Exclusive: Lisa Tilley and Kaylani Paliotta talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/10/2011
Lisa Tilley and Kaylani Paliotta's race was doomed at the end of the third leg when Lisa had a terrible time figuring out how to complete the Roadblock task at the Borobudur Temple, which put them in eighth place during The Amazing Race's nineteenth season's third episode.
Although the "Friends and former Vegas Showgirls" got lucky in the premiere episode when a stranger discovered Kaylani's lost passport and returned it to the pair just in time at the airport, the team's luck changed when they were forced to take the time to pay their cab driver before heading to the Pit Stop when they had failed to take care of it upon arriving at the Roadblock -- allowing all the other teams to pass them and resulting in their elimination from the competition.
On Monday, Lisa and Kaylani talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including which former Big Brother contestant Kaylani considers her best friend and originally planned to run the Race with, why Lisa struggled so much with the Roadblock task and began calling out random numbers, what their strategy was for beating Marcus Pollard and Amani Pollard in a race to the finish, and what incident shocked the pair during the third leg.
Reality TV World: You girls finished the bicycle route in third place but then you arrived at the restaurant where you were given the clue about the Detour tasks in seventh place. The show made it seem like you had a slow cab driver, so was that actually the case? What happened there exactly?
Lisa Tilley: Oh my God, we actually got dumped by our cab driver! The first cab we took after we left the bicycle route, he started driving and he didn't speak a word of English. And then all of a sudden, he just pulled over and was like, "Okay, get out." And then we tried to hail another cab.
Kaylani Paliotta: He didn't know -- He had no idea where he was going. He just kind of took us in the cab and we were like, "Um, okay, we're going to have to figure something out."
Reality TV World:Lisa, at the temple Roadblock during last night's episode, you seemed to really struggle at first and guess very high numbers like 263. What exactly confused you about the task and where did you go wrong? Did you attempt to count the Buddha carvings on the walls of the temple and would you say the instructions on the clue weren't descriptive enough or clear?
Lisa Tilley: They weren't. I mean, looking back at it now, I can see how it was descriptive enough. But at the time, one of the biggest problems was I wasn't counting the carvings on the wall, I was actually counting all of the Buddha statues -- the ones that were up above -- because more than half of those Buddha statues don't even have their hands on them.
They're broken off, so that threw me off too. It was like you had to figure out that you just had to keep counting the same hand position until you get to one that's a different hand position.
Reality TV World: Lisa, after you guessed 263, you threw out a bunch of numbers afterward in the 200s. Did you really think you were close and you were hoping to guess the right one, or were you just being kind of funny in that you were saying random numbers because you were simply frustrated with the task?
Kaylani Paliotta: (Laughs)
Lisa Tilley: (Laughs) It was a little bit of both. I thought I was close and I was frustrated. I was like, "Well then 200! 201!" (Laughs) I was like, "What the hell is it?" It was so frustrating.
Reality TV World: Lisa, you worked together with Marcus during the Roadblock task at the temple to figure out what you were required to do. Did you realize at the time you and him were the last two attempting to complete the task, and if so, what was your strategy for beating him in the end? Did you think it was going to be a foot race where you could outrun him and Amani or did you think before reading the next set of clues it would come down to a cab ride?
Lisa Tilley: Yeah, I mean the sad thing is that you don't realize that when you're at the temple, where the Pit Stop is. You don't know that the Pit Stop is actually at the temple and you're not going to need your cab afterwards. So, the good thing is that Marcus and Amani paid their cab before they even went into the temple.
So, once we finished, they just had to go to the Pit Stop while Kaylani and I had to go pay our cab -- along with a lot of other teams. But I mean, when Marcus and I first teamed up, we weren't the last two teams there. There were still other teams there.
They just -- the first time that Marcus and I counted it, we came up with 17 for all four of them and then we had to go back and count again. Through that, it was when the other teams ended up figuring it out and leaving.
When Marcus and I were counting, I had thought about trying to not tell him what it was or throwing him off somehow. That thought definitely crossed my mind, but at the same time, it's like he was helping me and I was helping him. I wasn't going to try to do that to him.
