Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' eliminee Te Jay McGrath talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/24/2014
The Amazing Race eliminated Tim Tsao and Te Jay McGrath during Friday night's eighth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 25th season.
The "College Sweethearts" team became the sixth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's eighth Pit Stop at Fort Manoel in Malta in last place.
Tim and Te Jay got stuck at the "Flag" Detour task for a long time and decided to finally switch to the "Polish" task when it was too late.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Te Jay talked about his team's The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: How far after Brooke Adams and Robbie E. Strauss do you think you finally arrived at the Pit Stop?
Te Jay McGrath: I think, well, I think it was about 20 minutes. So, it was kind of close. They were really looking for their taxi for a while and ours was waiting for us outside.
Reality TV World: You guys had just experienced a non-elimination leg, so did you have any hope you'd get another one this time around? It seemed like you were hanging on Phil's every word at the Pit Stop there.
Te Jay McGrath: No, well, I mean, you always have that thought in the back of your mind that maybe the dentists [Misti Raman and Jim Raman] are going to use their "Save" and like probably gave it to [Phil Keoghan] to give to us, you know, thinking crazy things.
But we definitely knew because there's only usually two non-elimination legs in a season, so, we were just hesitant about what kind of words were coming out of his mouth at the time. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you made it further than you had expected. When entering the Race, how far did you see yourselves going?
Te Jay McGrath: Well, I think I meant we just did way more than we expected, like, the way we presented ourselves, the way we went through the challenges. Of course we knew we were going to go all the way, but I think I meant at the time it was what we already accomplished.
Reality TV World: So I think it's safe to say your downfall in the Race was that greasy-pole challenge. Could you guys talk about that a little bit? Why was it so difficult and do you think you'd eventually grab that red flag if you stuck with it or did you finally deem it impossible?
Te Jay McGrath: Yeah, it was pretty much a nightmare. We get there and, you know, I was the person to grab the red flag, or that's at least what we agreed on. And so, I actually ran first, and then when I'm falling off, I fell off while -- you know, just as an instinct, I just grabbed the yellow flag, because, you might as well grab one when you're falling right off.
So, I grabbed the yellow flag and Tim was like, "Why did you grab the yellow flag?! You're taller than me." And I was like, "I know, I'm sorry." So he ended up having to get the red flag and Tim is a very perservere-kind of person and determined.
So, we just kept at it and kept at it until -- even when teams would come by and like try it once and we had the option to switch, yeah, but then we also had the option to just grab the damn red flag and not polish stuff. And we had the whole community of Malta basically cheering in the background, like, "Come on, Tim! You can do it!" So, we couldn't give up and it was just a lot.
Reality TV World: So even though you were eliminated, looking back, are you happy that you stuck with the task and kept trying, or do you regret not switching tasks sooner?
Te Jay McGrath: With the outcome, of course we wish we could've switched when Brooke and Robbie came back. We should've done it then. But that was when Tim was still trying and the whole town was cheering him on, so we just didn't want to give up.
Reality TV World: Carrying those trays of drinks up the stairs seemed pretty difficult. How many attempts did that take you guys to complete and how long do you think you spent plugging away at that task?
Te Jay McGrath: Actually that one, we made it all the way up right where -- almost where [Bethany Hamilton] dropped all of her glasses. And then Tim turned around quickly because I called his name and it crashed. And then we did it one more time, so we finished it in two attempts.
Reality TV World: Your Speed Bump looked fairly easy. How long did that take you?
Te Jay McGrath: Yeah, that was actually kind of easy! It took, I would say, maybe 15 minutes. All we had to do was take these little stencils and trace them out and then fill them in with red paint. I don't know why everyone's saying ours looked a little sloppy; I think they looked fantastic. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: How do you feel about your portrayal this season? You two were obviously shown bickering a lot and such. Do you think the editing made it look worse than it was or maybe you feel your edit was actually flattering? (Laughs)
Te Jay McGrath: I think our edit was, you know, we couldn't have asked for a better one. What was shown of us bickering on TV is basically how we are in life with our friends and family. They know it's like that, but you never see us, like, just mad at each other, you know? We just get it out of the way and move on. And I think we've gotten good feedback from it.
Reality TV World: Brooke and Robbie were shown saying they wanted Kym Perfetto and Alli Forsythe gone because they were shady and also a very strong team. But then Kym and Alli said they just liked spending time alone and it wasn't anything personal against the other teams. What did you guys really think of Kym and Alli both as people and Racers?
Te Jay McGrath: Well during the Race, we were -- they didn't show it, but we were actually just as much involved with Kym and Alli as we were with the rest of the teams. I guess a lot of the time, they just really wanted to rest and just take in the scenery a little bit more than the rest of us. But they were strong female competitors and very good people.
Reality TV World: Brooke and Robbie tried to convince all the other teams to U-Turn Kym and Alli if it became a possibility. I believe you guys agreed to the plan as well, so did you mean it, or were you just trying to make Brooke and Robbie happy in the moment?
Te Jay McGrath: Actually, we did agree because we actually had our Speed Bump ahead, and knowing that maybe a U-Turn was coming, the surfers [Bethany and Adam Dirks] had an Express Pass, the dentists had "The Save," and Tim and I started in last.
So at the Speed Bump, we were like, "We have to do anything possible to have a secure spot and finish." So we went along with that, hoping there was a U-Turn or something, but it turned out that it didn't even matter because it wasn't there. And they would've gotten it... they're so good.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you thought it was a better strategy to eliminate a team entirely rather than flush out "The Save" or the Express Pass, right?
Te Jay McGrath: Yeah. I think so.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Te Jay's exclusive interview.