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The Atlanta taping is in the books. Here are our thoughts.

Well, the ones we can tell you.

You know the American Ninja Warrior season is in full swing the first time you wake up and for a second wonder what city you’re in. After leaving Los Angeles behind, the show migrated across the country to Atlanta for the second of the regional Qualifiers and City Finals.

Per usual, there’s not too much we can tell you. We will say that after the damp start in LA, everyone was hoping Atlanta would dry out and warm up for us. We weren’t quite so lucky, leading to some long, chilly nights. We always have so much respect for the dedication of the audience. They plant themselves out in the stands in any weather, keeping their spirits high no matter how late (and then early) it gets. They’re there to cheer on their favorite Ninjas and nothing is going to stop them!

Before the whirlwind of the season 11 taping continues, here are our major thoughts (that we can talk about) coming out of the Atlanta taping.


American Ninja Warrior contributor Jill Snook pointed out the fun Ninja paper cutouts made by Tim Saguinsin. These things were a HUGE hit! By the way, we asked Tim how long it takes him to make each one. He said it’s about a FIVE HOUR process. That’s some serious commitment! It was well rewarded though. There were cutouts, as well as blowups of the cutouts. The hosts fell in love with their mini-me’s.

Matt Iseman had the crew from the Arthritis Foundation there to watch the show. He works closely with the foundation and the cause is very close to his heart. Both he and Akbar frequently bring out special guests like this and it’s always a reminder of how much our hosts care.

New sideline reporter Zuri Hall is already a part of the family in just her second city. She’s jumped into the draining taping schedule head first and is fully embracing the wild trip that will be her first Ninja Warrior season.

Competition-wise, every city is an emotional rollercoaster and Atlanta was no different. No matter what happens on the course, the nights take their toll. It’s exhilarating, exhausting, thrilling, and surprising. Everyone looks forward to a good nights rest in a warm bed once the lights go down.

But one really special aspect of seeing the show in person is seeing the Ninjas with their families and loved ones. On the show, the focus is on just them and the obstacles. In person, you get a feel for who they are in their daily lives and the people they keep close.

The live experience also allows you to watch the community blossom even further. The veterans meet the rookies. The 19-year-olds who are now getting their chance at the course get to meet and compete with the heroes who inspired them to be there.

There’s so much that happens around the taping as well. The tight-knit group of course testers eagerly await each city so they can try out obstacles and just spend time together once more.

We’ll close this by saying that Atlanta was a welcoming homecoming for the show. It’s a bit of a fact that the weather rarely behaves perfectly for taping. (Oklahoma City, please be kind. Please?) However, we’re always blown away by watching the competitors stay ready and in the zone no matter what happens around them. Come 4am, we can barely write a complete sentence and these Ninjas are still ready to take on some devious course creations with complete focus.

Case in point, how did Drew Drechsel find the time and energy to visit a gym while in Atlanta? We may never know.

We’re loving how season 11 is shaping up. We think you will too.