Natalie and Nadiya
Natalie and Nadiya nearly made the final three on The Amazing Race 21, but they came nowhere near as close on All-Stars. The twins became the first team eliminated Sunday after they self-destructed searching for a bridal shop in China and second-guessed their decision to enter an even-numbered ferris wheel booth, which contained their next clue. "It was just terrible," Natalie tells TVGuide.com. "We were out of control, we had bad luck. It was not our day at all." Ironically, it was their previous performance on Season 21 that played a part in their downfall, they believe. Keep reading to find out why.
Phil Keoghan breaks down Amazing Race All-Stars teams and "gut-wrenching" start
You guys seemed to be resigned that you would get eliminated. When did you realize you were last?
Natalie: Once we were in China, we just had very bad luck with the clue situation and after that, the leg was just so linear that there was no chance for us to make up time. Me and Nadiya kind of sensed it was coming to an end when we finally got the dress shop clue. We were hoping and banking on there being a really tough challenge, something intense that would allow for [placement changes] but once we realized that wasn't coming, we knew it was over.
Do you know how far behind Joey and Meghan you were?
Nadiya: We saw them at the bubble tower, and they saw us. We didn't realize the whole even-and-odd numbers situation, but they were gone before we got off the tower, and that thing took like 10 minutes to go around. We saw them again at the Roadblock. But nobody messed up on that, so we knew when they left there, we were last.
You guys were your own worst enemies. You were right in front of the bridal shop and didn't go in, and you were about to go into one of the even bubbles and backed out at the last second.
Nadiya: Exactly! We were just a hot mess the whole leg. I think the Afghanimals and us together was just too much energy. None of us are calm. Sometimes it's nice to work with a team that is more calm and levelheaded, whereas the four of us were just out of control. From there, it was a downward spiral.
Natalie: Also, Nadiya and I were not used to being in the back of the pack. Not having been in the back on our first Race, it was really different racing from behind and having everything on the line. We were never racing not to get eliminated last time and that was different here. We started off racing for first place, but it ended up becoming a "we can't come in last" situation. It put us out of our comfort zone and we didn't deal with it well, so one thing unraveled after another.
You were in a constant panic mode. Did you try to take a breath and calm down?
Nadiya: I think we tried to do that, but it obviously didn't work. [Laughs] I was trying to calm down and re-strategize. It seems like a good idea, but it never happened for us like that. We always get more excited and more out of control.
Natalie: It's also weird when you're working with another team. The decision to leave the team is sometimes scary to do. We thought about leaving the Afghanimals, but we ended up deciding to stay. If we had followed them when they left, we would've gotten lucky with them finding the shop.
Nadiya: The big game-changer was that people were allowed to lead you to the dress shop. It's usually they could give you directions, but they couldn't lead you there. We got a bunch of idiots that led us to the wrong places. And any team, whether they're good at navigation or not, if they found the right person to find the right spot, that's all luck. The people that we had were just idiots. The other teams got better people. I feel like it would've been completely different if people weren't allowed to usher us to these stores.
Photos: Meet The Amazing Race All-Stars cast
Do you think you would've had a chance if you went in the No. 2 bubble like you were going to?
Nadiya: You never know. Obviously it would've been a better situation for us to be in. We would've been right after Joey and Meghan instead of waiting another 10 minutes, but like Natalie said, we had no opportunity to make up time. Literally the stadium was right below the bubbles. Nobody went to the wrong arena. Everybody went straight there, everybody did the Roadblock on the first try. It was very basic.
Is it harder getting eliminated first or in fourth place?
Nadiya: It's just as bittersweet as making it to fourth place. We came so close to the final that was in our hometown. We could smell the victory last time. This is on the other end of the spectrum. It sucks we didn't even get to race, but it's like we didn't even get close to the $1 million.
Natalie: Just the fact that we couldn't race is disappointing. Even though we get a little crazy sometimes — and yes, this episode, we were very hotheaded and fighting with each other — we had such a fun time racing.
How bummed are you that you missed out on going to Sri Lanka this season?
Nadiya: I'm just pretending that maybe they decided to go to Sri Lanka once we were kicked out. [Laughs]
Natalie: We're looking at it like, you know, we've already been to Sri Lanka. We grew up there. We don't need to go back there with Amazing Race!
What are you up to now?
Natalie: Back in school. Nadiya and I are actually planning to go back to Sri Lanka at the end of the summer to start a CrossFit there. We've been doing CrossFit here for about two and a half years. People talk sh-- about us, but you can't deny that when it came to challenges, we could hang with the guys, and that was because of CrossFit. We started doing that to train for the Race. It would've been amazing to have the extra $1 million for the business plan. [Laughs]
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