Brendon and Rachel lost the $1 million grand prize to winners David O'Leary and Connor O'Leary, who are "Father and Son Cancer Survivors," as well as runners-up Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth, who are "The Country Singers."
After 22 cities, nine countries and more than 23,000 miles, Brendon and Rachel were devastated not to win.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Brendon and Rachel talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: I'm sorry you guys came in third place, but at the same time, congratulations for making it to third place! (Laughs)
Rachel Reilly: Yay, thanks! It was a really good season. It was really fun.
Reality TV World: Do you guys have any idea how long after Caroline and Jennifer you two stepped on the Pit Stop mat? How far behind them were you?
Rachel Reilly: I don't know. I feel like everyone's asking that question today. I think it's really hard to gauge, because everyone jumped out of the -- they were all skydiving, so I don't actually know how far behind we were. But Brendon said that when he was at the helicopter, they were still there.
Brendon Villegas: Yeah, they had just been leaving. It was -- I don't know. My guess is probably like 20 minutes or so, but I'm not sure.
Reality TV World: Brendon, when you landed after skydiving, you asked Rachel if you were in third place. Before she gave you the bad news, did you think there was hope you might finish higher than that, and if so, why?
Brendon Villegas: I mean, yes and no. I could see the finish line coming in, so I pretty much knew that that was it. So it's one of those things where you're asking the question you already know the answer to. (Laughs)
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Reality TV World: This was your second time in the Final 3. Did you feel more prepared going into the final leg because of your previous experience or did you just feel more pressure and stress because you were desperate not to finish in third place again like last time?
Rachel Reilly: (Laughs) Well, we came onThe Amazing Race this season to win. We wanted to win to have a baby, and you know, the money -- obviously the million dollars. But I think that being in the final leg twice doesn't really matter because we always say, like, it's The Amazing Race and it's [always] so different. Every time is just -- you can never know what to expect.
So I don't think that we went into it with stress or into it feeling more prepared. But we kind of knew because of our leg in Season 20 in Hawaii, we remembered how long and how physical it was. So we were kind of mentally prepared for a really long, really physical leg, and we were kind of maybe more mentally prepared for something really hard.
Reality TV World: Right, I was going to ask about that. How much did you two actually prepare for some type of memory challenge or something at the end? And were you disappointed there was no task like that? Because obviously skydiving pretty much sealed each team's fate at that point unless a Racer missed the Motor Speedway sign...
Brendon Villegas: Yeah, we -- that's one thing Rachel and I do really well, is our Big Brother experiences taught us to do your homework and study up, because you don't know what's coming next. And so, going into it, Rachel and I did so much homework. We had stacks and stacks of papers and notes and we were going through [everything], writing things down and we were looking stuff up on the Internet.
I mean, we had everything going into that leg and the experience of Rachel having lived in Las Vegas for four years, and me, having been there like 20-plus times. So we were really, really, honestly very excited about Vegas. We thought, "This is it." We thought we were meant to win because we'd be finishing in Vegas. And all the Big Brother fans, they know that Rachel IS Vegas.
Reality TV World: So did you feel like that ended up presenting you guys with an advantage at all or did it not even come in handy?
Rachel Reilly: Well, it didn't really come in handy at all, but I think it did help in the fact that when we were at the airport, when we were waiting for our flight, we knew what to study about Vegas. So I had the address for the Neon Graveyard. We had, like, all of the hotspots for the "Bugsy" Siegel, the guy at the Flamingo, the mob guy. (Laughs) We knew like where all his hotspots were.
Rachel Reilly: We literally studied for hours and hours and hours for everything and every part -- like "secret" Vegas and everything. So we felt pretty prepared.
Brendon Villegas: We were drawing pictures of the outfits people wore -- plaid colors and colors in general -- how to say "hello" and "goodbye." [We studied] a lot of stuff we didn't think would directly be on it but may be some part of it or component, things that might actually help us.
Reality TV World: Dave and Connor accused you guys of throwing dirt in their hole when you were all digging for the keys simultaneously. It was clear you guys didn't care either way, but was that an intentional or accidental move?
Rachel Reilly: Yes! It was totally accidental. It was so stupid. They just wanted to complain about anything that we were doing. They just got it in their head that they hated us because we U-Turned them, and anything that we did would be, like, they thought it was on purpose just to mess with them.
When we were digging, our three holes were so close. And when you're digging, you're literally not even meaning to, but of course you're going to be throwing dirt somewhere, you know? I'm sure if they were in the hole behind us, they would've been throwing dirt in our direction. It was just because the holes were so close that there was no way to get around throwing dirt -- at all.
Brendon Villegas: Yeah, and we were digging furiously. I mean, after that, I had blisters on my hands just from digging so fast, because we knew at that point we were the last team digging. So we knew we had to save time.
So basically our team onThe Amazing Race finale was being behind and always trying to catch up. And the cab driver and the black car's driver both did that to us, and so, it was impossible for us to recover. It was just a spiral [downwards].
Reality TV World: Rachel, I want to get your side of the story on Caroline's accusation that you had pushed her in the airport. Apparently there was a misunderstanding about who got in line first?
Rachel Reilly: Yeah, so, Brendon and I are clearly way faster than them, and we ran fast and we got in line first in front of them. And then Caroline said I pushed her, and I didn't. She was like way behind me, so I don't know who pushed her, but she made this huge ordeal about it.
And I was like, "Why would I push you?" I even said to her, "I did not push you. Why would I push you? I don't need to push you." And she just got it in her head that I pushed her and that it was like, I don't know, I don't know what her problem was.
Brendon Villegas: I think the funniest part to me, is that Dave and Connor are trying to act like, "Yeah, yeah! I saw her push her!" And it's like, "Come on." I mean, it literally was like high school, like we are not the popular kids, you know? And so the little click wants to try to come up with stories and rumors and whatever they can do to try to make other people not like us. And we don't care.
I really don't care. Dave and Connor, I wish them the best -- same with Jen and Caroline. Obviously Rachel and I just, you know, they're not the type of people -- I don't think we'd be interested in ever [hanging out with them].
Rachel Reilly: Well what did they call us, Brendon? Aliens? We're aliens?
Brendon Villegas: My family has been here for three generations. We're no longer aliens.
Rachel Reilly: We're not the type of people that they want to hang out with.
Brendon Villegas: Yeah. And again, we were just very, very turned off by the fact that they took everything so personally and then made it personal, you know? That's the thing. Rachel and I played strategically and it was nothing personal. We even apologized several times. And outside of what was shown on the show, we apologized plenty of times. It didn't matter though, you know? [We] were wrong.
Above is the first half of Brendon and Rachel's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion. Also, check our The Amazing Race 24 page for more interviews with the season's Final 3 teams.