The Amazing Race Asia is back after six years
Six years after the last episode of The Amazing Race Asia Season 4 ground to a pulsating stop, the reality TV show is making a comeback.
TV channel AXN's asian subsidiary is now holding auditions for Season 5. Producers will pick 10 pairs to compete for the grand prize of US$100,000 (S$137,600).
For fans who are all about familiarity, the show's format will be largely the same, and even the host, Allan Wu (below), has not changed.
Allan Wu will be back on AXN hosting the fifth season of The Amazing Race Asia. PHOTO: AXN
AXN did not announce a fifth season of the reality programme in 2010, despite the show's stellar rating of 19.3 million viewers in its fourth season.
The first two seasons of The Amazing Race Asia were filmed before people became more interested in their mobile phones than the TV set.
In fact, Nokia smartphones were still a novelty during the show's second season in 2007 and were prizes for the contestants who won various legs of the race.
But six years after the fourth season was aired, AXN, a part of the Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Neworks Asia, finally announced a Season 5.
Ms Virginia Lim, vice president and head of content and marketing for SPT Networks Asia, said: “High quality original productions like The Amazing Race Asia are the cornerstone of our programming strategy. The American version continues to be one of our most popular series on AXN, so it was important to find a way to reignite our beloved Asian adaptation.”
The original American version of The Amazing Race has been awarded 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, including "Outstanding Reality-Competition Programme" for seven consecutive years, from 2003 to 2009.
ADVICE FROM ALUMNI
Sam Wu and his partner, Vince Chung, won the third season of The Amazing Race Asia for Hong Kong in 2008.
So who better to offer tips than someone who has won it?
Wu, 40, who is now living in Singapore, told The New Paper that the most important thing is to "communicate and compromise". He added that participants should ensure their partner is somebody whose strengths and weaknesses they know intimately.
Sam Wu and Vince Chung, who emerged as champions in Season 3. PHOTO: AXN
The assistant director of the Office of Global Learning at the Singapore Management University said: "Choose a partner whose strengths play to your weaknesses, and vice versa."
He added: "Don't rush immediately into any challenge or task. Think and strategise first. Decide which method is best to complete the mission, or which task suits your team's strengths best."
And most importantly, he reminds potential contestants not to bring too many things. He said: "I had to throw stuff away to lighten the load when running!"
Another past contestant, ONE FM 91.3 DJ Melody Chen, who participated in the first season, encouraged applicants to express themselves as best as they can in their audition videos.
She said: "If you're funny, do a hilarious video, if you're serious, do a mean video. Be yourself and show your personality as truthfully as possible."
Besides his advice to potential contestants, Wu also said: "Expect to be challenged and thrown outside of your comfort zone. Expect to face some of your worst fears during the Race. Expect to encounter the worst and most trying taxi drivers on Earth."
Chen, 38, would certainly agree. She had to face her own fear of heights during her time in the Race, when she had to attempt a bungee jump in Queenstown, New Zealand.
She added that contestants should also expect to be running on empty most of the time, and "sleeping with one eye open because you don't want to miss your call-time on the mat".
She said: "(There are) many things which I probably can't mention but should you be successful in representing Singapore in this season, let's have coffee and bring a notebook."
DJ Melody Chen and her partner Sharon Wong in the programme's Asian 2006 debut season. PHOTO: AXN
The DJ with ONE FM 91.3, who hosts the No Repeat Workday on the station from 1pm to 4pm, she still keeps in touch with some of the other contestants from the Race, including ones from other seasons.
"It's a special The Amazing Race Asia family to be part of."
Even though Chen and her race partner, Sharon Wong, were the fourth team eliminated that season, she told TNP that there was never a moment she felt like giving up.
She said: "I wanted to race until the very end. It did not matter if we won or not, but I wanted to finish every challenge.
"You will have to trust that whatever happens will happen for a reason and you just have to give it your all. You may be able to control yourself and your behaviour, but you cannot control everything else. It will push you to your limits and reveal many things about yourself that you never knew you were capable of."
She did, however, mention there were some moments of disappointment and unforeseen difficulties.
She joked of the possibility that she would get to compete in The Amazing Race again one day: "Do I hear an 'all-star' episode?"
How to apply:
- All applicants have to be at least 21 years old at the time of applying, speak English, possess a valid passport, and at least one member of each team must own a driver's licence and an International Drivers' Permit.
- Applicants have to send in a creative and entertaining three-minute video explaining why their team should be chosen.
- There are two ways of applying:
1) Submit your application online here.
2) From 12pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday (June 4 and 5), there will be an AXN booth at Basement Two of Nex shopping centre (Serangoon MRT station). You can drop off your completed application form and video at the booth. Applicants can also choose to record their video at the booth on those days.
- For more information on The Amazing Race Asia and the application process, visit the official website here.