The “Amazing Race” exit interview season concludes, naturally, with our winners, Team Rhode Island, dating couple Jason & Amy.
Through much of the season, as the Leg victories were going to quickly eliminated teams like Chester & Ephraim and Brandon & Adam, as well as eventual finalists Tim & Marie and Travis & Nicole, it seemed like Jason & Amy were destined to go down as the greatest second place team in “Amazing Race” history. By the last Leg, Jason & Amy had six second place finishes, meaning they spent half of the Race in second.
But Jason & Amy got tough when it counted, winning two of the last three Legs, as the only thing that seemed to be able to stop them was their alliance with Travis & Nicole. One Leg after another it seemed like Amy was sacrificing valuable time assisting Nicole, as Jason stood on the sidelines getting increasingly flummoxed.
In the last Roadblock, though, all three participants were in separate planes dropping bags of flour onto a small target and there was nothing Amy could do to help Nicole. Instead, Amy finished the Roadblock far ahead of Marie and Nicole and built a lead that the pair never relinquished. In fact, as you’ll see from their first answer, the final result wasn’t even close.
In their interview, Jason & Amy talk about their strength as a team, explain the dual value of their alliance with Travis & Nicole and discuss the frustration of all of those second place finishes.
Click through for the full Q&A…
HitFix: So, the editing got really confusing at the last night’s episode. That final totem pole challenge, how much of a lead did you have when you started and how big did you think the lead was when you left?
Amy: When we started we weren’t sure exactly what the lead was, because once I dropped the bag we didn’t know when the next team arrived at the glacier because we were traveling by helicopter and there were helicopters in the entire area. So we didn’t know if there were teams in them or not. Once we got to the totem pole and we started doing the actual task, we were about like halfway through when Tim & Marie arrived. And I have to tell you that was one of the toughest, if not the toughest task of the entire race. It was physically challenging and it had started drizzling and it was just so, so hard to hold those pieces up while we were completing the task. And then when we left there, Travis & Nicole had just arrived. So we were about an hour, almost an hour-and-a-half, an hour and 20 minutes, in front of Tim and Marie, and then at least two-and-a-half hours in front of Chad and Nicole.
Jason: We killed it.
HitFix: Well, I was going to say, when you know you have that kind of advantage, how much fun does it make that last step as you head towards the final pit stop?
Jason: Pins and needles on the cab ride. I mean when you know you have that kind of lead, we haven’t had that kind of lead like the entire race. I don’t think anybody had. So to have it on the final Leg like that was just thrilling. We would’ve had to mess up really bad not to get that first place finish. So the cab ride and then just going across the finish line was an exhilarating moment for the both of us.
HitFix: So the roadblock with the bush plane ended up pretty clear being the deciding factor it looked like. What was it like for you to watch that last night Amy and to see how well you did and how the other two struggled with that task?
Amy: You know what, it was unbelievable to actually watch it, because I remembered the pilot’s reaction. When I got it and I screamed, he turned to me and he was like, “Did you actually just get that?” And I was like “Yeah!” He was shocked, I was shocked, but he was even more shocked, because apparently it was something that took people a long time to do, or at least several tries. And I was also glad to see that at least the girls were on the right track, because if you see where there’s were falling, they were right in line with the target but they were just like feet away, so it really was about the timing of their drops, not where they were. The timing had to be so perfect that it really was nerve-racking, because I can’t even imagine how frustrated the girls must have been when they were up in the air and I had just gotten that. The other thing is that I don’t think that anyone really knew… when I dropped it Jay, Travis and Tim didn’t know who had done it because they were at the bottom and obviously we see a plane coming down and you’re like, “Oh my goodness! Who is it who is it, who is it?” So it was nice to see their reaction because we weren’t there for that.
Jason: I really thought that that catapulted us to have a good lead. But after watching it last night, we gained more of a lead going through the glacier and rowing then we had thought. I mean even Amy was struggling with a sprained ankle walking on that ice I felt was gonna slow us down, but she climbed that ice wall better then I’d say everybody else including Tim and Travis. I mean they even looked like they were struggling. Amy, she was like Spider-Man, she climbed up that thing. I mean we gained more of a lead after that, which was great for us to watch. We didn’t know it at the time but wow, what a great last Leg for us to capitalize on.
