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HOME > The Amazing Race > The Amazing Race 12

Exclusive: Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala dish on 'The Amazing Race'


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/03/2008 

Except for the winners, every team who competes on The Amazing Race has a moment that in some way leads to their downfall.

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Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala had a few of those moments -- and while they were saved by a non-elimination leg -- their luck eventually ran out, as the "Dating Goths" from Louisville, KY  became the seventh team eliminated from The Amazing Race's twelfth season during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.

On Wednesday, Kynt and Vyxsin talked to Reality TV World about how their appearance was met by fellow racers and locals along the course; why they were happy to be penalized with a Speed Bump task instead of having their clothes and money taken away; what led to their decision to ineffectively use the U-Turn; and how one too many "shoulda, woulda, coulda" moments led to their elimination.


Reality TV World:  How were you cast for The Amazing Race 12?  Was it your first time applying for the show? 

Kynt:  The Amazing Race has always been a favorite show of ours.  It's one of the few programs on television that can hold our ADD attention span.  Vyxsin and I thought it would be a perfect fit for us.  We both love to travel -- we get severely claustrophobic if we stay in one place for too long.  We're road-trip junkies.  We're very adept to traveling on the fly.  A lot of times I'll find out about a music festival or a sci-fi convention and I'll call Vyxsin up and be like, "We've got to jump in the car and go!  Let's do it!"  So we're accustomed to that type of frantic travel.

Reality TV World: So was it your first time applying for the show?

Kynt:  Yep.  It was our first time.

Reality TV World:  Would you consider yourselves The Amazing Race fans? 

Kynt:  Oh absolutely!

Reality TV World:  You just touched upon how you like to travel.  Does your travel include international destinations? Do you know any foreign languages?

Kynt: No.
Vyxsin:  No.  One nice thing about Louisville is that it's pretty centrally located, so you can drive a reasonable distance to be in a Chicago or Detroit or Atlanta.  We like to drive and go to conventions, like Goth conventions and fantasy, sci-fi stuff.  But I haven't been out of the country as an adult, so we never traveled together internationally.
Kynt:  And we don't know any foreign languages...
Vyxsin: (laughing) I dabble in a few.  I kind of get by.  But we're not fluent in any other languages.
Kynt: Yeah, we're definitely not multilingual world travelers.

Reality TV World:  Would you say you formed any alliances with any of the other teams?  Was there anybody you really butted heads with during the race?

Kynt:  Not particularly.  We didn't form an formal alliances per say.  But we were always willing to trade information here or there for mutual benefit.  This race is so fast-paced and erratic, and we all pulled in different directions that it really is hard to have a true alliance in the sense of what you see on these other reality TV shows where these people are with one another.

Reality TV World:  Was there anybody you tried to avoid sharing information with?

Kynt:  Not really.  If we were bunched up with another team at any given moment and there was a chance to help one another out, we were always willing.

Reality TV World:  During last week's episode, how did you get lost after you had to take the detour due to the traffic in Bolognia?  Were you aware of how much extra time the detour would add to your trip?

Vyxsin:  Basically when we got the initial directions, the most obvious route between where we started [Ancona] and where we were headed [Empoli] was a straight line.  The straight line was the route we ended up taking, except in reality there's a mountain road that was pretty much completely vertical the entire time (laughing).  It took about six-times as long as the more circuitous route that was the highway that was blocked [in Bolognia].

Reality TV World:  I see.

Vyxsin:  We knew where we were going.  It just took tiny hairpin turns on...
Kynt: We had to drive much slower...
Vyxsin: ... a single-lane mountain road.  Yeah.  I was driving probably 20MPH...
Kynt: Or else the car would flip over a guardrail! (Vyxsin laughing)

Reality TV World:  So how much time would say that added to your trip?

Vyxsin:  I was driving all night long.  We didn't get anywhere near [Empoli] until way after dawn...

Reality TV World:  So when you arrived at the "Search from Ultralight" Roadblock in Empoli, were you surprised to see "Newly Dating Couple" Rachel Rosales and TK Erwin still there trying to finish it?

Vyxsin:  We were shocked seeing another team.  We thought for sure they'd be hours ahead of us. 

Reality TV World:  Once you reached the subsequent "Invention" Detour task, why did you immediately decide to switch to "Tradition" without even attempting "Invention?"  Did it really look that difficult?

