This week on The Amazing Race, dating couple John Erck and Jessica Hoel made history when they were eliminated in Bali with an Express Pass still in their pockets
Although John and Jessica started off this week’s leg in second place on The Amazing Race, the Huntington Beach couple fell to the back of the pack in Bali where they failed to use an Express Pass to maintain their position in the race.
After struggling with a Fruity Top detour, John and Jessica chose to perform the alternate Sandy Bottom task instead of making a strategic play with their advantage. By the time they eventually completed the leg after all other teams had checked in, John and Jessica were the first team in Amazing Race history to hit the mat in last place with an Express Pass still in their pockets.
The next day The Deadbolt caught up with John and Jessica to get the scoop on what went wrong and how they felt running The Amazing Race.
THE DEADBOLT: What was harder, not using the Express Pass or watching it on TV?
JESSICA HOEL: I guess, knowing what happened, it was harder not using it because we’d still be watching ourselves on TV. That was harder. But hindsight being 20/20, we had no idea what was going to happen during the race. So, because of that, we made the decisions we did for a reason.
THE DEADBOLT: John, how do you feel now? Do you have any regrets?
JOHN ERCK: Jessica and I made a lot of mistakes and there are a lot of things we can learn from. But we made the best decisions we possible could have given the information that we had at that time. There are many factors. The primary thing that we were thinking about, we thought the Derby Girls were behind us all throughout the Bali leg. So we made the decisions that we did.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we would have made a lot of the same decisions given the same information that we had. For that reason, I don’t feel regret over the decisions that we made but we did make a lot of mistakes.
Moving forward, I think there’s a lot that Jess and I can learn from our experience in Bali and on the race at large. Another thing, had we not honored our word and given the Express Pass to somebody other than Dave and Connor, or something along those lines, that would have been a decision that would’ve been regrettable, that I would regret.
The types of decision we made, as related to using the Express Pass, we just did as good as we could with what we had. For that reason, I don’t have regret over the Express Pass or our decisions.
THE DEADBOLT: Jessica, you said that the loss would be hard to get over. How do you look at it now?
JESSICA: I think I definitely had a harder time. I mean, we’re both competitive. Even in other situations, I’m super competitive and I get down. When I was dreaming, instead of counting sheep, I was counting Express Passes. So I definitely woke up thinking we should have done this or should have done that.
But it was really nice to re-watch it. I know why we made the decisions we did and I know that we gave it our all. I’m happy with how it went. Now that it’s over, I’m really glad that we were part of it and super fortunate to have met such awesome people and travel to such cool places.
I think now I’m at peace with it, but it took a while. It is crazy to re-live it and watch it again.
THE DEADBOLT: So, what was it about the fruit tower that you were doing wrong?
JESSICA: We don’t know.
THE DEADBOLT: Even today, you still don’t know?
JESSICA: No, we don’t know. You get it checked and they say, “no, no, no.” You really have no idea. We probably had it checked five or six times and they kept saying no. So, we had no idea what the answer was.
THE DEADBOLT: John, when all of the other teams were checked-in, how important was it to actually finish the last task?
JOHN: To both Jess and I, finishing the race was super important. There came a point when we realized that we were in last place. We didn’t realize that until Chuck and Wynona checked in and I went up to the top of the hill and met Jessica where she broke the news to me.
Giving up is something, that’s outside of our characters in the nature of The Amazing Race. So, once we found out that we were in last place, the idea of quitting or giving up, or using the Express Pass just to get to the mat more quickly, those thoughts never crossed our minds. It was important to finish the race, work hard, hold our heads up high, see it out until the end and see if we could get by by the skin of our teeth.
We had hope until the very moment that Phil said we were eliminated. Hope from the standpoint that maybe it’s a non-elimination leg. Hope from the standpoint that maybe a team that was running in front of us incurred a four-hour penalty. So, quitting never crossed our minds.
THE DEADBOLT: In what ways was the race different than you expected going into the show?
JOHN: From my perspective, when Jess and I got involved in the race in the first place, a number of friends said, “Hey, you’d be perfect for The Amazing Race.” We always knew what it was but we hadn’t watched the show season after season. So, we were relatively new to the program just from a participation standpoint and a viewing standpoint.
I thought that strategy and being ultra-competitive was the nature of the race more so than I think it actually is. I originally thought that type of thought process was important to have when running the race to be competitive. In fact, there are so many factors at play and there’s a lot of luck and fate involved. It was a lot more sociable and fun than I had anticipated.
That was different than I thought, how cool the people we met really are and the relationships we were able to make with the others racers. It was also cool to run around the world. Most of the things that surprised me were really cool.
JESSICA: I second that. You see how tired everyone is, and how stressed everyone is, but those legs are long and so specific to what’s going on. There’s so much time at the airport. It is really tough, and the challenges are really tough.
Everybody online is like, “Oh, that’s so easy. That doesn’t look hard at all.” In the moment, a lot of the challenges are really difficult. The sand castle challenge in Bora Bora, it was really hot. If we could show how hot it was through the TV screen, people would be changing their perspective.
How did you feel about John and Jessica running The Amazing Race? Should they have used the Express Pass?