Jelani Roy and Jenny Wu – Blasian Couple Blind Dating On “The Amazing Race”

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MAY 16 UPDATE: Congratulations to Team Blasian on their 2nd place finish in the Amazing Race – well done! Their combined smarts and determination kept them close during the entire race and indeed there were many opportunities for them to win the race. They did not find love, but it looks like they will be good friends. By and large, as one of the first Blasian couples on any reality television contest show, they represented Blasian couples very nicely. See the comments at the end of this post, for more color on their Amazing Race experience. The originally published article follows after the line break.

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The 26th season of The Amazing Race introduces us to Blasian couple, Jelani Roy, an African American lawyer, 32, from New York, and Jenny Wu, a Chinese American lawyer, 32, from Los Angeles. They are set up on a blind date which involves racing around the world against 10 other couples. Jelani and Jenny are one of 5 blind date couples who were matched at the beginning of season 26. 

jenny-wu-and-jelani-roy-on-the-amazing-race-season-26_4In this season, the five blind date couples are racing against 6 established couples in a new twist to The Amazing Race. None of the blind date couples knew who they would be matched with before the season began, so although Jelani and Jenny did not choose to be a Blasian couple, they are a great looking couple and they are representing Blasian couples very well so far. With four episodes shown so far. They won the first two legs of race by using their smarts and working very well together. In the fourth episode, their communication broke down a bit from the stress of the race and they fell to 7th out of 9 teams. Hopefully they can use their smarts and determination to pull back to the top of the teams.

jenny-wu-and-jelani-roy-on-the-amazing-race-season-26_3Racing around the world with either a known partner and certainly with an unknown partner, can bring out the best and the worst in some couples. With one of the other blind date couples in season 26, Blair Townsend, a white doctor, and Hayley Keel, a white ER nurse, the woman is having regular fits of anger and blows up with non-stop verbal attacks against her partner – it’s not pretty. Blair, the doctor, quickly wrote off any potential love connection with Hayley having seen her true character so early.

jj3For Jelani and Jenny, they certainly have had their moments of stress and Jenny gets a little snippy at times with Jelani, but nowhere near as bad as the Blair and Hayley couple. For two lawyers, I’m actually surprised that they have not had more arguments. Also the silly arguments they have had have all been with their emotions well under control, so the arguments are about the event in question and do not degrade into personal attacks – very lawyer like in that regard which is nice to see. So far, Jelani and Jenny seem to be handling the stress of the race just fine, even though Jenny mentions that she does not deal well with not being in control at times in the race.

jj1So is there a love connection with the two lawyers? Here is what Jenny said when asked whether there was a potential love connection for them, “This is a friendship, a budding friendship”. Jenny basically friend zoned Jelani, who was very gracious by just agreeing with her. The reality is that it was sort of a crazy concept for “The Amazing Race” to put blind daters in this kind of pressure packed race around the world and expect them to find love in the process.

jj2So far, maybe only one of the five blind date couples seem to have a potential love spark, but the other blind date couples, including Jelani and Jenny have all decided to just be friends and do their best to win the race as a team. Even though Jelani and Jenny do not appear to have a love connection at this point, it’s exciting to see a Blasian couple on prime time television and hopefully it helps some viewers who may not have had seen Blasian couples before now.

jenny-wu-and-jelani-roy-on-the-amazing-race-season-26Media images are very important in setting people’s perceptions and so far I would put Jelani and Jenny in the plus column for positive Blasian couple television images.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Quick update on this couple – after the fifth episode, Jelani and Jenny moved up 3 spots to 4th place out of 8 couples remaining. Their communication seems much improved over the last episode. Was hoping to see a little more wooing from Jenny on the wooing challenge, but she did fine. Also discovered that Jenny is blogging about the episodes and she gives really good insight into this last leg of the race at her blog Some of her earlier episode recaps are a little heavy on the beauty and clothing for my tastes, but Jenny is a beauty blogger, so she can’t help herself 🙂 The next Amazing Race episode is this Friday evening. Let’s see if #TeamBlasian (as Jenny calls them on her blog – nice touch) can keep moving up in the race.

  2. After episode 6 and the leg from Germany to Monaco, Team Blasian lost one spot and came in 5th out of 7 teams remaining. It looked like they had a chance to come in first place, but they had trouble navigating Monaco in part because Jenny left her map with another team and in part because neither of them could figure out the maps they acquired somehow. This episode had some moments of tension with the couple – Jenny snapping at Jelani over the lost map and Jelani snapping at Jenny about his frustration at being accused – as well as some moments of closeness – Jenny hugging Jelani after accomplishing the exhilarating high ropes challenge. Jelani and Jenny are still low drama compared to some of the other couples in the race, but they seem to be solidly in the friend zone at this point.

