Phil Keoghan
"The Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan takes a selfie during one of his many travels around the world. philiminator/Instagram

For the first time in the history of “The Amazing Race,” 22 complete strangers will be paired off to compete for Season 29. CBS has recently thrown a curveball to fans of the award-winning reality show when it revealed the brand new twist.

In previous seasons, the series pitted eleven teams – made up of two members – against each other. Each team is typically related to each other – there were married couples, friends, siblings, parents or co-workers. In Season 26, however, the competition shook the competition a bit by putting single strangers to comprise half of the cast. This year, however, all the racers will be total strangers who will be meeting each other for the first time on the starting line.

According to show’s website, before “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan gives the go-signal, the competitors must immediately pick a teammate and pair off “based on nothing but first impressions.” This means that they each team will only be given a few minutes to get to know more about their travelling companions.

In the sneak peek released by CBS, Keoghan explains the rationale behind the big change. He shared that he has repeatedly heard fans say that they don’t have a partner or somebody that they could race with. Determined to join the race, viewers of the show raised the possibility of having the show pair them off with someone.

This move is expected to bring the reality show to a whole new dimension in terms of drama. Racing around the world and trying to get ahead of everyone else is hard enough, but doing it with someone totally unfamiliar is another game. “They don’t know each other now but we promise, they will,” the teaser said. As one contestant said, two types of sparks are expected to fly throughout the race: loves sparks or fiery, dramatic ones. After all, each competitor has no idea how his or her teammate react to any situation and, more importantly, to pressure that the competition brings.

This year’s cast include a criminal attorney, a top banking firm associate, a professional snowboarder, an auctioneer and a rock climbing instructor, who will all compete for the US$1 million (AU$1.30 million) grand prize. Each team will race across nine countries and 17 cities, which span a total of 36,000 miles. Reports state that the starting line will be in Los Angeles in California, US, where they will be sent off to their first destination: Panama City.

Below is the list of “The Amazing Race” Season 29 cast:

- Shamir Arzeno, a 28-year-old banking firm associate from New York
- Logan Bauer, a 27-year-old orthopedic device representative from Florida
- Olive Beauregard, a 24-year-old firefighter from Rhode Island
- Brooke Camhi, a 36-year-old criminal defence attorney from New York
- Tara Carr, a 38-year-old U.S. Army officer from Virginia
- Joey Covino, a 46-year-old police sergeant from Massachusetts
- Becca Droz, a 26-year-old rock climbing instructor from Colorado
- Liz Espey, a 24-year-old auctioneer from Missouri
- Scott Flanary, a 34-year-old university recruiting manager from North Carolina
- Sara Fowler, a 27-year-old luxury real estate agent from Maryland
- London Kaye, a 27-year-old street artist from New York
- Matt Ladley, a 25-year-old professional snowboarder from Colorado
- Jenn Lee, a 25-year-old professional model from California
- Kevin Ng, a 31-year-old athletic trainer from California
- Francesca Piccoli, a 33-year-old U.S. Army Civil Affairs soldier from California
- Floyd Pierce, a 21-year-old college student from Colorado
- Michael Rado, a 37-year-old butcher from Pennsylvania
- Redmond Ramos, a 28-year-old motivational speaker from California
- Jessica "Jessie" Lynn Shields, a 28-year-old K-9 police officer from Ohio
- Ashton Theiss, a 25-year-old real estate agent from Texas
- Seth Tyler, a 37-year-old police officer from Washington
- Vanck Zhu, a 28-year-old Investment researcher from Minnesota

Stay tuned for more spoilers and updates. “The Amazing Race” Season 29 airs in the US on CBS on March 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.