On Sunday (March 4) night’s episode of “The Amazing Race,” viewers learned a couple interesting facts.
We learned that the harp is the national instrument of Paraguay. Seriously, who knew that?
We also discovered that if you’re stringing a harp, the fastest and best way to go about the task is start at one end and work your way to the other, rather than starting from each end and working your way to the middle.
We have Andrew and Elliot Weber to thank for the second lesson. The Twins learned about harp-stringing the hard way, during a key Detour in Sunday’s episode. A task that proved easy — certainly easy relative to the watermelon-stacking alternative — for other teams became a nightmare for the rocker and the soccer goalie, who were the first to arrive at the challenge, but the last to leave.
Coupled with a devilish Roadblock involving dancing and easily breakable bottles of water, Elliot & Andrew had a dreadful Leg and yet all they would have needed was a slightly longer foot-race to the Pit Stop in order to take down Ralph & Vanessa.
In this week’s “Amazing Race” exit interview, Elliot and Andrew explain why the Detour and Roadblock were so tough…
HitFix: At the end of Sunday’s episode, Elliot seemed very down and guilty about the elimination and Andrew, you were reassuring him and telling him you’d be laughing about it one day. Where do we stand now?
Andrew Weber: We’re still laughing. I mean, it’s just one of those things. You want to be out there and you don’t know how hard he was trying. Elliot was beating himself up up about it for a while. Life moves on. Life goes forward. Obviously you want your teammate to be successful whenever he’s doing something, but it’s not like it sums up who my brother is. My brother is an amazing individual. He’s a great person. He’s got a big heart and he’s going to do big things with whatever he decides to do. We still laugh about it to this day. There are so many things that you go through with your teammate and it was with my twin brother, so it was fun. I enjoyed it. I don’t hold any grudges towards him at all.
Elliot Weber: I think at the end of that challenge, especially the bottle challenge, I wasn’t feeling good about it at first. I was like, “I can’t believe I messed up at the two crucial moments when I could have finished.” All it was was basically getting down onto my chest and it happened twice. That was just hard to come to terms with for a while, but after a while you begin to laugh about it. In the end, it is a game and you wanted to win, but you have so much fun and you laugh about it because you remember how silly it was and if you could do it all over again, you’d probably conquer that challenge in the next 15 minutes or so. Now I don’t feel so bad about it, but at the same time, it stays on my mind.
HitFix: You guys have had some time to think about this: What went wrong in the Strung Up Detour? Why did some teams seem to be doing easily and you guys took such a long time?
Andrew: Most teams, when they got there, they were working on one end and they were working their way down, or up. And Elliot and I were working from opposite ends and then we decided, “OK. Let’s just do it a different way.” But the thing was, we had it all strung. We were close to having it strung and we missed one of the strings in the middle of the harp. We messed 16 of them up and so we had to undo 16, or maybe even more, of the strings and go back and redo the whole thing. That’s what took up a lot of time. It ended up killing us in the end. It was very disheartening to be the first ones there, watch all the people that were on the plane ahead of us come into the room and being like, “Wow. They must have really had a hard time with this other challenge” and then leave before we do. It was just like, “Wow. We are really messing up here.” It was definitely disheartening.
Elliot: We should have just worked from one side up, instead of working from him on the left and me on the right. I should have just untangled the strings and handed them to him and him pulled them up through instead of finding that you missed a string down in the middle, 15 string down. It’s like, “OK. Crap.” It’s not like you’re three or two strings down. You come to finish and everyone’s still in the room and you think you’re gonna finish, but no, you’re not gonna finish. That just opened up a whole other can of worms and frustrations. After a while, it was just like, “Thank God we finished it.”
HitFix: We saw you guys contemplate changing tasks. How long did that take? Did you go to the Stacked Up challenge at all?
Andrew: No. We did contemplate changing tasks and at that point, we were just sorta thinking in our heads that it probably doesn’t make sense to go to a whole other task and spend a whole other two or three hours on that if we could just cool our jets a bit — Actually, me cool my jets a bit — and get back in there and just work as a team and get it done, which we did. If we would have done what we did when we went back in there the second time, we would have flown through that so quickly and I think it was just a matter of us trying to figure out what we role we were gonna take and why we both wanted to fight for that leadership role. I think the time it probably took was probably about…. What would you say? 15 or 20 minutes?
Elliot: Yeah. Andrew let out some rage and then we discussed about going to the other challenge and it probably took 15 or 20 minutes off of what we should have done. We should have just stayed in the room and just finished the task, but it actually helped us, I guess… Well, it didn’t help us, but we got to cool our jets a little bit and go back and be extremely focused on getting the task done. We’re not the kind of people who usually think about starting something and quitting. That’s something that we wanted to stand by and I told Drew, I was like, “We can’t just start this and not finish it. We’ve gotta get it done” and Drew agreed, so we finally went back in there and got it done.