Kynt:  Oh yeah, it looked tough...
Vyxsin:  We thought initially to do "Invention" because we were right there and the task was right there, so we wouldn't have had to travel at all.  But upon looking at it, knowing how tired -- because at that point, we had both been up for probably 35, 36 hours.  We said, "Oh, Invention's a great idea!"  Then we took one look at it and we said, "This is a terrible idea! (laughing) Da Vinci was a genius.  We are not.  Let's go."  It didn't take a lot of deliberation for us to realize we just weren't up to it mentally.

Reality TV World:  Seeing as how it's hurt other teams in previous seasons, Kynt why didn't you learn how to drive a stick shift prior to leaving for the race?

Kynt:  Vyxsin has a stick-shift car, so before we were going on the race I definitely took some time to drive the thing around, try to get somewhat comfortable with it.  But sticks can be cranky.  They can turn on you!  I don't think they're the safest way to drive a car to be honest.  I think they're kind of antiquated.  You know we don't use those cars anymore that you wind up?

Reality TV World:  Yep.

Kynt:  That's what people were using in the 1800s.  Stick shifts... they're a dinosaur (laughing).

Reality TV World:  Did you ever learn what happened to your damaged vehicle on the way to the "Tradition" Detour challenge?  Was it the gears?

Kynt:  Yeah, we never found out exactly what happened but it would not go into gear.  Reverse, first-gear, second-gear... Nothing.

Reality TV World:  About how far did you have to go on foot after your vehicle broke down?

Kynt:  Couple miles.  We thought instead of standing there about the car -- hoping a replacement comes -- just leave it for dead and run.

Reality TV World:  Did you really finish over an hour behind TK and Rachel were you in reaching the non-elimination Pit Stop?  Because the editing really seemed to go out of its way to make it seem like you guys were a lot closer.

Kynt:  No more than an hour behind them.  Even after all that terrible stuff, we still weren't that far behind the fourth-place team.
Vyxsin:  [TK and Rachel] had the thing where they forgot the clue and then they had a flat tire on the way to the Pit Stop.

Reality TV World:  Okay, so what you're saying is if it hadn't been for those things you would have finished even farther behind them.

Vyxsin:  We weren't super-far behind them...
Kynt:  We almost got them.

Reality TV World:  Did you suspect that the leg might be a non-elimination leg or did you think your race was over?

Kynt:  We thought it was over.  Yeah, we thought, "This is it." [Host Phil Keoghan] said, "You're the last team to arrive..."  It was like, "We're gone dude."

Reality TV World:  Before the race began, Phil had told all the racers that there'd be 11 legs and only eight elimination Pit Stops, so with only five teams left in the Race, you had to figure the odds that the Race's first non-elimination Pit Stop was coming up were pretty good, right?

Kynt:  We weren't for sure.  We were hoping, but we weren't for sure.  We were hoping, but there's no 100% they're going to show up.  There hadn't been any in the race so far... As in the past [seasons], there's Superlegs, multiple-day legs, multi-nation legs... We didn't know what was going to happen.

Reality TV World:  What was your reaction when Phil explained the Speed Bump penalty to you?

Vyxsin:  We were thrilled that they weren't going to take our stuff! (laughing)
Kynt:  Yeah, we were thrilled that we weren't getting mugged.

Reality TV World:  So I'm assuming you preferred the new Speed Bump task over the old "nothing but the clothes on your back, go beg for money" penalty?

Vyxsin:  Oh yeah...
Kynt:  Oh yeah...

Reality TV World:  Were you confident you'd be able to overcome the Speed Bump penalty?

Kynt:  We went into it with the most positive spirit that we could.  We had no idea what the Speed Bump would be; when it would rear its ugly head; how involving or not involving it would be.  We had no idea on that. 

One of the things that causes one to lose so much time on the Speed Bump isn't just the task itself, but the travel time to and from the task.  Keep in mind, when we found the Speed Bump sign, the challenge wasn't right there next to the sign.  We had to find another completely separate destination no other team had to go to, drive all the way there, then tackle the challenge, then drive all the way back to where the original Speed Bump sign was in order to find our next clue.  So it's not just the task itself, it's the travel time that one loses as well that makes it particularly brutal.

Reality TV World:  About how much time did it take you to complete the Speed Bump and return to the Detour?

Kynt:  The Speed Bump itself, one had to be very patient while doing it because you couldn't make it go faster.  It's not like build a little house out of blocks and then run away.  We were completely at the mercy of the Yoga instructor -- how many poses he wanted, how fast he wanted us to go, how to keep up with him and not make any mistakes.  Even if we did every Yoga pose perfectly, there was still a finite amount of time the task would entail that you could not make any shorter.  As far as the total time it took us -- with the travel time included -- we lost at least 30-40 minutes.

