One pair suffered a "devastating" loss days after returning to restart the race.
"The Amazing Race" was forced to shut down production after the third leg of Season 33 way back in February 2020, as a precaution to the first surge of coronavirus cases around the globe. On Wednesday night's episode, viewers saw the series resume filming following a 19-month break, but not everybody returned.
Four teams were noticeably absent, including heroes Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, "Love Island" couple Caro Viehweg and Ray Gantt, married duo Connie and Sam Grenier and married YouTube sensations Taylor and Isaiah Green-Jones. To help fill at least some of those vacancies, the show brought back the two teams who were eliminated before the break, bringing the lineup to just seven teams total.
No explanation was given for the four teams' absences on the show.
On social media, however, Taylor and Isaiah revealed they had actually returned to restart the race, before receiving devastating news.
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"Now that the episode has aired, I'm able to share why we didn't return to the race after the 19 month hiatus," Taylor wrote on Instagram. "My big brother/protector Montrell 'Kirk' passed away from covid 2 days after we arrived for the restart of the race. As you can imagine this was devastating for our family, friends & loved ones. Without question we left the show to be back home and support out family."
The couple went on to thank CBS and the show for "working with us and making it a priority to get home safe to our loved ones," before also thanking the other teams and viewers at home for all their support. They added they hoped to "return to the race in the future and claim victory."
For Anthony and Spencer, Anthony told costars Lulu and Lala Gonzalez the two "definitely wanted to come back," but a lot had changed in 19 months. "I had actually just started a career job ... I kinda just got the position I had been wanting for a while and I couldn't, at that time in my life, I couldn't take that much time off," he added.
Spencer said he was "ready to rock" and added the two were "both sad" they couldn't return. "It's just a timing thing, really," said Anthony.
Appearing on another Lulu and Lala interview, Sam and Connie confirmed the latter's pregnancy kept them from returning. The two recently welcomed a baby boy, with Connie saying she couldn't return at seven months pregnant.
"When we got back, Connie could not take her hands off of me," he joked, as Lulu and Lala revealed they weren't even told why certain teams didn't come back when production resumed.
As for Caro and Ray, the newly-dating, long-distance duo haven't officially said why they didn't come back -- but Caro revealed in July 2020 that she and Ray had split, so the two probably didn't want to work together as a team a full year after breaking up.