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Whoever said all Canadians are nice hasn’t met the Season 5 teams of The Amazing Race Canada (Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV). We kid. Sort of. Because while they’re sweet as can be while NOT playing the game, watch out for them when host Jon Montgomery tells them to go. They’re in this to win it — as they should be. All 10 teams are also unapologetically Canadian, so there’ll be no apologies here.

The Loop spoke to the teams to find out who are contenders, who are pretenders and who will be the most entertaining — and we don’t know who we’ll be rooting for! Get ready for the liveliest bunch yet.


WHO: Zed and Shabbir, son and father from Vancouver
GOOD TO KNOW: The father/son duo, who used to butt heads often, grew closer after Shabbir was diagnosed with, then beat, Stage 3 colon cancer. “We’re doing the Race because we wanted to experience an adventure together, where we get to test and push our boundaries physically and mentally,” says Zed.
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “I like to think I’d be fine playing the game fairly and coming in second, but I think at the end of the day I would go in for the kill,” says Shabbir. But Zed thinks it’ll depend on what the situation is. “I don’t think we’d cross any lines that were grounds for being completely unfair. I don’t think it’s in our blood.” OK, vicious with a couple teaspoons of kind.
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They’re both fierce competitors who bring out the best in one another and balance each other out. “He’s mentally strong, I’m physically strong, so I think we make a good match,” says Zed.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: They think the other teams don’t see them as a threat, and will put them somewhere in the middle of the pack. “Not at the bottom, but not a strong contender either,” says Shabbir. “Which I’m fine with,” throws in Zed. But they need to find a way to get to the top or else they’re done.


WHO: Adam and Andrea, brother and sister from Montréal
GOOD TO KNOW: Andrea had auditioned with her best friend for Season 3 but despite going pretty far in the process, they didn’t make it. Enter Adam. “He was all in,” Andrea said of her brother when they auditioned for Season 4. “We’re totally different. His strengths are different from mine and we complement each other really well.” Maybe third time’s a charm?
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “No one remembers who finishes second,” says Adam. Point well made.
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They’re competitive and outgoing and, because they’re siblings, any snappiness and impatience won’t be taken too personally. “If we get into fights, who cares?,” laughs off Andrea. “We’ll get over it.”
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Andrea tore her ACL and MCL in her right knee last year, and an injury like that could pose a problem in a game as demanding as this.


WHO: Daniel and Riya, friends and YouTube co-stars from Toronto
GOOD TO KNOW: They’re kind of … lazy. “What if we took penalties throughout the entire thing and actually won? If we just penalty-ed our way to the end,” laughs Daniel. (They weren’t joking. OK, maybe half-joking. OK, probably not. )
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “We might not have the muscles or the popping veins out of our heads, but just wait. We cheat. We’re cheaters. We have a few tricks up our sleeves.”
WHY THEY COULD WIN: Slow and steady can win the race and they’re just banking on not coming in last. But unless they were punking us, these two jokers aren’t winning anything. They’ll be entertaining AF though.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Neither of them can read a map. Neither of them are decent drivers. You do the math.


WHO: Aaron and Deb, son and mother and co-workers from Grand Forks, B.C.
GOOD TO KNOW: Aaron’s a champion ballroom dancer so bring on the dance challenge!
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “No one has ever won this game without hiding something or lying or playing sneaky,” says Aaron. “But we won’t go out of our way to be vicious,” acknowledges Deb.
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They know the game and are willing to do whatever it takes to play it their way.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Sometimes a penalty needs to be taken, but the funeral directors are refusing to take any, which could come back to bite them. “We’re going to run the race, we’re going to do it our way, we’re going to finish it. And if we get out because of that, at least we can say we didn’t give up.”


