The "Dating Couple" became the third team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's third Pit Stop near Uluwatu Surf Beach in last place upon completion of a super-leg in which they had checked in with The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan halfway through but did not experience a rest period of any kind.
In a The Amazing Race first, Jessica and John were ousted with an Express Pass in their possession.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Tuesday, Jessica and John talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half of the couple's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: When you guys first got to the surfboards Roadblock task, it seemed like there were a couple teams still out there working on the task. And obviously if you had used the Express Pass right away at that point, you would've been able to jump ahead and avoid finishing last, but you decided not to. Why was that? John, did you not realize the Pit Stop was right nearby and maybe you thought you'd have more opportunities to pass the other teams or something like that?
Jessica Hoel: Well the only teams that were there when we arrived were actually just [Chuck McCall] and [Wynona McCall]. So I guess the one thing that was going through our head is that when we got to the surfboard challenge, we opened the clue box and there was another clue in there still. So we had been under the assumption the whole Race that there was somebody behind us kind of.
We thought we had never seen the derby girls [Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere] throughout the Race, so we thought that they were behind us. We thought [David O'Leary] and [Connor O'Leary] were behind us. So that kind of reconfirmed our assumptions -- like, "Oh, there is somebody behind us!" So when we got back down there -- and this was kind of an interesting Roadblock because you were separated.
And in order to use the Express Pass, you have to be together. You have to make the decision and be together to use it. That's part of the rules. So it was a really interesting Roadblock, because normally, you aren't separated like that. Usually, you have to stand on the sidelines and watch.
And then also, it was kind of reconfirmed because there was another clue in the clue box. So, by the time we got there, Chuck and Wynona were already basically finishing up. So it was really fast paced, and we just had made unfortunately a wrong assumption. And it wasn't the type of Roadblock where it was easy for us to play out our Express Pass the way that we would've wanted to.
Reality TV World: Okay, so it sounds like it was more of a situation where you didn't have the opportunity to use the Express Pass rather than a situation where you came to the conclusion you didn't want to use it, correct?
Jessica Hoel: Right, exactly. When John saw Chuck at the bottom, we thought that -- he actually thought that, "Oh, there's actually still somebody behind us. Chuck's still here." And when you first get there, I guess the audience sees the whole thing play out, but when you're in it, you don't know exactly what the challenge is. Nobody knew where [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan] was.
You didn't know if it was actually surfing. I mean, so, these are things that you have to learn on the go. And then also, when I got to Wynona at the top, I couldn't just be like, "Hey, we're going to use an Express Pass!"
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Because we had to be together. I had to wait until John got up there. I couldn't leave that area. He was running around down at the bottom. I had no idea where he was. I didn't know if he was surfing or not. I didn't know what the challenge was. So yeah, there was not an opportunity for us to utilize it until he finally got up there, and then it was too late.
Reality TV World: So John, to get your take on it, even if you saw one clue left in the clue box, that's consistent with many viewers saying you guys still cut it very close. So why did you make the decision to go through with completing the Roadblock task instead of skipping it right off the bat and bettering your chances of surviving the leg?
John Erck: We didn't think that we needed to use it because we thought the derby girls were behind us. And so with that in mind, we thought it made sense to just finish up the challenge and move forward in the Race and still have an Express Pass to be used at a later date.
Reality TV World: John, in your final words, you said you really had no regrets looking back on the situation. And Jessica, you however, admitted you guys made a big mistake and you felt it was a big letdown. So I just want to know how you're both feeling now. Do you both feel the same way or have you changed your minds? Any regrets?
John Erck: I guess it's the way that I'm interpreting the word "regret," but let me -- I think it's important to note that we made a lot of mistakes and that with hindsight being 20/20, we wished we would have made decisions that were different from the ones we did make. And watching it all unfold on TV I think has been an awesome experience for us and something that we're learning a lot from, basically.
Reality TV World: Watching last night's episode back, it looked like Phil was making fun of you John a little bit when you were explaining yourself and why you didn't use the Express Pass. He was expressing a little disbelief in what you were saying and then looked at the cameras and said "oy vey" when you two walked away. What was your reaction seeing that and did you get the vibe in that very moment Phil was kind of mocking you?
John Erck: In the moment, I did not pick up on the fact that he was mocking me, no. And I think it comes down to basically, the statement, there are a lot of things that Jess and I said at the end of the Race. And the one that made it to air is the simple statement of me saying, "I don't need a million dollars," which taken at face value, I think is kind of like, "Really?! Did he just say that?!"
And what's important for me to know, I guess, is that I meant the word "need" very intentionally when I said that. I was serious about it and I was taking the opportunity there while we were getting eliminated to make a point, which was that all of us running the Race -- every single person running the Race -- is fortunate to begin with.
And when you look at the entire world and how many different types of people there are all over the world, and when you slow down and think about that for a second and appreciate it, it becomes apparent very quickly that we don't need a million dollars. That's what I intended to get across when I said that.
I don't think that what I intended when I said it is in fact potentially happening. I think people are interpreting it differently. But that's what I meant and that's why I used the word "need." So I think it's important to say that Jess and I are very competitive.
We wanted to win the million dollars for sure, but to just slow down and take a step back in that moment when we were getting eliminated, and recognize the fact that all of us running the Race are such fortunate people. That was important for me and that's what I intended when I said that. Unfortunately, I don't think that my intent resonated or came through as I would've hoped or intended.
Reality TV World: Just to clarify a little bit, you guys said you did think Mona and Beth were behind you during that Roadblock task. And then Jessica, during last night's show, there was a point when you saw all the teams arrive at the Pit Stop and then you told John something like, "Oh shoot I think everyone just finished ahead of us." What was the time frame on that? How close was John to being done with the task at that point?
Jessica Hoel: When we got there, when I got to the top and saw Chuck and Wynona, it was probably only a few minutes before they finished. It was like really fast. John would've had to book it up there and run before Chuck and somehow know to do that -- and it would've been really cutting it close. But I think it took John a little while, like an hour after I saw him, to get the surfboard.
Reality TV World: Any idea how far behind Chuck and Wynona you finally got to the Pit Stop and met Phil?
Jessica Hoel: I have no idea actually... I'm not sure on the time unfortunately.
Above is the first half of Jessica and John's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.