For a fleeting second in last week's "Amazing Race: All-Stars" finale, Country Blondes Jennifer & Caroline seemed to have the million dollar prize in the sights. After Dave & Connor had a brief cab misadventure, Jen & Caroline's all-world cabbie had them in the lead heading toward the season-closing Roadblock.
Then, of course, Dave & Connor's cab moved back into the lead and that was all it took to win the season, since the last Roadblock and, therefore the entire "Amazing Race: All-Stars" season, was determined based on which team reached that last clue-box in first.
It was another eventful season for Jen & Caroline, who won some fans with their plucky attitude, enthusiasm and humor, but lost other fans when they coined the term "Accidental Alliance" to describe the multi-team partnership that sprung up only to exclude Brendon & Rachel.
And, along the way, Jen & Caroline continued to do what they do most consistently: Complete Legs without winning "Amazing Race" Legs, something they've now done for 23 victory-free Legs.
In their exit interview -- nearly done with these now -- Jen & Caroline discuss the Accidental Alliance, the uneventful Final Leg, the mean tweets they've gotten from the Brenchel Army and more.
HitFix: How are you guys doing this morning?
Caroline: Well, we would be doing a little bit better if we were millionaires.
HitFix: You really would have only been half-millionaires apiece.
Caroline: And we really would have only been three-hundred-and-fifty-thousandaires after taxes. But still, that's not bad.
HitFix: Let's talk a little bit about that last Leg. Caroline, on that last Roadblock, how aware were you of where Dave and his helicopter were? And what was going through your mind as you did the jump?
Caroline: I was very aware of where Dave was and I was just absolutely, I've never been more amped up in my entire life, because Jen and I were in front of them in that taxi cab and then they passed us in the cab and they got the clue-box and pulled the clue first and we had no idea that that was the last challenge of the season and because they pulled the clue first, they got to get in the helicopter first and fly first, but really I was ready to fly before him, but I didn't get to take off first. So I was freaking out in the helicopter. And then the only hope I had after we saw them off first was that he would miss the clue on the Strip and I saw it, but once I realized he saw it, I knew that we were toast, that we were second. There was no hope.
HitFix: So you're jumping out of an airplane and you know you're toast, does that mean you can't even enjoy that experience? Or did you still find a way to have fun doing that?
Caroline: I don't even remember jumping out of the helicopter. It's almost like I blacked out. I was so focused on getting to the ground and I still thought there'd be some ray of hope that we could win. But I literally, I don't even remember skydiving. It's like it didn't happen. I literally it blacked out.
HitFix: And Jen, how hard was that to watch from Pit Stop area? What was going through your mind?
Jen: Well, what was going through my mind was that every single finale that I have watched, that there's always a race to the Pit Stop, there's always some kind of task or challenge or something to catch up. And when they dropped me off at the Speedway and I saw that the mat was right there? I was like, "Oh my gosh." There's no way. There was no Race. Whoever landed first was gonna get to the mat first. So it was kinda disheartening a little, because I thought that it would have been nice to have a task that you could catch up and even really race to the end. But at the same time, Dave & Connor, if someone was gonna win, I'm happy that they won and Caroline is too. They're really great guys. I think looking at the Race as a whole, I think that they deserved to win. They're great people, so if anyone was gonna win, we were really happy that they won. Of course we wanted to win, but...
HitFix: It doesn't take anything away from how well Dave & Connor raced this season, but were you guys hoping for something harder on that last Leg? Were you hoping for something that required skill, that would have let you catch up or take advantage?
Jen: Usually there's a memory challenge or a mental challenge at the last Leg and, especially me, I love puzzles and memory and that's something I excel at and it usually wasn't physical. Obviously Dave & Connor were a lot faster and stronger than us physically, but I was really hoping that there'd be some kind of mental challenge to where we could catch up. But it was really disheartening to see that there was no final task.
Caroline: That was it. Whoever got in the helicopter first, basically won the Race.
HitFix: Do you have more on that, Caroline? The frustration of that?
Caroline: Yeah, it was frustrating. If we would have gotten the first helicopter, we'd probably been pretty excited about it. But since we got the second helicopter, it was frustrating because you just really couldn't catch up. It was done. Once you got your order -- who's taking off first, second and third -- unless you missed your clue on the Strip, which was actually kinda hard to see, then that was it. So we would have loved to have had another challenge, just to see what happened. But that's not the way the cookie crumbled.