Reality TV World:  Just to back-up before the Speed Bump, you were the first team to arrive in Mumbai.  Was it disappointing to learn that since the newspaper stand didn't open until 6AM, all the other teams would be able to catch-up and thus negate your lead?

Kynt:  Oh yeah, because we needed every little bit of time that we could get.  It was so sad because with the newspaper stand opening at 6AM, everybody was caught up.  There was no chance for us to gain any time on that leg anymore.

Reality TV World:  Then it looked like your taxi driver got lost on the way to the tailor shop from the newspaper stand.  Is that what happened there?

Kynt:  He took us to the completely wrong place.  The clue said, "Go to Saint Andrews Street," or something.  He took us to Saint Andrews Road, which is a completely different place...
Vyxsin:  He took us to an actual church called Saint Andrews I think or something like that.  It was some kind of crazy... Actually that leg was really challenging because everything that we had to do was get into a little cab and ride in the cab to the next destination... Mumbai is huge!  These place that we were going to, a lot of them were not big, huge, enormous landmarks.  They were these tiny little locations.  Pretty much every single time we got in a cab, we'd say, "Take us to this place."  They'd say, "Oh! Of course!"  Then they'd start pulling over and asking other cab drivers or stopping the cab and getting out and going into businesses and asking people...
Kynt:  A lot of times we would get out of the car to ask directions for the driver! (laughing)
Vyxsin:  We were sort of at the mercy of that.  There's not a whole lot one can really do -- really -- because he either knows or he's not going to know...
Kynt:  That's the nature of every Amazing Race.
Vyxsin:  Absolutely true.
Kynt:  The Race is always 50/50... They're always equal partners.  You have to be a good player to win the game, but you also have to have some good luck on your side no matter how strong of a team that you are.  Again, it was a heart wrenching moment because we killed off the newspaper challenge quicker than anybody.  We were the first team to find [the ad], and it took some of the other teams considerable time after us.  The [cab driver] took us... Oh man, it was at least 15 or 20 miles in the wrong direction.
Vyxsin:  And when we...
Kynt:  When we got there he tried to leave us!  He tried to speed away, I was like, "Don't leave buddy..."
Vyxsin:  "This is not the right place!"

Reality TV World:  After all that -- you completed the Speed Bump task -- were you surprised to find "Dating Couple" Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom still working on the "Thread 'Em" Detour task?

Vyxsin:  It was totally a shock.
Kynt:  They were the only team throughout the entire leg that we made visual contact with.

Reality TV World:  How long did it take you to finish the Detour challenge after Nathan and Jen left?

Kynt:  About 10 minutes I'd say.  After they left, we still had to get more flowers on the strong.  We were actually working -- you couldn't tell this on TV -- but we were actually working on two separate strings.  [Vyxsin] did hers and I did mine, then we had to tie them together and make sure it was sturdy enough to not fall apart as we ran the thing to the groom, then find the groom and turn it in.  Again, there's only so much TV time.  A lot of time, things look like they're happening simultaneously because they're having to show what everybody's doing.  They can't waste 10 minutes of TV time showing Kynt and Vyxsin tying a flower garland together and holding it up in the air to make sure it's staying in place.

Reality TV World:  You just mentioned Nathan and Jen were the only other team you made visual contact with after leaving the newspaper stand, so why did you decide to use the U-Turn on "Grandfather/Grandson" team Donald Jerousek and Nicolas Fulks instead of Nathan and Jen?

Kynt:  Because [Nathan and Jen] were ahead of us.
Vyxsin:  The visual contact we had with them was seeing them at the flower stand and seeing them leave ahead of us.  So in our minds this is the only team we've seen, and the only team we've seen is ahead of us.  It's tricky watching it, because watching it...
Kynt:  It seems obvious!
Vyxsin:  ... You're sort of third-person omniscient, and you can kind of see what everyone's doing and where everyone is.  It's totally obvious what's happening.  But all that we knew is we did ["Thread 'Em"] and they did ["Thread 'Em"], well we were thinking maybe the other teams did "Paste 'Em," and "Paste 'Em" was really difficult or really far away, maybe it's just taking everyone a really long time.

Because it seemed unlikely that -- given we had done the Speed Bump -- any teams at all would be behind us.  We just didn't see them, why would any teams be behind us?  But from our point of view, we thought it was extremely unlikely that three teams had come in-front of us and none of them had decided to use the U-Turn.  That seemed unimaginable.

