Exclusive: Adrian and Dana Davis talk about 'The Amazing Race'
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/16/2010
Adrian and Dana Davis had the perfect plan to approach the Roadblock task they encountered during The Amazing Race's sixteenth-season premiere, however the pressure of the situation prevented them from executing it.
Instead, the married couple from Arlington, TX became the first team eliminated from The Amazing Race's sixteenth season during Monday night's premiere broadcast of the CBS reality competition series.
On Tuesday, Adrian and Dana talked to Reality TV World about the different factors that played a role in their inability to correctly undertake the Roadblock that spelled the end of their Race; why Adrian was unable to pull himself along the cable after initially falling off during the task; how it was discouraging to see their potential early lead vanish due to a plane's mechanical malfunction; and the unorthodox combination that Dana thinks makes a strong Race team.
Reality TV World: Dana, Sunday night's episode showed you noting that Adrian being heavier might work against him during the Roadblock task. Was that something that you two considered before he decided to do the Roadblock task and if so, why did you still tell him that he could do the challenge?
Dana: You know, they say pressure makes a pipe burst. (laughing) Not to be funny but to be quite honest with you, I think Adrian said it better previously, that we had been ahead in the first part and we had gotten lost in the taxi, and there were people who had gotten ahead of us. So in our minds, time was of the essence. When asked the question -- Adrian said, "Dana, make a decision." -- I said, totally my fault, "You do it." Perhaps that was -- not perhaps, it was the craziest decision I made.
I think too looking at the clue, it said, "courage of a lion." So I was thinking, "Okay, he's the one who's more courageous." But we also had a glimpse into what it was -- we kind of came up the wrong way and were able to see -- just by how we came into the Roadblock -- how it was. So it was just a poor decision.
Reality TV World: Just to be clear, you did have a good idea of what the Roadblock task was going to be because you got that sneak peek of it?
Dana: Exactly. But once he did it, once he had gotten started, it was too late to change... That was one of those instances where I made the wrong decision, he probably also made a poor one by agreeing to do it. We knew better! It cost us, obviously.
Reality TV World: Your Elimination Station video showed Dana saying that your Race strategy had specifically been for her to do all the stuff involving heights or jumping and for Adrian to do all the things that involved heavy lifting or nasty eating -- was that really the case, and if so what happened?
Dana: That was the case. I think in times past when you have a decision to make, you can carefully think it through. Very few times in life do you have to make a split-second decision. Very few times. Even then, to be really honest with you, looking back we really didn't have to make a split-second decision. But in our minds, in our heads, we did. That's where we cracked.
Reality TV World: Also during the Elimination Station video, Dana you also seemed to make it pretty clear that you were holding Adrian responsible for your loss and said the Race had affected your relationship and brought some things to light. Can you elaborate on that and explain it a little bit more?
Dana: I'll be very candid. What I meant by that, there's a point where Adrian says, "I'm a big dog." He is a former football player, he is used to... If you're sitting down with him in any competitive game, he's good guy but he's a trash talker. He's one of those people that uses talking to get peopled to say yes. He's not a jerk -- by no means -- but he's a trash talker when it comes to games. Along the way, he was like, "I got this! I got this!" What I mean by that is, sometimes it's just kind of like I said earlier -- sometimes it's okay to say, "You know what? It's not my thing."
Adrian: Right. But here's the thing. It's one of those -- I won't say a guy thing or a macho thing -- but what I will say is if your wife turns to you and she obviously by the look on her face she's afraid, you know that you're afraid of heights, and when your wife comes to you and say, "You do it," you don't go back and say no. I'm going to throw myself under the bus than to throw you out there even though I know you're afraid as well. That's why you just go ahead and go for it and hope for the best.
Dana: You hope for the best, and that's probably where he and I have to grow because even if it's a woman or man thing, wife or husband, I still think it's critical to recognize the strength of each other in a marriage and hone in on those strengths. He's right. I don't know if I was necessarily fearful, but I think the pressure in the decision -- fear kicked in. Right there, right now. "We've got a million dollars on the line! Okay, do it!" I did that. You're talking to someone who's bungee jumped before, I've done things. We're looking to sky dive for my 40th [birthday]. I'm not afraid of those things, but I think all the factors that went in it at that moment...
Adrian: We extensively talked about who was going to do what. There was no doubt in either of our minds that she would do all the height stuff... But again, people say pressure will make a pipe bust. And pressure will. It was pressure. She was like, "You do it!" and I wasn't going to go back and say, "No, I'm not doing it! You know I'm afraid of heights! You do it!"