Reality TV World: What were your thoughts on how Amani and Marcus' finish in the leg basically came down to luck? They got rid of their cab because they thought their driver was incompetent and it ended up being the difference between their survival and their elimination in the Race. Did that surprise you?
Lisa Tilley: Yeah, I mean, it just goes to show always, always -- for all future teams out there -- always pay your cab up and then ask them to wait and just cross your fingers that they wait for you. But just always pay your cab, always always.
Kaylani Paliotta: Yes. I think the other thing that Lisa didn't know -- I guess I knew because I was sitting on the side and I was unable to help. I was sitting with the other teams -- was that some of the other teams had come in the other way as well and had their cabs right next to the Pit Stop.
So I think we both, when we originally got there, assumed everybody left their cabs there. We didn't actually know that that was going to be the Pit Stop. So, we didn't pay our cab. You know, just pay your cab! (Laughs) Pay your cab.
Reality TV World: Were you two aware that Andy Finch and Tommy Czeschin had given the answer to the temple Roadblock to Amani and Marcus ahead of time or did you just discover that from watching the show? Did you think the snowboarders helping them was fair, unfair or are you indifferent to it?
Kaylani Paliotta: I was in shock that Marcus and Amani knew or had gotten the answer from Tommy and Andy! Amani didn't say anything that [Marcus] knew anything to me and then when [Lisa] finally teamed up with Marcus, I was like, "Yes! Now we still have two people working on it together."
I was like, "Yes!" Because every time [Lisa] went down there and was giving the numbers and getting frustrated, I felt bad for her because you could see the frustration on her face and it was hot out.
We were tired from all the other tasks and it was just shocking to see that they had already known. But at that point when I saw it last night, I was kind of confused on why he didn't listen to what was happening, because there definitely could have been a different turn out had he listened to that earlier.
Reality TV World: You girls finished the Roadblock task in eighth place but then obviously came in ninth and last place at the end of the leg, and it seemed to all come down to you having to pay your taxi driver that was waiting for you. Could you elaborate on how long it took you to pay the cab driver and what happened there? Did you have trouble finding your cab like Liz and Marie or were you just far from the Pit Stop at that point?
Kaylani Paliotta: It was actually -- the whole temple's rules were that you had to walk and you had to go clockwise, so you have to remember that you have to follow other cultures' -- you have to respect their culture and walk and you have to go clockwise. So, it wasn't so much hard to find the exit after that.
It was just actually trying to walk fast enough to catch up to everybody else, because we were the last team with Marcus and Amani. But Marcus and Amani had already paid their cab, so they got to go straight to the Pit Stop. So we still had to catch up to everybody else that had already left and we...
Lisa Tilley: We had to walk at the same time.
Kaylani Paliotta: Yes! Exactly. It was easy to find our cab, but trying to do that walking and not being able to run was the most frustrating part about the whole thing.
Reality TV World: After you finished the Roadblock task and were told to search the ground for the Pit Stop, how detailed was that search and what did it involve you guys doing? Was it easy to discover and how far away was the Pit Stop from where you received the clue instructing you to head there?
Kaylani Paliotta: You could see the Pit Stop from the temple! It was just right across the grass, but you had to go back in clockwise. It was the exit you had to go back through.
Lisa Tilley: From where we were standing, it was kind of counter-clockwise so you had to walk all around the Buddhist temple again. But it wasn't that far. It was just a matter of how we had to go back to the cab. That's what took a lot of time and that was our biggest mistake.
Kaylani Paliotta: Yeah.
Reality TV World: Do you two have any idea about far behind Liz Canavan and Marie Canavan you arrived at the Pit Stop?
Kaylani Paliotta: Yes. We arrived about 10 minutes after them.
Reality TV World: How did you decide who was going to the Roadblock task? Did you just plan to switch off week to week or did you base your decision on who had more energy in the moment like other teams had because the climb to the top of the temple stairs seemed tiring?