Reality TV World:  That's a fair point.

Vyxsin:  It's Final 5, it just seems like there's not a lot of time to spare.

Reality TV World:  And it was the course's final U-Turn opportunity.

Vyxsin:
  And it's the last U-Turn, so nobody can get you back later.  We thought even if they didn't want to U-Turn us, maybe they would U-Turn a different team -- a more competitive team -- if they thought we were completely knocked out of the game anyway because of the Speed Bump.  But at the very least, I would have thought they would have U-Turned us just to ensure -- knowing that we were already behind -- that we were completely knocked out of the game, that way if anything bad happened to them, like if their cab breaks down or they have a challenge that doesn't go well... We've seen in past legs of the race, we didn't know what was coming next or what was expected of us.  You can get one challenge that doesn't go right, you can sit there for six hours...

Reality TV World:  So just to be clear, the decision to use the U-Turn on Nick and Don was a mutual decision?

Kynt:  Yeah, when we finally decided we'd sticker a face up, we actually took all of them out of the box.  We held them up together, and we were like, "Who can we eliminate?"  Nate and Jen passed us, so we can put them back in the box.  Here's the other three teams.  We just had to guess which one of them is the most likely to be behind.  It was a guess.  But if you look at the odds -- mathematical odds -- was it a safe assumption that three teams passed the U-Turn and didn't use it,  or one team passed the U-Turn and didn't use it?  We thought maybe one team -- maybe Nate and Jen are in first place, they just blitzed passed the sign and didn't even think to use it...
Vyxsin:  Because when we saw them at the flower challenge, they seemed kind of... a little bit stressed out.  So we could totally see them running past and not even really...
Kynt:  Right!  And they're always wanting so badly to be in first.  They seemed stressed, we thought they might have just run up, disagreed on who to U-Turn and ran away.

Reality TV World:  What was your reaction when you saw Nathan and Jen arrive at the Roadblock task, meaning they were in fact behind you the whole time?

Kynt:  If you watch Nate and Jen's reaction, they get to the U-Turn and they see that we've got a sticker up there, even they said, "How in the heck did Kynt and Vyxsin get here?!"  Because they know in their heads they left that flower challenge 10 minutes before us.  If you go back and watch, you see Kynt and Vyxsin aren't as stupid as they think because Nate and Jen are like, "They're ahead of us?  What the hell?  We left them way behind!"  The U-Turn destination was also fairly close to that flower challenge.  There wasn't a lot of room to get lost.
Vyxsin:  You're right.  At that moment when we were at the Roadblock and we saw them running up, that was that sinking feeling of, "Oh! D' oh!" (laughing)  That's when you knock yourself in the head and you say, "Oh no!" That's when you know.  But at that point, all we could do was the best we could with whatever was left of the leg.

Reality TV World:  So when you got to that Roadblock did you ever learn the other three teams were ahead of you?

Kynt:  We still had no idea where they were... We still had no contact or info where the proximity was of the other three teams...
Vyxsin:  We were sort of suspecting that they were all ahead of us...
Kynt:  I never lost it though, I never gave up.

Reality TV World:  So Vyxsin you just commented you were left to do your best on the rest of the leg and see what happens.  What do you think went wrong with that Roadblock Kynt?  Was it your initial problem locating the bike's brake?  Why were you so sure that the folks you were delivering those Roadblock task propone tanks to were supposed to keep the initial order slips you'd been given? 

Kynt:  At first I did have difficulty with the bike.  I didn't understand where the brake was because it was in an unusual location (laughing).  And I don't do a lot of biking in life.  But I got my propane tanks there effectively; I was a little confused about the receipt situation.  But again, if you watch the footage, I'm not the only one that has that confusion.  You'll see one of the propane-tank recipients correct at least one other racer and tell them, "You forgot something."

Reality TV World:  So you misread the clue instructions?

Kynt:  I mean, I've actually worked in delivery service before.  Whenever you deliver a package to someone, the recipient gets the receipt and the delivery gets a receipt, which is exactly what I did.  I took the receipt that they had, had them sign it, and then gave them the other.  I didn't realize that I needed to have both of them.

Reality TV World:  How much time did it cost you to run back to the two apartments and retrieve the two order slips you'd left behind?

Kynt:  Yeah, it took a few minutes because I had to find those spots again.  At least this time I knew basically where they were, but I had to run around these blocks, up the stairs in each place.  That lost some time.  It was just my error of misunderstanding one of the idiosyncrasies of the task -- which can happen -- because what you receive in The Amazing Race is a clue.  You don't get detailed directions, you get a clue.  And the clues sometimes are kind of like riddles (laughing).  That's part of the challenge of the game.  It's not black and white.  You have to interpret.

