"The Afghanimals" became the eighth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's eleventh Pit Stop at Peckforton Castle in London, England in last place. Leo and Jamal, who are usually very good with directions, got lost twice during the leg.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Jamal talked about his The Amazing Race experience. Below is the concluding portion of Jamal's interview. Click here to read the first half. Also, to read our separate interview with Leo, click here.
Reality TV World: What are your thoughts on Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Wayne making it to the season's Final 3? Some teams probably underestimated them while others previously claimed they only made it far because they constantly sought help from other teams. Are you surprised they made the Final 3 or do you think they deserve to be there?
Jamal Zadran: Caroline and Jen are both very competitive, and the fact they've made it to the Final 3 shouldn't be taken lightly by any team. They did whatever it takes, I mean, it's a race for a million dollars. My hat goes off to them.
Whether they were riding other people or using an Express Pass or getting saved on a non-elimination [leg], it's a game and they're playing it better than other teams. So more power to them, but there should be no excuses for why they are there and we're not. We made the mistake and we sort of failed on our end, and we can't blame anyone else or take anyone else's spotlight in the Final 3 just because we're not there.
Jamal Zadran: Oh yeah! I think Caroline and Jen are very -- they think on their feet and, you know, especially Caroline. She's really gutsy and, I don't know what the word is, but they just think on their feet and they're ready for any kind of challenge that's coming at them.
Reality TV World: You and Leo seemed close with Dave and Connor and you ended up forming an "accidental alliance" to target Brendon and Rachel. Could you tell me what your opinion of Rachel and Brendon was during the Race? Did you just not get along with them or?
Jamal Zadran: The "accidental alliance," their main goal was to get to the Final 3. We didn't really care much for Brendon and Rachel or "The Cowboys" [Cord McCoy and Jet McCoy] because we wanted to get to the Final 3 and compete against each other for the million dollars.
Brendon and Rachel never did anything to us, you know, we still had respect for them. The fact they annoyed Dave and Connor and Caroline and Jen, that's something that part of the alliance that we were like, "Okay, we're with this team and we're looking at them."
Because sort of last season, we were the odd ones out and everyone was looking at us. So we didn't want that same pressure or extra chip on our shoulder on this season of all-stars. So we were like, "You know what? Let's just do this alliance and get to the Final 3 at whatever cost it takes."
But Brendon and Rachel, we had a lot of competition with them. We never had any kind of vendetta or vengeance to try to get them out based on what they did to somebody else. So we just always kept our main goal and what was best for our chance of winning the million dollars first.
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Reality TV World: Just to clarify a little bit, when you had seemed to promise the "accidental alliance" you'd U-Turn Brendon and Rachel, did you initially plan on honoring that deal and you just changed your minds at the last minute, or did you have every intention to U-Turn "The Cowboys" regardless as long as you got to the board before them?
Jamal Zadran: We never promised nobody in the "accidental alliance" that we would get Brendon and Rachel U-Turned. There's actually a clip on CBS where we're contemplating who to U-Turn with Dave and Connor, and we're just throwing out scenarios. Brendon and Rachel and "The Cowboys" were two possibilities the whole time. We knew it was going to be one of them.
And once my knee got messed up, we said, "Who's the bigger threat when it comes down to a sprint and trying to race for a million dollars? And who's stronger at finishing challenges?" Well, it was "The Cowboys." So we knew we had to U-Turn "The Cowboys."
And if we wouldn't have gotten lost in this last leg, things would've just worked out perfectly. We would've made it to the Final 3 because Brendon and Rachel failed at the Detour and they had to do it twice, and that wasn't an easy task. So if we had just been there, you know, we would've gone to the Final 3... So when we can't get from one point to another point, it's our fault.
Reality TV World: Caroline and Jennifer, as well as Dave and Connor, were pretty upset Brendon and Rachel had opted to U-Turn Dave and Connor earlier in the season. Do you think Brendon and Rachel crossed the line by doing that because of Dave's age and what not or do you believe that a team should do whatever it can to get ahead in the Race?
