Tim and Te Jay were definitely not in pole position on The Amazing Race. Instead, the college sweethearts were felled by a greased pole, when they attempted the Maltese game gostra to no avail and switched Detours a little too late. "We really thought we could do it," Tim tells TVGuide.com. "During the episode, you see both of us very excited and confident. That's why we kept going." Do they regret not changing sooner? Find out below — and see what Te Jay's mom thinks now that she sees they're not just roommates.
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How close were you?
We would say about 20 minutes. But we knew going to the mat that we were last. We knew we were eliminated.
You didn't see Brooke and Robbie after they left?
No. It was just Tim and Te Jay!
Tim: Our taxi driver did say, "Oh, your friends tried to take the taxi."
Were they actually trying to steal it or did they just not know your bags were in the taxi?
I guess they didn't know. At least they didn't try to [steal it] afterward.
Why did you stay at the flags for so long?
Because we were last, after our Speed Bump, we just felt like that would be the quickest challenge to complete. And it is quick if you could do it. We really thought we could do it. During the episode, you see both of us very excited and confident. That's why we kept going. After Te Jay got the yellow flag, I had to get the red one. After several tries, we knew it was more difficult than it looked, we felt like if we didn't get this that it would be too late to switch, so it was all or nothing. At the end, we only switched because by that time we definitely knew we were last. Brooke and Robbie had left [the flags] already and we knew it would be impossible to catch up. But we switched because we didn't want to give up and not complete one of the challenges.
Do you regret not switching sooner?
We should've switched sooner, but hindsight's 20/20. In the moment, we really did think we could finish it if we kept at it.
Do you know how long you were at the flags?
Te Jay: It must've been a couple hours. It was really long.
If you had not seen Kym and Alli doing it before you found the clue box, do you think you would've chosen the flags?
Ooh, good question. I don't know.
Tim: We weren't even paying attention to that route marker that it didn't have additional instructions, but I still think we would've picked flag over shine. Just based on instinct, I think that we would've gone for that. Whether we would've switched or not, if we had the composure and time to think about it, I don't know.
Did you consider switching when Brooke and Robbie went back to shining the armor?
We did, but the other one was taking a really long time and that's why they switched [to the flags]. We were seeing them try the flag a couple times and totally bombing. They couldn't even get the yellow flag, but we knew we'd still be behind them at the shining if we left with them. At that point, it was still all or nothing.
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It seemed like you did the shining pretty quickly.
Yeah, once we left, we were like, "Oh, man, if we switched a long time ago, we could've outshined them." [Laughs]
Te Jay: Especially knowing how frustrated Brooke and Robbie were. When we got to shine, we were very focused.
You guys weren't very good at picking Detours.
Yeah, we had bad luck with Detours for some reason.
What made the flags so difficult? Was it just the grease? If you kept running and falling on it, the grease would eventually wear off the pole.
Yeah, but they would re-grease it after a couple tries. And then Tim's wet clothes would continue to drip, so that added to the slippery effect as well. It was just one big, wet hot mess.
Tim: They didn't have flags on the demonstration pole, so I couldn't even see how anybody would complete the task. It was just a difficult challenge.
I thought it was unfair that you had to keep trying to get the red one. Why couldn't you switch off as long as you each get two flags?
That is the same question I asked! [Laughs] I guess in the rules that were written, once one player gets a flag, the other has to get the other color before you can continue. So it kinda looks like on TV, "Oh, Te Jay is just sitting there being annoying and yelling." But that's all he could do, so it was frustrating.
What was your relationship with Kym and Alli like? Everyone else is ganging up on them and plotted to U-Turn them.
We also had a good little camaraderie with Kym and Alli. The only reason we agreed to U-Turn them was because we had a Speed Bump. Knowing that the dentists had The Save and the surfers had the Express Pass, and we were in last place, so we were like, "Yeah, we will do that if you can promise we won't get U-Turned." It seriously just randomly happened on the ferry when Kym and Alli decided to hang out with us. But we love them.
Tim: I'm pretty confident that Kym and Alli would say that we are their favorite team.
Te Jay: We've all been very supportive of each other, not just Kym and Alli, but Brooke and Robbie, Maya and Amy. We all like to support each other.
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Did you guys come up with code names like Molar and Cuspid?
We were Batman and Robin! How cute is that?
Te Jay: But they didn't show that! I was like, "Wait, they didn't air ours!" [Laughs]
Te Jay, you said your hope was that your mom will see you're more than roommates on the show. What's her reaction been?
She's actually watched all the episodes. She doesn't really watch TV and doesn't under the whole American pop culture thing. But when she watches the show, she's like, "Oh, this is so cool to see you guys be what you say is boyfriends." So it's going to take some time, but now she sees it and that's just how it's going to be. But she's cool with it. I think we're gonna go see her for Christmas in Hawaii.
What else are you guys up to?
We just work. Tim is a flight attendant.
Tim: Yeah, we don't have any new endeavors. Just working and flying. We want to continue traveling the world.
Te Jay: I'm gonna focus more on my drag career [as Tia Wanna]. It's been great since the show. It's just gotten more attention. People are seeing that, "Oh, Te Jay's in the race! And we can see his drag impersonation." We'll see how that goes!
The Amazing Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on CBS. Check out our behind-the-scenes footage from the start line: