Exclusive: Rob French and Kelley Carrington-French talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/06/2012
Rob French and Kelley Carrington-French were eliminated from The Amazing Race during Sunday night's sixth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 21st season.
The "Married Monster Truckers" became the fifth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's sixth Pit Stop at the Savarona ship -- which was originally purchased for the founder of the Republic of Turkey -- in Istanbul, Turkey in last place mainly due to an unfortunately long metro ride.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Rob and Kelley talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including which two teams Rob admitted he has no respect for, what penalty they thought Natalie Anderson and Nadiya Anderson should've received and deserved for stealing $100 from fellow Racers, whom they called "very tough competitors," and whether they even saw the show before competing on it.
Below is the concluding portion of Rob and Kelley's interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola earlier this season, they said they had asked you two about whether or not you had U-Turned them and you told the guys, "No." They said they really didn't care if you did because they understood it was a Race and you had to do everything you could to get ahead. So why exactly did you guys decide to keep the U-Turn information to yourselves when they approached you?
Rob French: You don't want anybody to think that you did something against them, because you might be in a situation where they would pick another team if they didn't know that you U-Turned them. But after we watched the show, we saw that they tried to U-Turn us anyways, so I was glad we did it.
Kelley Carrington-French: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So even though Gary and Will were insisting to you they didn't care either way, it sounds like you guys just had trouble believing them at the time that they wouldn't hold a grudge?
Kelley Carrington-French: Oh absolutely. We're in a Race, in a contest. We know that if you can keep people on your side and keep the peace, then why not? Why ruffle feathers if you don't have to? So it was easier to just say, "No, we didn't do it! It was the Barbies [Brittany Fletcher and Caitlin King]!"
And then they got kicked off, so nobody could really confirm whether they did or they didn't. They got kicked off and then we didn't get to see them again. So at that point, we decided it would be better to keep the peace as best we could and move on.
Reality TV World: Rob, one memory that stands out of you so far is how you had to consume double the papaya bowls filled with frog tubes earlier this season. Could you talk a little bit about that and was it as bad as it looked on TV?
Rob French: It was worse! It didn't taste bad. It was just slimy, but it was just a mental game of what it was, and it stunk. It was really stinky. So every time you put it close to your nose, it stunk.
And I had to dig really deep to eat the second two bowls, because it was just something that -- you know, we live a different life than most people. We do as we want to do and we're blessed enough to be able to live life that way. And to have to eat that stuff was pretty nasty.
Reality TV World: While you were on the Race, which teams did you think were going to be your stiffest competition and/or your toughest competitors?
Rob French: I don't think we ever thought of that at all because you've seen some really physically fit people -- like [Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz] and the Chippendales [Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis].
Kelley Carrington-French: And the twins Natalie and Nadiya are very tough-minded and tough-bodied.
Rob French: Right, you could just tell that the twins were going to be tough. We weren't playing the game against any of them. We were playing the game just to win. So, it didn't happen, and we were all good with it until we saw the show last night.
It kind of upset us about the stealing of the money and [how] neither one of those teams [Natalie and Nadiya or Trey Wier and Alexis "Lexi" Beerman] got penalized at all for that. I thought that that was a real letdown in the whole show.
Reality TV World: Yeah, I was actually going to ask about that. Many viewers have expressed surprise that there was no time penalty or any type of penalty whatsoever for stealing the money. Could you elaborate on what you thought about that a little bit? What did you think would be the appropriate penalty or form of punishment for that depending on how you want to label the incident.
Rob French: We thought they should've been eliminated from the Race.
Kelley Carrington-French: ... and bring Will and Gary back!
Rob French: I mean, I really believe that they didn't do anything -- if they wouldn't have known that it was [James LoMenzo and Mark "Abba" Abbattista]'s money, like if they would've found it on the street or in front of the place, it would've been different. It was sitting right next to James' bag, and it fell out when he set his bag down on the floor.
