Azaria and Hendekea are the clear frontrunners. The brother-and-sister act grabbed their third first-place finish in this week’s leg of “Amazing Race 12,” barely edging out Nathan and Jennifer, who are emerging as the second-strongest contenders. Kynt and Vyksin, the goths I gave an early nod to, have fallen to fifth place.

Nicolas and Grandpa Donald, meanwhile, are muddling through and still finishing in the middle of the pack, despite their aimless efforts. They are constantly getting lost; every time they step out of a cab, they turn in the wrong direction. One of these weeks it’s going to cost them.

This week: Bingo to Ouagadougou

Biggest hurdle: Riding an overloaded delivery bike, complete with uncooperative goat, through a bustling village market

Boy, you said it: “Congratulations, you are wonderful.” --A judge of the traditional African dancing Detour, to Kynt, whose drum major/sword fighting routine made him look like an spastic elf

Don’t choke your chicken: Teams were given an unexpected companion this week: A chicken. A real, live chicken. The bird was a “traditional gift” from a tribal chief, and it accompanied racers throughout the leg of the race, including a 100-mile cab ride to Bouda Pelegtanga. No word on that scent of stewed poultry at the Pit Stop.

Death, Taxes & Restrooms: Hendekea had to take a bathroom break, following that 100-mile cab ride (who can blame her?), causing a several-minute delay and greatly frustrating her brother. So what? Well, it’s the first time I can remember someone stopping to pee on “The Amazing Race.” In fact, they don’t seem to eat, either. The racers are obviously heeding nature’s call somewhere along the way, but somehow it’s never made it into an episode before, or apparently affected the game.

Good Spirit Award: Tip-o-the-cap to Lorena and Jason for keeping their hopes up and their heads in the game even as they fell hopelessly behind. If it wasn’t for the U-Turn inflicted by Shana and Jennifer, they woulda had a fighting chance. To the end, Jason kept up the positive patter: “Let’s go, let’s get this done!”

Bu-Bye: Lorena and Jason, despite last week’s meltdown, this week you faced defeat with a smile.