Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas finished The Amazing Race's twentieth season in third place during Sunday night's two-hour finale broadcast, which featured the edition's eleventh and twelfth legs, of the CBS reality competition.
The "Engaged Couple" and former Big Brother houseguests finished ahead of "Dating Divorcees" Vanessa Macias and Ralph Kelley but were beat by champions and "Married Couple" Rachel Brown and Dave Brown and "Border Patrol Agents and Friends" Art Velez and J.J. Carrell -- who came in second place overall -- and lost the one-million dollar grand prize.
On Monday, Rachel and Brendon talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including when they plan to get married, what comment was made by Rachel that Brendon was thrilled to catch on tape, which two major errors they believed cost them the win, and how they really felt about their rocky relationship with Vanessa and Ralph when everything boiled down.
Below is the first half of our exclusive interview with Rachel and Brendon. Check back with Reality TV World in the coming days for the concluding portion. To read Rachel B. and Dave's interview, click here. To begin reading Vanessa and Ralph's interview, click here.
Reality TV World: So just to clarify, how is your relationship going now and have you two set a date yet for your wedding?
Rachel Reilly: (Laughs) We're doing really well. We are shooting for this year. We're definitely getting married this year. We haven't set an exact date or anything like that, but we're definitely getting married this year and we're more in love than ever. So, The Amazing Race, we definitely had our times, but it definitely brought us closer together. (Laughs)
Brendon Villegas: Yeah, we were hoping for September. That was the ideal for us, but it's also already May and we really haven't planned much because a lot goes into a wedding.
So again, I think we're ready to start our lives together and we've had an amazing experience on reality television, and CBS has been very kind to us in allowing us to be on three other shows. So I think now, we're ready to start our lives together too!
Reality TV World: That's awesome. Congratulations you guys.
Reality TV World: How are you two feeling about finishing in third place? Are you guys disappointed because you came so close to winning that million dollars or would you say you're very satisfied with how you ran the Race regardless of the finishing order?
Brendon Villegas: I think both of us are very satisfied with the fact that we made it to the end, because when we first went on this, our biggest concern was, "Let us not be out on the first leg," especially because people were kind of nervous for us since [former Survivor castaways Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca] had gone out [of The Amazing Race] pretty early last season.
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And then we started going along, and we were like, "Okay, well, we love [former Racers and Big Brother houseguests Jeff Schroeder and Jordan Lloyd], but we need to get farther than them in The Amazing Race. So, once we got past like sixth, where I think was when they had gone out, we were like, "Okay, we have a good shot at making it to the end."
I told Rachel, "I don't care about winning every single leg. I just want to make it to the final leg." And we did that, and that was our goal -- to get a shot at the million dollars -- and we didn't win, but you know what? We at least got one of our goals, and we managed to stay together as a couple, which I think is probably one of the hardest things on The Amazing Race.
Rachel Reilly: And I think too that we had such an amazing adventure, like an incredible journey while we were on the Race -- just traveling around the world and doing so many crazy and fun competitions. I mean, jumping out of airplanes and going on a safari in Africa -- even climbing to the top of a 45-story building and rappelling down. (Laughs)
We got to experience it all and not very many people that have run the Race can say that, so it's really cool that we got to actually experience everything that we could on the Race.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Rachel and Dave today, they said you got to the Pit Stop about 40 minutes after them and around 20 minutes after Art and J.J. Would you say that was accurate or no?
Brendon Villegas: Well maybe, we don't know. They would know better than we would. So, yeah. I mean, after Rachel and I were behind Art and J.J., we knew that we were pretty much in third place. And we weren't killing ourselves to get there because we knew that Rachel and Dave were already there and that Art and J.J. were already there ahead of us too.
So at that point, we were kind of just like, I hate to say it, but at that point, we kind of knew we were in third place. So we were racing through it, but we weren't killing ourselves either.
Reality TV World: It looked like your downfall in the Race was failing to catch the fact you had to walk on foot to the baseball field where the helicopters took off, but you guys hopped in a cab instead. How long into the cab ride did it take you guys to figure out your mistake and about how much time do you think you wasted total because of that error?
Brendon Villegas: We probably wasted a huge 25 to possibly 30 minutes. It was the death cap for us.
Reality TV World: So then would you say that mistake was totally responsible for your third-place finish or do you think other factors contributed to slowing you down as well?
Brendon Villegas: Well, no, because we even -- I think that if we had gone and actually found where we were supposed to do the sledding right off the bat, because our taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong spot, and it cost us like another half hour probably. So, we probably could've -- we would've had a good shot at getting first place at that point still being behind.
Rachel Reilly: Well, I think it was a combination of a few things that cost us the Race, but I think that our million-dollar mistake 100% percent was not reading the clue correctly and not going on-foot to the final Pit Stop, or to the final helicopter ride. I think that was definitely what definitely cost us the million dollars.
So for me, that's the biggest thing that I wish we would've paid attention to. And when we found out that we were so wrong, it was so hard on us, because we were just like, "This is horrible!" And it was so frustrating!
Reality TV World: Yeah, I was going to ask you guys about that little argument you got into on the way to the helicopters, because it seemed like Brendon, you wanted Rachel to hustle and run, while Rachel, you were simply exhausted and didn't have it in you. Could you talk about that a little bit? Did you determine one of you was wrong in that argument and at what point did you just let the fight go?
Rachel Reilly: (Laughs) I know, I know! So I think that that's the thing. In the Race, [host Phil Keoghan] says it a million times, he's like, "Never give up. Don't think that your race is over until you get to the Pit Stop and they tell you it is." And at that point, we were going to the helicopter and I was like, "Brendon, it's done! I'm exhausted."
