Exclusive: Michael and Kevin Wu discuss 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 11/09/2010
Michael and Kevin Wu thought they had managed to overcome a difficult Roadblock performance and advance to the eighth leg of The Amazing Race's seventeenth edition when they arrived at the competition's seventh Pit Stop location in sixth place.
However unbeknownst to Michael and Kevin, they had broken two rules by using a taxi while completing portions of the leg -- causing a 60-minute time penalty that resulted the "Father/Son" team becoming the fifth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition during Sunday night's broadcast of the seventeenth edition's seventh episode.
On Monday, Michael and Kevin talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including whether they really hadn't realized they had broken the rules, why Kevin got upset about fellow racer Nick DeCarlo's misdirection lie, and why Michael believes he struggled with the leg's Roadblock task.
Reality TV World: Did you guys really have no idea that you had broken the "no taxi" rule until you had gotten to the Pit Stop? Because it seemed like there were a couple different spots when some of the other teams had noticed actually noticed you had broken the rules and were talking about it.
Kevin Wu: Yeah, we had no idea that we had broken any rules at the time. It was a surprise to us.
Reality TV World: So what did you guys think had happened to Brook and Claire when you left the [Spilled Blood] church with them and they didn't follow you to the [Peter and Paul] fortress?
Kevin Wu: We were driving in a different country -- we thought maybe they just [got lost] -- I mean, split up or something. I don't know, we weren't really sure at the time why they went back.
Reality TV World: Do you know about how far behind you they did get to the fortress? Because they had to go back and re-do the walk and all that stuff.
Kevin Wu: I think probably like 10-15 minutes.
Reality TV World: So when they got there, did you guys ever talk about why they got separated?
Michael Wu: I don't think so, I just think we concentrated on what we had to do. That's all.
We didn't really, we at least for me, I didn't really think about asking them. I was just trying to think, "Okay what is the task" and trying to finish it, that's all.
Reality TV World: So you guys never thought to ask them and they basically never offered why they were late? They never came up to you and said, "Hey, we weren't supposed to take a taxi [from the tower to the church]" or anything like that?
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Kevin Wu: No, that never happened.
Reality TV World: It looked like when you guys got to the church that Nick and Vicki and Kat and Nat also seemed to be shouting that you guys had broken the rules -- you didn't hear any of that either?
Michael Wu: No we didn't hear.
Kevin Wu: They didn't shout at us that we broke the rules.
Reality TV World: It seemed like you were focused on the fact that they had lied to you at the tower, was that the case?
Kevin Wu: Slightly, yes.
Reality TV World: Can you tell me a little bit more about why you seemed to get upset about that or seemed so focused on it? I mean, it kind of is a race, right?
Kevin Wu: Yeah. I mean I was, I wasn't like overly concerned about it,
[I just] it was just at the time, we were just surprised because we were kind of pretty good friends with Nick and yeah I mean, it didn't set us back or anything.
Reality TV World: Why do you think you guys missed the "no taxi" information on the clues?
Kevin Wu: Um, well the second penalty, this leg was different in the sense that, we had to solve a Russian mystery so we had to go location to location, and you know, after we were on top of that tower we weren't really given another clue.
So we assumed that the clue that we were given on that bridge is basically you know, after getting to our next destination on the tower we thought, you know, we walked to the tower and we knew it was part of the rules, but we didn't know that we had to keep walking.
Because when we were on that tower, that [church] building that we thought looked like it was five miles away, so in my mind I wasn't even like, "Oh we need to walk there."
I was just like okay, that seems really far we should just take a taxi. So that's what happened.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you checked in and Phil told you you were being hit with a penalty? Did you immediately think you were done, or were you aware that Chad and Stephanie had also taken a taxi and did you think they might also be facing the double penalty?
Kevin Wu: Yeah, there's always that hope. I mean, after the one-hour penalty we were pretty like -- well we were at first confused as to why, but then when we were sitting down we were like, "Okay that makes sense. Like we're probably going to get out."
Reality TV World: Michael, what happened to you guys at the gorodki Roadblock task? You seemed to really struggle for awhile, then I don't know if it was just the editing or if that's how it really played out, but once you got the first formation, you seemed to blow through the second and third ones right away.
Michael Wu: That's a good question. (laughs)
I was trying to figure it out myself last night as I was watching the TV. I don't know, [like] Kevin said that leg is kind of different from others. Too many clueboxes and I guess when we reached that [part] I was already pretty tired.
I was trying to do the best I could, but I don't know it took me a long time to finally realize [how to do it] and through the whole process I was thinking, "Man, we should've picked Kevin to do this."
I probably maybe kind of lost my concentration. The bottom line is I was not really concentrating.
Reality TV World: So did you actually get the last two [formations] as quickly as it looked on the show?
Michael Wu: Yes! Yes, that's true, I mean that's what came as a surprise. It took me so long to do the first one and then in five minutes I knocked the rest. (laughs)
Reality TV World: So, about how long were you there doing that Roadblock? I know at one point it seemed like Kevin was talking about over an hour, was that accurate?
