Exclusive: Michael Rado talks 'The Amazing Race': "My bullheadedness is what got us the axe"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/15/2017
The Amazing Race eliminated Liz Espey and Michael Rado, who had survived two previous non-elimination legs, during the latest Season 29 episode on CBS.
Liz, a 24-year-old auctioneer from Maryville, MO, and Michael, a 37-year-old butcher from Pittsburgh, PA, were ousted from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the eighth Pit Stop in Patra, Greece in sixth -- and last -- place.
Michael joked that he fought with Liz during the Race like they were siblings, saying she had become a sister to him. And Liz agreed they had formed that type of friendship.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World via email, Michael talked about his The Amazing Race experience. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: How long after Becca Droz and Floyd Pierce did your team finally arrive at the Pit Stop in Greece? Any idea what the time gap was?
Michael Rado: I would guess 20-30 minutes.
Reality TV World: Driving to the U-Turn board was a big time sink for you guys. Do you think that's what cost you the Race since you were head to head with Becca and Floyd towards the end of the leg when trying to complete both Detour tasks? Or maybe you think it was the Speed Bump task?
Michael Rado: Getting lost driving, which was totally my fault, got us eliminated. And not reading our clue of TWO goats put the nail in the coffin. We FLEW through the Speed Bump. My bullheadedness is what got us the axe.
Reality TV World: Why were you so adamant that Liz should keep driving once you missed that turn? And do you regret not listening to Liz sooner about turning?
Michael Rado: I pulled over multiple times and looked at the map and truly believed that I found an alternate route to turning around and backtracking. Boy was I wrong. I 100 percent regret not listening to Liz.
Reality TV World: How much time do you think you guys wasted driving to that Detour?
Michael Rado: Roughly two hours.
Reality TV World: After watching last night's episode and hearing Brooke Camhi and Scott Flanary's explanation for U-Turning you, do you understand and accept the fact they said they were just playing a game to win, or, do you feel the move was unacceptable under all circumstances since you had helped them and made a deal with them earlier?
Michael Rado: I was hurt and betrayed that Brooke could look me in the eyes and make a promise, and then break that promise so easily. We kept that team in the Race in Dar es Salaam. Had I not cut her a second ladle, there is a very good chance Shamir and Sara would have caught up.
That said, they played the game within the rules, and it worked out in their favor. I don't carry grudges or harbor animosity because it would only hurt me.
Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship with Brooke and Scott now? Did they ever try to talk to Liz and yourself about the incident after the Race filmed?
Michael Rado: All 22 of us are friends on one level or another. Brooke and Scott have apologized multiple times. I didn't want to talk about it right after the fact, but it's water under the bridge. In the end, my stubbornness cost us the Race.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised in general that your team got U-Turned? Did you think it was a poor strategic move to target Liz and yourself when, say, Matt Ladley & Redmond Ramos and Tara Carr & Joey Covino were still racing?
Michael Rado: I was shocked to see that we had been U-Turned given that we already had a Speed Bump. I was more shocked when I saw who did it. But I understand.
Reality TV World: How long did both Detours take you to complete in the leg in Greece? And what about the Speed Bump?
Michael Rado: We probably finished the cheese Detour as fast as any team, as Liz is an animal whisperer. The goat challenge probably took an hour after both trips up the mountain. The Speed Bump was almost a non factor, as we were in and out in about five minutes.
Reality TV World: What was your strategy for who does which Roadblock task? What were your strengths and weaknesses in comparison to what Liz did or didn't bring to the table?
Michael Rado: We sat at LAX and discussed all our strengths and weaknesses and came up with a formula for Rroadblocks. I stand by which of us did which.
Reality TV World: You two managed to survive both non-elimination legs of the season, which is pretty lucky. What's your reaction to that? And were you worried at the time the other teams might feel Liz and yourself didn't deserve to win had you made it all the way to the end?
Michael Rado: I felt extremely lucky. I wasn't worried about perception from the other teams, as we were only playing within the confines of the Race.
Reality TV World: During the leg when Vanck Zhu and Ashton Theiss went home, you were shown making a comment about how Vanck wouldn't be invited to a social dinner when Brooke was trying to explain to Phil Keoghan why everyone U-Turned them. What was your issue with Vanck? And looking back, do you feel any guilt or remorse about all the teams ganging up on them?
Michael Rado: That comment was taken out of context. It was a six-team decision that whomever got to the board first would U-Turn Vanck and Ashton.
I cannot speak for other teams' motivations, but Liz and I "pulled the trigger" because V and A were a very smart, threatening and intimidating team who always seemed to be right on our heels. I have no issues with either Vanck or Ashton, in fact, I think they're both terrific and am happy to call them friends.
Reality TV World: Despite the several arguments Liz and yourself got into during the Race, you seemed fond of each other and were able to work well together. If you were ever asked to compete on The Amazing Race together again, would you?
Michael Rado: When do we leave?
Reality TV World: If you had first pick of your teammate on Day 1 after the suitcase challenge, just based on first impressions, whom do you think you would have picked and why?
Michael Rado: I honestly can't answer that. It was such a whirlwind. I will say that I'm 100 percent happy with my choice in Liz.
Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship with Liz now?
Michael Rado: Big brother-little sister. I adore her. We talk at least once a week.