‘Amazing Race’ Gets Taste Of The Strip
Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis made for an intimidating sight when they arrived at the starting line for “The Amazing Race” (8 p.m. Sunday, KLAS-TV, Channel
Between their sculpted physiques and Vaughan’s dog tags - not to mention that they were, in Davis’ words, “a whole foot taller than everybody” - the other teams assumed the Las Vegans were in the military.
Their competition’s reaction that day in Pasadena, Calif.? “Oh, man,” Davis recalls. “We’re screwed.”
“And then as soon as we kind of did the big reveal,” he says, “and busted out the cuffs and collars and the Chippendales logo shirts, ‘Oh, these guys are just - they’re just strippers.’ ”
“Which was awesome, ’cause that’s what we wanted,” Vaughan adds. Originally from Chesterfield, Va., the 30-year-old emcee of the Chippendales show at the Rio wears the dog tags in tribute to his father, who’s battling cancer.
They hadn’t seen much of “The Amazing Race” when producers approached Vaughan about forming a team with another member of the troupe. He only had one dancer in mind: his best friend, Davis, 27, from Jefferson, Maine.
“Once we found out we were on the show, we got way into it,” Vaughan admits. “We literally had, like, cram sessions where we’d go over to each other’s house and watch, like, a whole season, back to back to back to back to back. By the time we went on the show, we had watched, like, every single damn episode of ‘Amazing Race.’ ”
They realized their best strategy for the globe-trotting reality competition would be letting the other teams underestimate them. After all, they’re used to overcoming expectations.
“I think they wanted us to be, like, douche-bag strippers or something,” Vaughan says of the casting process.
“We were happy to show them otherwise,” Davis adds.
Their Chippendales experience gave them other advantages beyond the dumb-stripper stereotype.
“We already knew what it was like to kind of be living out of a suitcase, to always be on the go and to be constantly in a different place with unfamiliar languages, different cultures and different people,” Davis says of their previous Chippendales-related travels through Europe and Asia. “So we did have kind of that leg up.”
Then there’s the iconic wardrobe - or at least what passes for a wardrobe.
“It’s an international symbol. It’s recognized all over the world, and it transcends language,” Davis says. “So if you’re struggling trying to communicate, at least you can flash those cuffs and collars and maybe get some help or draw some attention.”
The duo isn’t allowed to say which countries they visited during the competition, because it could reveal how long they lasted. But this season, the show’s 21st, had teams racing across three continents and nine countries - including Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Netherlands - covering more than 25,000 miles.
“It’s a bucket list thing. I mean, the stuff you get to do,” Vaughan says of their reason for competing. “When you watch ‘Amazing Race’ seasons past, you see people jumping out of planes, jumping off of buildings, rappelling down the side of stuff, going to all these exotic, crazy, amazing destinations.”
The show’s $1 million prize - which, for the first time, will be doubled if the winners of the first leg win the entire competition - didn’t hurt, either.
But even their marathon viewing sessions didn’t prepare them for the realities of that much travel.
“It’s a lot more grueling than the show lets on. When you’re actually going through it, it’s a lot harder,” Davis reveals. “I always say, from the comfort of your couch, it’s always easier to make these kind of decisions. But when you’re tired, hungry and in an unfamiliar place, simple tasks start becoming a little more complicated.”
Vaughan’s lesson was more practical: “I never realized you could go so long without peeing, just because you’re so daggone distracted by all this other stuff you’re doing.”
As thrilled as they are to expose the Chippendales brand to viewers who may be outside the troupe’s usual demographic, don’t expect them to capitalize on their newfound celebrity by working the series into the live show.
“I don’t think anybody would wanna see an ‘Amazing Race’ number at Chippendales,” Vaughan says, laughing. “Nobody wants to see us look that bad.”
There’s so much upkeep involved in being a Chippendale - watching what you eat, working out, tanning, fussing with your hair, even the simple task of shaving - they relished the time away from all that.
“It was so nice to go and do this race and literally not care what we looked like and just be a mess,” Vaughan says.
“We’re gonna look like hell, I can promise you that. But it was nice to go and do.”http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_15980/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=CnnDsl3z