Kaylani Paliotta: Lisa and I had discussed just switching off between the Roadblocks so that we both got the opportunity to rest and so there wouldn't be one person doing more Roadblocks than the other. So it was kind of...
Lisa Tilley: There was only a certain number you could do.
Kaylani Paliotta: Yeah. One person isn't allowed to do every single Roadblock. So, we had already discussed that we would just take turns.
Reality TV World: Some viewers have expressed skepticism over how your passport incident from the premiere episode unfolded, and Jenna Morasca even tweeted something at the time suggesting she was one of the skeptics. So, what are both of your thoughts on how all of that played out? Would you say it was just luck or how would you respond to the skeptics?
Kaylani Paliotta: I think it was definitely luck. Social media is amazing with [the guy who found my passport] Ryan actually thinking ahead and tweeting it because he put the two and two together -- I mean, that was definitely 100% percent luck and I had realized that I lost the passport five minutes after we left the gas station. So, I mean, it definitely was not fake at all.
It was definitely 100% percent real. (Laughs) I was mostly disappointed because I felt like I was letting down my teammate and I was letting down my little girl. I didn't want it to be over and this is something that I was looking forward to. I felt bad because Lisa wasn't the one who lost the passport. It was me and she handled it well.
We got through it. We were definitely lucky to be able to continue on the Race, because who would have guessed that a stranger would have gone out of his way. I mean, he was about 45 minutes away and he had his own day planned of what he needed to get done. It was definitely somebody looking over us.
Reality TV World: You guys arrived at the Detour task in seventh place but finished the task in third place. It obviously looked like the "Rice Field" task was quicker and maybe easier than the "Grass Fed" one, so how did you decide which Detour task to do?
Lisa Tilley: Kaylani was the one who decided to do that one, thank goodness!
Kaylani Paliotta: (Laughs)
Lisa Tilley: I remember Kaylani saying, "The 'Rice Field' looks like a task that you just stay in one place and you do, where the sheep task involves moving around and going different places. So the rice one is definitely going to be easier even though we're going to get a little messy. We got really muddy! (Laughs)
Kaylani Paliotta: We had our shoes off, so that helped... We took our shoes off, so that helped.
Reality TV World: During last week's episode, you were one of the only three teams who successfully read the sign on the orphanage's collection table -- why did you stop to read it? Did it just catch your eye or were you intentionally being observant, because so many of the other teams completely overlooked it. Why do you think the others missed it so easily?
Kaylani Paliotta: You know what happened? What happened was Lisa stopped when that lady handed us the pendant to look for where we needed to go for the Pit Stop, and Lisa kept on saying, "Where's the clue? Where's the clue?" And she stopped and looked at what was written and was like -- We had turned in just the money that we had raised, the 30,000 rupiah.
We had just turned that in and when she had gotten that, she was like, "Where's the clue?" So she stopped and looked at and read that sign again, and she was like, "Oh my gosh, we have to turn in everything!" So had there not been that confusion, we would have probably done the same thing, because I was ready to take off. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: There's been a lot of discussion about the sign at the orphanage. Would you guys say overall that it was fair the information was included on the clue and that it was only given on the sign on the table? What are your thoughts on that?
Lisa Tilley: Well seeing how things turned out, I think it's absolutely fair! (Laughs)
Kaylani Paliotta: I do too! (Laughs) I concur with that!
Lisa Tilley: Because the thing that they handed us just was this emblem and it had nothing written on it. So I just kind of looked around and it was right there next to all the envelopes that we were stuffing. So, you just had to kind of keep an eye out for everything, and as soon as I saw it, I was like, "Wait a minute. What is that?" So, I read it and we handed over all our money. Yeah, I think it was fair.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race and was it your first time applying for the show?
Kaylani Paliotta: It was our first time applying for the show. We had gotten a call. My best friend [Rachel Reilly] from Big Brother wanted to run the Race with me, and she had nominated me.
We were going to run it together and then I found out I had to pick a different partner and I asked Lisa if she would run it with me. Lisa was like, "Heck yeah! I'll run the Race with you!" So, I'm glad we got to run it together. It was a fun experience.