'The Amazing Race' finale: Will Jardell and James Wallington win $1 million and get engaged at the finish line
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/16/2020
The Amazing Race featured "Dating Couple" Will Jardell and James Wallington winning Season 32 and then getting engaged at the finish line during Wednesday night's finale episode on CBS.
Will and James crossed the finish line in New Orleans, LA, and metThe Amazing Racehost Phil Keoghan in first place. Not only did Will and James win the $1 million grand prize, but Will also proposed marriage to James after being crowned champions.
"Eleven countries, 17 cities, more than 33,000 miles, Will and James, I am pleased to tell you that you have won the $1 million dollars and The Amazing Race! Congratulations!" Phil shouted at the finish line.
Will gushed about how he had "no words" for the entire experience and everything he and James had been able to do together.
"With you by my side, I felt at home everywhere we went," James S.ared, adding that winning The Amazing Race was something he had envisioned ever since he was a young boy.
"It's a dream come true," James added.
"Married Parents" Chee Lee and Hung Nguyen finished the Race in second place, and "Pro Volleyball Players" Riley McKibbin and Maddison McKibbin placed third.
For the first time in The Amazing Race history, an alliance of three teams made the Final 3 together.
Riley and Maddison departed the penultimate Pit Stop in Manila at 5:58AM and were instructed to fly east across the Pacific Ocean to New Orleans, LA, for the final leg of the Race.
Upon landing, teams proceeded to New Orleans' oldest neighborhood, The French Quarter, in the heart of the city.
Riley and Maddison won the last three legs in a row, so they felt prepared for the final sprint.
Will and James departed the Pit Stop at 6:01AM, and Hung and Chee took off at 6:03AM.
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Both teams were confident they could beat Riley and Maddison and win the $1 million.
Will and James arrived at their next set of clues in first place and learned they must join the party on Bourbon Street and collect beaded necklaces being thrown from people standing in the balconies above.
Once a team had collected 50 red necklaces and 50 gold necklaces, they would receive their next clue.
Will and James had been to New Orleans before, so they knew exactly where to go.
Hung and Chee joined the party on Bourbon Street in second place, and Riley and Maddison got there in third place because their taxi driver apparently drove in the wrong direction.
Riley and Maddison hopped out of the taxi and ran on foot trying to get to Bourbon street, but they quickly admitted they were lost.
Will and James completed the task in first place and were told they must head to Cafe Beignet.
Hung and Chee were running in second place, with Riley and Maddison in a close third.
It then became time for a Roadblock in which one member from each team had to essentially rip through a room of King Cakes to find a little baby figurine hidden inside.
The three colors on the cake -- purple, green and yellow -- represent the three wisemen who visited Christ on his Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which historically marks the arrival of the three kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus.
After a Racer found a baby, each team was required to eat half a dozen Beignets together before continuing on in the leg.
Will took on the Roadblock on behalf of his team, and he was later joined by Chee and Maddison.
Will struggled to eat his three Beignets because of all the powdered sugar and threatened to throw up several times, so James had to take all the donuts down.
"Oh my God," James complained with an eye-roll.
Meanwhile, Chee went through all of his cakes and missed the baby on the edge of the table, so Maddison tried to catch up -- although Maddison also struggled to find the prize.
Will finished the Roadblock in first place and then he and James were instructed to head to the New Orleans Convention Center, Hall H specifically, where they must search for their next clue.
Once at the cluebox, it was time for another Roadblock task. Given Will had completed the first Roadblock, it was mandatory James must attempt the second one.
The leg's second Roadblock required the participating Racers to climb under the Crescent City Connection, formerly known as the Greater New Orleans Bridge, climb onto an enormous beam, and then leap out into the dark to grab a clue hanging almost 200 feet above the Mississippi River.
James admittedly is a bit scared of heights, so he wasn't looking forward to the challenge.
Hung then finished the Roadblock in second place, followed by Riley.
After James took the big leap, he and Will received their next set of clues and learned they must rappel 180 feet off the bridge and then roll a gigantic 10-foot high ball on foot down the street to Mardi Gras World, a large warehouse filled with parade floats.
Hung and Chee arrived at Mardi Gras World in second place, and Riley and Maddison were still racing in third.
Once at the warehouse, teams were required to search for a trunk/chest with puzzle pieces and attach the 32 pieces to the giant ball to resemble planet Earth.
After putting the puzzle together, the teams had to lift the ball onto a float.
Will found the chest in no time, and then the guys got working on their giant geography puzzle. Both of the guys felt confident in their ability to complete the task, and they worked efficiently and fast together.
On their first try, Mardi Gras World owner told Will and James their assembly needed some work, as the pieces were not tightly attached. The guys, however, had nailed the map itself.
Will and James continued the race in first place and proceeded in a taxi to the finish line at New Orleans' Superdome, home to the 2010 Super Bowl champions.
The first team to find Phil on the New Orleans Saints' football field would win $1 million and The Amazing Race.
Hung and Chee then crossed the finish line in second place.
"The Race was the honeymoon that we never had. It was absolutely phenomenal," Hung gushed. "We got to do and see things that we otherwise never would have been able to do."
Chee added that the Race had brought them closer together.
And then Riley and Maddison met Phil and crossed the finish line in third place.
"Me and Riley compete in beach volleyball. People probably thought we were going to take our professional athlete background and bring it to the Race, and we picked up a lot more things on the Race that we're going to bring back to our volleyball careers," Maddison said after finishing the leg.
Phil said the Final 3 teams were part of The Amazing Race history because they had just rolled over one million miles when combining all seasons of the show.