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Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' blind daters Jackie Ibarra and Jeffrey Weldon talk (Part 1)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/14/2015 

The Amazing Race eliminated blind-dating couple Jackie Ibarra and Jeffrey Weldon during the 26th season's sixth episode Friday night on CBS.

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Jackie, a 27-year-old professional dancer from Las Vegas, NV, and Jeff, a 26-year-old account executive and salesman from Tampa, FL, were ousted from the race around the world after they arrived at the sixth Pit Stop in last place. They are the second blind-dating couple to be eliminated from this season.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Jeff and Jackie talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.

Reality TV World: I think the first question everyone wants to know is what's the status of your relationship now? Are you dating?

Jackie Ibarra: (Laughs) Jeff and I are very, very, very good friends. I'm actually, right now, out here in Tampa visiting him. We made an effort to make sure to watch this episode together. We knew it was coming up, and if we're going to watch an episode together, this is going to be the one.

I haven't seen him since. But dating, unfortunately living on opposite sides of the country just doesn't work. I don't think either of us are the long-distance type.

Jeff Weldon: Yeah, I think it might've been a different story had Jackie and I lived at least in the same state. But yeah, like Jackie was saying, I mean, we're in different time zones and it's stressful sometimes to even get on the same page when we can call each other -- because if I call her at eight in the morning, she's in bed because it's five over there.

And, you know, in the middle of the day, once you get off work by six, it's three over there. So, there's a lot of challenges. We do keep in contact every day.

We are great friends, but it's kind of -- just going based on what Jackie said -- we're not trying to do a long-distance relationship, and at this point, that's what it would have to entail if we were to kind of go down that route. It just doesn't make sense right now with where we both stand in our lives and what we're trying to do.

Reality TV World: You two are one of the only -- if not the only -- blind dating couple who seemed to get along so well that romantic potential was there. Was the dynamic between you two awkward at first and were you sort of on your best behavior in order to convince your partner you'd be a great person to race with?

Jackie Ibarra: It was, you know, definitely awkward. I'm not going to lie. I've never been on a blind date before, but to be honest, I didn't look at it as a blind date. I mean, I was going on the Race, you know? If I like the guy, I like the guy. Hey, that's a bonus, you know?

But I definitely was competitive and ready to go and do the Race and everything. And with Jeff, we clicked right away. We just happened to get lucky and I think it's because, yeah, we're both in it to win it. So, it was just great for us to get along.

Jeff Weldon: I can agree with her. I think it would be terribly awkward if, I mean -- even for Jackie, but I'm just saying from my standpoint -- if I had a girl that was in it to find her next love, I would feel like that would be super awkward.

Going into it, I was like, "I could be paired with either a terrific person or someone that's God-awful, that I don't get along with. But I'm still going to have my eye on the prize." I was on the show to win, not to find new love perse.

Reality TV World: How far behind Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams did you finally arrive at the Pit Stop? Any idea?

Jackie Ibarra: I think it was actually about 20 minutes. I'm not sure though, you know, unfortunately that information never gets fully disclosed. But I think 20 minutes. It was kind of close.

Everyone was really neck-and-neck there. It was pretty epic. Watching the episode, it was definitely creepy to see that, and Jeff and I had no idea we were in third place either leaving the Detour. But we got lost, you know? It was unfortunate.

Reality TV World: I think the editing showed you guys getting lost twice in Monaco. Could you talk about that a little bit? How long did you get lost for both times and what went wrong?

Jackie Ibarra: Yeah, we were lost everywhere. It was kind of hard, you know? Unfortunately, we didn't have any GPS, we're in crazy, crazy hills, going up hills, there were different signs, different directions. I think I had five maps in the back.

It was very difficult, and a lot of people were helpful but not. And then we got good directions and then we got bad directions. And which one are the correct directions? You have to go and follow what everyone says, and unfortunately, that's what just kept happening.

Jeff Weldon: Yeah, I think it was really unfortunate. Of course, on every leg, you're going to have issues when it comes to either transportation or getting from Point A to Point B navigating. I feel one thing that was a little heartbreaking was me and Jackie just couldn't catch a break in Monaco.

It was bad directions; It was getting lost. We were having issues even finding people, for whatever reason, to communicate with -- that spoke English to the point where we could convey where we're trying to go.

And yeah, we just couldn't catch a break. It was bad directions from almost everybody that we encountered and we just could not get it together as far as being able to navigate. That was the worst part, I think.

Reality TV World: Did you guys feel lucky you didn't have to do the Detour task that required you to mix the fragrances? And how long did the whole ziplining adventure take you guys to complete?

Jeff Weldon: To answer that, I think that the ziplining was a quicker challenge if that's really where we're going with this. I do think that it was a lot easier because it was just like, "Hey, you're going to zipline and then you're going to walk on this rope."

Basically, as long as you're not completely scared of heights -- which I was a little bit -- you're going to get through the challenge pretty quickly. As for the perfume challenge, watching it on TV, it sounded a lot easier than it was.

It actually looked pretty time consuming, and I think from a time standpoint, it definitely took the teams a lot more time to complete that task, and I think that was a disadvantage in itself.

But then there's also -- and we don't know this, we're both kind of speculating -- we thought, "Hey, maybe they set it up where that [perfume] challenge was a lot closer to the finishing checkpoint because of how much time it took to do it."

So maybe, logistically speaking, it might've been placed a little more in favor to where the checkpoint was. I think maybe the tightrope was a little bit more far out, because you've got to think, I mean, I feel like we were in a mountain up there.

Reality TV World: Another couple this season revealed to me a few weeks ago that Hayley Keel and Blair Townsend have been hanging out recently -- whatever that may mean. Does that surprise you considering what you saw of them during the Race? Do you think they're a horrible match or a great one in some odd way?

Jeff Weldon: (Laughs)

Jackie Ibarra: Well, I mean, I don't think they're together obviously but you'd have to ask them that. I just think your partner is your partner. It didn't matter if you loved them or hated them on the show or fought or this or that.

I don't know, they're still your partner at the end of the day and you just have that connection with them. So, I think they're just two good people. I know Hayley is a great person and Blair is a great person, so I can't see why they would not want to keep in touch.

Jeff Weldon: I would say the same as Jackie. It's hard to say whether I think they're a good match or not, but just based on what we see on TV, it's pretty clear that they're not.

Reality TV World: On a similar note, what do you think about Jenny Wu and Jelani Roy? Are they a better fit you think?

Jeff Weldon: You know, not really. Match-wise, I don't think that Jelani and Jenny are a good pair either and I think the real reason is Jelani is way too down to earth for somebody like Jenny. Jenny is very anal and very just by-the-book, and I think to Jenny, that could be annoying almost to her -- that Jelani just has kind of this care-free attitude and kind of just goes with the flow. She's just more like a drill sergeant.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Jeff and Jackie's The Amazing Race interview.



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