The "Engaged Couple" became the fifth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's seventh Pit Stop at Piazza Del Popolo -- an enormous plaza surrounded by Roman architecture known as "The People's Square" -- in last place.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, John and Jessica recently talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the concluding portion of their interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: John, on the Roadblock task, do you think you would've found that answer had Jamal Zadran not helped you out? I don't know how confused you really were.
John Erck: Yeah, I mean, you never really know, I guess, unless you did it. So it's hard for me to say whether or not I would've been able to get it. It's possible. I know that what got me is that I counted 136 steps and that was incorrect. The right number was 135. So I know I had that piece of the math wrong, but I didn't really get to go much beyond that.
I think I had the correct date, but I didn't really have a chance to think through all that and really figure it out, because when I was going down to get a fresh card and was kind of thinking about all those things, Jamal was going to share his answer and I definitely wanted to be a part of that. And so, I don't know!
Reality TV World: How long did it take you to complete the "Gladiator" task?
Jessica Hoel: It didn't take that long. I don't know, what would you say, John? Like an hour?
John Erck: Yeah, I'd say an hour. That seems about right. I mean, we failed a few times, but at the same time, it didn't take too long to go through a practice routine again and get another shot at it. And there weren't any other teams that we really had to rotate with. So we got through that one pretty quick, maybe 45 minutes to an hour, like Jess said.
Jessica Hoel: Yeah, and we were told we finished, not significantly, but ahead of the other teams.
Reality TV World: Jessica, one of the more recent episodes showed your feet being pretty beat-up with blisters and what not. Did that affect your race at all other than that one trampoline task? I can only imagine you running with your feet in that kind of shape.
Jessica Hoel: Yeah. I mean, they definitely hurt a lot during every episode. I think they were probably still injured at that point, but I remember them being really painful in Malaysia... during that elephant challenge and then running to that Pit Stop. It was brutal. I remember I had to take off my shoes just because they were rubbing so intensely.
It just kind of stunk because they never had a chance to fully heal. I would rest them at each Pit Stop and try to put Band-Aids on them and make sure they didn't get infected and all that, but then I'd have to run right away again after. So it was a kind of weird thing to do to my poor little feet, (laughs) but now they're fine.
Reality TV World: You two obviously came into this all-stars race as the team who got eliminated with the Express Pass in your pocket and you addressed that this season several times. Was that a worry you had coming into this race, that people were never going to let you live that down? Was it frustrating as well when it was brought up?
Jessica Hoel: I think, I mean, it was just kind of funny. It's funny when it gets brought up. It's like, "Wow, are people still thinking about that?!" But I think what we did, is we, I mean, it's been a year now. We laugh about it and we kind of own it, I guess. Wouldn't you say, John? It's like, whatever, it happened.
It's what we're known for. We just try to laugh about it and have fun with it. Other people can too, so, that's been fine. And if that wouldn't have happened, as crazy as it was, we probably wouldn't have been asked back again to redeem ourselves. So, yeah!
Reality TV World: On that note, had you guys been campaigning to get back on the show or did producers just contact you about the opportunity and it kind of came as a surprise?
John Erck: No, we never talked to the producers or anything. We were just happy to have been involved in the Race one time, and you know, we didn't really put a lot of thought into it or whatever. We just assumed it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we were fortunate enough to do.
And so, it was a surprise to us when they called us back and said, "Hey, we're going to put together another season of The Amazing Race. Do you guys want to be a part of it?" And so, we knew it was going to be a reunion of Racers of some sort, but that's nothing we've ever been a part of. We didn't know what it was going to be like or what the premise of it was.
And so, we were just happy to have a chance to do it again. We thought it was cool, and we just kind of assumed that we would, you know, be presented as having an opportunity to redeem ourselves, so we thought that was kind of fun. So we wanted to.
Reality TV World: Going into the season, did you two talk about your racing strategy at all? Was there anything you planned to do differently or improve upon?
John Erck: I think the main thing for us is that we weren't going to strategize as much and really, kind of, go that route. Instead, it was going to be more Jess and I just having fun and getting to go on a cool trip around the world, mainly because a lot of the Racers who take up that type of mentality do really well for themselves. So that was, kind of, as much thought as we put into it -- just to go out there and have fun.
Reality TV World: I've had mixed reactions from teams so far this season on the difficulty level of this season in general. Considering it's an all-stars edition, some of the teams think it wasn't hard enough -- like there weren't many opportunities to catch up to or outrace another team on a task. Other pairs, however, said it was much tougher than their first or second time. What are your thoughts on that?
Jessica Hoel: I feel like it was definitely, from the first leg until probably a Malaysia-ish time frame, depending on where you ended on the first leg, it was super kind of linear. Like, there really wasn't a time when all the teams were on the same flight.
They definitely kept a chunk of teams in the back, like after China, I believe, when we were on a flight with three teams in the back, there were six teams in the front. So that was kind of bizarre. So there were a lot of times when it was kind of linear, where you weren't given the time to just match and catch up to other teams.
And I guess, yeah, there were a couple times where the ending came a little quicker than we thought, like on the first leg. I remember after the trapeze challenge or whatever, it was kind of weird to read that the Pit Stop was right around the corner, because there felt like there was going to be more to the leg. (Laughs)
But also, that's more challenging too, because it makes so that you cannot make any mistakes and you have to be very thorough and you have to make sure that you're racing intensely the whole time because the Pit Stop could be right around the corner -- just like it was for us in Rome. I mean, we thought that maybe we were going to be taking a taxi or something to the Pit Stop after that, but it was literally right around the corner, so.
Reality TV World: You guys obviously raced as an "Engaged Couple." So how is your relationship going now and do you have any wedding plans?
Jessica Hoel: Yeah, it's going awesome. We're so excited. After going on the Race again, I feel like we had a really positive experience again, and it definitely strengthened our relationship. And we have wedding plans in the fall and we're super excited. There's a lot to do but we're having fun planning it.
Above is the concluding portion of John and Jessica's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half.