No one expected country singers Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Wayne to be on The Amazing Race All-Stars and not only did they surprise people by being on the show, but they seemingly shocked the Amazing Race community with an impressive second place finish on the show, narrowly losing out to Dave and Connor for the $1 million prize on the finale. I caught up with the team to discuss what happened and if they felt like they surprised a lot of people. We also discussed their feud with Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly in detail.
Jennifer Wayne: Hi, Murtz. How are you?!
Murtz Jaffer: I am good! You guys ready? We missed you at the finale in Vegas.
JW: I know, you know what? Caroline and I have been in the land of weddings lately. We have been in Vegas for the past month and a half. We have been in Vegas for four weekends in a row. Not only is our back account tapped out but we are tapped out of Vegas.
Caroline Cutbirth: I know! If we could have gotten that million dollars, maybe we could afford one more trip to Vegas but the $25,000 didn’t just quite cover it!
MJ: Caroline, it seemed like you guys were the complete underdogs of the season. Are you surprised that you managed to finish in second place?
CC: You know we were the underdogs the whole season and no, I don’t think that we were surprised because Jen and I believe in ourselves. We came into this season and we just mentally decided that we were just as strong as anyone else because there are so many components that go into winning the Race other than just actual physical strength and we just kept a really positive attitude.
We got some really lucky breaks and we just believed that we are just as worthy and capable of winning as anyone else. Yeah it was kind of shocking because on paper we are not the strongest team but I believe it. I wasn’t surprised. At the last leg of the Race, I thought we were going to pull it off and win the whole thing.
MJ: Jen, when you finish second… is it bittersweet? Knowing that you made it so close to the $1 million dollars but just missed it by a hair?
JW: Yeah, I think we literally lost by four seconds. So we counted and we were watching because whoever pulled the clue first got to jump first, so they pulled the clue and we pulled it four seconds later and it’s almost like… I think it would have been easier if we lost by like half an hour. That wouldn’t have been so heart breaking.
CC: Totally, I agree.
MJ: Caroline, how close were you to Dave and Connor before they finished on the mat ahead of you?
CC: They won by four seconds because it wasn’t actually who got in the helicopter first. It was who pulled the clue first. Because I got in the helicopter and I was dressed to jump five minutes before Dave but he pulled the clue first so his helicopter took off. That’s how I knew they had won it once he was in the air.
The only hope we had was that he would miss the clue on the strip, but he got it and so then when once I saw him pass, like flying through the strip, I was like okay, we are second. We didn’t win.
MJ: Jen, can you discuss your flirting strategy on the Race and how much it helped you during the course of the show?
JW: I think our flirting really helped us. We flirt with everybody. Boys, girls, ourselves We are just friendly people really and I think that people liking us really helped because we got a lot of help from people and we also gave a lot of help which they didn’t show. But we really created a sense of community and I definitely think it helped us.
MJ: Caroline, your feud with Brenchel was one of the primary storylines of the season. Can you explain how it got started?
CC: The thing is we liked the Branchels. We thought they are fine people and they chose a different way to race. When they U-Turned Dave and Conner, that’s really when the line was drawn. Dave got really upset and Jen and I have always loved Dave and Conner and so we naturally aligned with them. We don’t hate the Branchels at all, we understand that they were trying to win first place. So I get their reasoning but then it just sort of took off from there. And then at the last leg of the Race, Jen and I really were not really involved in the feud, it was more between Dave and Conner and the Branchels… but then on the last leg of the Race, Rachel did kind of pull out the claws a little bit and pushed Jen and then she started shoving dirt in Conner’s hole and digging the treasure chest.
JW: They stole our taxi…
CC: They really brought their claws out on the last episode. So I don’t know, that’s fine. They are just not people we would hang out with on the regular.
MJ: Jen, the question that was burning for me to ask you is that it seemed like you really blame Brendon and Rachel for U-Turning Dave and Connor. But can you really blame them for that as Dave and Connor were really the strongest team on the show? Isn’t the U-Turn designed to hurt the strongest team which was Dave and Connor?
