Wu- ing back view­ers

> The charis­matic Alan Wu re­turns to host the fifth sea­son of The Amaz­ing Race Asia

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - S. IN­DRA SATHIABALAN

AMER­I­CAN-CHI­NESE ac­tor and VJ Al­lan Wu had his big break in 2006 host­ing the first sea­son The Amaz­ing Race Asia TARA).

Be­ing a vir­tual unknown out­side of Sin­ga­pore then, Wu im­me­di­ately drew com­par­isons to Emmy-win­ning The Amaz­ing Race (US edi­tion) host Phil Keoghan.

How­ever, Wu has man­aged to carve out his own iden­tity on the show, and is now one of the most recog­nised celebri­ties in Asia.

Sadly, TARA went on hia­tus af­ter sea­son four in 2010. In the mean­time, Wu stayed on with the fran­chise, host­ing three sea­sons of In­ter­na­tional Chan­nel Shang­hai’s The Amaz­ing Race: China Rush, and three sea­sons of Shen­zhen Me­dia Group’s Chi­nese edi­tion of The Amaz­ing Race.

Wu also re­cently dis­played his not-so-great driv­ing skills on His­tory’s Celebrity Car Wars.

This year, Wu is back as host of TARA for a fifth sea­son.

Dur­ing a me­dia ses­sion prior to the show’s pre­miere on Oct 13, Wu said he is ex­cited about host­ing the show.

He felt con­nected with the fran­chise, and it was like re­unit­ing with a long-lost ‘friend’, adding that “over the past six years, fans kept ask­ing me about it. It was a long gap”.

Wu is also happy that AXN ap­proached him again to be the host. “I guess they thought that I still look good – that I would bring back a sense of fa­mil­iar­ity and con­nec­tion to the past four sea­sons.”

This year, for the first time, TARA will fea­ture a co-host, In­done­sian ac­tress Tara Basro, who made her de­but dur­ing the first leg of the race in Jakarta. She will ap­pear only on cer­tain legs of the race.

When asked at which point did Wu let go and let Tara take over, Wu jok­ingly said: “I never let go!

“For me, I have been do­ing it for so long. Tara is an ac­tress, and this is her first time host­ing a show like this.

“For the Road­block [chal­lenge] … she would ex­plain one por­tion [and] I would ex­plain another. She was will­ing to learn and she learnt quickly. There was def­i­nitely a whole new dy­namic to the show.”

Be­fore the race even got un­der­way, Wu an­nounced to the 11 teams that they had to un­dergo a quick elim­i­na­tion chal­lenge. Their task was to find a com­pass show­ing the ex­act di­rec­tion that Wu wanted.

The team from Vietnam failed the task, and it was heart­break­ing to watch the pair go.

“I was shocked,” said Wu. “I felt bad for the 11 teams. I had to be the bearer of bad news.

“But then, who doesn’t know how to read a com­pass? It is not com­pli­cated. It was like a huge wake-up call that it could all end in an in­stant.

“Ob­vi­ously, you have trained, and done your home­work and watched the show. The chal­lenges are phys­i­cal, but also re­quire think­ing. You have to be cool and calm about it, or you will get elim­i­nated.”

Wu said he also talked to those who got elim­i­nated at the pit stops, and this year, the au­di­ence will get to see these seg­ments.

“It’s more im­mer­sive this time. You can even hear my thoughts about what tran­spired on that leg. There are very in­ter­est­ing things that have hap­pened on the pit stop mat [in pre­vi­ous sea­sons], and now you can see that.”

Be­cause of the long gap, fans are es­pe­cially ea­ger to watch TARA on air again.

Wu agrees: “Not to be boastful, but this is the big­gest show in Asia. It is uni­fy­ing, and [rep­re­sen­ta­tive of] Asia. It has the com­pet­i­tive el­e­ment, plus it is a travel show.

“It is such a priv­i­lege and hon­our, and so ex­cit­ing for me to do this.”

The Amaz­ing Race Asia

ZULFADHLI ZAKI/ THE­SUN

(clock­wise, from left) Wu … look­ing for­ward to tak­ing fans on a new jour­ney with sea­son five of The Amaz­ing Race Asia; with the three Malaysian teams com­pet­ing in sea­son five; and at the start of the race in Jakarta with new co-host Tara and an In­done­sian Tourism Min­istry of­fi­cial.

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