Art Velez and J.J. Carrell were eliminated in the first episode of The Amazing Race's 31st season Wednesday night on CBS after 11 reality-star teams took off to Japan.

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 a recent exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Art and JJ opened up about their experience on The Amazing Race. Below is the concluding portion of what they had to say.


Reality TV World: There's been a lot of talk about whether former Survivor castaways, Big Brother houseguests or veteran Racers have the biggest advantage this season out of the 11 teams. What are your thoughts on that?

J.J. Carrell: I think the Racers initially have a better opportunity because there's a learning curve to the Race.

Art Velez: We didn't prove that, by the way. (Laughs)

J.J. Carrell: I mean, it's like if Art and I went on Survivor and we were playing against former Survivor guys or girls, they would have a leg up on us because they would already be a couple of steps ahead while we're still trying to figure out how the heck this thing works out.

But all in all, you just have to persevere through the trials of the Race, and it's a grind! People think it's easy, but I mean, the first season, I lost 15 pounds in 21 days!

I didn't have a lot to lose, but it was just like, "Wow." It took me down to nothing. My clothes didn't even fit when I got to the end. It's exhausting, but at the same time, it's exhilarating.

And like Art said, the million dollars, yeah, that would be great for anybody -- especially for guys living in southern California with gas about 18 dollars a gallon (laughs) -- but the feeling of experiencing the Race from the beginning to the end, that's worth way more than a million dollars.
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And that's the sadness that we have, the disappointment, is that we didn't get to experience that aspect of it this time.

Art Velez: And like J.J. said about having a leg up on [others], I think former Racers, you know, they learn certain nuances and little things that you need to do and stuff that will help you that somebody else might just take for granted.

So these other teams that don't know the little tricks, like, hey you might want to exchange a little money before you go to a new country -- and these other teams get there and are like, "We don't have any money to pay for stuff!"

There are just those little things that help you out through the process that those other teams aren't aware of when you're traveling to different countries.

Also, keeping ahold of your passport and [knowing] how important that is, you know, through customs and all of that stuff!

And you need to be able to communicate and walk up to somebody and say, "Hey, would you mind if I take a look at your phone real quick?"

They'll look at you like, "What?!" But you need to have that confidence to just do that, because if you don't, you're not going to be able to get where you need to go.

So, if you don't have that skill when you've never done it, then they're watching how you go ahead and play that game.


Reality TV World: Eliza Orlins and Corinne Kaplan were shown making some comments about the other teams. The girls poked fun at Rupert Boneham's weight and called Nicole Franzel and Victor Arroyo "Team Dumb." They also didn't think Rachel Reilly could win the Race without her husband Brendon Villegas.

Did you also view those teams as being weaker than others, or do you think Corinne and Eliza were way off base?

J.J. Carrell: Well, Corinne and Eliza are very special individuals. (Laughs)

Art Velez: They are! They definitely speak their minds. I don't think either of them have a filter. Whatever they are thinking, it just goes right to their mouths.

We like them, but Eliza is from New York and she's got biting humor, and Corinne is very sharp. I don't think they said anything about us though, did they?

Reality TV World: No, nothing negative about you guys! (Laughs)

J.J. Carrell: Yeah, well, we were already out, (laughs) but they are very interesting. I thought we had a very great shot -- not because of whom we were racing against but because of what we did in the past.

Not being arrogant about it, but we knew if anything, the Race will humble you very rapidly. It will humble you. So we went in there with reverence to the game, but it was just a bad day and it stinks.


Reality TV World: Christie Woods and Colin Guinn began racing under the radar, but they seemed to be a very strong team.

Art Velez: I thought after running Season 20, Christie and Colin were like [The Amazing Race winners Rachel Brown and Dave Brown] from Season 20.

If you've got a really strong male partner and a really strong female partner, those are almost -- that is a team right there that is super, super hard to beat because they are always going to complement each other, and they're going to be really good at being able to separate tasks like that.

You get two guys out there and you've got to dance. You know, two guys trying to dance is not going to happen, and like back in Season 20 -- when we had to do the Bollywood dance thing -- J.J. [struggled] but Rachel just walked up there and killed it.

They were gone and they were done, and so having that kind of dynamic on a team I think is huge.

Reality TV World: How did your casting on The Amazing Race this season come about? And how difficult or easy was the decision to race again when you were approached with the opportunity?

J.J. Carrell: Art and I left the beach with shorts on and flip flops and they said, "You've got to go now." We were like, "We're there! We'll be at the airport. We don't even need a bag."

So, that was an easy decision, and luckily, we have a very good team of border patrol that said, "Go do it and we'll take care of everything while you're gone." It worked out great.


Reality TV World: Well, maybe your third time on The Amazing Race will be the charm! (Laughs)

J.J. Carrell: Yeah!

Art Velez: (Laughs)

Reality TV World: Would you guys race again?!

Art Velez: I'm in. I'm always in. Hey, third time's the charm, like you said!

J.J. Carrell: Yeah, just nothing vertical that you have to jump or...

Art Velez: Yeah, no inclines. No inclines can be involved in it at all, down or up!

J.J. Carrell: That's it, boom.

To read the rest of Reality TV World's exclusive The Amazing Race interview with Art and JJ, click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.