To Allan Wu, host of The Amazing Race Asia Season 5 (TARA), being back on the starting line of the iconic TV show is one of the best moments in his career so far.
Said Wu, 44, “It has been six years since I have last done this show, and I had many friends who had asked me when TARA was coming back. They love the show. Now to be back on the starting line with a whole new group of people and a new generation of fans, is something that I love, and I am happy to be able to do it over again.”
He added, “Though I have done a lot of work in TV and film, TARA is still the most exhilarating thing that I have hosted. Every experience is so unique, based on where we go and what we do, and the different teams make it a brand new and unique experience each time.”
Does not have a firm favourite team
And Wu admitted that he does not have a favourite team that he would like to see winning the show. He said, “Honestly it changes from leg to leg, because I am so fickle. I may like a specific team at the beginning but then they are eliminated and then I have to find a new team.”
He added “People always think that the fittest and strongest team will win the show, but actually it is all about making the right choices and though strength does play some part, it is more about who is your team mate, and being cool and working together with each other, rather than against each other. As you can see on the show, some teams argue a lot and they are sometimes able to overcome the argument and work together. But others never really argue, but don’t exactly work together either. It’s something that you don’t see in any other show.”
Speaking at a meet and greet session at Punggol
Wu had been speaking at a recent TARA meet and greet session at the Waterway Point mall in Punggol – where members of the public had the chance to interact with not only Wu himself, but also the Team Singapore racers in the show – best friends Mike Darren Tan and Jerald Justin Ko (Mike & JK), as well as siblings Rei Umehara and Keiji Umehara (Rei & Keiji).
Fans got to find out more about Wu and the teams
During the session, fans had the chance to find out more about the two teams as well as Wu, through questions posed to them by the event emcee.
Apparently Mike & JK had thought that TARA would be a “holiday” – and so this had propelled them to put their names down for the race.
Said Mike, “It seemed like it would be free travel and a free holiday at first. But turned out that it was as far from a holiday, as much as possible!”
He added, “The race really puts you through situations that I had never experienced before. Even when I was in National Service, I got more sleep than this. I think that we reacted the best that we could during the show, but in the circumstances, it brought out so much anger and frustration in us. It’s a very human response and we were so tired.”
In fact, during the five weeks that TARA had been filmed, the racers got an average of four hours of sleep a night, while covering a total distance of 12,000km and 11 destinations in the process.
And JK had quipped in response, “I learnt that Mike is not very patient…”
Hoped the first leg would have been non-elimination
As well, siblings Rei & Keiji had also admitted that they had hoped that the first leg – when they bowed out of the race – would be a non elimination one. Said Rei, 33, “The first team had been eliminated 20 minutes into the race, so we had hoped that it was a non elimination leg when we had reached the mat last.”
Added Keiji, 29, “And when Allan (Wu) told us that we were eliminated, I was trying to comfort myself first, but when Rei cried, I said to myself that Singapore was not going to see me cry on national TV. But I cried after that, though!”
He also added that their time on TARA had become a “joke” in his life already. Said Keiji, “Whenever I am the last to reach the dinner venue with my friends, they will tell me, you are the last team to arrive; no more dinner already.”
Lucky fans had got to play games
As well, a few lucky fans also had the opportunity to play some games – that had mimicked the types of activities in the show’s Road Block challenges – with the contestants.
The games had been quite hilarious! For example, in one such game, the contestants had to hop from one end of the stage to the other… with a balloon between their legs. They were not allowed to use their hands during any part of this challenge.
Ended with photo opportunities for fans
The session had then ended with fans queuing up to take photos together with Wu and the two Singapore teams.
The Amazing Race Asia airs on Thursdays at 9:00pm (SINGAPORE) first and exclusively on AXN.
Channel 511 (StarHub TV)
Channel 304 (Singtel TV)