Exclusive: Dan and Sam McMillen talk about 'The Amazing Race'
Daniel and Samuel McMillen think it almost would have been better had they arrived at The Amazing Race's final ifteenth-season task in last place rather than first.
Dan, a 21-year-old student from Liberty, MO, and his brother Sam, a 23-year-old student from Fort Worth, TX, were the second team to cross the finish line during The Amazing Race's fifteenth-season finale broadcast last night on CBS.
On Monday, Dan and Sam talked to Reality TV World about how being the first team to arrive at the final task was a negative; which two teams they viewed as big rivals throughout the season; how they never let their brotherly bickering interfere with the competition; and whether they really stole another team's cab.
Reality TV World: First off, congratulations on finishing second.
Sam and Dan: Thank you! (in unison)
Reality TV World: What was going through your mind when you guys got to the Monte Carlo and discovered you seemed to have a pretty good jump on the other two teams -- were you starting to feel pretty confident in your chances of winning at that point?
Dan: All I knew is that we needed to take a risk, go really fast and just get it done because we knew that ["Dating Couple" Meghan Rickey and Cheyne Whitney] were close and ["Married Couple" Ericka Dunlap and Brian Kleinschmidt] were close.
I don't really know if we could have done anything different because we've never played poker, we don't really know how to count chips -- and Cheyne does. I mean, you look back and there's a million "what if's." But you can just sit around and say that all day, so I don't really know what we would have changed.
Reality TV World: Based on that answer and what viewers saw in last night's show, it almost looked like you guys ended up putting some extra pressure on yourselves once you found out you had the lead. Do you think the fact that you got there first ended up being a positive or a negative?
Sam: I think it ended up being negative because, personally, I'm a big risk taker. I would normally have been like, "Let's just throw it all out there, just try to even the stacks out and be done with it." But going in with such a big lead, my attitude was, "Let's be careful, let's be cautious, let's take our time since we have this lead to be sure we get it right the first time." If we had come in third place, we would have been doing everything we could to just fly through it and maybe would have done it a lot faster.
Reality TV World: Based on that, do you think Meghan and Cheyne arriving in third gave them an advantage?
Sam: Absolutely, 100%. They just flew and all they did was stack and even the stacks out...
Dan: Well I think they would have done the same thing if they were the first team, because he knew how to stack them. So...
Reality TV World: About how far ahead of Brian and Ericka and Meghan and Cheyne did you arrive at the Monte Carlo?
Sam: I think we were there about five to seven minutes before Brian and Ericka, and probably like 10 to 12 before Meghan and Cheyne. So not that much of a lead, but it was quite a bit I guess.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode made it look like you guys were actually the last team to finish your initial chip count -- just seconds behind the other two teams. Was that actually the case?
Dan: Yeah, I think it really was...
Sam: Yes, we all finished literally within 10 seconds of each other. Then Meghan and Cheyne were the only ones who got it right. So that's why they got such a big lead right after the chip count.
Reality TV World: What happened with your initial incorrect chip count -- do you remember about how many chips you were off?
Sam: What happened was Meghan and Cheyne submitted theirs and so we were like, "Oh crap! We have to also!" So we just kind of... We were down to about... We were $5,000 off so we were like, "Just put these in!" because we thought we had the right stacks and stuff. It turned out we were about $1,000 off -- and it's because we threw them all in at the last minute because we kind of got rushed because they had finished.
Reality TV World: And you got the correct count on your second attempt, is that right?
Dan: Correct. I figured this was going to be the last challenge since we had already done a couple of things, so...
Reality TV World: About how far behind Meghan and Cheyne did you leave the Monte Carlo?
Dan: Ten minutes.
Sam: I would say probably 10 minutes -- 10, 15 maybe, somewhere in between.
Reality TV World: Had you kind of resigned yourself to second place at that point or did you still think you had a chance of catching Meghan and Cheyne?
Dan: I think I was kind of negative with it. I was like, "It's over." I knew we had already done two challenges and this was our third challenge -- and most finales have about three challenges. So I was trying to have hope, but once I heard them get it right I was like, "It's over." (laughing)
Reality TV World: About how far behind Meghan and Cheyne did you cross the finish line?
Sam: Eight to 10 minutes probably.
Reality TV World: You guys finished second to Meghan and Cheyne for the final four legs of the race...
Sam and Dan: NO!!! (in unison)
Dan: They were all pretty close too.
Sam: We were pretty close to them every time.
Reality TV World: So I'm assuming you saw them as your biggest competition while you were out there, right?
Sam: Oh absolutely.
Dan: We always thought ["Harlem Globetrotter Teammates" Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and Nathaniel "The Big Easy" Lofton] were just because of the deal in cities, we thought a lot of Americans would want to help them more and whatnot. Little did we know that we didn't really see anybody in Vegas -- but it didn't really matter. But at the end we definitely thought Meghan and Cheyne were.
Reality TV World: You guys were certainly portrayed as the bickering brothers and Sam you even commented in your final words that you know you guys bicker a lot but still love each other. Going into the race did you think arguing with each other would be something that might hurt your chances of winning?
Sam: Honestly we never saw it as a problem because we knew that no matter how much we argued, no matter where we were that we argued, we still would have been working on the race. We never would have wasted time to argue. So it never really seemed like something that would set us off as being our problem area.
Reality TV World: Do you think your arguing played a role in your inability to correctly count the poker chips during the final task?