Jamal Zadran: Yeah, I mean, U-Turns are part of the game. And whatever reason that Brendon and Rachel had for U-Turning Dave and Connor, I'm sure in their [minds], they felt that was the right thing. But then it's part of the game. You can't complain. You can't sit down and whine about it. And when Dave and Connor U-Turned us, we didn't complain about it. We've been U-Turned three times.
Teams should take the U-Turn as being the biggest threat and take that as an honor, you know? When you get U-Turned, that's because the other teams fear you and they want you out -- or else they wouldn't U-Turn you.
So, it's all about respect, and I feel like the more U-Turns we get, the more of a threat the other teams see us. So to survive three U-Turns and when we had to U-Turn a team we felt was a big threat, we had to do what was best for us and our chance of winning the million dollars.
Reality TV World: You and Leo mentioned at the beginning of last night's episode you wanted Dave and Connor out. So is it safe to say you thought Dave and Connor were your biggest competition left at that point?
Jamal Zadran: I think when we saw Dave and Connor struggling the whole first half of the episode last night in fourth, fourth, fourth, and then finally made that push to first, when you're in the last leg going to the Final 3, you're really just looking at it like, "Okay. I really don't care who gets out as long as it's not me. And if they're at fourth, might as well keep them at fourth," you know?
So when we saw them struggling, we were like, "Oh wow. That's a strong team that's won a lot of legs this season and they're struggling, so just let them get out and let us go to the Final 3." Because everyone is trying to look out for their best interests and trying to get to the Final 3. I could wish that on any team! I wished all of them would be out! I wish I was the only team in the Final 3 right now. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: You guys raced with a very different approach this time around. You made alliances, you barely pissed anybody off, (laughs) and you did everything you could to avoid becoming targets. Would you say this approach worked better for you guys than your first race? And therefore looking back on your first race, do you kind of regret anything?
Jamal Zadran: Looking back on the first race, the fact there were all 11 new teams right away on The Amazing Race, everyone was more cutthroat. Everyone, they didn't know what it took to win the million dollars. People were just competing and they were all new at it. They were all rookies. This time around, everyone had mutual respect for one another.
You're all-stars, you're all back for the second or third time. We all lost and didn't win the million bucks [the first time], so we all had that sense of hunger and determination for that. Everyone had that respect, and the fact that the first time around people were targeting us -- because they saw us as the biggest threat -- it was unfortunate.
But this time around, when we're trying to do things -- if we could help a team out and it doesn't affect our placement or our chances of winning the million dollars, then we probably would just go ahead and help them. But if it would've been the difference between us and them, then you best believe we're going to do something differently to make sure that they're not finishing ahead of us!
Reality TV World: Did Jet and Cord's reaction to being U-Turned surprise you then? They were pretty pissed off when they found out you and Leo were behind that, Jet especially. (Laughs)
Jamal Zadran: Yeah, I don't know why -- my whole philosophy is, "If you're going to the U-Turn board, expect to be U-Turned, especially if you're a good team." And when you're racing for a million dollars, expect to get U-Turned. That's the mindset we've had the last three times, and low and behold, we always got U-Turned.
And we weren't disappointed because we expected it. If we didn't, we would be disappointed, like, "Oh wow. We're not being U-Turned. That's odd." So the fact that Jet got upset, I mean, he shouldn't be upset. I mean, he was a very strong competitor -- both Jet and Cord -- so that's a sign of respect, when another team U-Turns you, you know?
Reality TV World: How were you guys cast on this season of The Amazing Race? Did you campaign to get back on it or did producers call you up and it therefore kind of came as a surprise to you?
Jamal Zadran: We got called back four days after the last season, so they called us right back. Even before any of the episodes aired, they wanted us back.
Reality TV World: And obviously there was no hesitation on your part, right?
Jamal Zadran: Yeah, and it was more of trying to fulfill what we felt that last time. We said, "You know what? We're fresh off of last season and this will be an advantage to us." It was a no-brainer, like, "We're going to do it and we're going to come back and compete."
And the fact we finished fourth place again, you know, [racing in] 22 out of 24 [total] legs, it's hard to swallow just because we wanted to have that chance to be the Final 3 and have a fair shot at the million. But it was our fault. We couldn't get the directions and our sense of navigating really failed us the one time we needed it the most.
Above is the concluding portion of Jamal's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half. Also, to read our separate interview with Leo, click here.