JW: I think you can use the U-Turn in several different ways and that was the first U-Turn of the season and usually there are two. If Caroline and I got to the U-turn board in first, we wouldn’t have U-turned anybody we would have just continued on and finished in first place. That way you have a saved U-Turn for the next time. Once you use your U-turn, you can never use it again. And so in case you get U-Turned in the next leg, you could still U-Turn somebody else. And so if we were in last place or if we were fighting for the leg and trying to stay in then we definitely would use the U-Turn. But for us, strategy-wise, I would think it’s a lot smarter to pass the U-Turn board when you are in first, take your first place and not to waste your U-Turn. So that’s how I would look at it.
MJ: Caroline, what happened with them in the airport on your way to Vegas. Did they cut in front of you? Did they push you? It was vaguely referenced on the finale but no one really knows what actually happened.
CC: It wasn’t like caught on film, we were all racing to get… It’s one of those behind-the scene-things and we are racing to go through customs or something and basically we were waiting for our crew and Jen…
JW: It’s kind of behind-the scenes stuff but you have a sound guy and a camera guy running with you at all times. So when we get to the line for customs, we were in second behind Dave and Conner and the Branchels were behind us but they said that they should have been in front of us because our sound guy wasn’t there with us. That’s not a rule. The rule is your sound guy and camera guy just have to catch up to you. It’s the team has to be there first. Literally the camera guys get there, they tell them ‘no, Jane and Caroline should be second and you guys should be third’ and they went and passed customs to film us running out, to shoot us running out and they stepped in front of us and she took her elbow and literally like shoved me behind her.
Caroline and I are not going to fight with anybody. That’s just not who we are and so we will definitely not get physical so we are like, ‘hey if you want to be in front of us that bad… take it.’ And then at the end of the Race, she came up to me and said, I am sorry if you think I pushed you but I don’t even know what that means. That’s not an apology. I don’t even know what that means. So it’s very weird, the whole thing was super weird.
MJ: And Jen, what is your relationship like with all the teams now, do you generally get along with everyone?
JW: Oh, yeah, we love everybody. We talk to Leo probably once a week, we talk to Flight Time all the time. We talk to Dave and Conner.
CC: We talk to the Cowboys too…
JW: We really made some great friends this season.
MJ: Caroline, what was the toughest challenge for you?
CC: Well, clearly I struggled with the assembling in China. That was really tough. I hate assembling in general, especially a car, an electronic car with 37 million pieces, and I was really relieved when Jen maneuvered the express pass.
MJ: Jen, do you think you surprised people by how well you did?
JW: Do you want to answer Caroline?
CC: Go ahead Jen…
JW: I think that we did. I think that we knew that we could do it but we just kind of know our strengths and weaknesses and that they are different from everyone else’s. Obviously, physically, we weren’t the strongest team. But we were really good at directions this year. We didn’t make any mistakes. We really learned a lot from last season and I think that really helped us and we did excel at some of the tasks. We almost got first place on several legs and we got a lot of help from people. We also gave a lot of help and of course they didn’t show that because I think that our role was to be the blondes that need help from everybody. But we really did help people and got help back.
MJ: Caroline, how do you answer critics that say that you guys simply used your looks to your advantage to get ahead on the Race?
CC: Sorry, Leo is calling me right now! How funny is that?! I think people love to hate, and people are always going to find something wrong with anyone, especially when you are putting yourself in a situation to be hated on. I mean we are racing for a million dollars on national TV and I think our schtick was to be the blondes and I think it’s really normal that people are going to hate us for being that.
Blondes have been hated forever for being dumb blondes but you know what? We are laughing all the way to almost a million dollars, dang it we almost got there!
MJ: Jen, what’s next for you?
JW: We are actually going to record some new music so that’s really exciting because we haven’t done it in a couple of years. And so we are really looking forward to that and we also are hosting a big festival in Nashville called Nashville Dancin’ and that’s every Thursday night during the summer. It’s a free show for all the people that live in Nashville and the Riverfront. Caroline and I are the official hosts for that! It should be a fun summer!
MJ: Amazing, Thank you so much!
CC: We love you too, you are so awesome, thanks for being such a great supporter of the race, and you make it really special for all of us.
MJ: Amazing, thank you so much. I am sure we will talk soon.
JW: Thanks Murtz, bye!
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Amazing Race