HitFix: Okay. Middle of the season there was that run where you guys had five second place finishes in in six Legs or something, but you hadn’t won yet. What was the proportion of excitement to frustration during that run?
Amy: It was really frustrating because we missed out on the Fast-Forward, which definitely would of gotten us first place. And then we also lost the two Express Passes. One was by like 15 seconds and the other one was by 14 minutes. So if you take that into consideration, the two teams completely skipped past that, it took a really long time, well, maybe not as long, the camel not as long as the dancing or even the triton, but you take that time off and we knew that we deserved first place on those and it just didn’t happen, but it was okay. We understood that was part of the game. We continued because we knew that we were really, really a strong team, if not the strongest because we were battling those things. Once the Express Passes were gone and it was an even playing field, on an even playing field that’s when we were able to really excel and that’s why we won in Indonesia. Yes, it was a make-up but you know what, it was a two-and-a-half hour make-up application, which we don’t do everyday. Like I don’t do every day.
Jason: I don’t care if it was a make-up or not we were in first place that entire Leg. And I think it happened a lot through the Race, we were kind of carrying other teams who were in first place and for whatever happened, an Express Psss, we would come in second. It was frustrating, but we were still in the race so…
Amy: It actually served as more motivation because we were like, “We have to get the first place. We have to get the first place.” And it was like, “We know we deserve it, it’s going to happen at some point or another. As long as we stay in the Race the only number one that really counts is that last Leg.”
HitFix: And then that’s not something that sort of becomes a disappointing thing that weighs on you as the weeks pass buy, or rather the Legs pass by?
Amy: The reason it wasn’t disappointing is because we were so close. We were so close and the reason we came in second, at least we thought, was because of things that were out of our control. You can’t control the Express Pass. You can’t control what’s going to happen with the Fast-Forward. And the fact we fell behind by an hour and still were are able to catch up when we were in Vienna and came in fifth at that point, it was like, “You know what, if we had ran that Leg normally we would’ve beat all of the other teams by 35 minutes.”
Jason: It was disappointing and encouraging.
Amy: Exactly. Disappointing and encouraging at the same time because we knew that we deserve to be first place.
HitFix: And it seemed like working with Travis and Nicole was something you enjoyed it but you had a difference of opinion on how much to help them. So Amy, first of all, talk a bit about those two Roadblocks where you basically held Nicole’s hand through the entire task.
Amy: You know, Travis & Nicole and us we became like our little family. It’s hard for viewers to really understand that. We’re with each other 24/7. You are completely away from social media, from the outside world and there really isn’t much communication with anyone other than the Racers. So we, the four of us became like a little family. To us they were like our parents and mentors because we loved their relationship and their marriage and their family like whenever we talked. So helping her wasn’t hard for me to do at all. Like we really, really created a great bond. We actually even spent Thanksgiving together this year. But when it came to the Race, as the Legs went on and we found that their relationship and their team was struggling and they were kind of falling apart, Jason and I were becoming stronger. And in a way yes, of course, I helped her because I wanted to, my heart wanted to help her, but then we started thinking about it and it made sense for us to help her because we wanted them to be there in the Final 3 with us because if it wasn’t us, for one, we wanted them to win because we felt like they were the most deserving team, One. And the other thing is we wanted in there because we had helped them so much that we felt we were stronger than them, because if it hadn’t been for the help they probably wouldn’t of made it there anyway. So it was a win/win situation for us.
Jason: The help really started back in Santiago. So we felt like we actually helped out more than anybody thought that we did. And certainly because they had more first place finishes than us, they looked really strong, but we were killing them in the challenges. So we felt very confident bringing them into the final Leg that we had a competitive edge that we were the strongest team and not them.
HitFix: Okay. But Jason talk a bit about your frustration watching those Roadblocks where Amy was sort of taking time out to help Nicole and sort of the time was passing and you were on the sidelines watching and waiting.