WHO: Korey and Ivana, friends and co-workers from Toronto
GOOD TO KNOW: They’ve known each other for over a decade but have never been involved, which Ivana says “helps, in this case. There’s never going to be that tension.” Corey agrees. “There are a lot of other emotions that could get involved, and that could be detrimental in these situations as well.”
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “Dirty winners,” if need be. “It’s a race, there are no hard feelings,” says Ivana. “I have a lot of integrity — outside of the game.”
WHY THEY COULD WIN: Um, look at them. Their physical ability, thanks to their careers as personal trainers, is their greatest strength.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: He’s more “mellow,” while she’s “high-strung” — never a good combo for a team. Though it does make for great television.


WHO: Megan and Courtney, cousins from Cornerbrook, Nfld.
GOOD TO KNOW: Their family is infamous for their quirkiness, so much so they’re nicknamed “The Bundys” of Cornerbrook.
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “Whatever gets us to the end,” says Courtney. “Everyone wants to be liked but when you have Race brain on the go, that’s not what we’re going to be thinking about.”
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They do everything together, know each other inside and out, and don’t get annoyed by one another. Plus, they’ll cut a b*tch to get ahead.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: They might do everything together but they are total opposites. The Race can bring out the best in both of them, but also the worst.


WHO: Karen and Bert, married couple from Edmonton
GOOD TO KNOW: Bert’s also a hip-hop artist who goes by the name of Dirt Gritie.
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “I’m a nice person but I want to win,” says Karen. “So we’re dirty. Like, diiiirrrrty.” Exactly, Bert concurs. “If it means forming alliances, then back-stabbing them, that’s what we gotta do. I’m not here to come in second.” Oh, boy. Look out for these two.
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They do hip-hop karaoke so their memorizing skills are off the hook.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Their willingness to crush any team that gets in their way could put a target on their backs early.


WHO: Sam and Paul, dating couple from Toronto
GOOD TO KNOW: Sam has an almost photographic memory. A very cool thing to have in your repertoire.
VICIOUS OR KIND: Vicious. “The number one goal is to win,” says Paul. “If push comes to shove, we’ll do whatever it takes to win. You do what it takes to get to the front. You can apologize after the leg.”
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They’re both physical, intelligent and can handle high-stress situations.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Sam admits he’s “pretty emotional” and Paul has a tendency to overreact. In situations in which the teams can find themselves, those qualities aren’t ideal.


WHO: Andrea and Ebonie, friends and business partners from Montréal
GOOD TO KNOW: Andrea tried out with another friend but is so glad they didn’t make it, because she truly believes she and Ebonie will slay this Race. “It was made for us.”
VICIOUS OR KIND: Kind. “We’re not lying, we’re not stealing cabs, we’re not doing all that drama,” says Ebonie. “I wouldn’t judge another team that does it. I understand it’s a Race and you want to win, it’s a TV show, I get it. But it’s not our thing.”
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They’re pretty calm, cool and level-headed — the kind of qualities that can take a team to the top spot. “We don’t want to appear as threats to other teams,” says Ebonie. Andrea concurs: “We just want to do the Race the way we need to do it. Not stress about it. Not end up last.”
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: They are vocal and strong-willed and won’t back down. “If you challenge us about something we’re passionate about, we will defend ourselves.” That could put them on other teams’ sh*t lists.


WHO: Kenneth and Ryan, friends from Collingwood, Ont.
GOOD TO KNOW: They studied the hell out of the game and have their eyes on the grand prize. “As soon as we start focusing on other teams and what they’re doing, we’re not focusing on what we’re doing,” says Kenneth. “And that’s the most important thing; run our race the way we want to run it, not based on anyone else. That’s going to make all the other teams worry about us.”
VICIOUS OR KIND: Kind. “I don’t want to be remembered for being a d*ck,” says Kenneth. Fair enough.
WHY THEY COULD WIN: They come off as goofy and laid-back but Kenneth and Ryan have been preparing for this game like no other team has.
WHAT COULD MESS THEM UP: Kenneth’s calm and likes to talk things out, while Ryan’s hyper and go, go, go, so when put in a stressful enough situation, things might get rocky.

The Amazing Race Canada premieres Tuesday, July 4 on CTV.