  3. After episodes 7 and 8, Team Blasian pulled up one spot to finish 4th out of 6 in both episodes. They seem to be struggling with directions and have had many times when they could have finished in a higher position, but they lost time due to bad directions. Have also noticed that Jenny is now taking a good deal of criticism both on the show and off the show for how she treats Jelani. No doubt she does get snippy with Jelani at times, but I still say she is better than the bi-polar Hayley from the doctor/nurse couple. Jenni seems to be singularly focused on her own objectives which those who have dated Chinese women realize can be both a strength and a weakness. She would do well to realize that sometimes you can go further with honey than with vinegar. Also what’s up with Jelani sporting the Tupac look with the head scarf wrap?

  4. In espisode 9, despite being in first place during the early part of the episode, TeamBlasian finished in 3rd place out of five teams. This is one place better than their previous fourth place finish, but it is frustrating watching these guys blow the chance to be in first place so many times. For Jenny to be a wannabe fashionista, she missed a huge opportunity in the soak challenge when the other girls were wearing hot tub appropriate clothing, Jenny went the old maid route of wearing a full length bathrobe in a hot tub which made her look ultraconservative and silly. There aren’t many ultraconservative fashionistas out there, so it was just inconsistent with what she portrays on her fashion oriented website. While Jenny still has her moments of stress in the race, I still say she is better to deal with than the bi-polar Hayley from the doctor/nurse couple.

  5. In espisode 10, TeamBlasian had a good showing overall and moved up to 2nd place out of 5 teams. Once again, they were in the lead for a good portion and lost the lead to finish in 2nd. Looks like they have a good chance of finishing in the final top 3 at this point, but time will tell. Overall, I would still consider them a good representive of Blasian couples given how far they have come in the race with really minimal issues between the two of them.

  6. In episode 11, with one episode to go, Team Blasian finished 2nd out of 4 teams, the same place as last week. Unlike previous weeks, they never held first place this week and they were in 2nd place the entire time. While it’s a little difficult to tell from the way they edit the show, it looks like they have a nice gap between them and the first place team, although with another international flight coming up in the final episode, the timing of flights could close that gap for them. The top 3 teams for the final episode are all blind date teams which surprisingly seems to indicate that maybe couples with zero history together perform better on the Amazing Race than couples who have been together for a long time and supposedly know each other well.

    While Jelani and Jenny are still officially in the friend zone and Jenny in particular seems to struggle with the challenges designed for romantic couples, these two do seem to be developing a closer relationship and they appear to be a lot more comfortable with each other. Eleven legs of an around the world adventure probably does that for you.

    Regardless of how they finish next week in the final, they should be proud of their performance together to make it to the final set of teams on the Amazing Race. Good luck to Team Blasian!

  7. 2nd Place for Team Blasian! They put up a nice effort and should be proud of their result. They beat 9 other teams which is a nice accomplishment. Congratulations on completing the entire race!

    Three things seemed to prevent them from capturing first place. 1) They were horrible with directions the entire race and missed many opportunities to place higher by going the wrong direction. 2) There were several moments where Jelani just was not aggressive enough. He probably was influenced by Jenny’s strong personality, but still he should have been more aggressive in several of the tasks. Particularly with a strong minded Asian female, you can not let her walk all over you. Many Asian women appreciate men who are strong men and Jelani made a mistake by not being aggressive enough. Jenny was criticized for being too aggressive with Jelani throughout the race, and perhaps there was some of this, but from my experience, Jenny really just needed Jelani to step up and be more aggressive sometimes. Jenny would have adjusted to Jelani’s strong lead, but instead, Jenny basically just ran over Jelani many times. 3) Jenny on the other hand was plenty aggressive, but too collaborative with the other teams. On many tasks, Jenny was relying on other teams to help her complete the tasks. By working on the task collaboratively with other teams, by definition it means that you will never pull ahead of the other teams. This of course is common with many Asians who are more comfortable doing things in groups rather than as an individual. Winners have to take risks and be independent of the group often times and by collaborating with the group at every turn, you can stay close, but you often can’t win.

    If they were better with directions, if Jelani was more aggressive during the race, and if Jenny was more willing to make decisions independent of the other teams, they would have won the Amazing Race, no doubt. All the same, a good showing for the first Blasian couple on a reality contest show.

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