The Amazing Race finally returns this week after being preempted for the last three weeks because of the NCAA March Madness tournament. A couple of weeks ago, I caught up with Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez who became the third team to be eliminated. Initially, Jonathan (a 46 year-old entertainer) and Harley (a 41 year-old group fitness trainer) were saved by a non-elimination leg but after boarding a late flight from Phuket (that departed much later than the flight that most of the other teams were on), the pair were unable to catch up to the pack.
I caught up with Jonathan and Harley to discuss what happened.
Murtz Jaffer: Jonathan, I understand that you were actually behind Jenny and Jelani but that the episode made it look like you were behind Matt and Ashley. How far behind were you?
Jonathan Knight: We were told by Jenny and Jelani that we arrived 1 1/2 hours behind them.
MJ: It seemed like your flight out of Phuket left much later than everyone else’s. How much of a gap was there between your flight and the flights that the other teams were on?
Harley Rodriguez: We were 9 1/2 hours behind the team ahead of us…Bergen and Kurt.
MJ: Usually, the team that gets eliminated is featured a lot in the episode but because of how far back you were, you didn’t really get to interact with many of the other teams (and as a result, weren’t heavily featured in your last episode). Were you surprised by this?
JK: I love that they did it in the way that they did. People I know said they were in such suspense not knowing the inevitable outcome.
MJ: Harley, usually teams are eliminated because they couldn’t complete a detour or roadblock but you guys proved that navigating flights is perhaps the most important aspect of The Amazing Race. If you were giving advice to a new team going on to the Amazing Race, would you tell them that getting on the right flight is the key to winning?
HR: I would tell a new team to use every resource tirelessly…phones, computers, agents, and don’t stop until you get a definite booking.
MJ: How did you manage to get past your cat allergy on the show?
JK: Luckily for that challenge, we were in and out! I made sure I didn’t touch the cats and never touched my eyes until I had a second to wash them.
MJ: Why do you think the blind date couples have been so successful this season as it has only been pre-existing couples who have been eliminated thus far?
HR: I feel that as pre-existing couples, you go into the Race knowing that one team member will do certain challenges (like jumping out of a plane) while the other one doesn’t. In the case of the blind date couples, since they don’t know each other, both of them go into the Race knowing they will do any and every challenge without qualms.
MJ: Jonathan, while you were on the Amazing Race, did anyone recognize you as a member of New Kids on the Block and was this an advantage or disadvantage?
JK: I was so focused on the task at hand I really didn’t notice. I do know that fans showed up at an airport later in the race. Strange how the digital age allows so much to be revealed. I was disappointed when I got home and found out that three days into the Race, people already knew that Harley and I were cast on this season. I was looking forward to sharing the news and being able to see peoples responses. Glad phones aren’t allowed on the race, I would have been glued to my Twitter account (@JonathanRKNight).
MJ: You guys had to complete a speedbump but because of how far back your flight was… it seemed to not even matter at that point. Was it a factor?
HR: Of course it mattered…every minute spent on a challenge delays your arrival at the mat.
MJ: If you guys had been given the opportunity to use a U-Turn to catch-up, who would you have U-Turned?
JK: That’s hard to say exactly, but it would have been any team that we had known was behind us.
MJ: Harley, what’s next for you?
HR: I would love to revisit the countries we travelled to, with enough time to really enjoy it instead of zipping through areas in a race against time!
MJ: Jonathan, what’s next for you?
JK: I’m coming to a city near you! NKOTB is doing another arena tour this year with TLC and Nelly. We have our 7th NKOTB cruise this fall. Personally, I finally finished writing my autobiography, and landed a TV development deal showcasing my business renovating houses.
MJ: Thanks for joining me!
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Amazing Race