HitFix: You guys did, in that last Leg, get to see the advantages of having a good cab driver. Tell me about that guy and what kind of tip he was going to get if you guys had actually won the million.
Caroline: Oh my gosh. He was so awesome. If we won the million, I was definitely going to give him a good tip. He was an incredible cab driver. Talk about just getting the best cab driver you ever could at the exact right moment. We got him.
Jen: And we gave him all the money that we had left on that Leg. I think it was maybe $150. We just gave him everything we had. But he was awesome.
Caroline: Amazing. He was amazing.
HitFix: You guys closed with a couple strong Legs and they were Legs that you did without any assistance. How important was that strong close to kinda shut up the haters who have been talking about, "Oh, they've just been doing it with other teams helping them?" and all of that?
Jen: You know what's funny? We raced strong in the beginning. It's just that they didn't show all the times that we helped other people. They only showed other people helping, which I guess that's what they wanted us to be was the Dumb Blondes, but we really helped other teams and we finished strong. With the sewing? Connor couldn't even get the shirt started and I completely helped him. We helped each other, but that was a task that we excelled in. Caroline did great in the calligraphy. I was the first person to get the answer on the Spanish Steps. I gave it to Dave. All the things that we did great, they didn't show. And so everybody who has said, "Oh yeah, well they got helped the whole time," I mean they're not seeing the whole picture, which is fine. We don't care. We're like, "Hey. However we got there, we got there."
Caroline: The haters are gonna hate. That's one thing we've learned about this. You kinda just have to brush it off. When we first started, we're not used to all this, people having opinions about everything we do. So when we first started feeling all the hate, it really hurt my feelings, but when we just started realizing, "You know, people love to hate." It's a fun hobby for people, so...
Jen: We would never think to go look somebody up online and say something horrible to them. For us, we would never do that. Even if we don't like someone, I would never take the time to go look them up, find them and then write them some horrible tweet.
Caroline: Yeah, that's just a waste of energy. But we don't care. We made it to second place, so we're happy. It's all good in our head.
HitFix: How bad have those messages or tweets gotten?
Caroline: It's just the Brenchel Army. They have this army of followers that literally hates everybody but the Brenchels in the world.
Jen: Like one person tweeted at us that they hated us more than their dad who molested them as a child. That was so completely crazy that it almost doesn't hurt, because we're like, "OK, these people are psychotic." But at the same time, we're so nice to everybody that we were kinda shocked that we were getting hate tweets.
Carole: Yeah, so the Brenchel Army went after us, but it's OK. We got a lot of love, too.
Jen: Yeah, we really have.
HitFix: You guys had a lot of close scrapes out there this season, the two Non-Elimination Legs, etc. How discouraged did you get out there? Or did you keep positive the whole time?
Caroline: We really stayed positive the whole time. Before this season, Jen and I really focused our energy and we just thought, that we really believe that the universe is on our side, that we only want to channel positive energy, that we would just race as hard as we could for ourselves and not worry about other teams. We really just kinda let it all go and we decided that we were gonna have a great time and we weren't gonna get mad at each other and that, more than anything, we wanted to just enjoy the experience.
Jen: And Caroline and I, we're positive in general. With everything we do, we always try to see the good in something, because if you focus on the negative, it'll bring you down.
Caroline: Yeah, so we knew that we raced as hard as we could each Leg of the Race and we were gonna be OK with whatever fate we had, just because we knew were giving it our all. And that makes the Race really fun. It made us have a really great time. We laughed a lot. Of course it's stressful, but it just made it an enjoyable experience all the way around.
HitFix: The second Leg our there was obviously very pivotal. Caroline, if you hadn't gotten the Express Pass, do you think you ever would have finished constructing that car?
Caroline: [Laughs.] I'd probably be there right now, trying to put that old thing together. I'm sure I would have figured it out eventually. I was starting to get the hang of it. But I hate assembling. Hate it. So I was so relieved that Jen got that Express Pass.
Jen: And you know what? I knew that she was gonna finish it. It wasn't the fact that she wasn't gonna finish it. It was just that we were in last place. Everyone had almost all of their parts put together by the time we got there, so there no way. If we didn't get that Express Pass, we were gonna be out. So it wasn't the fact that she couldn't do it. It was just the fact that we were so far behind that there was no way we were gonna make it if we didn't get that Express Pass.