HitFix: Having had the chance to watch Sunday’s episode and see what the watermelon challenge entailed, do you guys feel like you made the right choice on what to pick?
Andrew: At first, I thought, “Elliot, he’s strung a guitar. This can’t be that hard.” Then when you’re seeing everyone stacking the watermelons and watching everything fall and then watching everyone come into the room, you’re like, “OK. We made the right decision.” I thought it was a good decision. When you look at it, maybe we would have been better at doing the watermelon. Carrying the watermelon and trying to stack, it seems to be more of a physical thing and the teams that were successful with that were the men teams — JJ & Art and Joey & Danny — and maybe Elliot and I would have been better at that, but I think time-consuming-wise, the harp seemed like a better decision.
HitFix: Talk me through the time-line on the Roadblock. How long had you guys been there when Vanessa & Ralph arrived and then how much longer were you there after Ralph completed the Roadblock?
Elliot: We showed up, I think like eight or 10 minutes before Ralph and Vanessa showed up to Roadblock. I think I was on my third or fourth bottle at that point. You talk about paying attention to detail, but I guess some people were able to spin with the whole amount of water in the bottle on their head, but then when you look at the people who were dancing in front of you, the bottle was about a quarter full of water. The idea was that you could pull out water and I didn’t really catch onto that until Ralph poured out his water and then I was like, “Oh. Well Ralph poured out his water. Why didn’t I do that before?” The whole time I was spinning there, it felt like I was just putting the bottle on my head and it would just crack on me before I even turned. I was like, “What is going on here?” But then you realize, “Oh. I have to pour water out.” And then it was really frustrating, because I almost beat him twice and every time I got down to where you had to get to your chest, aw man, that was just painfully grueling. They finished seven minutes before us and we ran so hard we caught up four of the minutes.
Hitfix: Were you actually close enough to see them finish?
Andrew: I think we were at the bottom of the street and that last stretch on the run, we could see them just getting to the top, because the run was uphill.
Elliot: We had to go through this street that was seven or eight blocks down and then you had run up this steep hill and as we’re getting around the corner of the seventh block and taking off, they’re beginning to approach the stairs and running up to Phil. So it’s like, “Wow. If I would have finished maybe three minutes earlier, we probably could have caught them.” We took off pretty fast. We ran pretty fast.
HitFix: Going back to the Roadblock, quickly, Elliot, were they breakaway bottles? They weren’t real glass?
Elliot: I believe it was fake glass. I was lucky it wasn’t real glass, or we’d been all cut up. It was weird, because they would just break on you. There were some times I would just put it on my head and it would just break on me. It would just fall out from the bottom. I don’t know. I kinda wish I would have done it better.
HitFix: Coming into the game, what did you anticipate your biggest challenges were going to be in terms of skills and teamwork and those sorts of things?
Andrew: I think our biggest challenge was just with each other and communicating. When it comes down to skills and athletic ability, I think were probably one of the strongest teams, if not the strongest teams there. But when it came down to communicating and actually taking each other’s roles and working together, we hadn’t been with each other for such a long time that I think that hindered us a bit. A lot of these teams, they’ve spent time with each other and they spend time with each other every single day. Elliot and I, with our two different careers, we don’t see each other all the time. We’re off doing our own things. I think it would have been nice to possibly may spend time with each other before a bit more and be a little bit more prepared for that.
Elliot: Yeah, I agree with my brother. Not being able to be as a close… Like, for instance, if you’d taken us when we were younger, growing up together, we probably would have done really well in these challenges, but since we’ve been 17, we’ve been living our separate lives and not necessarily being able to be so close and be involved in each other’s life that much. We talk on the phone a lot every day and express, I feel, our… All of our strengths were being competitive and being athlete and things like that, but our weakness was our communication and really deciding who needs to be a leader and which times, who needs to do what, how we’re gonna go at the task, instead of just doing our own separate thing, which we’ve been doing for some years now.
HitFix: Just as a last question: Do either of you guys have any favorite moments that maybe we didn’t see on the show?
Andrew: My favorite moment was after the first Leg and the whole sky-diving experience and you haven’t seen the bonus footage of me running through the trees, trying to find Elliot. We sat there at the Pit Stop and just laughed our butts off, just completely just laughed and we were just like, “Let’s just go about this and have a good time, man. We can’t really look back and get really frustrated at ourselves.” We were frustrated, but we laughed our way through our frustration, which was a great moment for me.
Elliot: Yeah, I think there’s some footage that you can see online. My brother literally running through — even though it’s a crazy moment — running through those bushes was just hilarious to me. I couldn’t get over the fact that he would just go through these bushes that were 10 feet high with thorns all over them. I was just wondering what the camera guys were thinking about him. There are some funny moments and being able to laugh all the way through was just the best.