The Amazing Race Asia is back for it’s 5th season! Fans of the show have had to endure a 6 year hiatus but it was well worth the wait as this season brings eleven brand new gung-ho teams as they face arduous challenges and also sees the return of Amazing Race veteran, Allan Wu, as the season’s host.
A man of many talents and passions, he’s not one to stay idle and has been keeping busy during this hiatus with various other projects. Always the man to venture off the beaten path in search of adventure, Allan is the perfect choice to anchor the show and will be joined by co-host Tara Basro for certain legs of the race this season.
How does it feel to be back with the Amazing Race Asia?
It’s like reuniting with a close friend I haven’t seen in years! I had such a great experience hosting the previous four seasons so I was definitely looking forward to hosting it again for the fifth time. Also, the teams we recruited this season are really dynamic and all have really strong personalities so that makes for great TV!
How do you think it’ll be, having Tara Basro as a co-host this season?
I feel really energized having a co-host this season as it adds a new and interesting dimension to the show. Tara is an award-winning movie star in Indonesia so it was great to have the added touch of glamor. I also enjoyed having someone to chat with while I was waiting for the teams to arrive at the pit stops. Our average wait time was around five hours, so yes, it was good to have a buddy for some legs of the race!
How do you think social media interaction with viewers this season is going to impact the show/ hosting?
The Amazing Race Asia Season 5 is a hugely social TV experience for both the racers and the viewers. For the first time in the show history, we had a social content crew physically run the race with the teams to capture the raw, behind-the-scenes moments. The race is intense and emotions often run high so being able to share this off-camera and personal journey creates a deeper understanding of the pressures the racers face every day. It’s not all drama though – there were a lot of fun and crazy moments too!
So we’ve taken these moments and created several webisodes focused on a variety of themes, including how racers prepare for the race, Tara and I testing out the challenges to see if we’d survive, and the race from my P.O.V on the pit stop mat.
Our viewers will also be able to Facebook live chat with the racers after the episodes each week – I will also be jumping in to chat and answer any questions our fans might have about the show.
Do you keep up with social media personally?
Yes, I am very active on Instagram and Facebook (@wulander / @AllanWuOfficial) as I love to share my global adventures, and also check in on what my family and friends are up to. When I travel it’s also one way I am able to connect with my kids. It helps me feel closer to them even when I might be up in the Andes Mountains in Peru off the beaten path.
You’ve previously hosted the Amazing Race China, do you prefer hosting in Mandarin or English? How do you think The Amazing Race Asia compares to Amazing Race China?
English is my first language so obviously delivering my lines comes much more naturally. But I have enjoyed learning to host the show in Mandarin. I’m always up for a challenge and while I have improved a lot over the years, I know the Chinese viewers still have a giggle at my accent and pronunciation.
The biggest difference between the two shows is that The Amazing Race Asia’s 11 teams hail from all across Asia so the cultural diversity and differing perspectives are awesome. I really enjoy meeting the racers and keeping in touch with them after the show.
Being a sports buff yourself, have you ever thought about competing in the race?
I have considered it as I am a very competitive person and would take it all very seriously. But honestly if I had to choose between hosting and racing, I’d prefer to be the host of The Amazing Race Asia as I get to return season after season!
What have you been up to during the show’s 6 year hiatus?
Just when the 6 year hiatus began, I had just started hosting another version of this show called The Amazing Race China Rush so I decided to move to Shanghai, China for a few years to focus on that market and improve my children’s Chinese language skills. It was truly an adventure living in China and working in that market. And just as that version came to an end, I also decided to return to Singapore, and that’s just when a new version of this format called The Amazing Race China Celebrity Edition started up, and I’ve been busy with that ever since.
Constantly traveling and being away from your children must be tough, how do you cope with it?
There are many perks to my job but being away from my kids is not one of them. They are my top priority so when I travel so I try to stay in touch with them when I have time on the road. Back when I’m home in Singapore, I try to spend quality time with them where we are actively engaging in activities such as basketball, running, squash, drawing, games, etc.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently working on a new travel infotainment show in Chinese for Starhub called “Let’s Do This Together.” So far, I’ve had the special opportunity to participate in unique cultural events in Peru, Spain, and France with a few more exciting destinations to come. Also, I just received some exciting news that the fourth season of The Amazing Race China Celebrity Edition will be returning next year so that means I’ll need to start brushing up on my Chinese again!