Exclusive: Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/17/2015
The Amazing Race eliminated Jonathan Knight and his partner Harley Rodriguez during the 26th season's fourth episode Friday night on CBS.
Harley, a 41-year-old group fitness trainer, and Jonathan, a 46-year-old entertainer, were ousted from the race around the world after they arrived at the fourth Pit Stop in last place. They are both from New York, NY, and have been dating for seven years.
Harley and Jonathan were ousted after earning a second chance with a non-elimination leg.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, the guys talked about their The Amazing Race experience and what went wrong. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: How far behind Matt Cucolo and Ashley Gordon do you think you finally arrived at the Pit Stop and met the Race host Phil Keoghan?
Jonathan Knight: Actually, we were behind ]Jenny Wu and Jelani Roy]. The edit just made it look like Matt and Ashley were ahead of us, but I think Matt and Ashley and Jelani and Jen were pretty much head-to-head.
Harley Rodriguez: I think Jelani told us we were like an hour-and-a-half behind them.
Reality TV World: I don't recall this being very clear, so what time was your flight out of Phuket and then when you arrived in Bangkok, how far behind the other teams were you?
Harley Rodriguez: We were very, very far behind. We were probably, like, three hours behind everyone. But then finally we caught up. But when we got to Phuket, everyone started at a certain time except for -- well, they were different times according to when you got to the mat -- but we were probably two hours behind the last time when we arrived at Phuket.
So that's when Jon said it would probably be enough time to catch up if there were really difficult challenges, but then we had a non-elimination round. And then the next day, yeah, the next leg, it was the Speed Bump. So, we probably could've shaved off about 30 minutes. So there could've been a chance for us to catch up to the last team. But we didn't see anyone for two legs! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: During the non-elimination leg, you guys departed the Pit Stop in fourth place but then when you tried to book tickets on a flight, you got stuck on a way later option. I think you were about nine hours behind the last team at that point. Were you just not aggressive enough at the airport's ticket counter? How'd you end up way behind the pack like that?
Jonathan Knight: The airport, everybody stayed up all night in the airport. And then we were all camped out in front of the ticket counter, and then just when the ticket counter opened, all the ticket agents were getting all weirded out and stuff. They were freaking out because there were all these cameras and, you know, they were just all confused and stuff.
So the gate opened and everybody just did a mad dash to the ticket gate. Basically, it was just the Racers that ran to the ticket counter and that's when the chaos started in. The ticket agents got all confused and they didn't know -- it became a free-fall. And we kind of got lost in the shuffle.
So that's how we ended up not getting those plane tickets. Me and Harley, [Michael Dombrowski and Rochelle Nevedal], and [Bergen Olson and Kurt Jordan], we were like first, second and third in line at the ticket counter.
Harley Rodriguez: And so they got their tickets so then Bergen and Kurt said, "Okay, let's stick together and go find a flight." But there were two terminals and we had to take a bus between each terminal, so we were going back and forth for like hours between the airlines.
So we were having meltdowns. And that's when I said, "Let's just split up," and then they found a flight. Then, we finally found the final flight, which took us all over the place.
Reality TV World: Would you say your elimination pretty much came down to bad luck rather than mistakes or poor performance?
Jonathan Knight: Well, no, because we screwed up again. When we got to Phuket, we actually missed another flight and that was just because of my stupidity. Because it's just so weird when you're in a foreign country and people are talking to you, like the flight attendant was just like, "Yeah, take the ticket and go to the gate."
Well, when you think of a "gate" in America, you think of what we know as a gate. Well, she meant, "Take the ticket when you get to the next stop and go to the transfer gate." But she had said nothing about the transfer gate. So we went straight to the gate. It was closed. So we just fell asleep on the floor at the gate and set our alarms to wake up with enough time to get on the flight.
And then when we tried to get on the flight, they're like, "No, you can't get on the flight! You have to go to the transfer gate and get a new ticket reissued." So the transfer gate is way above in the airport. They were like, "You're never going to make it by the time you run up there and run back. The plane is going to be gone." So then we had to book another flight, which was, what, an hour later, babe?
Harley Rodriguez: Like two hours. Two hours later.
Jonathan Knight: Yeah, so if we didn't miss that flight, that's what screwed us up.
Reality TV World: Did either of you really struggle with any particular task in the last couple of legs or did you get through the challenges pretty smoothly? You weren't edited into the episodes all that much because you were so far behind everyone most of the time.
Jonathan Knight: Yeah, that, and we were breezing through the challenges. They were really easy. It seemed like on those two legs, the one challenge that was the killer was the wakeboarding. I guess it was only [Blair Townsend] that made it around and everybody else was just face-planting left and right.
Harley Rodriguez: But definitely the airport sealed our fate. I mean, if it wasn't for that, we would've been [okay]. Like Jon was saying, the challenges, we would get through them on either the first or second try (laughs) and then on to the next. We were just focused on trying to catch up.
Reality TV World: Did you like how the show changed up its Detour format in this leg or did you like it the old way better? Obviously this time around, there ended up being four Detour tasks -- two for each mode of transportation, the "Water" and "Wheel" -- and the teams therefore attempted different challenges, some being more time-consuming than others.
Harley Rodriguez: I kind of liked it! I just think it adds more drama to the show. We were lucky that we didn't end up trying to get a water taxi when they were all taken or trying to get on something when all those slots were filled up.
So, I mean, it definitely made you think. You had to keep in perspective where you were in the Race. We were like, "No way. The teams are obviously there [at the water]. We need to choose the other."
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Jonathan and Harley's exclusive interview.