Reality shows join forces for epic 'Amazing Race' season premiere

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(CBS/WVLT) - The multiple Emmy-Award winning series "The Amazing Race" returns Wednesday, April 17 for its 31st race around the world, with 11 teams comprised of some of the most memorable and competitive players from "Survivor," "Big Brother," and of course, "The Amazing Race."

Which team will win this epic reality showdown? According to the show's host, Phil Keoghan, every team has a shot at winning the million dollar prize.

"This season we're putting memorable characters from three different reality shows that people have to grown to love," said Keoghan. "These competitions are really different. The competition of 'Big Brother' is taking place in a tiny, little house with walls and you can't get out."

Sisters and former "Big Brother" contestants Rachel Reilly and Elissa Slater are teaming up for the first time.

"Elissa and I have never been on a reality show together," said Rachel. "I always compete on reality shows with my husband."

Keoghan says contestants from "Survivor" generally have a lot of toughness. Husband and wife team, Rupert and Laura Boneham, agree their experience gives them an edge.

"'Survivor' prepped me for dealing with the unknown. You're without food. You're without water. You're without comfort," noted Rupert.

"You know you're going to have to turn on your friend, your trusted ally," remarked fellow 'Survivor' alum Bret Labelle. He's partnering up with his good friend Chris Hammons. "Here, it's us to the end."

Of course, the former "The Amazing Race" contestants think they have the ultimate advantage.

"We came so close to winning last time," said Art Velez, who competed in the show's 20th season. "You look at the cast now. You have a lot of 'Big Brother' and you have a lot of 'Survivor.' They're not in racing mode. They're strategically trying to vote people out. I think we'll be outside of that fray."

One thing is certain according to Keoghan. This year's cast will make for one of the best races ever.

"When you you've got a cast as competitive as the ones we have this season, it's going to get cutthroat," Keoghan said. "Only one team is going to cross that finish line and win a million dollars. There isn't a team that is on this season that doesn't have the potential to win."

This is the first reality showdown between contestants from these three shows. The 31st season premiere of "The Amazing Race" airs Wednesday, April 17 at 9:00 p.m. EDT on WVLT.
Art Velez and John James "JJ" Carrell
Friends from Temecula and San Marcos, Calif.
Previous season: The Amazing Race 20

Colin Guinn (38) and Christie Woods (40)
Life Partners from Austin, Texas
Previous season: The Amazing Race 5

Becca Droz (28) and Floyd Pierce (23)
Friends from Boulder and Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Previous season: The Amazing Race 29

Leo Temory (31) and Jamal Zadran (30)
Cousins from Pasadena, Calif. and Houston, Texas
Previous seasons: The Amazing Race 23 and The Amazing Race: All-Stars

Tyler Oakley (31) and Korey Kuhl (34)
Friends from Los Angeles and San Francisco
Previous season: The Amazing Race 28

Chris Hammons (40) and Bret Labelle (44)
Friends from Moore, Okla. and Dedham, Mass.
Previous season: Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Corinne Kaplan (39) and Eliza Orlins (35)
Friends from Denver, Colo. and New York
Previous seasons: Survivor: Gabon and Survivor: Caramoan (Corinne); Survivor: Vanuatu and Survivor: Micronesia (Eliza)

Rupert (54) and Laura (49) Boneham
Married from Indianapolis, Ind.
Previous seasons: Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Rupert); Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Laura)

Janelle Pierzina (38) and Britney Haynes (30)
Friends from Lakeville, Minn. and Tulsa, Okla.
Previous seasons: Big Brother 6, Big Brother All-Stars and Big Brother 14 (Janelle); Big Brother 12 and Big Brother 14 (Britney)

Rachel Reilly (34) and Elissa Slater (32)
Sisters from Van Nuys, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.
Previous Seasons: Big Brother 12, winner Big Brother 13, The Amazing Race 20 and The Amazing Race: All-Stars (Rachel); Big Brother 15 (Elissa)

Nicole Franzel (26) and Victor Arroyo (28)
Dating from Ubly, Mich.
Previous seasons: Big Brother 16, winner of Big Brother 18 (Nicole); Big Brother 18 (Victor)