The “Amazing Race” friends are all gone.
Earlier this “Amazing Race” season, we went through a four-week streak of eliminations for the various all-male teams. After the “Amazing Race” eliminations for Nicky & Kim and, this past week, Ally & Ashley, the season is now left with a married couple, a dating couple, a pair of cousins and whatever the heck Tim and Marie are.
From the outside, Ally & Ashley weren’t necessarily the most likely candidates to finish as the season’s top team of friends, but the LA Kings Ice Crew girls greeted every task with enthusiasm, made a smart alliance with Leo & Jamal and stayed competitive throughout.
And for a brief period in last Sunday’s “Amazing Race” episode, Ally & Ashley were in the lead, until everything went haywire on a Detour in Indonesia. They went to feed elephants at a zoo without going to the market to get the food for the elephants. They had to make two trips between the market and the zoo due to difficulties transporting bulky sugar cane. And then just when it seemed like Nicole’s problems at the Indonesian Roadblock might doom the powerful ER Docs, Amy guided her friend through the musical task, leaving the Ice Queens unable to catch up.
In this week’s “Amazing Race” exit interview, Ally & Ashley discuss outlasting the other teams of friends, describe their alliance with the Afghanimals and talk about their big, brief blow-up.
Click through for the full Q&A…
HitFix: Y’all were the last of the all-female teams and also, because Leo & Jamal are cousins, you were the last of the pairs of friends this season. Had you noticed that? And what were you doing right out there?
Ally Mello: We realized along the way that we were stronger than what most people thought and we built confidence within ourselves and we just realized that we could actually do this, we were OK.
Ashley Covert: I think we kind of noticed when The Beards went home. We were just kinda like, “Oh my gosh! We just outlasted The Beards.” And the Football Players were gone. And then when Oklahoma went home, it was kinda like, “OK. Wait. These all-male teams are kinda being eliminated one right after another and Ally and I are still in it.” Then when the Bunnies went home, that was kinda like a wake-up call to us, too. Everybody was like, “Oh, the girls are just scraping by,” but it was more, for us, just the exciting being able to still be in it with these male-female teams or male-male teams. It was really exciting for Ally and I because we were like, “We’re strong and we’re fast and we’re smart.” It was really cool and it was really, really fun.
Ally: I think we took a lot of people by surprise, because we were the youngest team and probably the least traveled out of everyone, so I don’t think people really saw us as a threat.
HitFix: Did you feel like there were active disadvantages to being young and not having traveled as much?
Ashley: I think there were disadvantages to it, but I think Ally and I kinda really proved to everybody that we really just learned and showed our way and we were really lucky to be able to have such great friends with Leo and Jamal, who also kinda taught us and showed us, “This is how you’re gonna do it” and I think it really helped us in the end to be able to have such a great alliance with them and being able to have them show us how to travel and do all that kinda stuff.
HitFix: What sorts of things were they able to teach you?
Ally: We had never even been through customs, so it was just as simple as that. Of course we figured it out after we did it the first time, but it was nice to have them there with us and we kinda did it as a group and just seeing exactly how international works was helpful for us.
HitFix: You guys made that alliance with Leo and Jamal very, very early on. Had you been planning on going into the game and making that sort of pact?
Ally: No, not at all, actually. We didn’t go into the Race thinking that we needed an alliance or that it was part of the plan, but we instantly just clicked with Leo and Jamal and part of what we wanted to do with this whole adventure was have fun. We wanted to have fun with it and we figured that if we made good friends with them, we’d have a lot of laughs and build some more memories. Since they’re from LA, we definitely plan to be life-long friends and I think that it made the adventure even more special.
Ashley: We just went into like, “We just want to have so much fun with it and be able to take away so many fun memories” and when we got to the airport and we were talking, we just instantly clicked with Leo and Jamal. It wasn’t even a question. It was like, “Oh my gosh! You’re from Southern California? Have you been to this place?” And we have so many common interests and both of our teams were there for the same reason, we wanted to have fun. Yeah, we’re racing around the world for a million dollars, but we just wanted to be able to look back and have so many fun stories to talk about and it was just really great to be able to have that really fun downtime in the airports and on the airplanes and stuff like that, to be able to have with them.
HitFix: In recent episodes, we’ve seen that a lot of the other teams didn’t love the Afghanimals so much. Do you guys have any sense of why they weren’t necessarily as popular with people who weren’t you two?
Ally: Honestly, I think the Afghanimals are just really fun guys and I think that it kinda made people feel like, “Oh, they’re being sneaky because they’re having so much fun with it” and most teams are all-game and no-fun. It’s weird. There’s definitely a different between the teams that are still left in the Race. And the guys, yes they were very strategic and they did play the game a little differently, but in the end, that was just part of their strategy and they’re very competitive and they’re a strong team and people were threatened by them. I think that’s really why they didn’t like them.
HitFix: When you say that most of the other teams were all game and no fun, so that means that the Final 4 is three of those teams and one team that was having a bit more fun?
Ally: Yeah, because you have an alliance with Nicole and Amy and they’re very interested in winning. All of the teams that are left are very focused on that, but if you watch Leo and Jamal, they are having fun along the way as well. They’re all great competitors, but I think that Leo and Jamal are just so fun to watch. They’re our friends, so of course…
HitFix: But were you at all worried that linking yourself so closely to any other team would make you guys not necessarily targets, but would limit the help other teams might give you because you were so close with the one team?
