Maine Sunday Telegram

Being on the CBS globe-trotting reality show “The Amazing Race” was not the first time James Davis had been around the world. But it does mark one of the few international trips Davis has taken with his shirt on for substantial periods of time.

Davis, who grew up in the small central Maine town of Jefferson, performs with the world famous Chippendales male touring revue.

Even if you don’t know the Chippendales name, you’ve no doubt seen pictures of their famous bare-chested male dancers wearing little more than dapper bow ties and collars.

Davis, 27, has been competing on “The Amazing Race” since the show’s fall season began Sept. 30. He and his teammate on the show — fellow Chippendale Jaymes Vaughan — are still alive in the big-money competition going into Sunday’s episode. The episode was filmed in Bangladesh, and a CBS promo says that some of the racers will be seen working as “rat collectors.”

That definitely sounds like a job a person needs to shirt up for.

How well Davis will do in Bangladesh, or how long he’ll last on the show, is hard to say. CBS publicists say contestants aren’t allowed to talk about their time on “The Amazing Race” until they get eliminated.

For this season, the show’s producers sent 11 competing teams, consisting of two people each, around the world for about a month. At each exotic locale, the teams face tasks and challenges — and failing at any can mean elimination.

The prize is usually $1 million. But this year, for the first time, contestants can double their money. If the couple that won the first leg of the race also wins the final leg, they’ll take home $2 million.

For this season’s episodes, according to CBS publicists, the teams were asked to rappel down 10 stories in Los Angeles, fry an egg on their heads in Indonesia and catch rats in Bangladesh, among other things.

The teams are usually made up of two folks who have some interesting connection. Sometimes they’re siblings trying to reconnect, sometimes they’re engaged, sometimes they have the same job.

In the case of Davis and his teammate, both are Chippendales performers living in Las Vegas. They list themselves on the show’s media website as “best friends.”

Davis grew up in tiny Jefferson, which lies just to the north of the Midcoast town of Waldoboro and southeast of Augusta. He went to school in Jefferson and later moved to Las Vegas, where he finished high school.

In his profile on the Chippendales website, Davis wrote that in Las Vegas, he began pursuing a career as a fashion and fitness model. In 2007, he said, he was “scouted” for the Chippendales world tour.

“I admit I was a little nervous during the casting as I had never danced before,” wrote Davis. But he added that he did get to show off his skills as a guitarist by playing “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5. He doesn’t say whether that performance was shirtless or not.

Davis then went through a two-week dance “boot camp” and shortly found himself dancing for 1,500 “screaming women” in Riga, Latvia, he wrote. He also wrote in his bio of the time in Zurich, Switzerland, when a crowd of women found out which hotel the Chippendales were staying at and swarmed it.

While Davis still has relatives in Maine, he doesn’t say much about his home state or town in his bio other than this: “I always joke that there is more livestock than people in the town I’m from.” And, he noted, he never misses his Sunday phone calls with his grandmother.

The final episode of this season of “The Amazing Race,” when one team wins at least $1 million, will probably air in December, though CBS has not announced a definite air date.

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