The Amazing Race
Louie Stravato, 47, and Michael Naylor's enemies were already eliminated on The Amazing Race, so they decided to keep their competition — Daniel and Jordan — close, working with them for the first half of the second leg in Shanghai. "I said, 'If we go head-to-head, I think we can beat them out,'" Michael, 45, tells TVGuide.com. They didn't, as the brothers edged them for the last spot in the final three. Still, the self-described "Porn-stache-ioed cops" stick by their decision, just like they do with their choice to U-Turn Heidi and Joe — who "needs to get over it."
TVGuide.com: How far behind Dan and Jordan were you?
Michael: I feel we were 10 minutes behind. I spoke to Daniel after. He had a horrendous cab ride as we did. He reacted a little differently to his cab ride. It felt like forever and watching it again, it felt like forever. I want to say 10 — 20 minutes tops. We finished [the Roadblock] right after them. ... [The Roadbloack] was just looking for a needle in the haystack. At one point, I was taking everything out of the case and leaving them out, but I was told you couldn't do that. You had to put them all back.
TVGuide.com: Why didn't you do pork dumplings?
Louie: There were prior episodes from prior seasons where you had to order the food in that language, so I was worried about that. I think Mike and I brought that up. We decided not to risk it. ... But looking at it now, it looked kind of easy. ... [When we saw Dan and Jordan were still at the Roadblock,] we were very motivated. I was pumped to see them still there, still searching. I was like, "We can do this. We've got this."
Amazing Race's Jeff and Jordan: We like to make mistakes
TVGuide.com: Why were you willing to work with them at the beginning of the leg?
Michael: When the brothers came back to get us, I was ecstatic. Louie had more of a feeling that he wanted to leave them and go on our own. We work better alone, but I wanted our competition with us. ... It would've worked had we gotten a little bit more of a break. We're not going to sit and whine about it afterward. It's the game.
Louie: My whole thing with Dan and Jordan being with us was that I drilled them with a million questions before searching the area [for the Garden Bridge], and one of them was, "Did you use the translation service?" Dan said, "Yes, I did." But they didn't have any answer of where it was or what it was. When we found, maybe an hour later, a taxi and asked for the translation phone, the [translator] was like, "Yes, it's a bridge. You have to drive there by taxi." ... That's when I got really mad.
TVGuide.com: What did they use before hooking up with you guys?
Michael: They went on the Internet. They did a lot of research during the two hours. After the Fashion House being right under our nose in the last episode, I was really going to scour the area. We only had $20 for that leg, so I'm saying, "It's got to be pretty close." What you didn't see was that there was a giant bridge that we were on and it had shrubs that led to these gardens. Inside the gardens were five other bridges. Dan and Jordan already checked them, so that saved us time. But they didn't know about the translation service or they didn't remember it the way I used it. So Louie in hindsight is like, "If we did that [by ourselves], they would still be left out in the cold." But hindsight's 20/20.
Amazing Race's Joe and Heidi: Morse code challenge was "an impossible task"
TVGuide.com: Did you ever think about ditching them?
Louie: I was kind of excited in the cab ride when we were in front, and they got stuck at the light and we lost them. I thought they were going to get lost. I was kind of pumped at that point, but obviously that didn't happen. It is what it is. I get a lot of phone calls: "Oh, the brothers really used you guys." I said, "No, they played the game."
TVGuide.com: You weren't concerned about the Speed Bump possibly slowing you down and putting you behind them — which it didn't since that was the easiest Speed Bump ever.
Michael: [Laughs] Not really because I really had the feeling that we would conquer that Speed Bump. That took Louie about four turns and me about six or seven turns. The toughest part was that our fingers were frozen. But it was quick and we were right back with [Dan and Jordan].
TVGuide.com: Mike, what was so hard about the puzzle last week?
Michael: Don't break my heart, will ya? [Laughs] I have puzzles all over my desk! I have puzzle text messages now. "Do you want to do puzzles with my kids?" [In the first leg] when we were painting the house, I was going, "Louie, this is the right color!" He said, "No, it's not!" My wife has been telling me for years that I'm colorblind and I'm starting to believe it! The outside of the puzzle, I was able to do it. ... I got to the middle — I couldn't see the colors. I couldn't see the blend. It was like a dragon with spines. I kept praying that the puzzle was wrong so I wouldn't look so foolish. But I'm the fool!
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TVGuide.com: You U-Turned Joe and Heidi, and he's still not over it, judging from the Elimination Station videos.
Michael: He needs to get over it. I'll be honest with you. That was the only time on the show that the edit wasn't 100 percent because I had to talk Louie into U-Turning them. I had my heart set on Joe and Heidi from the beginning. It was 50 percent business, 50 percent "I couldn't stomach 'em." One of his [passport stamps] was China. I thought, "There's a possibility we could go to China," so do I want to bring somebody who speaks Mandarin to Asia? No way! Then there's the whole thing on the bus — he was a negative factor. Other people didn't like him. He was mean to Daniel and Jordan. He needs to get over it. Joe is hung up on Joe.
Louie: Every single Elimination Station video, he's out of control. People are posting, "Give it up. Let it go, Joe." C'mon! He was negative all the time and he was like a Mr. Know-It-All. He'd make comments on the bus about everyone, and me and Mike are sitting right in front of him. Like, "Dude, we're right here."
TVGuide.com: What did you say to each other at the finish?
Michael: We talked about it a little bit. I said it's part of the game. Jet and Cord said to me, at the final four, I think, "Mike, if a U-Turn comes up and we get there first, we're U-Turning you." I laughed. I said, "I think that's a compliment." If they or anyone else U-Turned us, I would say, "Great move." It is what it is. We thought Carol and Brandy were a threat — not physically — but because they were world travelers. They were in decent shape, but everywhere we went, they were like, "Oh, I know somebody from Singapore, I know somebody from here who speaks French, who speaks Spanish."
Amazing Race's Carol and Brandy: Caite "very clearly had a problem with us as lesbians"
TVGuide.com: They thought you were friends and were "blindsided" to learn that you trained Brent and Caite to U-Turn them. How would you characterize your relationship with them?
Michael: Well, to us, they were just people that we knew. I don't remember hanging out with them very much — a couple conversations, but I wouldn't consider that good friends. My definition and theirs are different, I guess. We ended up being real good friends with Jet and Cord, Steve and Allie, Monique and Shawne, Daniel and Jordan, and Brent and Caite. We had longer conversations with them. Maybe [Carol and Brandy] thought we had some, I don't know.
Louie: The cowboys are tough competitors. Everyone's asking, "Why didn't you target them?" We just wanted positive people with us at the end. We were so sick of the negative people, it was insane. If any of the other teams beat us and were in the final, we said so be it.