Ashley: I think that when we linked onto the Afghanimals, Ally and I kinda just wanted to have just so much fun and, in the end, it was actually the best thing that we could have done, because we weren’t just friends with them. We actually became pretty close with Tim and Marie and the Bunnies and we were so close with Travis and Nicole. I think being the underdogs coming into this, everyone kind of helped us out in a different way. When we were in Abu Dhabi and we were doing the speed dating and Tim and Marie were like, “You know what? It’s about the numbers” and then they left and then before Leo and Jamal left, they were like, “It’s about the numbers of the dates,” so it’s like we kinda of got help from everybody. So I think that the way that Ally and I played the game by just being nice to everybody and having fun was probably the best thing we could have done, even though obviously Leo and Jamal became one of our best friends on the show.
HitFix: Going back to the tough last Leg. There were a lot of little errors made around that Detour. When you think back on it, was there one piece in particular that you think really held you back the most?
Ally: When you read the Detours, it’s the luck of the draw. You only have so much information to choose which one you think you’ll be best at or which one will be easier and, unfortunately, the Elephant Detour seemed to be a little bit more difficult, especially for an all-girl team, because that stuff was extremely heavy to carry so far. So if we would have done the Birds Detour, it may have helped us out, but you never know with the Race. We look back and we’re frustrated, but at the same time, it’s just part of the game, I guess.
HitFix: Looking at one major struggle, what was the difficulty in getting the sugar cane into the cab or not being able to do that?
Ashley: We actually had trouble even getting a cab in the first place and trying to find a cab driver who was OK with us putting the sugar cane in it was even a difficult thing, so just trying to figure out all the different ways to try to put it in and it’s not like we would have been able to put it on the top because of the car moving and Ally and I not being able to have the upper-body strength to hold it on was just difficult. It was just so many different things. Ick. Those stupid sugar canes. They kill me. I can even look at them in stores. I look at them and I’m like, “I hate you. Stupid sugar cane.”
HitFix: And then you guys had that fight at the market in Indonesia. Were you surprised that that blowup happened? Or were you surprised at how little you’d been fighting prior to that?
Ally: We definitely had a smooth ride throughout the entire Race up until then and it was just a huge combination of things that brought that out in us, but literally 15 minutes later, we were fine.
Ashley: We were walking through the zoo laughing and looking at all the animals. We knew that it was gametime. But when you put two girls under stress and we’re tired and we’re hungry and we’re so far out of our element and it’s hot outside and you kinda figure that you’re so far behind? We just both lost it.
Ally: It was also just such a huge bummer, because we started out in first. We were doing really well at the beginning of the Leg and we were just so frustrated that we had made that mistake so badly that it put us at the end of the pack. So we were really sad and bummed about that.
Ashley: We were really sad.
Ally: But then we were like, “Hey! We get to go see an elephant.” So then we were like, “This is pretty cool. We’re in Indonesia and we’re gonna go see an elephant. We need to just smile.”
HitFix: What was it like watching it on TV and did you watch together? How did you think it looked?
Ashley: We didn’t watch the episode together, but we were definitely texting each other throughout the whole thing.
Ally: We were both were just kinda laughing about it, because Ashley and I never argue. We’re kinda two peas in pod, so it’s weird seeing us frustrated at each other and it’s kinda funny, for us at least. I know know other people probably saw it as very dramatic, but we’re just like, “Oh my goodness!” It was really funny for me.
HitFix: Last question: Each of you give me a favorite moment from this experience that we didn’t get to see on TV.
Ashley: There’s just so many! Favorite moment that you guys didn’t get to see. I’m thinking.
Ally: For me, one of my favorite parts of the Race was just getting to be with all the other teams and we really got close with several teams. So all the downtime at the airports and sleeping on the floor outside of ships and just all of these random things that we did where we had to spend the night somewhere with all the other teams. It was so fun! We just all bonded at that point, because we weren’t racing and it was truly down-time. I just remember sharing this little floating device that somebody brought and it turns into a bed and I was rotating with people like, “Who gets to sleep on it next?” It was just silly things like that where we’re all competing, but at that time, we were able to just put it aside and have fun and I cherish those moments too.
Ashley: I would agree with Ally, but one thing that stands out for me was when we all had to take a train-car where we all kinda got our own cabins and I think we were able to maneuver and put all the teams… And there were still a lot of teams left when we were going to Vienna and we were able to kinda find two cabins and it was just literally all of our teams shoved into these two cabins, just bodies everywhere, just trying to sleep. It was just so funny, because it was just feet and backpacks everywhere. We had no water and everybody was trying to scrounge for water and cookies and anything. It was just so much fun! And we all woke in the morning and it was like, “OK, well, I’ll hate you in about five minutes, but I’ll like you in about seven hours.” So it was just really funny how close everybody got with each other, but when the Race started, it was game-time, but when it was over it was like, “I’m so sad everyone’s going home.” It was really crazy to see how that was.
Ally: It was so funny, because Ashley and I ended up in two different cabins. We were all just talking and I ended falling asleep between Tim and Marie, which pretty funny to wake up to. I was like, “Oh man. This is awkward.”
Ashley: And I woke up in a cabin with the Afghanimals and Oklahoma. So not all of the teams were together. Everybody was just jumbled. It was awesome. It was such a blast and that’s kinda like the thing that you don’t see, is how close all the teams really do get.