Dana: But in the future, he better. (laughing with Adrian) That's my point. Like I told the last interviewer, had their been blatant lions or tigers or any other animal that could potentially tear you apart, and I had a glimpse of that, I wouldn't have tried to prove anything -- man, woman, boy, girl. That's what I meant what I said at Elimination Station. My husband will go up to any challenge, but I don't necessarily know that's a good thing.
Reality TV World: Adrian, about how long would you say you were on the cable before you fell the first time?
Adrian: I felt like I was about half-way there. I was trying not to look left, right or down. (Dana laughing) At one point, I felt my front arm getting extremely fatigued. So then I thought, "Man, how much farther do I have to go?" Then I looked over and it wasn't about two steps after I looked over that I fell off. So, I would say I was at least half way. When you first start, the cable's pretty tight. But when you get to the middle, that's where it starts to get really loose and kind of bounce. The wind was blowing extremely fast.
Reality TV World: Can you explain what happened after you fell? We saw [Dan Pious] fall off the wire and then just stay hanging and continue pulling himself across the rest of the way, but it was a little confusing exactly what you were trying to do before the safety guy dragged you back.
Adrian: If you look, Dan as well as [Brandy Snow] fell. They didn't really fall. They kind of sat down. So what happens is, you're hooked to the top cable and the bottom cable is what you're walking on. Well if you fall down, the top cable ends up going below the bottom cable. So there's nothing to really kind of pick yourself back up on and get yourself back on your feet again. With Dan, the top cord was still higher than the bottom cord, and he just pulled himself to the finish line -- to the end mark. Well I didn't have that top cord to grab.
Reality TV World: So do you think your fear of heights played a big role in your inability to complete the Roadblock or do you think it ended up just being more fatigue and the fact that you were heavier than the other folks?
Adrian: I think it was a combination, it was multi factored. My weight -- I think I was too heavy to be out on a cable like that, one. Two, I think my fear played even more of a factor in it because I'm afraid of heights and when my arms were getting fatigued, you've got to have some mental toughness. I've played through pain, I've played through injuries in my collegiate football career and everything. But when you've got that in addition to heights and all these other factors coming into play it was just too much for me to overcome.
Reality TV World: So you fall off and have to go back to the starting point. At that point, did you realistically think you had any chance of not being the last team to reach the Pit Stop?
Adrian: At that point, after watching other [seasons], you just never know what the next challenge is. So you can't really count yourself out. I didn't necessarily think that it was over, I felt, "Well, I've got to take a penalty here and hopefully some other folks will make some mistakes and we'll get through the penalty and go to the next phase." So I didn't really think that it was over until after an hour, an hour-and-a-half, two hours went by. The crew went home, dogs stopped barking (laughing). Then you look up and you see [host Phil Keoghan], then you know, "Oh, snap!" (laughing)
Reality TV World: Dana, you must have felt helpless watching Adrian trying the Roadblock...
Dana: Absolutely. I, at that moment... I really hope somewhere down the line they change that freakin' rule, [so] that you can switch out [on Roadblock tasks] and only take an hour penalty or something like that. Because at that point, I would have able to easily switch. I've seen some comments from others, they said, "Dana why didn't you do it! You should have switched out!" I'm thinking, "I wish I could have. I wish it could have been that easy." But there's nothing you can do, and everything's done for you, and time is of the essence. You just kind of sit there and take your beating. It was hard.
Reality TV World: Overall, how long would you say you were at the Roadblock task?
Dana: About two-and-a-half hours.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised with how physically difficult it was given that it was your first challenge of the season?
Dana: Yeah, because we've watched basically 80% of The Amazing Race [seasons]. I'm like, "Shit! Why couldn't we get the freakin' duck herding!" (laughing) I'm not going to minimize the duck herding for whoever was doing it -- at that moment, it was just as crucial -- but it wasn't AS do or die as the cable was.
Adrian: To be quite honest with you, if you look at the only two people that struggled with that cable the most was the two people that were absolutely afraid of heights: myself and Brandy. Now Brandy made it through, but I think that was mainly a factor because her weight... She was able to balance her weight on that cable. But if you look at her face and her reaction and her overall physical condition when she finished, that wasn't just about pulling your body across a cable. That was more adrenaline and fear and all those other things that come into play. If you look at it, everybody else kind of slides right across.
Reality TV World: You two were one of the three teams that had originally been on the flight to Santiago through Dallas until the mechanical malfunction occurred. How discouraging was it to have something like that happen to you so early in the race?
Dana: Let me just say this, a lot of this at home would say, "Oh that was a cheesy scene." You don't believe those kind of things happen -- especially Brandy making the comment, "I hope there's a malfunction!" (laughing) Then when it actually happened? You're like, "You've got to be freakin' kidding me!?" I fly all the time...
Adrian: And that never happens.
