Sunday, October 5, 2014

May 31, 2014: Amazing Race Season 25 Kicks Off in Times Square

This post is a little late (by about four months, heh) but after the premiere of Amazing Race aired I loved seeing how they aired it (vs. how I saw it) and had fun going back and looking at the pictures I took.

So, let me flashback. May 31 of this year, a friend told me that The Amazing Race was starting it’s 25th season in Times Square. Generally, this would be an absolute no brainer for me to go see. But the catch? It was starting at 3:00 am. THREE AM.

SO, I went to bed at 7 and set my alarm for 2. I figured if I woke up, I’d go. If the alarm went off and I thought, “oh hail no!” then I wouldn’t go. But when the alarm went off at 2, I popped out of bed and headed to Times Square for another New York adventure!

It was all fun to see (especially now that the show has aired and I know a little bit about the contestants). And Phil Keogan (the host of the show) was fantastic with all the fans after the contestants were sent on their way. Best yet, I got an epic picture with Phil!

It’s Phil!!

I got there just a few minutes early so just took in the scene and set up. Things seemed pretty calm, actually. Camera crews at the ready, lights at the ready, mikes at the ready. Just waiting.

Having a relaxed chat before the craziness begins.

Crew and lighting waiting for the games to begin.

It’s television…so of course there is hair and makeup. :)

And here are the racer’s backpacks and the intrepid camera men who will follow the racers.

This…this is just an artistic shot I liked of the camera men backlit by one of the massive screens in Times Square.

As I said, I’d gotten there a few minutes early but ONLY a few. For soon, right around quarter to 3, the arrivals began. And, they really were just like you saw on TV. One by one a cab pulled up, a team would get out all excited and head over to the start line. I’m not sure how they orchestrated it (I mean, Times Square is just a sea of cabs and stop lights and people, even at 3:00 am) but it went smooth and without a hitch. Here are just a few shots (things were moving so fast, the shots are a little blurry).

This is what it looked like – the cameraman (and producer of the show) in front of me, the cars on the street, the fans corralled on the sidewalk, the racer’s bags up the red stairs. As I said, very impressive how smoothly they delivered. From the first arrival to the last was only about 3 minutes. Really impressive considering all the unknown factors.

Arrivals of three of the teams: the dating couple, the cyclists, and the dentists (of course, at the time I didn’t know that’s who they were).


And upon their arrival they ran up to the start line. Here goes the mom and daughter

After arrivals were complete, we were ready to begin.

After the arrivals I moved for a better view. This is where I stayed for the next 15-20 minutes.

I wasn’t close enough to really hear what Phil was saying, but he did do a fair amount of talking, lol.

And singing (just kidding, there was no singing, but it does look like it, lol)

Whatever he was saying the teams were paying close attention (lol at the orange team)

And it was apparently funny at times.

Though the pink team seems unamused, lol.

And the wrestlers were definitely unamused (heh)

And we could tell when Phil turned to the crowd and both he and the contestants thanked us for being there. *waves*


And they also waved to some overhead camera somewhere.

The producer then wished them all luck.

Also during this time, they did two “false starts”. That is, they got them lined up and in the ‘start’ position, as if they’re ready to go… but they did that only to get camera footage of them in that position.

You can see the camera below running along in front of all the racers.


After getting that footage they then relaxed again for a few minutes. But only a few. Because soon, Phil and the producer were plotting…

And soon Phil was asking if everyone was ready…

We all thought this would be the real start…

Everyone getting pictures

And this was it!!! GO!!!

And I must say, they might have staged a couple of the starts in order to get the ‘ready’ shots, but that was the only thing that was staged. For once they said go, it was what it was: complete chaos, lol.

Up the stairs they went

And then it really got crazy, just all the movement and activity. And the cameramen! Goodness they were moving fast, and with those cameras on their shoulders! So impressive!


And then, of course the contestants came right up to us begging to know where the first Amazing Race ended.

I love Phil in the background of the first picture below smiling / laughing at it all.


Then they were gone. Just like that! 60 seconds of completely madness and then *poof* Heh. But, with the contestants gone and crew packing up, Phil came over to the crowd still there and just spent all kinds of time talking to people, signing autographs, and taking selfies. My favorite thing ‘overheard’ during this time was when Phil came and greeted one of the former contestants. That former contestant asked Phil where he was staying and if Phil wanted to go grab a drink and Phil said, “Where am I staying?! I’m not staying anywhere! I’ve got a plane I’ve got to get on! I’ve got work to go to work!”


And I got my own picture and selfie, too. I love love love these pictures. :)


Thanks, Phil, and the Amazing Race for a fun free middle-of-the-night experience!

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