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'Amazing Race’: A win for Connor and Jonathan, and a song for Phil (video)

October 11, 2010 |  9:00 am

In winning Sunday night's third leg of the “Amazing Race 17,” a capella collegiate singers Connor Diemand-Yauman and Jonathan Schwartz did everything right except when it came to delivering a victory ballad to host Phil Koeghan.

The musical duo beat eight other teams handily by perfectly employing the two precepts that usually pave the way to wins on the CBS competition:

1) Luck into a local cab driver who knows where he is going and who is not afraid to race past other contestants' taxis. In this episode, they were lucky enough to encounter the redoubtable cabbie Samson, whose prowess behind the wheel prompted them to break into harmonies of "We love Samson" from the back seat.

2) Pay attention to the written instructions that introduce the challenges. This seemingly obvious tactic has eluded contestants through all 17 of the show's races. In the Ghana countryside, the duo used the proper number of wheelbarrows to trundle the right tools to a designated spot, when other teams didn't pay attention to the simple directions and had to repeat the task under a withering sun.

Beyond that, the Princeton students also displayed aptitude in deciphering a hieroglyphic message among a maze of drawn characters. They were the only team that found the clues needed to successfully translate the puzzle -- other teams obliviously walked past a large sign on the side of a building that prominently posted the clues.

All in all, it was a triumph built not on singing, but on paying attention.

Connor and Jonathan each won a $5,000 bonus for placing first in the third leg. We'll see if they build on that success next week when the competition moves to the Arctic.

Meantime, in a video that wasn't aired on Sunday's episode, watch above their vocal missteps and, finally, the finished version of a musical salute to Keoghan, sung to the tune of "Silent Night," as they stood in the winner’s circle.

-- Christopher Smith

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