Dan: I don't know. I think it's just that we didn't know how to count chips.
Sam: Simply put: We didn't know what to do. We literally counted each individual chip. We had no idea what we were doing. I've never seen poker chips in my life before that, so I was like, "I don't know what to do."
Reality TV World: Last night's episode also showed you guys not knowing Wayne Newton's name when you met him. Was that your most embarrassing moment on the Race?
Sam: We actually called him [comedian] George Wallace. He's calling himself the new "Mr. Las Vegas" apparently.
Dan: We asked Wayne Newton if he was George Wallace, and that must have been such an insult to him.
Sam: We thought maybe George Wallace was his real name and Wayne Newton was his stage name. So we thought that's what it was. But yeah, we couldn't remember his name because we were so nervous and so excited. Obviously when you say, "Wayne Newton" and you recognize his face -- it's Wayne Newton. It just wouldn't come to us for some reason.
Reality TV World: One of the biggest moves you made on the race was Dan's decision against giving Big Easy the answer to the clue at the museum in Prague. At the time Dan did you really think that decision would play such a large role and did you feel guilty about it at all?
Dan: I thought, "Hey, I want to get a little bit of a lead on them. So if I give him the 'F' he'll figure it out in like 10 minutes." I don't want them to come out right with us. We wanted to have a little bit of a lead. So never in a million years did I expect to see Brian and Ericka in the finale. I thought the Globetrotters were going to be done so fast.
Reality TV World: And you never felt guilt about the decision?
Dan: A little bit [began] coming out and then Sam helped me confirm and say, "No, of course you shouldn't have given it to them."
Sam: It's kind of funny, the fact that people were upset that we didn't tell them the answer. I just think that is so ridiculous because it's like handing someone your chances at $1 million. Why on earth would you help one of the best teams on the race to get to the Final 3?
Dan: I think the issue is that people thought I went back on my word. We agreed to help each other, and that's exactly what I did -- I helped him. The first day I was kind of upset, I was like, "Oh crap I'll look like a villain." But now I just don't care. (laughing)
Reality TV World: It looked like you guys had a bit of a rivalry with the Globetrotters -- so was that just the editing making something out of nothing or was there actually something going on between you guys, specifically when you had that physical contact when you were racing to the Pit Stop in Estonia?
Dan: From Day 1 in casting, we wanted them out. Now we like them, but throughout the race they were so independent and kind of secretive -- and they were good. They really were good. So we were just like, "Let's do anything we can to get them out."
Reality TV World: You guys also took some heat from Brian and Ericka for stealing their cab during the tenth leg, but during last night's episode Dan we saw you telling them to blame it on the cab driver. What did you mean by that -- were you trying to convince them you didn't know it was their cab or just trying to pin the blame on their driver for agreeing to abandon them?
Sam: What happened was we talked to the cab driver and he called another cab driver who was supposed to be there in five minutes. Well, we were going to take that one -- but then we were like, "Well Brian and Ericka won't be done for another 20 minutes. So we'll take this one and they can take the next cab that shows up." It was the cab driver's buddy who was going to come get them. That cab never showed up.
Dan: So it was the cab driver's fault...
Sam: It was the cab driver's fault for never showing up. That's what was meant by that.
Reality TV World: You guys seemed to form an alliance with Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle on the race. Where did that alliance originate and how helpful was it for you?
Dan: It originated at the Japanese game show [during the first leg].
Sam: We made a good connection with them. We kind of had a friendship spark at the beginning, and honestly I don't think we really sought them out because they had any qualities that we were interested in helping us along the race. We were just really compatible with them and we felt like we raced well whenever we were with them and whenever we were helping them.
Reality TV World: What was the most difficult task for you guys on the race? Was there anything that you thought you wouldn't be able to overcome?
Sam: Honestly, the Golem in Prague was probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever done.
Dan: That was physically demanding too...
Sam: Then of course the hay bails. The interesting thing about the hay bails is that as I was unrolling them -- and unrolling them one after another -- I honestly got to the point where I was like, "I'm never going to find this flag. It's never going to pop up." A few seconds later, all of a sudden this flag came up. I was like, "This has to be a mirage. I'm not really looking at a real flag." But it was, so it was good.
Reality TV World: What was your favorite experience on the race?
Dan: I would say traveling around the world because we had never been out of the United States before, so that was definitely what I was most excited about and why I didn't want to get eliminated -- I just wanted to keep traveling.
Reality TV World: Do you agree Sam?
Sam: Absolutely, 100%.
Reality TV World: Was there anything you expected to see that got edited out?
Dan: No, I think they put in all of our stuff. I always wondered what they were going to do, if they were going to take out anything -- if it was too bad. But they put everything that I said in there. So it was interesting. (laughing)
Reality TV World: How did friends and family react to seeing you guys on the show?
Sam: Oh my gosh, they were SO excited and they cannot stop talking about it. It's so funny because we're like, "Yeah, it happened." And our family's way more excited than we are.
Dan: We're so excited that we never have to be asked the question, "Did you win?" That was the most annoying question ever.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for The Amazing Race? Was it your first time applying for the show?
Sam: It was our first time. Dan turned 21 two days before the applications were due and you had to be 21 to apply. We sent in a video and they liked our story and we did all the phone interviews and everything and it just kind of went our way. We had great interviews and they liked us. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/exclusive-dan-and-sam-mcmillen-talk-about-the-amazing-race-10061.php