Exclusive: Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/20/2015
The Amazing Race eliminated Harley Rodriguez and his partner Jonathan Knight during the 26th season's fourth episode on CBS.
Harley, a 41-year-old group fitness trainer, and Jonathan, a 46-year-old entertainer, were ousted from the race around the world after they arrived at the fourth Pit Stop in last place. They are both from New York, NY, and have been dating for seven years.
Harley and Jonathan were ousted after earning a second chance with a non-elimination leg.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, the guys talked about their The Amazing Race experience.
Reality TV World: Four blind-dating couples finished this leg in the Top 5 spots with two of them having claimed first and second place. And the first three teams eliminated from this season have had a pre-existing relationship. Does that surprise you? What's your theory on why it might've played out this way?
Jonathan Knight: That is a good question. I was actually really shocked that the [blind] dating couples have been doing so well so far just because, you know, when you have an existing couple, we know our strengths and weaknesses. We kind of have a relationship in which who does what has come down to a science. So, yeah, I'm very shocked about that.
Harley Rodriguez: I think maybe also, like, the couples are more dependant on each other, like, the existing couples. And the blind-date couples, they're not dependant.
I mean, we all want to win, but I think they also have the mentality of, "I'm here solo and my partner is here to help me a little bit," you know what I mean? I feel like their focus was probably stronger maybe because the existing couples were dependant on each other. I don't know!
Reality TV World: Although the blind-dating couples are doing so well on the Race, a couple of them seem to be self-destructing right now, especially in this Bangkok leg. Hayley Keel and Blair Townsend as well as Jenny Wu and Jelani Roy started out getting along really well, and for some reason, this fourth leg was a turning point. Why do you think things are falling apart now?
Jonathan Knight: Well, I just think it's because they're finally getting to know each other. It's the whole honeymoon phase that's over. They're out there now and now they're realizing that one particular member is not as strong as they thought. They're finding out the other teammate's faults and stuff, or weaknesses.
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah, and Jen and Jelani I could see it, because they were in first place and were so high up in the ranks. And then they went down so low that they were probably really frustrated on top of it.
They had to get on each other because they probably had that mentality of, "We're going to glide through this. We're in first!" That usually happens to a team when you fall back. They start getting pissed off at each other. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Out of all the blind-dating couples, who could you see working out in the end. Do you think any of the teams will come out of this with an official relationship or at least a real romantic connection?
Jonathan Knight: Ugh, ugh, um. I don't know! They all seemed to be pretty adamant that they're not going to be couples, but I mean, I know just talking with the other cast members that Blair and Hayley seem to be hanging out a lot -- which is really shocking to me. (Laughs)
Because they were fighting so much on the show, and now, they're spending a lot of time together. So, I don't know, I'm kind of pulling for them! They are kind of my underdogs for the singles.
Reality TV World: Jackie Ibarra and Jeffrey Weldon appear to be getting along very well too.
Jonathan Knight: Yeah, they were getting along. Yeah, they were. I don't know. We'll have to see about them too.
Harley Rodriguez: But they were like the same person...
Reality TV World: Which can be bad sometimes in a relationship. (Laughs)
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah, and that's also why they got along so well. They partied it up and they were just funny.
Reality TV World: Jonathan, how long did it take you to complete the Roadblock task in which you had to find the screwdriver?
Jonathan Knight: I would say, what, 30 minutes, babe, or 35?
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah, it wasn't that bad. I thought it was going to take a lot longer. It was about a half-hour.
Reality TV World: How long did your tuk-tuk ride take throughout the crowded streets not counting the stops along the way? It just seemed a lot slower than the water taxi.
Jonathan Knight: Yeah, it felt pretty long. The traffic in Bangkok was pretty bad. And it's so funny that unless you're really paying attention to, I don't know, I was never really looking at my watch and stuff. During the Race, there were times when you felt you were at a task for an hour and then you're like, "Oh, that was really only like 20 minutes." Time there was like being in a time warp for me.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when finding out Matt Cucolo and Ashley Gordon got engaged on the show? Did Matt confide his plans to propose to anyone?
Harley Rodriguez: No!
Reality TV World: Did you at least have an inkling that might be coming?
Jonathan Knight: No, he didn't tell anybody. That was like the best thing. They are such -- they are the cutest couple ever. I'm just so glad he proposed to her. They are just two really awesome people.
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah, we love them. And it was funny because, looking back at his reaction to losing the fanny pack -- because he had the ring inside the fanny pack -- so he was just freaking out and she was telling him to relax.
But when you watch it over, you realize, "Oh, he's freaking out because he had the ring in there and he planned on proposing." So yeah, we're sad that we missed that part too because we didn't get to see that.
Reality TV World: How was the show different from initial expectations? Was it more difficult than you thought it would be? Did something happen that you never saw on TV before? Because I know Jonathan is especially a huge fan of the show and everything.
Jonathan Knight: Yeah, I mean, it's totally different watching something on TV and then living it -- the reality of it. So, yeah, everything about it was shocking to me. I mean, it was just a lot more stressful that I thought.
I just thought it was going to be basically like taping a TV show, where you show up and you do a couple takes and then it's like cut! On to the next! But that was NOT the case with this. From the time [Phil Keoghan] said "go" until the time we were eliminated, it was just go, go, go, go, go!
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah.
Jonathan Knight: It was just so much stress. It was just like a roller coaster, you know? You would be on the airplane and that would be your downtime, a time when you were not actually racing.
You were just able to relax. And then the captain comes on and says, "We're beginning our initial descent to so and so city," and then your adrenaline starts winding up again. Then, the doors open on the plane and there you go again!
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah, it was very stressful.
Reality TV World: You two have been together for seven years I think, which is a long time. Do you have any plans to get engaged or married?
Jonathan Knight: We'll see! I mean, I still -- me personally, I feel we're committed and, you know, marriage is still not recognized. We can get married in New York City and move to a city that it's not recognized in and then it's basically the same as not being married, so. Let's see what the government is going to do and vote on.
Harley Rodriguez: Yeah.
Jonathan Knight: Hopefully we'll get to the point where we'll have equality for all, and we can address getting married then.
Harley Rodriguez: We kind of say we're like the [Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham Jr.]. I mean, we're good! We're good with what we have, but if something changes down the line, then yes, so be it. It's not something that we're forcing on each other. If it happens organically like we met, like, "Hey, let's get married!" then fine. It's just not something we want to force.
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