Exclusive: Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz talk about 'The Amazing Race' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/26/2012
Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz were eliminated from The Amazing Race during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 21st season.
The "Dating Divorcees" team became the seventh team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's ninth Pit Stop at the House of Rembrandt's mistress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in last place because they had been U-Turned and therefore forced to complete both sides of the Detour task.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Abbie and Ryan talked about their The Amazing Race experience.
Below is the first half of Abbie and Ryan's interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship now? Are you guys still together, and if so, how are things going?
Ryan Danz: I'm dating [Jaymes Vaughan] from the Race.
Abbie Ginsberg: (Laughs)
Ryan Danz: Yeah Abbie, you lost out. That's my best chance at winning a million bucks... No, we're great. We just got back from a week in Tahoe. We had the dogs. We had hot chocolate -- we've just been enjoying each other's company and kind of reflecting on our journey.
It was just an amazing experience and we've taken a few months to let everything sort of set in and figure out how it all unfolded and just kind of moving on from that. But what an opportunity in 100 lifetimes, like I said at the end of the show!
Reality TV World: Going back to the second leg of the Race, Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale helped you guys find the last clue when you were searching for it but you guys beat them in a foot race to the Pit Stop -- ultimately finishing the leg in first and winning the chance to claim $2 million at the end of the season. And then last night, Jaymes and James Davis made a similar move in that they put their own chances in the Race before your friendship. So would you mind talking about why you were angry at the "Chippendales" but kind of thought it was okay and fair to beat out Amy and Daniel when they had helped you? Some viewers have been saying it was a little hypocritical, so I just wanted to get your perspective on that.
Ryan Danz: I just want to say one thing and then Abbie will take the response. But when we passed Amy and Daniel, that was to secure first place. We didn't eliminate them from the Race in that move.
So, the difference being, I don't think it's hypocritical at all because Jaymes and James actually orchestrated us out of the Race, whereas Amy and Daniel -- even in that moment, what you don't see is us discussing that Daniel had been eating fallopian tubes that day and we all thought he was incurring a penalty. So if we let them finish ahead of us, just by the nature of the penalty, we would've been moved up to first place anyways.
Abbie Ginsberg: And the big difference as well is that if you really look at our situation with Daniel and Amy, that was in the heat of the moment-type of thing. Everybody was in the heat of the moment at that point. We didn't strategize or try to stab them in the back or plan it.
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It just so happened that they offered information, and they would say it was in the heat of the moment for them as well. The outcome was what it was because of that, but you know, people who were next to us -- like the blondes [Caitlin King and Brittany Fletcher] -- they got the same information.
And Ryan and I were talking earlier. We seriously thought [James LoMenzo and "Abba" Mark Abbattista] were in first place that day. We saw them running earlier than us, and we at no point thought it was in the bag -- that we were outrunning Daniel and Amy for that first place.
We think the difference is, with this U-Turn thing, is it was plotted and planned. It was a strategy move, which we don't fault them for it. It's part of the game. But they're two very different situations.
Ryan Danz: And just to add on, we knew Daniel and Amy a little bit up until that last point in Shanghai. We had talked to them briefly on the flight. We really liked them, but we had no real alliance with them unlike the "Chippendales."
What the show didn't really cover is even leaving LAX for Shanghai, we very quickly got very close on all of our flights and helping each other along the way. It wasn't just an alliance. It was a true friendship, and it went to the point where we had just said, "Look, let's get each other to the Final 3 and then as soon as we get to the Final 3, game on -- all bets are off..."
Abbie Ginsberg: May the best man win.
Ryan Danz: ... And we've seen them in Russia after not seeing anyone for a few days. And when they saw us, you know, they said, "Oh my God, we can breathe again! Thank God you guys are okay and you're here." And I said, "Well, we're concerned. We're so far behind everyone because of these flights and there's a chance of a U-Turn coming."
[And the guys were like,] "Hey, don't worry about it, Abbie and Ryan. We got your back. We won't let anything happen to you." So the development of the friendship is very different from Daniel and Amy, and the Daniel and Amy move cost them ultimately one place in the standings. It didn't get them out of the Race.
Reality TV World: Diving a little bit more into how Jaymes and James worked with Natalie Anderson and Nadiya Anderson and Trey Wier and Alexis "Lexi" Beerman and basically conspired to get you guys out, because there was deliberate conclusion to get rid of you, do you think that's fair gameplay in the Race? Do you think The Amazing Race should be more of an individual team game?
Abbie Ginsberg: No, I think it's absolutely fair. It's part of it. There aren't rules that define you have to work by yourself. I mean, there were instances when we worked together with other teams. So I don't think there's any rule against strategizing. It's part of the game, you know? Unfortunately, we were on the bad end of it.
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were very surprised when you found out Jaymes and James had U-Turned you. But after watching last night's episode and seeing how difficult the decision really was for the guys to make, did it change your opinion of them at all? Did it make the outcome of your Race any easier for you to handle?
Abbie Ginsberg: Well, I think we were just shocked about who it was initially. Had it been the twins of the Texans, we totally would've understood.
