Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Race 26’s CJ Harris & Lebya Simpson


Last week, Tuskegee couple CJ Harris & Lebya Simpson became the second team to be eliminated from The Amazing Race. It seemed like the couple missed a bullet train after stopping to take a selfie video and this appeared to be the reason why they couldn’t catch up with the other teams.

I recently caught up with CJ and Libby to discuss whether or not they blamed the self for their elimination and why the blind date couples seem to be outperforming the pre-existing couples this season.

Murtz Jaffer: Hey guys. Thanks for joining me and sorry to see you go on The Amazing Race. CJ, I’d like to start with you. What did you think when Phil announced the blind date twist and did you think it offered you and Lebya an advantage (as a pre-existing couple?)

CJ Harris: I thought it was a great idea. Racing around the world makes for a great first date. Initially I though the existing couples had an advantage, but that changed quickly. I think they could be way more blunt with their partners. I didn’t want to make Lebya mad, because after the show aired I would still have to come home to her.

MJ: Libby, many Amazing Race purists are still adjusting to the new concept of the show. You guys were basically eliminated for taking a selfie. Do you think that the stakes are still just as high this season or is this year’s Amazing Race more like one big group date?

Lebya Simpson: The selfie was not reason we were eliminated as they made it look on TV.

We were probably about 2-3 hours behind the last team so it was really no way we could have caught up unless there was some equalizer. The stakes are definitely still high… there is a million dollars up for grabs!!! The group date was irrelevant to winning the money.

MJ: Was there a pressure on you to keep taking selfie photos and videos and do you blame taking that video for your elimination?

CJH: I wouldn’t necessarily say “pressure” was on us, but we were encouraged to take selfies. I don’t blame our elimination on the selfie. The emergency stop actually cost us more time than than pic.

MJ: On the episode, you also said that your bullet train had to make an emergency stop. What happened?

LS: We don’t know exactly what caused the emergency stop but it happened about half way though the trip and had us stuck for about 30 minutes. We didn’t see anyone exit the train, so we just assumed the problem was mechanical.

MJ: You guys didn’t seem to have a problem with the roadblocks and detours this season and seemed to struggle with directions. Was this the case?

CJH: Getting the directions was 20 times harder than following them. We couldn’t get anyone to help us for whatever reason. If we would’ve gotten directions faster I think we would’ve fared much better.

MJ: You are the second pre-existing couple to be eliminated in a row. Why do you think the blind date couples are doing so well?

LS: I think the blind dates did so well because they didn’t know each other. They had no problems being themselves or saying what was on their minds because they did not have that existing relationship and weren’t in danger of hurting anyone’s feelings. As dating couples, we had more to lose so naturally our decision-making process was more emotion-based. At the end of the day the couples would have to go home with each other as opposed to the blind daters going their separate ways, a definite advantage.

MJ: CJ, Libby saw a chapel during one of your cab rides that you seemed to not see. Are there plans for you guys to marry in the near future and is there any chance that the wedding will take place in Nagano?

CJH: We’re definitely getting married. Just not sure when quite yet. No way in the world I would get married in Nagano. NO WAY!

MJ: Libby, what was the toughest part of the show for you?

LS: The toughest part of show was getting help with directions. I know having a camera shoved in your face could be a bit much, but people literally looked at us like were aliens. With C.J. and I being so independent, having to rely solely another person was very difficult especially with little to no assistance. This was ultimately our demise.

MJ: CJ, you guys didn’t seem to be upset when you arrived at the mat in last place and Phil said that you were eliminated. Was that your honest reaction and was it because you kind of expected it?

CJH: We weren’t upset at all. Just being on The Amazing Race was already a win in my book. That was our honest reaction. We pretty much knew that we were eliminated before we ever stepped on the mat.

MJ: Libby, what’s next for you guys?

LS: We are getting married of course!!! The million dollars would have helped to expedite this process but since that thrill is gone we have to make other arrangements lol. However, we are excited about our future but taking things slowly to ensure we financially and spiritually ready for what marriage bring. We are truly blessed.

MJ: Many thanks for joining me and have a great day!

The Amazing Race continues tonight at 8 p.m. on CTV

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