‘Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan – ‘The Favorites Right Now Are the Dentists’

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. This Monday we’ll have an interview with the new “Amazing Race” champion. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

Not many people know this, but “The Amazing Race” theme song has lyrics. It goes a little something like this…

“This race is…amazing!

See them race…amazing!”

There, now that’ll be stuck in your head tonight at 8 pm ET when you tune in to see the epic ending to the 25th season on CBS.

I had a chance to talk to the man who’s been there since day one, host Phil Keoghan, and asked him about the final four, Amy’s health, and how he feels about the show’s future…

Gordon Holmes: We’re heading into this finale and we’ve got four teams left. Put on your bookie hat, and tell me how you like each of these team’s chances.
Phil Keoghan: Well, based on their track records…I would say that the favorites right now are the dentists. They’ve won five legs. They’ve been attacking this race like a root canal. They’re going deep. They’ve got all their instruments out and their ready to inflict pain on the other racers. They want to win this bad and they think they deserve to win. I’d say the odds are in their favor.
Holmes: Good, I like the dentist analogy.
Keoghan: Then you have the most inspirational team with Adam and Bethany. They’ve had a very relaxed race. They seem to keep their cool like typical surfers. Everything is chill. They’ve brought that to the race and it’s worked for them very well. The pressure of a final challenge, we’ve seen the dentists and the other teams lose their composure, they seem to keep everything together.
Holmes: Who’s in third?
Keoghan: The wrestlers…they are very strong. Their strength and speed with which they move…their weakness is that they’re very flippant sometimes. They just charge in like a bull out of a gate without thinking things out too much. That could get them in trouble.
Holmes: And that leaves…
Keoghan: Yes, the least-favored to win would be the food scientists. I love these guys, but they’re the underdogs. Their strength is that they’re smart and Maya has so much energy. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone with as much energy as Maya.

Holmes: Why was the decision made to go with a final four and for them to keep on racing?
Keoghan: Just to throw them off their game. They’re expecting a final three and there’s been a final three for 24 seasons. The audience, looking at Twitter, they seem to like the idea.

Holmes: Was there any concern that Amy wasn’t going to be able to continue after how hard that delivery challenge was on her?
Keoghan: Yeah, there was. I knew they were OK because of the way the flights were going to be leaving after that stop heading back to America. I knew that there was a delay. It was a real concern. I pulled in a medic, we got her some hydration, we took her blood pressure, we looked at her vitals. We took our good old time. But, we were convinced that she was healthy and able to carry on.

Holmes: You’ve been doing something new this season that I really like where you’re doing a standup from inside the game. I think it’s really cool to have you explaining a challenge while a team runs by.
Keoghan: I also wanted to mix it up a bit. We always surprise people that we shoot 12 shows in 21 days. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but it’s been difficult to find the time to shoot what I need to shoot, then to be on the course as they’re coming through. I need to be ahead of the first team so we can drive the story forward. I think what people have liked about them is that it speaks to how the show is really shot as it’s happening. It’s not like, “Can you guys run back? I want to do one more take.” We’re catching them mid-race. It adds a different energy.
Holmes: It’s almost like a sideline commentator at a sporting event.
Keoghan: Well, what’s interesting is after all these years doing my introductions to the challenges, there are still people who ask if I go everywhere they go. Even though the shots show it. I think people disconnect that I’m actually there.
Holmes: They don’t green screen you in?
Keoghan: (Laughs) Well now people are saying, “Wow, you’re really on the course while they’re there.” And I have to say, “Yeah, I’ve always been on the course while they’re there.” We just shot a new season and we tried some new things again. But, I’m glad that you noticed that and appreciated it.

Holmes: OK, I said something nice, now I have to change the mood. How fair is it to have a surfing Fast Forward on a season with a pair of surfers?
Keoghan: Well, if you speak to anyone who does it, it’s different from regular surfing. One of our crew said it’s more like skateboarding than surfing. But, Adam and Bethany could have been eliminated in the first leg. They might have never gone for the Fast Forward. There’s always going to be the chance that something lends itself to a particular team.
Holmes: OK, but you have to promise me that when I go on the “Amazing Race” that there’s some kind of couch-sitting Fast Forward.
Keoghan: Yes, I’ve heard you’re the best at that.
Holmes: We all have our gifts.
Keoghan: The thing I love about the race is overall, it doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or a coal miner. At the end of the day you never know what you’re going to be doing or where you’re going to be doing it. You don’t know what skills are needed. Everything from milking a camel to walking on a tightrope. That, to me, is what makes it work.

Holmes: You’ve been there for all 25 seasons. What do you think you’re going to remember about this one when you look back at it when we hit season 50?
Keoghan: For me, I think it’ll be the way Bethany inspired our audience. I feel like she epitomizes the philosophy that I live by; no opportunity wasted. You focus on what you have and what you can do as opposed to what you don’t have and what you can’t do. She doesn’t talk about what she has. She doesn’t focus on the fact that she lost her arm. She wants to do something and she wants to do it well. It made our audience sit up and go, “Why am I talking about the fact that I’m short, or I can’t do this, when this woman is charging ahead and leading the way.”

Holmes: How do you feel about the future of “The Amazing Race.”
Keoghan: We’re still picking up audience members. And what I love now is that people are discovering the show and they’re going back and watching this body of work. It’s very addictive. If people sample episodes they’ll want to go back and watch more. So, be careful watching it, because it is addictive. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they’re new to the race and they’re going on binge-watching weekends. Which is crazy. There’s 25 seasons, close to a million racing miles.
Holmes: So there should be some kind of Surgeon’s General warning.
Keoghan: I think so. It could be hazardous to the life of your TV.
Holmes: And if you aren’t watching it with other people, it’s going to be hazardous to your social life.
Keoghan: It is a show that is about grandparents with grandkids and a broad range of demographics.
Holmes: My girlfriend and I will sit there and talk about which challenge we’d do, or which one of us would be better at the challenge. It’s like “Amazing Race” the home game.
Keoghan: I love that about our show. We’re blessed.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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