They even said they knew it was James' and Abba's money, "The Rockers." So I just feel like knowing that they were stealing the money, it's wrong, and I have no respect for either one of those teams -- and I hope it's publicized that I said it.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when James and Abba were able to collect that $100 cash back? Did it shock you guys that they managed to pull that off?
Kelley Carrington-French: No!
Rob French: Not at all, those guys were on their own. They were running their own race, just as we were.
Kelley Carrington-French: Cool-headed.
Rob French: Cool-headed, didn't get excited, did what they needed to do, and I was very happy for them. I'm glad that they went out and did what they did. They were just very fortunate that where we were at, the financial district was right there. People had money. But I really feel bad that the two teams that -- they showed their true colors, you know?
The Texans [Trey and Lexi] went through the whole thing saying, "Oh, we're the great American kids and we're Christians and we're this and we're that" -- their true colors come out this season.
Reality TV World: Abbie and Ryan have been coming across extremely competitive this season. Ryan admitted during a previous leg his main goal was to break [Rachel Brown and Dave Brown]'s record of winning the most legs won in a season.
Kelley Carrington-French: He said that numerous times. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: (Laughs) Yes, exactly. So, do you think he set the bar unrealistically too high for himself and Abbie? What are your thoughts on that?
Kelley Carrington-French: Oh no, they're tough.
Rob French: No, they're very tough competitors.
Kelley Carrington-French: Maybe they had tougher competitors...
Rob French: ... Or maybe we had -- we were in different countries with harder taxi situations. You don't know what the deal is, but they didn't do anything that we didn't go. When we came into the Race, we looked around and said, "You know what? There's nobody here that could beat us."
And I feel that at every task that me and Kelley did, there was nobody that could beat us at the task that we did. We had some issues in our travel, and I think that comes from me doing a lot of travel. But there's never an issue when you have a GPS and you have a credit card and we have a pocket full of money and we have maps.
We have all the things that you would think it takes to get around the world, and then when all of that was taken from us, it changed our whole demeanor on how to get around in the countries.
Reality TV World: Looking back on your entire racing experience, what would you guys say was the hardest task of all for you to complete or simply the hardest part of the Race for you guys?
Rob French: Getting eliminated. (Laughs)
Kelley Carrington-French: (Laughs)
Rob French: That was the hardest thing to take. As far as the Race goes, there was only one task that was tough and that was the challenge that Kelley had to build the scale. She was short but she had to stack logs, and it was very hard for me because I'm standing on the sidelines. And every time I would tell her, "Do this, do that," they'd scream at me and said I couldn't help her.
It was really -- that was the toughest thing for me, was to watch her struggle in the heat with nothing to drink and having to work that hard without me being able to help.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race? How did you end up on the show?
Rob French: I'm a pro monster truck driver and so is Kelley. And Kelley is also a pro barrel racer. Their casting people saw some videos of me doing some commercials for some of my monster truck stuff, and we had been asked a year prior to go on the show, and we didn't have time. Our life is very busy, and so actually, we were getting married when they had asked us before.
And so, we didn't go. And then in February, they contacted us and asked us to go. So we went out to LA, because we were still undecided to go. But then we went to LA and went through the process, and you know, they offered us a spot on the show and we took it.
Reality TV World: So had you guys been big fans of The Amazing Race prior to appearing on the show? How aware or knowledgeable were you of it?
Rob French: We didn't even know there was an Amazing Race. (Laughs) We were the only ones on the show who didn't know everybody who had ever been on the show and what they did... I thought that we did quite well. And I hope that I'm not hurting my chances to go back on the show, and hopefully we'll be asked to go back to the all-stars because we had a great time. We would love to.
Kelley Carrington-French: We learned some things from this time [around]. Now we know all about The Amazing Race.
Rob French: We know exactly how the game is played and what you do and what you look for and all of those things. So there's no doubt in my mind that if we ever went back we'd be the winners.
Above is the concluding portion of Rob and Kelley's interview. Click here to read the first half.
(Photo credit CBS)
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