Jeff and Lyda danced into that good night on The Amazing Race 26 premiere and came up very short. To say the couple struggled with the synchronized dance Detour with Japanese band World Order would be an understatement. They took three hours and 42 minutes to complete it, only to discover that they had been U-Turned, which was the nail in their coffin. So why didn't they ever change Detours? Were they surprised to be U-Turned? Find out below.
Do you know how close you were to CJ and Libby? They made it seem like a close finish.
Jeff: It's hard to tell. We never got the times between second to last and us.
Lyda: It was probably 30 minutes to an hour. ... When we woke up in LA that morning, it was 5 a.m. ... It was a 40-hour leg!
You did sake Detour pretty quickly. Do you regret not switching?
Jeff: Oh, hugely. I didn't wanna dance. We got caught up in the moment. We were on the train and made an alliance with Kurt and Bergen, and so we were all giddy we were together doing this. They were like, "We wanna dance." And I was like, "Alright, I guess we'll dance." I should've put my foot down right then and said, "No, I don't wanna dance." But the sake thing looked scary because you had to memorize 10 bottles. But it turns out you only had to serve one and if it was wrong, you could just try again and keep guessing. We keep wishing we did that right from the get-go.
Lyda: We've laid awake many a night thinking about it! We should've done the sake! [Laughs]
Jeff: And the dancing, since I was so bad at it, I should've just said, "No, Lyda, let's do the sake." But we were worried about the transit time back and then it might be hard to find the sake place. We tried to tough it out. Lyda was really encouraging — "We got this!" I was like, "Quit telling me I got this!" [Laughs] I was really struggling. But, oh, sure, lots of second thoughts.
Kurt and Bergen finished before you guys, and it's not like they were gonna wait for you. You could've switched after they finished.
Jeff: Yeah. We could've changed at any time. We should've. Some of that might have been being tired and some of that might have been Lyda insisting we could've finished it. I should've said, "I'm having a really hard time with this. Let's change." I should've put my foot down while I was doing it.
Lyda: The sake task took us 10 minutes. Not joking. It was amazing. If we had just chosen that from the beginning, we would've finished when the sun was still up. But we didn't. You can't un-ring that bell. It was a very long night out there. We persevered. We were so invested in the time there.
Everyone was pretty calm for the most part. There were no major freak-outs even though so many teams struggled and/or were lost.
Lyda: We knew it was gonna be a long 21 days of racing and we have to pace ourselves. There's going to be mistakes along the way.
It seemed like you had a shot if you hadn't been U-Turned. Were you expecting it?
Jeff: I think Mike and Rochelle felt like they had to because they were the second to last to leave the dancing. And with all the transit — it was way across Tokyo you had to travel — you didn't know if you would have a hiccup with the transit. We told them, "We would've done the same thing." It was the right thing to do. Anybody in their position, being the second to last to leave the dancing, would've done that. We have no hard feelings. They're a sweet couple. We didn't hold any grudges.
Little did they know there were two other teams completely lost.
Lyda: Right. And you don't know until you see it. We don't hold it against them. They're a lovely couple. We would've done it.
Did you know about the blind date twist beforehand or were you wondering why there were five single people standing next to you at the starting line?
Jeff: We did say that! [Laughs] "Why are these guys by themselves?" We never saw the girls and Kurt. We're always wondering what's going on and we were kind of guessing that, but we weren't sure. The start line was when they let the cat out of the bag. I thought it was a cool twist. Obviously on that first episode, the [top] three couples were blind daters. ... I think it will be fun watching the rest of the season to see how those [relationships] evolve.
As a pre-existing couple, would you root for a blind date couple or a pre-existing couple?
Jeff: We know how it all ends, but going back to the beginning, I think we probably would be rooting for an existing couple.
Lyda: When we went into it, I think all six of us [pre-existing couples] would agree, we want the each other to win.
What are you up to now?
Lyda: We're licking our wounds this morning. We had a little party last night with some friends and it was loud ... so we rewatched it this morning and licked our wounds. We wish it had lasted longer. It was a chance of a lifetime and so much fun.
Jeff: I want to compliment the CBS people. They're a real class act. There's nothing contrived. I'm sure people think these reality shows are contrived and I'm sure some of them are, but right from the beginning, [co-creators] Bert [Van Munster] and Elise [Doganieri] and all the way down. What you see is what you get. I thought they did a great job of playing it fair.
Do you remember those dance moves? Do they haunt you?
Jeff: I barely remembered them when I was doing it! [Laughs] But I do want to find the music that World Order uses for that. I want to get the English translation for the song.
You should do a music video before the season's over.
Lyda: I know, right? We did that for three hours and 42 minutes. When we got to the hotel, my thighs were bruised from slapping them so hard. The top of my legs were black and blue!
The Amazing Race moves to its regular timeslot Friday at 8/7c on CBS.
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Check out our behind-the-scenes footage from last season's start line: