Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl talk 'The Amazing Race': We wanted Nicole and Victor out because they were a threat, not because of 'Big Brother' (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/28/2019
Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl finished The Amazing Race's 31st season in second place during Wednesday night's two-hour finale broadcast on CBS.
Tyler, 31, and Korey, 33 -- who raced as friends from Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, CA, respectively -- claimed the runner-up spot when they crossed the finish line in Detroit, MI, after racing through ten countries, 18 cities, and across more than 25,000 miles.
Reality TV World: How long after Colin and Christie did you guys finally cross the finish line? It didn't look like you were far behind them.
Korey Kuhl: I think there was certainly some very nice editing from the show (laughs). I honestly don't know what the actual time was, but it wasn't as close as they made it look on TV... I think maybe like 30 minutes, but I truly have no idea.
Tyler Oakley: We were so in it, I couldn't tell you. But I will say when we ripped the clue after the drums, I still had hope. So I think we were pretty close.
Reality TV World: Being from Michigan, did you feel you had an advantage in the final leg? Christie, for instance, wondered how well you guys actually knew the city of Detroit despite your Michigan roots.
Korey Kuhl: Yeah, the funny thing is, we didn't really know Detroit super well. It's like yes, we knew major landmarks and knew where the Spirit of Detroit was, but that was about it. We fly into the Detroit airport when we go home, but our families actually live a little over an hour away from Detroit itself.
So other than the airport (laughs), I don't think we really had too much knowledge of the city itself.
Reality TV World: How long would you say you spent putting your drum kit together? I'm sure finding out the little details you had missed must have been incredibly frustrating for you guys.
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Korey Kuhl: We talked with Colin and Christie last night after the episode and we both recalled that both teams had that drumset perfectly set up and erected where they looked correct. But obviously we were missing the fine details.
And I would say there was at least 30-45 minutes of us just going back and forth with the check, check, check, check. Like, that alone was probably 45 minutes itself, just waiting for which team was going to figure out their small detail [mistake] first.
Reality TV World: You arrived at the record place in first place, but Colin and Christie were able to pass you during that task. What happened there? And do you think the outcome of the leg would have been different had you finished making five records first?
Tyler Oakley: Honestly, it was a very challenging thing to perfect or learn from what you were getting wrong with the record, because you do the red half and then the yellow half and then you press it down.
Korey, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we could figure out what small detail was making it imperfect or perfect. It was just, like, "Okay, let's crank them out and hope that a couple of them are good until we get five." That's kind of what it felt like.
Korey Kuhl: Yeah, it was definitely a tough situation. I know they went back and forth on approving a couple of our records, which was a little frustrating and obviously wasn't shown in the episode. They would approve them and then change their minds about them actually being good.
So, we did obviously spend more time at the record shop than Colin and Christie, but yeah, no, we just thought it was a trial and error. We didn't think we were doing anything differently. When you pressed the machine down, you were just kind of like, "Fingers crossed this one comes out good!"
If there was a science to it, we never figured it out. (Laughs) We were just going to keep making as many as we could until we had five that passed the test.
Tyler Oakley: And I don't think [leaving the record task in first place would've made any difference]. It got down to the fine details of the drum and to the point all four of us were just standing there looking at our drumsets, wondering what each team was missing.
So maybe, yes, who knows! Could've, would've, should've. But to me, it was really, like, at that point, whoever was going to see the small, tiny detail.
Korey Kuhl: Right. I agree completely with that. Obviously, who knows, but given the 30 minutes that we kind of took after they left, I'm not sure it would've made that big of a difference. Because we were truly probably only five minutes or less behind them getting to the drumsets.
Reality TV World: Were you guys surprised there was no big memory task in the final leg involving flags, maps, currencies or something else? And were you ready to take on that type of task, had you been studying?
Tyler Oakley: Yeah, absolutely!
Korey Kuhl: Absolutely. Being huge fans of the show, going into it, we had a strategy and it was the same strategy we had implemented in Season 28. It was always Tyler is going to tackle the first Roadblock and Korey is going to do the memory challenge.
So, to see it come down to the drums, we were both kind of surprised. But that's why we never gave up. Even when Colin and Christie left the drums, we were like, "Listen, there's still probably one final memory task, and who knows how quickly Christie is going to do it. Let's keep chugging along and let's get there as quickly as we can."
Tyler Oakley: And when it came down to those details, we knew everything backwards and forward -- the countries, the cities, the airports, the flags, the greetings, the greeters. We had memorized everything. We had flash cards and we were ready for the memory challenge.
Any time we were in a helicopter or in an airport, we were rehearsing and challenging each other for the memory challenge. So we were ready for it!
Reality TV World: Did you guys feel a sense of comradery with the other Race teams the whole season, or did the three Race teams just decide to work together towards the end to eliminate Victor and Nicole?
Tyler Oakley: I think we definitely witnessed the other shows have a bit of comradery with each other, which I think puts the Race teams in a little bit of a pickle, thinking, "Oh well maybe we should be working with each other."
Because you could see early on, like the Big Brother teams [stuck] together. But really, after a few legs, we all had conversations, like, "Well, if we've made it this far, you've survived the legs, you know what you're doing and you're a Race team now. It doesn't matter what show you were on before. At this point, we're all Race teams."
I know towards the end, especially in the Final 4, it seemed as if there was some type of blocking Nicole and Victor out, but I think it was more that we had a connection with Colin and Christie, so of course we wanted to work with them.
But the reason we wanted the "Afghanimals" [Leo and Jamal] in the Final 3 with us was because honestly, we thought Nicole and Victor were way bigger threats than the Afghanimals. So it was less about them being a Big Brother team and more about the circumstances that existed with the Final 4.
Korey Kuhl: And I would echo all of that. I think also,The Amazing Race teams realized very early on we were going to be the targets for the U-Turn boards and targeted throughout.
So after [Art Velez and JJ Carrell] got eliminated, the remaining four teams were kind of like, "We're the threats. We are the ones whom people are going to go after, so we've got to watch each other's back at some point and we've got to take care of each other. Otherwise, everyone is going to be gunning for us."
Tyler Oakley: Which is especially why when "Team Fun" U-Turned us, it was kind of like, "Huh?!"
Not just because we got along with them so well, but it just felt like all of the other teams -- not necessarily strong teams, but teams that are still figuring out what the Race is -- are going to be able to get right by while Race teams are U-Turning each other and still surviving the U-Turns. Not very helpful.