The ATC Report

"In Control" Vol. XIV, No. 11

So, we have a final three. It's kind of hard to tell the difference between the final three we have this week, and the final three we would have had last week, but we're sure that there actually is one. Oh, yeah - they are reversed in order. That's the difference (yawn).

LaKisha might be letting Jen off the hook, but we aren't. Now, we know that film editing is a wonderful thing, and that these two might have lost anyhow (auxiliary pit stop or not), but ladies, you are (were) in a race for a million dollars. We hope that stop at a urinal was worth over $900,000.00 - because that's what it cost you. Not to worry, though - we've decided to give you our prestigious "Yellow Badge of Racing" award. It's the first time that we've ever given it out, and to be honest, the first time that we've ever needed to.

Yellow Badge winners and 4th place finishers

Now, it's time for us to pick our winners. We've done this for years, and had some success along the way. Each year, we combine our knowledge of the race, any spoilers we may have heard, and our knowledge of the remaining racers. We take all of that, plus an uncertainty factor, combine them using a formula that it takes our computers hours to resolve, and then make a WAG (wild-ass-guess). In the order that they will be starting the final leg:

Tammy & Victor

Like most folks, we didn't much care for these two early on. Over the course of the race, they've kind of grown on us, though. We weren't real happy with them doing the dirty work for Margie and Luke last leg (with the U-Turn), and maybe karma will come back to haunt them. You must admit that the U-Turn actually did work, and it (plus an unscheduled bathroom break) took the (potentially) two most athletic racers out of the race. They seem to be getting along quite well in the last few legs, but that could be just because they are in China and they speak the language. It's much easier to battle the things that the race throws at you when you can talk to someone other than your teammate or the other racers.

Overall, we feel that these two have the best chance of winning of the remaining teams, and should probably do so. They are young, athletic, smart, and they are working as a team. We predict a win.

Goofy smiles, but winners of TAR 14

Margie & Luke

Early in the race, we actually liked these two. We might have even been rooting for them. As the race wore on, we became rather disenchanted with them, though. The shoving incident(s) between Luke and Jen, the screaming match on the mat, and the bitter hostility that Margie showed from that point on, all combined to really lower their stock in our eyes. Luke seems like a very capable young man, but Margie seems like she feels that she has to protect him from all the evils of the world. Good luck.

These two are still strong competitors. Imagine what a heart-touching story it will be if they win (or at least what a heart-touching story the producers imagine it will be). For that reason alone, you cannot exclude these two. We won't be surprised if they win, but we're pretty sure that they won't. We figure them for a close second.

Second place?

Cara & Jamie

Beneficiaries of a million-dollar bathroom break, these two are probably the least deserving of being in the final three. We've watched them gripe their way around the world, complaining about everything from lousy taxi drivers, to...well, more lousy taxi drivers. They have managed to insult the locals in just about every place they've been to, and the previews for the finale seem to indicate that they will continue their tirades once they are back home.

They haven't run the smartest of races, nor have they been the quickest. In fact, they've never won a leg. We don't really expect them to buck that trend in the last leg, and to be honest, we're secretly hoping that one of their taxi drivers finally pulls over and throws them out of his car. They could somehow manage to sneak in and snatch second-place - if they get lucky and manage to follow Tammy & Victor to the finish line. Don't count on it though. They've been getting a pretty bad edit the whole race, and it's always fun to see the villains lose. Our prediction is third.

Bane of taxis worldwide and 3rd place

So, there you have it. Come to think of it, there won't be much difference between the order of finish in the last leg, and the order of finish in the next leg. In case you decided to skip the column and just head to the picks, here they are again:

1st Place: Tammy & Victor
2nd Place: Margie & Luke
3rd Place: Cara & Jamie

But honestly, any order of finish won't surprise us. Phil said that Cara & Jamie could be the first all-female team to win. No matter who wins, we will have a first - the first Asian Americans, the first hearing-impaired, or the first taxicab baiters.