Over some cheesy surf music and footage of a garishly-painted hippie school bus traveling down the Pacific Coast (both sufficiently generic as to not be actionable by either the Beach Boys or the estate of Ken Kesey), Phil narrates, "Eleven new teams are groovin' on down from Southern California's sunny coastline to the crown of the valley: Pasadena." Yes, you waited all summer for Phil to come back and open the new season with a sentence that included the word "groovin'." However, I do like the sound of the phrase "eleven new teams." Phil's coming to us from Pasadena City Hall for no reason other than it's pretty, and "just one of the many iconic structures seen throughout the city." Because the actual starting line is going to be the Colorado Street Bridge, over a mile away. Phil continues that the stakes are higher than ever for this batch of teams who will race around the world for one million dollars. "And a chance to win [eyebrow pop] The Amazing Race." Phil's still holding out on us. I can tell.
But before we make Phil tell us what else he knows, let's meet the teams, who are seen getting off the bus one by one. First are Trey and Lexi, a dating couple from Austin, Texas. We see them frolicking on a field in their licensed Longhorns-wear as we learn that Trey played football at UT-Austin and Lexi was a cheerleader. And that's exactly what they look like, too. "We're pretty traditional people," Lexi says unnecessarily, adding that they want to get married before moving in together. They also feed cows, practice archery, and row a boat on a tiny pond as they tell us they're hoping to win the race so they can get married. Well, that's not very traditional. Don't a lot of people get married without first winning The Amazing Race?
Natalie and Nadiya are "twins, born in New York and raised in Sri Lanka." They certainly assimilated there, as they look and talk like natives. As they do yoga and play rugby in a park, they VO about how they've done stuff like taking each other's tests and breaking up with each other's high school boyfriends. They seem pretty happy together. For now.
James and Abba are a "rock star and lawyer from Los Angeles," but since they're both in their late forties (or later) with long hair and beards, you're not going to be able to tell which is which at first glance. It's actually going to take a lot of glances. James, the one with the darker beard and straighter hair, tells us that he started out playing in White Lion (and just when you thought you were going to go the rest of your life without hearing a note of "Wait" ever again, the Amazing Editors unearthed part of the video), then joined Megadeth, as well as having played with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Slash. Abba explains that he's an entertainment attorney, and as we see the two of them hanging around the studio and the guitar shop, he says they've already traveled plenty, with their extensive touring experience. "We're comfortable being uncomfortable." Then they remember to vow to "rock the race." Or, more likely, someone off-camera made them say it.