[Spoiler Alert: If you have not watched tonight's back-to-back episodes of The Amazing Race, stop reading now. Major spoilers ahead.]
It was double the fun and double the drama on tonight's back-to-back episodes of The Amazing Race with teams venturing to St. Tropez and Provence, France. As usual, there was a mix of fun with frustrating challenges with various teams melting down while others thrived.
While they've had smooth sailing (excuse the pun, which will make sense if you've seen tonight's episodes) so far this season, these episodes gave Team Well Strung, aka Trevor Wadleigh and Chris Marchant, a series of tough challenges and a near miss in getting eliminated.
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TV Insider talked to the musicians (if you haven't seen them in action, check out their website) about what happened in tonight's pair of episodes, how they've stayed even keeled throughout the race and why yelling certain words of encouragement doesn't really work for them.
How has it been watching these episodes now that they'e airing? Surreal? Fun reliving everything?
Trevor Wadleigh: To be honest, we were quite nervous before watching the first episode. Many reality shows delight in making their guests look like imbeciles or dwell exclusively on interpersonal drama; not the case with The Amazing Race. There’s so much legitimate, action-packed content, there’s no need for production to dwell on the unflattering moments.
Chris Marchant: I think now that TAR has been airing for a few weeks it’s a little more enjoyable. Before the first episode we were both pretty anxious waiting to see what kind of edit we would get on air once all the footage was cut together. It’s really fun reliving everything that is seared into my memory. In my head, everything was coated in stress and worry during the race. So I’m actually shocked to see that I’m extremely polite to people who help us with directions along the way. I definitely don’t remember that!
Since the start of the season, some teams have been falling apart but you guys have been pretty cheery and upbeat through it all. Has that been tough given some of the challenges being, well, challenging??
Tervor: Chris and I have the benefit of having worked and lived together for the past six years. We know exactly what to expect from one another and trust each other implicitly. In our career, we’ve had many ups, but certainly many downs, too. To me, I believe throwing a tantrum is quite selfish and, in a stressful situation like racing around the world for one million dollars, does no good for anyone. There was never a moment on the race that my level of gratitude for having the chance to travel the world with that troupe of amazing people was ever surpassed by a fleeting moment of stress or discomfort.
Chris: Honestly the easiest part of doing the race was having Trevor as a teammate. We’ve worked together for 6 years now, we’re close friends, we’re roommates...we know each other very well. I don’t think either of us were surprised by the other’s thoughts or actions throughout that whole month. We know how one another think and we know each other’s impulses. I’m pretty sure the only reason I didn’t fall apart in a ball of anxiety is that he was my teammate.
Trevor, on a scale of 1-10, how challenging was it to steer that tiny little boat in St Tropez?
Trevor: I wish I could have gotten the boat to sail with wind power, however, after coming to shore a second time, the instructor actually told me that, with the current wind conditions, I wouldn’t make it out to the buoy and I should just paddle. I was surprised how quickly the boat moved once it was in motion.
Trevor, were you channeling Martha Stewart when making those sandals, Trevor?
Trevor: I’m a secular heathen but I believe Martha, patron saint of domesticity, was there watching over us that day.
Chris: Trevor is like a mix of MacGyver and Martha Stewart. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve met and can almost always come up with a doable solution to a problem. Also, he’s an excellent birthday cake maker.
Now we have answers and they're as heartbreaking as we feared.
Truth time -- besides Well Strung, obviously, who were the other hotties on the other teams?
Trevor: Have you seen the ring girls? It’s like they always had hair, makeup, and a lighting crew walk around with them; they’re ridiculously pretty.
Did you have time to explore the amazing countries you were visiting or was it really all racing, all the time?
Chris: You never really get to explore places on your own on the race. Because you don’t have a cellphone with you, it would be understandably dangerous to let teams wander off. For this reason, some of my fondest memories of the race are driving around the countryside, or taking a long train ride from one city to another because you actually get to take in some sights.
Trevor: Though I would have liked more time in every destination, it was certainly a quick education having to navigate so many cities without the help of a GPS or smartphone. As a New Yorker, I tell visitors that’s the best way to acquaint yourself with the city:keeping walking, get lost, discover little corners of neighborhoods that you would never have seen otherwise. The world is not a scary place.
In the episode, you guys talk about other teams encouraging each other. What was your goal when you needed to be yelling encouraging things to each other during a tough task?
Trevor: I’m sure some people on this earth really like hearing things like “concentrate!,” “do better,” “go faster,” when they’re already totally overwhelmed and stressed-out, but neither of us do. If anything, the best “words of encouragement” I could scream out at Chris would be something that could make him laugh. In the moment, a comedic comment from me endeavored to remind that we were on the most amazing adventure of our lives and there to have fun.
Chris: We’d be much more likely to saying something like “Heyyyyy you’re on national television right now and you’re really doing a terrible job....” or “Chris, you f*^%ing suck!” than we would to say “Hey you’ve got this; you can do it!” Like who does it benefit to scream “CONCENTRATE!!!!” in someone’s face while they try to do something quickly under pressure?
That medieval challenge didn't look fun. What was the hardest part about that, Chris?
Chris: Ok, so I am nottttt the strongest when it comes to building things or using tools. Trevor and I decided that I would do the roadblock because we knew it had to do with medieval weaponry. We thought it would have more to do with actually using a weapon like a catapult or a bow and arrow and I’m a better shot than Trevor. Once I found out I had to build a trebuchet (which, it turns out, Trevor had done once for a physics final! Insert aggravated groan:), I panicked a little bit. I didn’t do a terrible job but I did make an error in putting the wrong length of peg deeeeeeeeply into one of the holes and it took me a good deal of time to fix the error.
Trevor, are you still having nightmares about being stuck in the stockade? Or did you enjoy it more than you expected? haha
My father has severe claustrophobia and I have to admit I have acute moments of it, too. However, I’ve learned I can usually psych myself out of panic in such instances. On that day, I was grateful for the stockades because it served to restrain me from running over to Chris and stopping him from beating the wrong dowels into the wrong hole.
What's it like when you know you're behind everyone else but truly have no idea for sure?
Trevor: I try not to think about it. There’s no benefit in being further bogged down by stress or sadness. We were already working at max capacity so it’s not like we could have opted to go faster. If there’s any intention in those moments it’s just to remember that anything can happen on The Race and to just keep going.
Chris: We knew we weren’t in great position leaving the castle in Les Beaux but on the race you NEVERRRRRR just decide that it’s time to give up. You keep going even if you are 100% sure you are in dead last. So we continued to fight to stay in the race all day. It is a strange kind of anxiety that sets in when you don’t know where anyone else is on the leg, but there’s not a lot of quit in me or in Trevor.
I'm so glad you guys didn't get eliminated! Were you expecting Phil to say 'YOU HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED..."??
Trevor: Chris was more sure we were going home that day. I’d say I was more like 70% sure it was our final leg.
Chris: Showing up to the mat in Les Beaux, we definitely knew that might be the axe for us. I think I say something to Phil like “I don’t know how anybody could be behind us at this point”, but that was mostly just to comfort myself. Based on Phil’s face and first words, I think I knew deep down that the race was not over for us.
No spoilers but can you each give me one word to describe the next episode?
Want to know more about the guys? Here's the video introducing Chris and Trevor for the show:
The Amazing Race, Wednesdays, 8/7c, CBS.