Michael Wu: It felt like more than an hour, of course -- it was probably like an hour.
Kevin Wu: It felt like an hour. We don't know the exact time, even like 30 minutes feels like an hour on The Amazing Race.
Reality TV World: Kevin, what was going on through your mind when Michael was struggling with that task? The broadcast seemed to show you thinking that you might be still in the Race if you had done it instead of him.
Kevin Wu: That's always in the back of your mind, like you know, if your partner is struggling with the Roadblock, you're automatically going to think okay, "Maybe I should have done it -- what would have happened if I did it."
Obviously things were going on my head like that at the time. You know, I tried not to get too frustrated... I mean we were the last to finish that Roadblock and even then we thought we were going to be safe.
So, I mean it really was, when we did finish though it really was intense, and it was like us and Chad and Stephanie and we knew that. And you know, we thought we were going to be able to be safe but obviously the penalties kind of did us [in].
Reality TV World: So in hindsight was the fact that you got hit with those time penalties kind of eliminate whatever second guessing you might of felt about the Roadblock? Did it kind of turn into a silver lining of sorts?
Michael Wu: Right yeah, I think if Kevin [did] it, I think if Kevin did it we'd probably still be in the game.
Reality TV World: Wow, even with the time penalties?
Michael Wu: Yeah, I think so.
Reality TV World: What made you guys choose "Circus Clown" over "Circus Band" at the Detour task?
Kevin Wu: Well, I'm not great with instruments and once we picked the [Circus Clown], I mean the majority of people went to the [Circus Clown]. I think six out of eight teams chose the [Circus Clown] thing so you know, it just seemed like the better choice at the time.
And we'd already told ourselves that even if we get frustrated with the Detour -- which we were at first -- we're going to try and stick through and keep going at it, and not be so indecisive and want to switch. So, once we got in there, we were like, "Okay, we're going to figure out a way to do this."
Reality TV World: So you never considered switching once you were there?
Kevin Wu: No.
Michael Wu: No, because after Ghana we learned our lesson and weren't going to switch.
Reality TV World: What did you guys think about your Speed Bump task? I know some of the Speed Bump tasks have been pretty easy before, but you guys just had to sit on a block of ice for 10 minutes.
Michael Wu: It was easy for me because I was prepared for the cold weather, but it was probably hard for Kevin because he was wearing boxer shorts. (laughs)
Kevin Wu: Yeah, it was obviously only 10 minutes but anyone who has stood on a block of ice for 10 minutes with boxer shorts on would tell you it was harder than it looked.
Reality TV World: Those flights from Ghana to Sweden really seemed to be where you guys were able to save yourselves after finishing last in the non-elimination before that. But it seemed kind of strange that you two -- who were the last place team -- and Nat and Kat -- who were the next to last place team -- that were able to find out about and get on the earlier connecting flight in Frankfurt. Were you surprised it ended up playing out that way?
Kevin Wu: Yeah, I mean I guess. Maybe the teams ahead of us felt comfortable and they really didn't go out of their way to find another flight, but in my mind when we started in last place we were basically like, "We have to try and figure any way."
And even once we knew about the earlier flight it was hard to book, there weren't many spots on that plane. Yeah, it was very vital that we got on to it and I don't know, I guess maybe being in last and being more desperate about the situation maybe helped.
Reality TV World: Yeah, when I talked to Connor and Jonathan as well as Katie and Rachel they said they had actually tried to get an earlier flight and either been told there wasn't one or that the layover time was too short to make it work. Did you guys have any of those problems initially or were you told "sure there's a flight and we can book you on it" right out of the shoot?
Kevin Wu: No, we were also given the same information. Connor and Jonathan, they were in line but they kind of -- I don't really remember, but they got out of line and didn't really get to talk to the travel agent.
And when we talked to the travel agent we were in there for like 30 minutes and she even said we wouldn't be able to catch it but we booked it anyways.
Reality TV World: So you were persistent, basically?
Kevin Wu: Yeah, we decided even if we didn't catch it at least we would have that option when we landed [in Frankfurt]. So yeah, we booked it and usually airlines don't let you book a flight if they don't think you're going to make it but we sort of convinced them to let us buy it.
Reality TV World: Michael, what happened to you in Ghana when you had to stop for medical attention. Had you been sick earlier or did you just get dehydrated from the heat?
Michael Wu: Well I think it was mainly from dehydration from the heat, and also I think I had some mental breakdown.
Because it wasn't shown [on TV], they edited it out, but I did try that first crossover three times and the second time I was only a inch away and my wheel fell [over] so that was a major blow for me.
So I had to go back and do it a third time and when I finished the first crossover I guess it really took my energy out because of the previous try. It was so close and I failed by inches.
Reality TV World: So how were you two cast on The Amazing Race? How did you end up on the show?
Kevin Wu: We just wanted to do it together and it took a while for me to convince my dad to be onboard but the casting people loved us and they wanted us to do it as well so that's how it happened.