The former The Amazing Race racers were ousted from the competition after they arrived at the first Pit Stop in Tokyo, Japan in last place due to a four-hour time penalty they had incurred for quitting a Roadblock task.
Art failed to complete the second Roadblock task of Leg 1 in which he had to climb a slippery slope -- while wearing a sleek unitard -- to retrieve a clue at the top.
After his leg appeared to cramp up, Art and JJ determined he'd never be able to finish the job. The guys therefore had to wait four hours before checking into the Pit Stop.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Art and JJ opened up about their experience on The Amazing Race. Below is a portion of their The Amazing Race interview.
Reality TV World: Do you think the outcome of that first leg would've been totally different had Art done the shoe-biting task and JJ done the slide? If so, would you say you just encountered some bad luck?
Art Velez: I mean, sure! Anything can happen, you know? Who knows. Maybe I'd sit there and never find a chocolate shoe. I don't know. It's hard to say.
We can play the "What if?" stuff all day long, but that's the Race and anybody who gets eliminated at any time, you can "What if?" it to death. I would love to say, "Yeah, it would've been great and we would've gone on to win the Race," but I don't know. I don't know.
There's always that possibility, like, "What if JJ would've been on the sled before? Would we have won that?" Maybe, I don't know. But that's the cool thing about the Race, is that there's always a turn or an event that needs to happen.
And somebody else did it, so yeah, it's on me. I didn't complete the task and the other 10 teams that were there still ended up completing that task.
[Bret LaBelle] ended up climbing that thing twice! So, I just failed at that particular task. I just didn't get it done. So, yeah, that probably would've changed it.
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Reality TV World: Do you think anything else contributed to your loss in that first leg or would you say with confidence that Mount Fuji task did you in? It sounds like it was just the task itself.
J.J. Carrell: Well, we blew it from the get-go. It just didn't click. When we were done with that leg and got eliminated, we both admitted to each other -- we just didn't feel like we ever got into a groove.
It was like we were slugging through mud the whole time, but then again, in true Art fashion, we forced the issue and made it to where we could do it, but we just couldn't do it in the end.
I just don't think it was our day, and I think there are days in people's lives where it's just not your day -- for whatever reason -- and it just wasn't.
I don't want to cheapen it and boil it down to that, but you know, we could "What if?" it to death, and it was just a bad day. A bad day.
Reality TV World: It was unfortunate you went home because of a physical task when Art clearly got into such great shape for the Race. JJ, you said he was in better shape now than seven years ago.
Art Velez: For me, it was one of those things where I was [losing weight] for me anyways, not particularly to go on the Race. I mean, I was already in shape and then they were like, "Hey, you guys want to get back on the Race?!"
And I was like, "Ha! Look at me! I'm already in shape, so let's do this thing."
So, it's something I had been doing prior to the Race but I just so happened to be called. But then I'm thinking, "Well, when I was out of shape, I actually did way better. So maybe I should not [work out]."
Reality TV World: You were both upset following your elimination. I don't know whether this situation was more frustrating for Art, who probably felt guilty and helpless, or JJ who had to watch his buddy struggle with no control over the situation. Was there any tension or awkward silence between you guys afterwards?
J.J. Carrell: I don't think we blamed each other. You know, Art apologized over and over, but like I told him, it just wasn't our day and there's no need to apologize.
For a couple of days, we were kind of silent, but we weren't mad at each other. I think it was just shock, like, "I can't believe we're not running the Race! We're sitting here doing nothing. How did this happen to us?!"
So, I never blamed Art. I feel as if we win and we lose together. I think that's also what's great aboutThe Amazing Race and team sports in general, is that that's what makes winning so special when you have to do it with someone and it takes everybody to win.
There is a feeling of accomplishment, but then when you lose, you don't point fingers and you just say, "We lost together. We just lost." Art didn't lose or I didn't lose; we lost that.
But it was more silence out of shock than anything. Would you agree, Art?
Art Velez: I do, and the thing is too, everyone can win together and everybody is happy when they're winning and it's great, but it's those relationships and bonds that you build that get you through the point when you don't win.
They help you make it through that part, and to me, it was more the disappointment of the relationships and bonds of building those with other people who were involved with the process and everything they were doing and what they were going through.
That part of it, you know, I really wanted to get to know the other Racers and the other teams and be able to experience that stuff.
Everything is great when you're winning and everybody is happy, but this is twice now we've gotten to a point where it's like, "Holy cow, man" -- we were so close the first time.
That one was devastating, but this one I think was a little bit more devastating because it was never in our plan and we just missed out on the opportunity of the Race.
Art Velez: "The Afghanimals," you know, this was their third time on the Race, and so if you've got young, athletic dudes that are nonstop, ready to go -- I'm going to admit, man, I'm getting up there in age.
And you've got to kind of take a step back and, like, watch everybody else do their thing and then we're just going to roll in and get business done as opposed to just running in there and tearing the place apart.
So trust me, that youth part of it is huge, but also, I think with age comes a little bit of experience and a little bit of more knowledge and life experience, so you tend to think through things a little bit more instead of just flying off the wall. But yeah, those guys were a huge threat!