Dana: ... it never happens! It's happened before, but your chances of it happening are almost slim to none. Typically, we've already probably gotten on a plane and they say 10 more minutes or the pilot has to get the food on or check the fuel again -- but not a whole new changing of the freakin' plane!
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. At that point you, ["Newly Dating Couple" Jeff Schroeder and Jordan Lloyd] and ["Moms/Attorneys" Monique Pryor and Shawne Morgan] all decided to simply get tickets on the plane going through Miami rather than wait for them to find a new plane to take you through Dallas. How much thought did you put into that decision? Did you ever consider that they Dallas flight could still be faster?
Dana: Absolutely not. That would have been a risk to us. While it was an hour time difference of who arrived first, it was only a 30 minute difference from when the planes left. So it was kind of like, "You're either going to do it now with Miami or take a chance." I wouldn't have wanted to take that chance.
Adrian: Worst case, you're back with everybody else. You're starting at the same point again. But going a different route, you're running a risk...
Dana: That was the unknown that you didn't know. You at least knew that you could go through Miami.
Adrian: It wasn't a direct flight. It was connecting through Dallas. So you mess around and get to Dallas and the flight from Dallas to Chile could have been gone or whatever.
Reality TV World: That's a good point. Do you think your The Amazing Race experience would have played out differently if you had actually been able to have that one-hour advantage at the start of the first leg?
Dana: We would have known for certain that we had an hour-and-a-half leeway. That was the whole point! That was the whole benefit for the first three teams. That benefit was taken from us. So it became an even playing field for everybody and we began competing with 10 other teams versus only two other. So the odds changed not in our favor. We did think of that and hated that. But it doesn't mean to say everything would have changed, but I certainly think it would have made a difference in how we responded in that Roadblock.
Reality TV World: I know you were only briefly on the race, but what were some of your thoughts on the other teams? Were there any that you thought were stronger than the others?
Dana: Coming out the door, Adrian and I kind of made a quick assessment of everyone. I said -- I'm going to get killed for this -- but I always said it's better for men and women to do it together. So whether it's ["Father/Daughter" Steve Smith and Allie Smith], ["Married Couple" Joe Wang and Heidi Wang], or Jeff and Jordan or ["Dating Models" Caite Upton and Brent Horne], I said it's better for them because they have the strength and the weakness of each.
Of course there's the joke that when you have two men you don't have the women who have the details, or when you have the two women you don't have the strength. So that's why I always felt it's better to have a man and a woman, because you have that strength and physically you have the details.
Reality TV World: Did you immediately recognize Jeff and Jordan from Big Brother when you arrived at the staring line? What about Caite Upton? Did you know how she was the former Miss South Carolina Teen USA who made that infamous blunder?
Dana: Absolutely not. We were with them the whole time the first part of that and we didn't have a clue who they were. They were very down-to-earth people. When we got on the bus with them, we were with Jeff and Jordan all the way to the airport and even at the airport we talked to them a little bit. They were just down-to-earth people, which was pretty cool.
Reality TV World: I know you guys didn't actually get that far, but do you have any idea why so many of the teams seemed to struggle so badly with the house-painting task -- is Templeman Street just that hard a street to find?
Dana: My take on it -- just hearing behind the scenes, I won't name names, but from people who had done it and their take on it -- it had a lot to do with where it was.
Adrian: An lot of stuff got cut, you don't see it. But it said to go one way and they went the other way. You've got this wide open area, you don't really know which way to go. Again, I think that helps if someone gets a penalty somewhere else. All those things help to make the game. If you make one mistake, often times you can fight back and be able to do something else. It's like, "Hey, go find this hill and it's in a quarter-mile radius." It's like, "Where are we going?" That's the impression we got. You couldn't just see where it was.
Reality TV World: What was your favorite moment on the Race?
Adrian: My favorite moment was starting, getting our bags and opening up our first clue. That's the part that I remember the most. Then getting to that airport first -- one of the first three teams. That to me, I felt like, "Wow, I think we've really got a shot at doing this."
Dana: (laughing) Honestly, how we finished -- I think that has to a lot to do with it -- I agree. That initial tearing that clue open was cool.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for The Amazing Race? Was it your first time applying for the show?
Adrian: We went to the open casting call here in Dallas. It was absolutely amazing -- thousands of people showed up for this deal. I'm pretty much a skeptic, Dana's the one that thinks outside the ordinary on stuff. She said, "We can do it." I'm looking around at all these young couples, they've got these matching T-shirts on and they're in shape and looking good and they're looking TV. I'm looking at her like, "There's no way." Amazingly enough, we were the only team cast out of all those thousands of people. (laughing)
Dana: I gave him the "get-it-together" talk and we just pulled it together. (laughing)
(Photo credit CBS)
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