Don't believe everything you see on TV. Although the fourth (but hopefully not final) season of The Amazing Race was filled with backbiting, everyone was all smiles and hugs at Thursday night's wrap party held in Times Square at the Manhattan Chili Company especially champs Chip and Reichen. After watching the finale episode, the reunited Racers happily dished their memories and what they're up to now.
They may've been eliminated on the first leg of the race, but spouses Debra and Steve are convinced their departure paved the way for Chip and Reichen's victory. "In the first episode, we were on that last bus with Tian and Jaree, Jeff and Dave and Chip and Reichen," Steve explained. "When we reached Cortina, we all put our hands in the middle and said, 'The winner of this race is riding on this bus.'" Sure enough, their prediction came to pass. "We strategized it!" laughed Debra. "We sacrificed ourselves and pushed them forward."
Amanda and Chris, the second team to be eliminated, abstained from choosing a favorite among the final three. "I'm just praying we can get an all-star race, so I can make up for my stupid move in the masquerade challenge," Chris said. "We do play out scenarios. If we were a minute earlier, the whole race could have changed. It's fun to play the 'What If?' game, but that can go on forever."
After embracing the winners as her favorite racers, Monica (one-half of the team known as The Supremes) revealed she's hoping to try her hand at acting next. "My husband signed with the New Orleans Saints and we just moved a week ago. Community theatre is very big there, so I want to get involved with it."
Millie and Chuck made the trip from Tennessee to New York for the finale, the first episode they could bring themselves to watch since their untimely elimination. "Since Jon and Al weren't in the final three, we were rooting for Dave and Jeff," says Chuck. "We didn't really get to know them during the show, but watching it, they're so classy," adds Millie. These two are still dating and yes, they're still virgins although Millie will be relocating elsewhere in the near future. "We'll see what happens," she smiles.
Jon and Al were clowning it up, posing for pictures, playing with kids, and balancing a variety of objects on their noses (including a chair!). "We've got the TV bug," Al said, as he handed out bright red clown noses to fans. "We want to do a travel show or an educational show or something like that." In the meantime, watch their website for updates on the guys' exploits.
After claiming they'd win the whole thing, Dave and Jeff finished a distant third. So who were they pulling for between the final two? "I was actually rooting for Chip and Reichen," says Dave. "They're awesome guys. I love Kelly and Jon as well, but I was really hoping Chip and Reichen would win." These days, he's back at work running his own marketing company in L.A. "I keep myself busy trying to earn my half a million instead of winning it."
Runners-up Jon and Kelly garnered huge cheers when Jon stripped down to his birthday suit to complete a challenge. "My mom loved that one," he says sarcastically. "I was like, 'What the hell?' I knew it was going to be blurred out anyway and it was fun." Ever the jokester, Kelly chimed in: "And now you say: 'It sure was a little blur!'" Believe it or not, their wedding is still on.
The real man of the hour was host Phil Keoghan. From the moment he entered the room, he found himself mobbed by Racers and fans alike. In a rare quiet moment, he shared his thoughts about why the show works so well. "The Amazing Race is really about putting ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. We at home are able to say 'That's what it would be like if I was in the country right now.' I think viewers appreciate the depth we have. We've got a solid show with real substance. I'd love to see it come back. I think it deserves to come back."
Any chance CBS will renew Race for a fifth season? "The thing is, it's not a cheap show," concedes Keoghan. "It's cheaper compared to a drama, but it's still not a cheap show. We're still flying hundreds of people around the world. It does ultimately come down to money and somebody's looking at those numbers. We're looking at it creatively because that's what we want to do."
"I really believe I have the best job in the world," Keoghan adds. "There is no better job." That doesn't mean he'll be twiddling his thumbs until CBS makes up their mind about the show's future. "I have something I'll be talking about soon, another show," he teases. "I have to be vague about it right now." In other words, stay tuned.
And, finally, what about the victors Chip and Reichen? They were crowded by well-wishers all night, but Reichen did take a moment to say: "If we hadn't won, I wish we would have jumped on the mat together with Kelly and Jon and Dave and Jeff. That way, the three teams would split the money because we were the three best teams." Careful what you say Reichen. The other teams would happily take you up on that offer!Hey Race fans! Look for a full Q& A with Chip and Reichen in Tuesday's Insider.