Jason: Yeah, I mean I was definitely on-board with Amy 100 percent of the time when she was helping Nicole, but it was okay to help her early in the Race when there were still nine teams in it, eight teams in it and we were strong and we could make up the time. But when two teams, I mean when there’s four teams left in the Race it was frustrating for me to watch that. I mean I can’t say anything to Amy. I can’t help her out or help her make decisions. And I think it was more of the fact that I was nervous. Anything could happen going to the Pit Stop. We can get lost, we could screw up some way and that would cost us the Leg, cost us the million dollars. So I think that’s where my frustration was derived from. It wasn’t necessarily Amy helping her as much as we could be in jeopardy because we’re doing that.
HitFix: Well Jason, if the roles had been reversed, if you’d been on those Roadblocks, would you have been as hands-on in helping Nicole or even Travis?
Jason: [He laughs.] Probably not as much as Amy. I was in a situation with Travis boiling the eggs and once we were going down there the second time we kind of worked together a little bit there, but it wasn’t a situation as Amy was in with Nicole where Nicole really, really struggled. I’m not sure if I would’ve done the same thing as Amy but I certainly would have felt bad for Nicole, so maybe I would have done it a little bit.
HitFix: And then Jason, Amy has sort of made in this case earlier in the conversation, at the start of last night’s episode you thought that you guys were one of the best teams in “Amazing Race” history. And you don’t have the Leg wins per se but make the argument that you want to make for being one of the best race teams ever.
Jason: I think when you take, like Amy said, when you take all the times into consideration, you can’t look back on “Amazing Race” history because first there wasn’t two Express Passes the whole time, so that’s new. There wasn’t a lot of the rules then that there are now. So, you know, all those second-place finishes they meant something as far as how strong of a team that we were. And I think Amy’s right. I think that we were one of the strongest contenders ever to run the “Amazing Race” just because of the way we played the game. We played it with a lot of perseverance…
Amy: A lot of integrity.
Jason: And that says a lot about the type of team that we were going through that process. I mean ultimately winning the million dollars [garbled] helped to one of the better teams to ever run the Race. But we had proven that the entire race from the starting from Leg 1 to the final Leg, all the adversity that we had to overcome to get those second-place finishes and to be one of the top teams consistently throughout the entire race.
HitFix: And just as a last question, each of you give me sort of a favorite moment from this experience that we didn’t get to see on TV.
Amy: Favorite moment not on TV. Maybe funny moment. I can give you a funny moment. When we traveled from Poland to Austria from Gdansk to Austria, we traveled by train and it was quite a long train ride, I can’t even remember how long it was. It must had been like 24 hours or something like that because we slept through the night. And we had like a mini-cabin-type-thing but it was with seats, not bed. And we were fortunate, Travis, Nicole, Jason and I to the people that were sitting there with us felt really bad for us and they moved their seats so we could have the whole thing to ourselves. And what we did is that we moved the seat, we reclined the seats all the way down so we made like a really big bed and the four of us literally were like head-to-feet. Like we laid down, my feet were in Nicole’s face and then Jason and Travis were the same way. And I remember Nicole waking up in the middle of the night and I was like, “Oh, are you waking up to my stinky feet?” And she’s like, “No, I’m waking up because Jason’s snoring so loud.” So it was just like really cute the way that it happened. And that’s something that viewers don’t see. You get that close to people and it really, really creates this sort of very strong bond. And it was just like really funny when I was like, “Oh yeah, did you smell my feet?” And she’s like, “No, Jason’s snoring.” You would think that we were all like a married couple.
HitFix: And Jason, favorite moment we didn’t see?
Amy: His bromance with Tim.
Jason: I mean crossing the finish line was obviously the moment. But if I had to pick another moment it was probably Lisbon, Portugal. We felt running up that castle we were maybe still in first place. But the view on top of that castle in Lisbon, Portugal was just unbelievable and it was breathtaking. So I really enjoyed that part. But that was an exhilarating Leg for us.