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Jessica Hoel and John Erck made history on Sunday night’s episode of The Amazing Race.
The duo became the first team ever eliminated on the mat while in possession of an express pass — which would allow them to skip a challenge — on CBS’ reality competition. While the struggled with the tour, Jessica wanted to use the express pass, but John was hesitant to use it, saying they they should try to finish without it.
On Monday, John, 27, and Jessica, 26, who live in Huntington Beach, Calif., talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their biggest mistakes, not using the express pass and ending up in a random person’s backyard for one of the challenges.
The Hollywood Reporter: It seemed like you pretty much knew that you were in last place but finished the challenge anyway. Were you still holding out hope that you wouldn’t be eliminated?
Jessica: Yeah, you always have that last bit of hope that something will happen, whether it’s a non-elimination or someone is still behind you. It was heartbreaking, of course. I was really tired at that point. [My thought was], Did this really happen? After this huge long leg, are we really going home? It was definitely tough.
THR: John, it seemed like you were the one resisting using the express pass. Why were you so hesitant to use it?
John: Given the assumptions we made, that was definitely true. Jess brought it up a couple of times, ‘should we use the express pass?’ At that point, I didn’t think we needed to or that it was the best thing to do.
THR: Looking back, would you have made a different decision?
John: Yeah, definitely, with hindsight being 20/20, we made a number of mistakes. Looking back on it, we would have made different decisions than the ones we did. But while running the race, we had to make assumptions. One of the things we were thinking was that the roller derby girls [Beth and Mona] were behind us. It turned out they were in front of us. But we were making decisions off the assumption and belief they were behind us. It was a big part of our thought process.
THR: Do you think you lost a lot of time by deciding to leave the “fruity top” detour and instead taking a shot at the “sandy bottom” one?
Jessica: The first challenge, it didn’t even show how long we were there. The fruit challenge, I felt like we were working a long time. They checked it something like five times and kept saying no. We didn’t know what was wrong with it. We thought last night we would get some closure — maybe on the screen they would circle that a fruit was missing or too big, but we got no indication. We were there so long, and you were not allowed to switch bases; our base was actually not functioning and was bent all the way to the side. After poking so many sticks into it, it was completely demolished. So we had to do something.
THR: There was a humorous moment where you went to the wrong location for one of the challenges and were in some random person’s backyard. But he went along with it. How much time did you spent at the wrong place?
Jessica: We spent a good chunk of time there. We got into this person’s house and were pretty confident it was the right place because there was red and yellow above the front door. The taxi driver confirmed it was the right address, and the guy went along with us willingly. He put a sarong on us, the lady blessed it, and we went in the temple. They were going with all the parts of the clue. If you walked into a neighbor’s house here, they’d be like, “Get out.” But the people in Bali are so sweet and inviting, and it’s part of their tradition to build these flower offerings in their house. When all was said and done, we looked at them and said, “Where’s our clue?” That was my indication we were in the wrong spot.
THR: Jessica, at the end of last night’s episode, you said it would take you a while to get over the loss. Was it hard watching it play out on TV?
Jessica: Yeah, I am actually super competitive. That’s why I work in sales and in sports. So it came down to that. I really wanted the win, but especially watching it on TV, it was hard to relive it. But it gave me some closure. Even if they didn’t show it all, there were so many reasons that day [that led to our elimination]. We gave it our all. Every single leg, we were competitive and really wanted to win. Our mistakes were made in the moment. There was nothing else we could have done differently given the information we had. Now it’s on to the next adventure.
The Amazing Race airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on CBS.
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