HitFix: And Jen, the Cowboys insists that they wanted to use the Express Pass in that exact situation and you just gave them the opportunity to it. But how much do you think you really convinced them?
Jen: Well, I told them. It wasn't their that we needed it that Leg. I said, "We need it now or we're gonna be out." And really, it didn't take that much convincing, because it was smart for them, too. They were a strong team and they had to give the Express Pass away, so if they gave it to anybody else, it's a weapon against them and at least at point, they knew it was gonna get blown up in smoke right there. It was never gonna be used to hurt them and it was a very smart play for them, too. It really was.
HitFix: You guys talked about the mean things that the Brenchel Army said. Did that make it so that in the episodes in which you guys were excluding them and talking about NLUs and stuff, you didn't feel bad about the way you treated them?
Caroline: Well, that didn't start happening until they U-Turned Dave & Connor. Because we really, actually, we didn't mind the Brenchels. We didn't really connect with them, but they didn't really bother us or anything. But when they U-Turned Dave & Connor, Dave & Connor got really upset and we love Dave & Connor. They're like our homeboys, our heart-and-soul. So when they were upset, then we just kinda went with Dave & Connor and then this natural separation just sorta happened. It wasn't ever planned and we were never out to get the Brenchels, but they kinda accidentally excluded themselves and that's where the Accidental Alliance came from.
HitFix: But they used the U-Turn on the team that ended up winning the Race, so they used the U-Turn on what really was the strongest team and they ended up winning the Leg. So what did they do wrong with that U-Turn?
Jen: It wasn't anything wrong. It was just when we were out there, for all of us, if we would have gotten to a U-Turn Board and we were in the very top of the pack, we just wouldn't have U-Turned anyone. We would have just kept racing and let the bottom half fight for it. So they wanted to win the Leg. We didn't get why they were using it until they explained it to us, so at the time we were like, "That is so weird. They're in first place and then there's a person in second place, why would they U-Turn the person in second place?" It didn't make any sense to us, in other words. It wasn't that they did something wrong. We just didn't get why they did it until they explained that they wanted to win the Leg. So then that made sense afterwards. But at the time, we were like, "We didn't they U-Turn someone that they knew was down below?" or "Why did they U-Turn anyone to big with? They didn't have to. They were in first place." Also, that takes away their ability to U-Turn someone, so when you're in first place and you know that you're gonna win the Leg, I wouldn't U-Turn someone, because I'd save it in case I got U-Turned further down the line. So they used up their U-Turn.
Caroline: But, at the end of the day, they did exactly what they wanted to and that's totally fair and they didn't do anything wrong. We just like Dave & Connor.
HitFix: In your first season, you guys had the close alliance with Bates & Anthony and they ultimately ended up winning. Did that change the way that you approached alliances and being friendly with other teams out there this time?
Caroline: You know what I just realized as you're saying that right now? Whoever Jen and I alliance up with hardcore, wins. We are like the lucky charms. We allianced up with Dave & Connor, they won. We allianced up with Bates & Anthony and they won.
Jen: Yeah, but we also, in the beginning, we allianced with Katie & Max, too, and so it wasn't like it was just Bates & Anthony. We were really close with Max & Katie, too. And the same thing happened in the first season, other teams created an alliance and we were just the alliance. So we've never really gone in intentionally saying, "Oh, let's create an alliance." It just happens when you're out there.
Caroline: And also, you're racing around the world. You're in this huge experience that no one else understands and you just kinda gravity towards people cuz you wanna connect. It's more fun doing that stuff friendly than hating everyone and Jen and I just big people persons anyway. So we kinda can't help it. We love making friends.
HitFix: And a last question: 23 Legs, that's a lot of Legs. But to go without winning a single Leg, how anxious does that make you guys for the next time they do an All-Stars "Amazing Race" to get back out there and at least win a Leg?
Caroline: We can't ever do another "Amazing Race," we don't think. This one almost killed us. But we hold the record in Most Legs Never Won, so look... We are the winners in some areas.
Jen: Just not the place we wanted to be the winners.
This season’s “Amazing Race: All-Stars” exit interviews:
Brendon & Rachel
Leo & Jamal
Jet & Cord
Flight Time & Big Easy
John & Jessica
Margie & Luke
Joey & Meghan
Mark & Mallory
Natalie & Nadiya