of perpetuating a (false) stereotype.

5) Bergen and Kurt
Whoops, spoke too soon. While Team #NewKids4Eva is a joy to watch, Bergen and Kurt fit the cliché. Both men had high hopes for meeting their special someone in a televised competition. Instead, they met and felt like they were looking in a mirror. There is a reason why Spock never dated Dark Mirror Spock, after all, and it’s not the goatee that was the sticking point. The issues between Bergen and Kurt were magnified during an unfortunate noodle-shoving incident wherein one party felt that the best way to handle the situation was to try to kill the other person via noodle infusion. We’ve ranked the duo this high due to their performance thus far. If they don’t develop any chemistry soon, however, they’re either going to be at the bottom of these rankings soon or, more likely, eliminated.

6) Ashley & Matt
They’re…like barbers or something, right? We’ve barely even noticed them, which makes them better options than any of the bottom third of the competitors.

7) Jackie & Jeff
If we had started the power rankings last week, their status would have been much higher. After all, they’re a misread clue away from winning half the legs thus far. Alas, what we learned in the most recent episode is alarming. Jeff is NOT the smartest dude when it comes to puzzles. He still puts the stars in Jackie’s eyes, though. If this were real life, the two of them wouldn’t have made it out of the bedroom yet…unless they couldn’t make it to the bedroom before demonstrating their attraction to one another. On the show, Jackie seems quite driven and rather aggressive (in more ways than one). We quite like this team and hope they make an extended run. They must show a bit more in the brains department to accomplish that, though.

8) Hayley & Blair
What an odd two-episode edit these two have received. Hayley was the breakout star of the season premiere but then the duo was barely shown during their most recent leg. They are currently in last place, but we doubt Hayley was given that much face-time in the pilot if they aren’t going to be around for a while. For his part, Blair seems like an extremely tolerant young man. If this were Planes, Trains and Automobiles, he’s the Steve Martin and she’s the John Candy.

9) Mike & Rochelle
They may yet surprise us, but the first two legs were not good. They’ve finished in the bottom group each time, and Rochelle demonstrated a tendency toward drama queen-ery in the most recent challenge. She fell one foot from a chair onto ice. Then, she started crying and demanded a medical examination. Imagine how she’ll react once the brutal challenges on the show begin. How do you think she’d handle that haystack challenge from a few seasons ago? Despite all the negatives above, they seem like a really cool couple, though.