Superb race winners Will and James replicate on their "As soon as in a Lifetime" journey and reveal the "excellent" racing second
Survivor and Big Brother aren't the only competitive series with masterful, money-making alliances.
On Wednesday, the season finale of The Amazing Race (read our full recap here), friends Will and James drove their Final 3 alliance to the end, jumping off a bridge, inhaling delicious pastries and rushing through busy New Orleans, To secure yourself that whopping $ 1 million, check out and be crowned Season 32 Winners. Little did James know, however, that winning the Moolah wouldn't be the only life-changing event waiting for him at the finish. (They got engaged!)
Here the fiancées chat with TVLine about their strategy for the season, keep their victory a secret and what they really think of DeAngelo's tough last words.
TVLINE | Congratulations on your win and your commitment! James, what surprised you more: winning the race or Will's suggestion?
JAMES | Definitely will suggest! At that point, I was completely unprepared. It was a perfect moment.
TVLINE | You filmed this season two years ago. How hard was it to sit on that secret until the season airs?
WILL | It was the best kept secret. We were very excited that our families and friends could see how good we were and what happened to the proposal. But keeping it a secret was very difficult because we really wanted to tell people. It didn't make a lot of sense telling people we were getting married in New Orleans so we had to tell a few lies to make it sense!
JAMES | As hard as it was to keep these secrets, we had each other during this time and were getting closer to our cast, so it was a blessing in disguise.
TVLINE | Was joining an alliance one of your goals for the race or something that happened naturally?
WILL | I think for us that the 21st season got a lot of attention because of the Twinnies, Chippendales, Trey and Lexi and that they had an alliance of three teams and almost made it into the top 3. That strategy obviously worked for them. We really wanted to try to form an alliance – provided we didn't know if it would work or if we could – but I think after the first three legs were all equal we felt like we were it really need working these social relationships. There really was no benefit in where you placed each leg so we had to do what we could to be successful.
JAMES | Especially when there is income in the mix. We wanted to position ourselves where no one would ever think of giving in to us or turning back. As Will said, the ultimate goal was to form an alliance or pact with two teams who had similar approaches to the race – competing hard and having fun in the process – and we always had that with Maddison and Riley and Hung and Chee very felt early on.
TVLINE | What did you think of DeAngelo's harsh comments after the elimination? He seemed quite ungrateful for the experience.
JAMES | He actually called me that night when the episode aired. As a superfan, I try to be very careful about how I feel. Not everyone is like me, not everyone loves and appreciates the show for what it is, and I get that. It was DeAngelo's lived experience and I can't blame him for it. Although it was a little annoying because I think racing is an experience in itself no matter how you look at it. It's really all about perspective.
TVLINE | In terms of processing, she seemed to have a good lead in the last leg. How much advantage did you actually have and how certain were you that you would win?
WILL | I think we knew we were going to win when James jumped off the bridge. At that moment I say, "This is for a million dollars!" was literal because we knew if James did that we'd have a massive head start. By the time we got to the finish line we hadn't seen a team since the beignets, and honestly, I think the lead ended up being between an hour and a half and two hours.
TVLINE | What was each of your favorite countries and why?
JAMES | Oh my god are you going to do this to us? Only one!? It's so hard to choose! The only thing that really strikes me is the Amazon, because that's a place we probably didn't think of. The opportunity to do the cultural chores and the river boat with the teams where we could all hang out and enjoy this company was a highlight.
WILL | Kazakhstan was amazing. It is not a country that we could normally visit. The fact that we were able to experience the beautiful culture and warm nature of the people, do really cool things with the stunt scene and then help decorate the yurt in the nomad village … this land will always have a special place capture our hearts. You can't even pay for these experiences! It was just a really wonderful leg.
TVLINE | What do you wish was shown on TV that didn't do the episodes?
WILL | Before each individual stage, we stopped at hotels or internet cafés and researched extensively where we wanted to go. We would have in-depth discussions with our taxi drivers to get more knowledge. We did a lot of work between trips to destinations to make sure we felt safe. It helps you feel calm and comfortable walking in one leg. I think we had the feeling that for most of the race we just had the feeling, "OK, we know a little bit, we can do it."
TVLINE | So if you got the call to go back, would you do it all again?
WILL | One hundred percent!
JAMES | In a heartbeat! Without question! We were ready to keep going as soon as we reached the finish line! We could have gone two, three weeks, a month, whatever!
WILL | Even The Amazing Race can't buy you a million dollars. It's something you could never do and no matter how stressful it is, meeting people from all over the US is such a rewarding experience. James and I would never have met Gary and DeAngelo! NFL soccer players are definitely not in our social circles …
JAMES | But now they are!
WILL | … Hung and Chee or the Beards or even Haley and Kaylynn, Leo and Alana … for all of these people from different walks of life, it's a beautiful part of the show. If you can do it again and see different cultures and other places you can't say no.
JAMES | If you can do a once in a lifetime moment twice, you'd be crazy not to say yes.