Reality TV World:  How far behind Nathan and Jen were you in reaching the Pit Stop?

Kynt:  We were just a matter of minutes behind the fourth-place team sadly...

Reality TV World:  Any regrets about your last leg?  Do you think you'd still be racing if you'd either U-Turned the right team or not lost that additional time going back for the Roadblock order slips?

Kynt:  That's a tough question, but it's like everybody's had these moments in life.  When you're in school and you get your test back, you're like, "Why did I mark answer A?  I knew it was B!"
Vyxsin:  Really, honestly, we talk about it a lot.  Other than the 11 -- and soon to be 12 teams -- who have won The Amazing Race, every other team who has ever participated sits at home and goes (in unison with Kynt), "Oh! I shoulda, woulda, coulda!" You know, that one deciding moment that knocks you out of the game.   For us honestly, yes it would have been really wonderful to win the $1 million... But our overall attitude and reaction to everything is just so positive.  we just feel so fortunate that we got to have this incredibly experience and share it with each other and meet all these wonderful people; go to these places that we never could have visited on our own...
Kynt:  When we think about The Amazing Race, we tend to focus on what we did right, not what we did wrong.  As we mentioned, every team comes home with a, "I shoulda, woulda, coulda," story.  Everybody has one thing they did wrong and it got them eliminated.  Ours was a little bit more overtly dramatic than most people because everybody's like, "The U-Turn!" You know, we Gothed-up the U-Turn! (laughing)

Reality TV World:  Some of the other teams took to calling you two "the Pinkies."  Do you think your look caused other teams to underestimate you?  Was that part of your strategy?  Did it work to your advantage?

Kynt:  Oh yeah, our Goth aestetic definitely worked to our advantage.  We knew other teams would underestimate us from Day 1, and they definitely did.  They didn't realize how lethal we really were until they saw us coming in second place several times.  So it was definitely part of our strategy.

Plus, when we look our best, we play our best.  We feel our most comfortable when we're dressed up, and people were like, "Why would they go through all that trouble when they're on The Amazing Race?"  But the fact of the matter is, it's a confidence boost.  We feel our most positive.  We're prissy but we're punk.

Reality TV World:  How was your appearance met by the locals you encountered?  Was it ever a hindrance for you?

Vyxsin:  People were actually really wonderful to us.  I know Kynt and I look probably different than some people have seen people look before (laughing), but I can't say that we're terribly intimidating.  I think that our aesthetic is fun and colorful and sort of looks like little cartoons or something.  People were very friendly, very open, very willing and patient to help us.  We felt really fortunate.

Reality TV World:  When we talked to Hendekia Azene two weeks ago, she accused you two of pretending to be sweet and caring and instead characterized you as liars.  Did you sense that hostility during the race?

Kynt:  No, I never sensed that at all.  You've seen the show, and you've seen the footage, and I don't think there's any footage to justify that comment.

Reality TV World:  Why did you two call Sequesterville after your elimination? Is that because you went straight to the finish line location instead?

Kynt:  Yeah we didn't go to Sequesterville.  We were just sent to the end destination, which you will find out about soon.

Reality TV World:  Was there any team you wanted to see win the $1 million prize?  Anybody you didn't want to see win?

Kynt:  We wish them all the best of luck.  They beat us fair and square.  They earned their spot.  They earned their positions.  So, there's nobody we don't want to see win per say.  We wouldn't mind seeing gramps [Don] take the win (laughing).  It'd be nice to see an older guy that's been though as much as he has take the cake.  TK and Rachel are nice also.  We wish them all the best of luck.

Reality TV World:  Can you explain a little bit about your first names?  Are Kynt and Vyxsin your birth names?  If not, have you legally changed them?

Kynt: (laughing)
Vyxsin:  Vyxsin is a nickname.

Reality TV World:  What about you Kynt?

Kynt:  Yep, that's my name...

Reality TV World:  So what's next for you two?  Back to being "Goth kids" from Louisville, KY?

Kynt:  The year 2008 is a big, big question mark at this point.  But I can tell you, we've never been more excited about what lies ahead in our lives.  We don't know where things are going to take us, but we're ready to jump on a plane at a moment's notice (laughing) if something does come up.  This adventure might be over but the pink and black attack will never stop racing!

(Photo credit CBS)


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