And I was exhausted. I was exhausted, I was hungry, we had just made that mistake, I was frustrated. And if I would have -- maybe if I would have ran, we would've caught five more extra minutes, I don't know.
You can't ever play the "what if" game, but I definitely think that giving advice to someone else running the Race, that I would say, "Never -- always read your clue first, but if you mess up, never give up. Keep running the Race like you're still running the Race. Just keep running it and don't give up."
The problem is, with so many Racers, is that when we give up, you can tell. That's usually when you do lose, because you give up and you don't have that motivation.
Reality TV World: Brendon, you seemed to breeze through the chicken-game Roadblock task while many of the other teams struggled. How long did it actually take you to complete that and why do you think it was easy for you?
Brendon Villegas: Well, I'm a runner. I just did the L.A. marathon last month. I run on a treadmill in the gym when I can't run outdoors, so I'm pretty good at the treadmill and I'm pretty quick. Now given that, they also had my treadmill up pretty high, because I noticed my first chicken wasn't too bad, my second one -- I had to jump a little higher -- and the third one was pretty high and I had to jump.
So I came back down and as soon as I lost my footing, I was toast. But I told Rachel afterwards, I was like, "Honestly, in my head, I thought I'd be quick enough to get back up after I fell." So when I was down, I was really trying to regain my footing and get back up and keep running, and all it did was just shoot me into all the balloons.
Reality TV World: During the sushi bingo Detour task, Vanessa and Ralph caught up to you guys and it seemed to make you very flustered. So how long did that take you and what made it so difficult?
Rachel Reilly: I think we were having a problem hearing the announcer, and it was hard because everyone around you was screaming, "Ah, sushi!" And clapping and cheering. So we couldn't hear the announcer and then the two guys that we were with to help us, I think they were so caught up in the game and just having fun, that we would ask them questions and I don't think they heard what we were asking.
Brendon Villegas: Well, it was kind of like a joke. They were like the Japanese fraternity guys. They were there just like drinking, having fun, and everybody was yelling.
It was so loud in there, that even when we were yelling to each other, we were sitting right there but we had to yell. So it's like, it was intense and then people are yelling, and it's like, "Ahh!" It was crazy, so it was just getting caught up in the moment that I think was very difficult for that task.
Reality TV World: While you were at that Detour task, were you guys pretty sure you were in third place at that time or were you thinking you might've been in even better standings?
Rachel Reilly: Yeah, we thought that -- well, we thought that the sumo challenge was going to be really hard, and that's why we didn't want to do it. So we thought Rachel and Dave might've still been at the sumo challenge.
So we didn't know -- we saw Art and J.J. leave. We were there when they left, so we knew that they were ahead of us, and we knew that Ralph and Vanessa were behind us. So we kind of thought that Dave and Rachel were behind us.
Brendon Villegas: And Rachel, when her and I were in Japan and we were asking people for help, they don't really want to talk to you. They just kind of like shy away, so when her and I saw that task and it's like, "Okay, you've got to take pictures with 10 sets of three people, so 30 people."
We were like, "This is going to be kind of challenging in Japan," because people aren't super -- they're not as comfortable talking to strangers as we are here in the U.S. So, we thought since we were starving, the sushi in Japan, boom, done.
Reality TV World: During the final leg, Rachel, Art was struggling terribly with the sledding portion of that Hawaiian-games Roadblock task. However, you seemed to nail it in two tries just like the other Rachel. Do you think the women had an advantage in that task or do you think it just favored lighter people in general? Or do you think Art was simply really bad at it?
Rachel Reilly: Well, I kind of think all three, (laughs) but I do think the women had an advantage. I think your waist did play a role because you had to balance your weight. So maybe it wasn't necessarily if you were lighter or heavier, but it was how you could balance your weight.
I mean, someone like Brendon, I think would have a really tough problem because he's so tall. He'd probably as tall as that whole [sled]. But the guys that do this for a sport, they're men and they're not skinny little guys. They're like big men -- these big Hawaiian guys that are out there doing this for sport, you know?
So I mean, obviously, if it's a man's sport -- like a competition sport like that -- then I don't think it has anything to do with being a woman or a man. But I think it's just balancing.
Really, that task was balancing. I thought about it and I was like, "Alright, I remember in cheerleading when I would have to stand ontop of someone's feet and you'd be up in a lift, you had to like 'pinch a penny.'" So I was just like, "Okay, I gotta pinch a penny and just go." So, yeah! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So you guys seemed to have the biggest issue with Vanessa and Ralph throughout the season. Rachel, especially you. So could you talk a little bit about what problems you had with them, and although you guys seemed to both apologize and bury the hatchet during one of the legs, was that actually sincere or were you just kind of being polite?
Rachel Reilly: I think we were being polite and I think the problem with Vanessa and Ralph is that Vanessa was just being so mean for no reason. I just thought a lot of the things she was doing were unnecessary, because we weren't on Survivor. We're not on Big Brother, and there's no reason -- like we're not getting eliminated, so she didn't have to say some of the comments she made.
You know, the whole nose job thing, that was just mean and there was no reason to say it. Nobody's going to get along with everyone, and she might hate my guts, but she doesn't have to be so mean to say things like that.
I think that was my biggest problem with that -- that she was just -- she's one of those girls that just decided she didn't like me and she was going to be super mean and go out of her way to be mean.
Above is the first half of our exclusive interview with Brendon and Rachel. Check back with Reality TV World in the coming days for the concluding portion. To read Rachel B. and Dave's interview, click here. To begin reading Vanessa and Ralph's interview, click here. About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.