Amazing Race 26 Cast Includes New Kid on the Block, Olympians, Blind Daters

The Amazing Race Season 26 Teams

New Kid on the Block Jonathan Knight likely is hoping he has (oh oh oh-oh-oh, oh oh oh-oh) the right stuff to win The Amazing Race‘s upcoming season.

The former boy bander and his boyfriend, Harley Rodriguez, will be one of many couples competing in the CBS series’ next run around the globe, the network announced Tuesday.

Race‘s upcoming season will pit dating couples — six established duos and 10 singletons paired off for the show — against each other as they take part in a scavenger hunt with a $1 million prize.

Olympic bronze medalists/significant others Aly Dudek and Steven Langton also will compete as one of the pre-existing couples.

The pool of blind daters paired for the show includes an airline pilot, hairstylists, a truck-stop manager and a Navy physician, among others.

Also new for this season: The teams will be able to win a “Date Night” reward that gives the lucky pair access to a one-on-one romantic activity (think star-gazing or soaking in some hot springs).

The Amazing Race returns with a 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 9:30/8:30c and settles into its time slot on Friday, Feb. 27, at 8 pm.

Check out the gallery of Race couples below, then hit the comments with your early predictions on who’ll prevail (and/or break up).

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ari says:

    Interesting that they paired up people blindly for this one. When they paired Mallory up with the guy from the other Kentucky team I thought they did so poorly specifically because they didn’t know each other. This is one game I think you have a real disadvantage in not knowing your travel buddy.

  2. B says:

    the date night concept sounds so odd for the show! amazing race mixed with the bachelor?

    • Spitey Spice says:

      Exactly my thoughts. MEH.

    • Network says:

      To me it sounds like a well deserved rest at some point in an exhausting race. It’s a chance to breathe, or work out issues or even get to know each other:

      • jj says:

        true but based on the timeline of the show the date night would have to occur during a pit stop so as not to interfere with the race so all teams would technically be resting as well

  3. C says:

    Not wild about these changes.

  4. rockgolf says:

    A couple of Olympians (female hockey players) were on Amazing Race Canada last summer and dominated the race. Wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened here.

  5. J.B. says:

    “Race‘s upcoming season will pit dating couples … against each other as they take part in a scavenger hunt with a $1 million prize.”
    Look how that is worded. Take out the number of duos mentioned.”

    Is it really “dating couples” if the other half of the contestants aren’t dating?

  6. I really enjoy the Amazing Race and I’m not thrilled they basically are turning this season into a dating show.

  7. Diz says:

    I’ll still watch because I’ve yet to miss an episode but this concept for amazing race is just stupid.

  8. Jenny says:

    I think it is interesting in gave teams where they don’t have that previous relationship. How will they work as a team. Willing to see how it plays out.

    But have to say my New Kids loyalty I have to cheer for Jon/Harley.

  9. Meghan says:

    I’ll give it a try, but I don’t have high hopes for this new concept. If something has worked 25 times previous, maybe keep it.

    • James says:

      Well, they kinda did took a break from the format back in TAR8 with a mostly in-country race and family teams of four. And I happen to like that season.

  10. Tran says:

    CBS is on the NKOTB bandwagon? First Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods) then Joey McIntyre (The McCarthys) and now Jonathan Knight on The Amazing Race? Where’s Jordan Knight and that other dude (forgot his name) when we need them?

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Danny Wood. They’re all over on Pop (formerly TVGN) on the NKOTB Rock This Boat show. Plus Donnie has 2 reality shows on A&E. Plus they just announced a 40 city North American tour this morning on GMA and were the “house band” on Kelly & Michael. Forget CBS, NKOTB are taking over television period!

  11. Ljt says:

    Ok TV line! Wasn’t harley on sweet valley high? He looks just like one of the character.

  12. Hipper says:

    weird concept for TAR, but i gotta admit… i love watching couples fight on this show under stressful situations.

    also, is this the first time they’ve got 2 gay couples (I’m counting the blind date setup with the 2 guys a “couple”) on the same season?

  13. AJ says:

    I’ll be surprised if one blind date couple makes it to the final three.

    If they really wanted ratings they should’ve paried EXs this season LOL.

    Lets just see how the first episode goes and take it from there.

  14. Salie says:

    I’m so tired of the gimmicky couples they now pick. Have to be famous or have a strange profession to make the cut. What happened to the great seasons when anyone could be on the show. And now a date night – that sounds so stupid. You’re going to take time away from showing the race part to show date night? It used to be such a fun show to watch – with this season it becomes nothing more than a lowbrow stupid reality show.

  15. John says:

    This sounds terrible. The whole point of the show is to see how people with pre-existing relationships react under the stress of the race. That said…at least there’s no Frankie Grande…yet.

  16. Pawilson says:

    I always loved Amazing Race because it could be enjoyed by the entire family without becoming to uncomfortable. I think that they are messing with a concept that wasn’t broken. It was fun rooting for the team that you could relate to. However, these teams and concept appear to be more aimed for a young, more liberal crowd than traditional families. I really liked a mixture of both.