As the final three teams raced toward Phil Keoghan and the finish mat in Candlestick Park in tonight's Amazing Race finale, their former competitors cheered.
One team, however, stood aside…and sneered.
Yep, Team Sour Grapes Carol Rosenfeld and Brandy Snow are still harboring that grudge against "dumb" beauty queen Caite Upton for the U-turn that ultimately resulted in their elimination in episode nine.
Did the Catfight at the Candlestick Corral spoil the victory celebration?
Thanks to Caite, no.
By shouting "I love you all!" to the crowd, the third-place finisher (with partner Brent Horne) defused the hostilities and allowed Dan and Jordan Pious to celebrate their win—while everyone else celebrated runner-up cowboys Jet and Cord McCoy for being awesome.
The Oklahoma horsemen, possibly the most beloved team in Amazing Race history, accepted their loss as graciously as they played the game. "He's a good man," said Cord about big brother Jet. "He's my best friend." And loyal, too—we shed tears last week when Cord recounted Jet never leaving his side when he was hospitalized after a serious rodeo accident.
Dan and Jordan are likable enough champions—except for their sneaky line jumping that might have cost the cowboys the race—but Dan made it hard for us to rejoice by once again trumpeting his contribution and self-sacrifice: "I made my little brother's dream come true," he bragged for the gazillionth time. "It's so great knowing that I could help [Jordan] make his No. 1 dream come true."
Dan's self-proclaimed superpowers aside, all three teams were strong competitors going into the final leg of the race. The Pious brothers got an early edge by talking their way into first class and thus deboarding the plane first in San Francisco. Their luck continued with a competent taxi driver, while Caite and Brent hired possibly the worst cabbie in the Bay Area. His lack of fluency in English (oh, the irony for the world travelers) and geographical ignorance (oh, the irony for the viral video pageant sensation, who stopped the car to consult a city guide kiosk) unquestionably knocked them out of the race. And the cowboys, despite Cort's hilarious fake commands ("Ballet move! Sashay!") in the virtual reality challenge, were ultimately no match for Dan's mighty shoulders that carried his little brother to victory.
Regardless of the final outcome, all three teams deserved to feel like winners. Too bad sore losers Carol and Brandy couldn't share their happiness from the sidelines.
(Originally published May 9, 2010, at 9:04 p.m. PT)