Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race's runner-up team Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop talk (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/14/2015
The Amazing Race's "Engaged Couple and Amazing Race Super Fans" Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop finished Season 27 as the runner-up team during Friday night's finale broadcast on CBS.
Justin and Diana were defeated by the $1 million winners Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta, who are "Dating Co-Workers and News Anchors" and conquered five continents, 10 countries and more than 34,000 miles. "Dating Paparazzi Business Partners" Logan Fazio and Chris Gordon finished in third place.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Justin and Diana talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Justin, you said at the end of the finale broadcast you might never be able to get over losing. How do you feel now? Has the sting subsided at all?
Justin Scheman: A little bit I guess! Yeah. I'm sure I'll get over it at some point, but I don't think I can watch the episode without being emotional.
Reality TV World: Kelsey and Joey told me they think you guys arrived at the finish line about 45 minutes behind them? Does that sound about right?
Justin Scheman: No. (Laughs)
Diana Bishop: I was thinking closer, like, 15 or 20 minutes maybe. I think 35 would be generous, but I think it's more on the side of 20 minutes.
Reality TV World: I want to talk about what you guys called your biggest mistake. Why not give your cab driver the money he asked for? Was it just a matter of being stubborn, like you thought his request was absurd and you didn't want to give in, or, were you worried you might need that money later on in the leg and so you didn't want to blow most of it?
Justin Scheman: I think it was both. I think, for me, it was two-fold. I think 1, is that it was like, "Come on dude, you're just trying to mess us up because we're on the island now." And 2, we had run out of money at least twice before that in a leg, and this leg was in New York -- the most expensive cabs in the world. So, I was kind of nervous about running out of money when we would need it most.
And when we first got in the cab, I tried to negotiate to keep him for the whole leg, and that was the negotiation the whole time. And he wouldn't commit to it, and then when we got there, that's when he gave us a price. And it just seemed like I got caught up in the moment, I guess.
Diana Bishop: I think, too, they didn't show it, but I mean, Justin and I had cab issues I think every leg of the Race. In Brazil, we had run out of money and we got three free cab rides. In Argentina, some of the other Racers were paying less for their cabs. In Africa, one of our cab drivers wouldn't let us go because he wanted more money than we were given.
I think towards the end, we just felt like we were being taken advantage of, and we took -- I think the other half of it is, we were so focused on the finish line that we forgot... it wasn't just A-Z and that's what we were thinking of.
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It was A to B, B to C, C to D. And I think when you're at the end, you just lose focus that there's more than one step, and we weren't thinking of the long-term. We were thinking of the short-term.
Reality TV World: Justin, did you feel having lived in New York for years ultimately proved to be an advantage for you guys or did it not make that much of a difference? And did cockiness affect you at all? You seemed worried, Diana, that Justin was going to become too confident over that.
Diana Bishop: I will answer that!
Reality TV World: Okay. (Laughs)
Diana Bishop: I don't think it was an advantage. I mean, there was nothing there that helped because Justin had lived there. I think, if anything, maybe it was our downfall. I think we were, I mean, to be more specific, I think Justin and I were just a little overconfident of where we were going to the final leg.
But there was really no advantage as far as being a New Yorker. I mean, really, if anything, Justin should have known that being in Long Island, it was not the place to leave a cab.
But I take as much blame for it as he does, because I didn't fight for it as well. I let the cab go just as much. I mean, we had gone through the scenario I think every day since we've been home, and you know, we have a bunch of "should've, would've could'ves."
Could we have convinced the other cab driver that said he was going home, you know, could we have tried to offer him more? Could we have pushed him more? It was just, I don't know.
Justin Scheman: I think that being a New Yorker didn't help much. If we had to do tasks where we had to get on subways and go places and that type of thing, I think it would definitely have been, like, an amazing advantage.
But because it was pretty much just like any other city, where you go to a cab driver and a cab driver takes you anywhere you need to go, and the Belmont Stakes clue, I mean, that's one of the biggest horse races in the world and we just had a Triple Crown winner, so if you don't know where Belmont Stakes is now, you're never going to know it.
It's not like being a New Yorker had any real advantage in that leg, except for the hometown curse, (laughs) where nobody wins in their hometown.
Reality TV World: I want to go back to the incident when Chris and Logan warned you Tiffany Chantell and Krista Debono had U-Turned you. You confronted the "Cheerleaders" about it, they whole-heartedly denied it, and then you determined you didn't like or trust Chris and Logan. What was your reaction when you learned Tiffany and Krista were actually the ones being dishonest? And would you have still U-Turned Chris and Logan had you known the truth?
Justin Scheman: Hmm. (Laughs) I think that was the first chance -- the airport right before we went to India was the first chance that Diana and I had a chance to hangout with Krista and Tiffany and "Team Alabama" ["Mother and Son" Denise Williams and James Earl Corley].
The other teams went through another connecting terminal -- another connecting country. So it was just the three of us and we really had a chance to bond. We really talked and we got to know each other.
So we kind of trusted the "Cheerleaders" and "Team Alabama" at that point, and what they were telling us was that Chris was going around literally asking every single person -- not every single team -- every person individually their U-Turn plans and trying to influence them on the decision that they should make.
Literally, it was to the point where they followed James Earl into the bathroom and [Chris] was talking to him on his way into the bathroom. He was just obsessed. So when he started at the train station, my eyes just instantly rolled. I'm like, "Here we go! It's our turn." And so, I didn't believe a word he said. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: In the penultimate leg, you guys got a fair time penalty at the Pit Stop for taking a different ferry than the one you were instructed. But then something that surprised me was producers tacked on an additional 25 minutes since the ride you took was shorter. I don't recall the Race adding minutes onto a time penalty for time gained -- like how a team might take a taxi instead of walking. As students of the game, how do you view that whole thing? Was it fair?
Diana Bishop: I do recall one other time when I think a team took a cab instead of walking and I believe they were penalized the time they gained from taking the cab. So, I mean, we were surprised but we weren't. It's to be expected.
If you take a ferry that's 25 minutes closer, a half-hour penalty isn't exactly fair. I mean, 30 minutes for breaking [the rules] and not following them and then 25 minutes for our time gained. As much as I didn't like it, I think it was fair in the end.
Justin Scheman: Yeah. I think it was definitely fair. They've done it in the past. Not with, like, the same type of transportation. But usually when you take a different form of transportation than what was on the card, yeah, I don't think it was unfair.
And even if we went home that leg, I wouldn't have blamed it on an unfair penalty. I would've been more mad that the taxi driver originally, when we got to the cab after our cell phone task, if he didn't know where he was going, he didn't just say, "I don't know."
And we would just get out. Don't say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and then 15 minutes later say, "I don't know." (Laughs) So THAT would've been the thing I would've blamed it on. But if [Tiffany and Krista's] cab driver didn't get lost, we would've been gone too.
Diana Bishop: But I also go back to that time when the cab driver took us -- after we got the cell phone -- I mean, we jumped in a cab. It's hard for me to blame the cab driver, when in the end, it's always up to us and it's our call.
I mean, we should have asked people around after we got the cell phone, we should have researched a little more and asked a couple more people, but I think we got caught up in getting a cell phone, jumping in a cab, and just taking off and that was it.
I mean, sometimes it's easy to blame a cab, but in the end, every decision you make, whether it's trusting a cab driver, whether it's getting information from somebody, it's ultimately up to you.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Justin and Diana's exclusive The Amazing Race interview.