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There will be no $2 million winner on The Amazing Race this season.
The CBS reality competition introduced a twist this go-round whereby the team that won the first leg would take home double the usual prize of $1 million if they also won the race. But that team — the “dating divorcees” duo of Abbie Ginsberg, 31, and Ryan Danz, 35 — was eliminated in Sunday night’s episode after getting stuck in the Frankfurt airport during a layover from Moscow to Amsterdam. (Their first plane out was delayed, while the second experienced technical difficulties and all the passengers were forced to switch planes.) It actually was their second time at the German airport, having gotten delayed there in a previous leg of the race.
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But what really sealed their fate was the strategy employed by the three leading teams to U-turn Abbie and Ryan (meaning they had to complete not just one but both detour challenges) and then “waste” the second U-turn by using it on a team that had already passed that point. The Chippendales team of Jaymes Vaughn and James Davis were first to the U-turn and reluctantly used it on Abbie and Ryan, with whom they formed a friendship
On Monday, the eliminated duo talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their rivalry with the twins (Nadiya and Natalie Anderson), whether they’re still mad at the Chippendales and if they ever plan to visit Frankfurt again.?
The Hollywood Reporter: It seemed like many of the other teams were gunning for you. Was it because of the $2 million prize?
Abbie: Honestly, before the $2 million prize [even came into play] — I don’t mean this in a cocky way — but everyone was looking at us. We’re athletic, a male-female team — and in the beginning everyone was doing a lot of sizing up. But the $2 million added an extra bull’s-eye to our back.
Ryan: I don’t think the $2 million had anything to do with it. If you are racing for one dollar or a million, it’s the same thing. It’s all about getting the strongest team out. … If [another team] has an opportunity to use a U-turn, it’s not about us winning $2 million and them $1 million, it’s “what ensures myself a better opportunity for winning $1 million for ourselves?” It was based on that.
THR: Have you had a chance to talk to the Chippendales yet?
Ryan [laughs]: Oh yeah, they’re here right now.
Abbie: They’re going to move in with us.
Ryan: They’re the sweetest guys and felt really bad. We’re going to send them a basket.
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Abbie: No, we haven’t spoken to them, but do we hate them? Absolutely not. It’s part of the game. But we were surprised it was them out of all the teams remaining. We wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been the twins or Trey and Lexi. They were vocal about not liking us. But what [the series] didn’t really show was that our relationship with the Chippendales really started at LAX airport. We started the race saying it was important that we have strong teams racing against us at the end, and they agreed. We all made a pack to help each other as best we could and make it to the final three. So we were surprised it was them, and you saw that emotion pretty clearly in the episode. But it’s part of the game, and we potentially would have played the U-turn as well.
Ryan: I disagree. We had the opportunity to U-turn the Chippendales in Indonesia, but we all wanted to race on equal footing and do the course as best we could and not use gimmicks. We didn’t see them for a few days after Turkey, and [when we reconnected], it was like we hadn’t seen our long-lost brother in years. They went out of their way to reassure us they were holding up their end of the bargain. We had helped them along the route many times, and they helped us too. But you see on the show edit that highlighted the struggle Jaymes was having at home with his dad’s cancer. Of course for anyone having to face that adversity, it’s brutal. You wouldn’t for a second put someone you just met on the race in front of your own family. … But on the show, watching them at the U-turn board … it seemed like they very much already had their mind made up and were just hamming it up for the cameras.
THR: There was some criticism when, in the premiere, Amy [Purdy] and Daniel [Gale] pointed you in the direction of the mat, only to end up coming in second, thereby losing out on their shot at $2 million. [The couple was later eliminated.] Do you regret that?
Abbie: All we can really say is that from both sides, it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. We were not going into it with that as our strategy to be backstabbing, to get information and turn on them. Everybody was helping each other out in small ways. But it was the first leg, and we were all like chickens with our heads cut off. We didn’t go into it planning to do that, and we don’t regret it, and I don’t think they regret giving us the information.
Ryan: When we got to the restaurant that day before [the teams were forced to eat] frog fallopian tubes, Daniel [broke the rules during that challenge]. When we saw that, we assumed they would get a penalty, and it didn’t matter if they finished ahead of us because they would have been out of first place anyway. And we didn’t know the pit stop was the next clue anyway.
Abbie: And we thought Jaymes and James were ahead of us. We didn’t even know we were running for first and second place that day.
Ryan: We’ve talked to Amy and Daniel extensively after [shooting] ended. What we take away is that there are no hard feelings. We were not trying to be malicious. We didn’t feel like cheating or stealing was in the scope of the game. With the money issue you saw in Bangladesh [in which two teams found another team’s money and kept it], you start to talk about character issues, and we never got anywhere near that.
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THR: Who are you rooting for to win?
Abbie: The Beekman boys [Abbie and Ryan formed an alliance during the last two legs with goat farmers/life partners Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge]. We developed a strong friendship with them beyond the race. We were lucky to spend all that time with them in Frankfurt and Amsterdam and Russia, especially. They are very classy guys and smart and humble. We’re rooting for them all the way.
Ryan: If not us — and it’s clearly not — then it has to be them. We would feel a sense of accomplishment if the won, in a way, because we spent so much time giving them ideas and strategy. Maybe then can use some of that info to help them get to the front of the pack and win. It would feel like a victory for us, in a way.
THR: Why did you seem to have such a contentious relationship with the twins?
Abbie: Watching back, a lot of people keep asking me, “What did you do to generate such hatred?” But we’re competitive people, and they’re competitive people, and for that reason, they didn’t like us and they thought we were annoying. But we thought they were annoying. There’s no real backstory — just one of those oil and water situations that we can laugh about now.
Ryan: Here we are three months down the road, and besides the Beekmans, we talk to the “twinnies” the most. They’re still young — they’re 10 years younger than us. But they’ve reached out to us for help in some ways and have trusted us in our opinions and asked for advice. If you say a few things in the race and that get aired, it feels like we were obsessed with them. But it was just a small speck of sand in the entire beach of the race.
THR: Will you ever go back to Frankfurt?
Abbie [laughs]: Nope. I’d buy a condo in Bangladesh first. But the airport did have a free-espresso machine that was insane.
Ryan: I can’t understand how we have tickets and we’re there 30 minutes before the departure, and they won’t let us board.
Abbie: And we had a backup plane. We had two flights. It was not like we were chancing it. Our connection was the same duration as the twins. We gambled, and the luck worked in their favor, so what are you gonna do?
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