In 2009, I first met and talked to Kris Klicka and Amanda Blackledge. Back then, they had been eliminated because of a blind U-Turn and certainly went home a lot earlier than expected. When the new theme of The Amazing Race was announced as giving teams who had Unfinished Business a second chance, I certainly thought of them and all the teams that had been sent home because of a twist. That’s why I found their elimination on The Amazing Race 18 so ironic because this time, it was also a U-Turn that set them off on the wrong foot right when the Race first started and while they managed to fight their way back, they couldn’t escape being the first team eliminated. I talked to the recently-engaged couple about what happened, what they would have done differently, and if I can sing at their wedding.
Murtz Jaffer: Hey guys, it’s been awhile… actually, almost exactly two years. How excited were you to compete on the Amazing Race again?
Kris: Dude, it was soooo fun!
Amanda: It was awesome, it was really exciting. We’re honored that we were even asked back.
Kris: A little short-lived, but hey.
Murtz: I think the initial question that I have is whether you will ever fly Quantas again since that was the opening clue that kind of put you at the back of the pack?
Amanda: (Laughs). I can tell you that I will never forget what the acronym stands for.
Murtz: I have no idea what it stands for… do you know?
Kris: Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services
Murtz: Done like a champion Kris, done like a champion. I was shocked at how quickly you managed to finish both sides of the detour. How did you do it so quickly?
Kris: Well, I mean we basically knew that we had to get it done and that we’re going to go home if we didn’t get through it quick so we kind of looked at each other and said ‘hey, let’s just do it as fast as possible and hopefully we won’t come in last.’ And luckily that didn’t happen!
Amanda: (Laughs). We just tried to make sure that we didn’t make any errors and yeah we got through it pretty quickly. The second detour in our task was actually easier than the first one that everyone chose which was kind of ironic.
Murtz: It really wasn’t doing both sides of the detour that was to blame for your elimination as much as it was trying to find the To Sail To Stop anchor? Why was it so hard to find?
Kris: Everybody got lost on that. That was one of the things that they really didn’t show when it aired. All the teams were lost for hours and hours and there were just a couple of teams that ended up getting to a desktop computer and going through the second and third pages of Google which actually showed the statue in front of the Town Hall. Initially when you Googled it, because I mean we talked to people with iPhones and taxi drivers, what have you, it wasn’t on that first Google page so we assumed that it wasn’t on Google. So then we started asking people and driving around the town and then we ran into Gary and Mallory and Ron and Christina and then we all ended up finding our way to Town Hall after that.
Murtz: The first time you raced you were U-Turned by another team (Margie and Luke) and this time, you basically U-Turned yourselves… is one easier to accept than the other?
Amanda: Yes and no. Not really. It’s probably harder to accept this one just because we did it to ourselves and it was just a stupid mistake right off the bat. Oh gosh, what a horrible way to start out! It wasn’t like some team made us do some other task. It was more like, well we couldn’t figure it out so we did it to ourselves.
Kris: Yeah, we have no one to blame but ourselves and that’s the toughest part. God, we had this extra shot to do it again. Then right off the bat it’s like ‘wah, wah, wah, waahh’ (sound effect).
Murtz: (Laughs). There are five teams from your original season competing on Unfinished Business. Do you think this made it more competitive amongst yourselves or was it a lot of Unfinished Business with each other (like Margie and Luke U-Turning you the first time around)?
Amanda: I would say that it made it not necessarily more competitive. I mean Bertram van Munster even said when he was casting this season that he was looking for the most competitive teams and I wouldn’t say that it made us more competitive because everyone was competitive but we definitely didn’t have plans to get back at Margie and Luke and U-Turn them… however if we did have the chance to U-Turn we absolutely would have done it in a heartbeat. We weren’t going to make a stupid decision just out of spite. We were going to do what was smart. If we had the opportunity, we would have definitely used it on whichever team at the time would have made the most sense.
Kris: Yeah, we would have used it as a power play as opposed to just getting back at somebody.
Murtz: Those relationships kind of came into play right because Mel and Mike gave Margie a part of her costume back. Do you think that if they had to go back to get it, that might have saved you?
Kris: Yeah, I definitely think that could have been a possibility. Who knows how long it could have taken them to find that and in the clue it specifically said that you had to have every piece of your kangaroo outfit with you when you got to Phil, so you had to have that stuff.
Murtz: There are a lot of father/daughter and mother/son teams on this race with Ronald and Christina, Gary and Mallory, Margie and Luke and Mel and Mike… do you think that being two younger and competitive people is an advantage or it better to be related. Like have a dad there who knows you so well.
Kris: I think being young and competitive is better to be honest. I just think, for us, we started off bad and because of the whole Sail To Stop thing that kind of screwed us over but going through tasks and doing the actual legwork on the race… we blew past people on that so I definitely think we had the upper hand physically and stuff.
Amanda: I don’t think that the relationship between the people matters so much. I think it just matters about how well you work together and the perks that each teammate has. I am terrified of heights and Kris isn’t. Having a team that’s balanced. If one person can’t drive stick, make sure the other one can. If one person can’t eat gross things, make sure the other one can. Having that balance.
Murtz: You guys are Amazing Race experts now having done it twice… what advice would you give to anyone going on the show?
Amanda: READ YOUR CLUE!
Murtz: KNOW WHAT QUANTAS MEANS! KNOW WHAT QUANTAS MEANS!
Kris: I think rather than getting caught up in the moment, you need to just gather your composure and sit back and think. I think that’s what happened to us right at the get-go. We were going Queensland this, Queensland that… you see flags that say Queensland Air or Queensland Express and you are thinking ‘oh, that must be it!’ rather than sitting back and saying “Queensland and Northern… that’s QAN… QANTAS.’ If we had sat back and really analyzed it, I think we would have gotten it.
Murtz: Congrats on the recent engagement. When is the wedding and do you need a wedding singer?
Kris: We do!
Murtz: You know Kris… I can sing a pretty mean tune.
Amanda: I guess we’re going to have to invite you then!
Kris: You might have been singing in New York, the last time I saw you man…
Kris: I am trying to remember…
Murtz: So when’s the wedding?
Amanda: Kris actually proposed and two weeks later we got the call for the Race, so initially we started to plan for the Race and for the wedding and working full-time and then we were pulling out our hair so we decided that the Race was a priority… let’s focus on this because we’re going to win this time! So we just put the wedding on hold… I mean what’s the rush anyway? We’re aiming for 2012 now.
Murtz: Well that sounds great, thanks a lot for joining me and hopefully I’ll be seeing you guys soon.
Kris: Right on man, take care.
Amanda: Take care!