Ryan Danz: I don't think that, watching it back -- because I knew we'd be interviewing today -- it's odd to me that they played it up as, "Oh, I don't know whether we can do this. Should we do it or not?"
Because they kept saying, "We just want to get to the U-Turn board first, because if we get there first, we're not going to have to use this U-Turn strategy that the next two teams will have to be the ones to do it."
And then sure enough, they get their first and they play up this, "Gosh, I don't know if we should U-Turn our friends," thing. But then, they ultimately do. I don't think it was ever a question in their mind what they were going to do.
Abbie Ginsberg: Right.
Ryan Danz: It had nothing to do with the fact we were racing for $2 million and they were only racing for one. It had everything to do with the fact that up until after Turkey, we had dominated the Race course in terms of the finishes.
We beat "Chippendales" five out of six times. We beat Trey and Lexi four out of six times. We beat Natalie and Nadiya five out of six times. We could've been racing for a dollar. All they saw was that we were the ones that...
Abbie Ginsberg: We were in their way.
Ryan Danz: ... We were in their way of getting the million. So, I don't think it was that tough of a decision as they let on.
Reality TV World: So just to clarify, do you think Trey and Lexi and Natalie and Nadiya had that same mindset -- that the money wasn't a factor in them deciding to target you because they just considered you threatening and wanted you out?
Abbie Ginsberg: (Laughs)
Ryan Danz: Definitely, because I believe if there was even a dollar at stake for us and a million for them, they were going to do the same thing. We were the ones closest to winning.
Abbie Ginsberg: Even though we were hours behind, you know? You could argue too, "Why U-Turn a team that's already so far behind?" Jaymes and James were looking at the end goal inside there. I don't fault them.
Ryan Danz: Yeah, I have no problem with the U-Turn being used against us. It's part of the game. But it was a little discomforting that we talked exclusively about it in Indonesia the first time around, and everyone's thoughts were, "We don't even think U-Turns should be part of the game. Let's win based on talent. Let's see the best teams racing at the end. And then let's see who wins."
So you know, okay fine, it was used against us -- and likewise with the bad luck with the flights. I still think cabs and planes should be part of a world race. So, yes, we were on the losing side of that, but that's how we feel. That's what makes the Race so great.
Reality TV World: You guys were a very competitive team all season, which intimidated some of your fellow Racers -- who, in turn, kind of categorized you as an unlikable team. However, you raced side by side with Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge throughout a few legs until that no longer became a possibility anymore with the U-Turn incident. Could you talk about your reasoning for racing with them? Did it really come down to the fact you thought they weren't threatening and you wanted to help your friends out who were in the same grim situation as you, or was it more of a "keep your enemies close" type of thing?
Abbie Ginsberg: Not at all -- not the latter, not at all. We hadn't had the opportunity to really get to know them during the first part of the Race pre-Istanbul, because they were at the back of the pack.
You sort of realize that when you surround yourself with the same people, you're bound to develop closer relationships or enemies. But they weren't around to even have that opportunity to develop a relationship with until Istanbul.
And I think what started it for us was that night in the Frankfurt airport. We didn't strategize to keep them around so we could backstab them. That's not the way Ryan and I work, although I'm sure there are a lot of people that don't know us out there that think we would do that. (Laughs)
Ryan Danz: ... Josh and Brent are strategic geniuses. I mean, for what they lacked in brawn, they certainly made up -- more than made up for -- in mental prowess. That night, we spent eight or nine hours in the Frankfurt airport together and we didn't sleep. We just discussed Race strategy.
We were so far ahead of the other teams in regards to the upcoming legs and the U-Turns and all the possibilities, that when it all played itself out last night, I was sort of laughing -- thinking, "These guys don't even know. We were well beyond you as a foursome here," and we knew that we probably couldn't get passed a U-Turn or a Double U-Turn if we were that far behind.
And so all we cared about was getting whatever resources, intel and insight that we had in why we've been successful up to a certain point over to Josh and Brent. We basically -- our only motivation really was to say, "Look, if we can't win, we want you guys [to] and we'll do everything we can to kind of slingshot you up to the front. And here's what we would do if we were you to just try and win."
Reality TV World: Obviously the U-Turn changed things, but if it hadn't, what was your plan when it came to separating from Josh and Brent? Did you plan on beating them in a foot race to the Pit Stop or having both teams step onto the mat at the same time and asking The Amazing Racehost Phil Keoghan to decide who goes home? What were you thinking there?
Ryan Danz: I think, you know, and there's some background here that I really probably can't get into. But we all had the rulebook with us, and I was aware of the tie-breaking mechanisms in the game. And so, we would've been fine just based on those mechanisms to move forward, and that would've been sort of the outcome. That's why we were okay with doing things the way that we were going to do.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that Josh and Brent didn't wait for you two to finish the second Detour task, especially considering all you're talking about now and how much you had been through together? Did you have any hard feelings that they chose to move forward without you?
Abbie Ginsberg: Not at all. We understand their predicament, and I don't think that they did it easily. I think that, as you saw, there was a lot of trepidation for them, and we get it. What are you going to do at the end of the day? For them to come back and help us with the Detour, it didn't make sense.
Above is the first half of Abbie and Ryan's interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.