My favourite Amazing Race team pulled off an awesome feat this week: they went from last place (in a non-elimination round) to first place (by a long shot) while completing a speed bump along the way (a task that only they have to complete because they were spared elimination).

The Cowboys, Jet and Cord (who were named one of my Obsessions of the Week back on March 23), are the best team running and have a clear shot at the win if they avoid some of the stupid mistakes that have held them up at times earlier in the race.

I’m also really rooting for Brent and Caite, the resilient underdogs who everyone counts out every week but who have managed to hang on longer than anyone could have imagined. They were superstars at this week’s impossibly physical Detour challenge and would have easily finished in second if it weren’t for some bad luck along the way (mostly an unfortunate cab driver who got them lost).

Quirky detectives Mike and Louis also win me over every week with their upbeat attitudes, fun turn of phrase and awesome support of each other (and the other deserving teams).

Also prevalent among this engaging lot of racers is an excellent judge of character. They’re working together more than I’ve ever seen teams do before and are pairing off in smart ways. The unlikely pairing of Detectives Mike and Louis with Models Brent and Caite is particularly great as they unite against bullying narcissists Carol and Brandy. Every time Carol and Brandy squabble among themselves or belittle another team I take great pleasure in the knowledge that every other team is rooting against them, including the muddled brothers Dan and Jordan and the lone ranger Cowboys. Here’s hoping that next week’s promo of Carol going off about Caite and Brent is the result of the bullies being U-Turned and put out of the race entirely.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Cowboys, father/daughter team Steve and Allie went from first place to last in this leg, easily the most demanding of the season so far. I liked them well enough but won’t much notice their absence. At this point in the race we’re left with only the truly dynamic teams: the heroic cowboys, the villainous women, two contrasting teams of underdogs and the comic relief brothers. It’s making for an enthralling season.