SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains details about Sunday's "Amazing Race" finale and reveals the winning team.
After racing more than 25,000 miles across three continents, nine countries, and 20 cities, and consistently hovering in or around last place, the Fabulous Beekman Boys finally came in first on a leg. And fortunately for the New York goat farm owners/longtime partners Josh and Brent, it was on the leg that really counted. "Nice guys do finish first sometimes," Josh beamed. "We hope that winning proves to all underdogs that it doesn't matter how bad things are going." Brent chimed in to complete the thought, "You just can't quit."
Read on to see how these newly minted millionaires pulled off what had to be the greatest comeback in reality-TV history.
The 11th leg started at the pit stop in Mallorca, where the Texans, Trey and Lexi, were the first to leave, followed by the Chippendales, the Beekman Boys, and the twins, Natalie and Nadiya. The competition was cutthroat from go, although the twins were still counting on their alliance with the Chippendales and Texans to help them grab third despite having a speed bump to complete. The allies openly talked about knocking out the Beekmans, who, according to the twins, "coasted through." Josh and Brent looked very hurt. "It was incredibly demoralizing [to hear] people actively trying to get you out. It is like high school all over again."
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They were instructed to fly to Barcelona, catch a train to the Loire Valley in France, and find the marked cars. The first task -- collecting empty baskets from a café and loading them into the Ford Escape using the kick-operated hatch release -- was just short of a car commercial, thanks to all the close-up shots and fawning over the vehicles the pairs did.
The next stop was the Chateau de Villandry, home to the world's largest ornamental garden, where contestants had to locate a stone dog for their next clue. Everyone wandered aimlessly, barking at other tourists until Josh busted out his French to a groundskeeper, who pointed them in the right direction. The others were impressed by Beekman's "secret weapon" and accused Josh of faking his hurt ankle in previous legs. All the wisecracks and accusations must have gotten to Brent because he grew snarky and teased the twinnies upon seeing their speed bump sign. Things took an even nastier turn when the twinnies started instructing the others to "lose them [because] they are using you."
Of course, it was the other teams that had to use Josh's French once again to figure out that Leonardo da Vinci's final resting place was the Chateau d'Amboise. Once there, teams had to choose between chow and plow. In chow, they had to prepare and serve the daily meal of myriad meats and kibble for a pack of hunting hounds. For plow, teams had to use a traditional horse and plow to dig four straight rows for planting. The Texans, who ditched the Beekmans after deciding that the plan to follow each other wasn't in their best interest, and Chippendales did plow (and were the first to move on to the next task, although not before experiencing equine farts), while the other two battled it out for beef parts. As the speed bump of lacing up a woman's 18th-century corset was extremely easy and the Beekmans had horrible navigation skills, the twinnies arrived at the kennels first. But the Beekmans were quicker with the knives, and the siblings let their smack talk distract them.
Unfortunately, their inability to navigate hurt them again as the Chippendales and Texans had already completed and left the next task at La Cave des Roches, a subterranean mushroom farm. One racer had to search the dark maze for three specific varieties of mushrooms and return with 10 of each type. Although Lexi was "freaking freezing" and blindly ran into a few walls, she finished first. Jaymes was hot on her heels, and when she and Trey were given directions to the wrong castle of the ladies, the Chippendales were able to squeak past them to the pit stop at the Chateau de Chenonceau and win two of the aforementioned Escapes. James said he was going to give his new wheels to his mom. (These dudes just keep getting cooler!)
Another navigation screw-up by the Beekmans allowed the twinnies to beat them at mushroom harvesting. As luck would have it for the boys, the sisters were the ones now driving the wrong way, and it cost them the third spot in the finals. One of them commented, "We have each other, and that's more important than a million dollars," as a montage of their goofiest race moments danced across the screen. Of course, we're betting that the prize money would have been pretty sweet, too.
At the onset of leg 12, the remaining teams were feeling confident and ready to do whatever it took to win as they headed to New York with only a Coney Island boardwalk postcard to guide them. "There's no friends in the last leg," Trey joked. The Beekmans were riding high on the idea of a hometown advantage. Josh explained, "We are gaining momentum and confidence at the point we need it most."
The Chippendales ditched their "stinky bags," and the lightened load helped them grab the first taxi and get to the amusement park first. Despite standing in a perfect spot, they missed the signs hidden in a larger vintage Houdini ad instructing them to go to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, as did the other two couples. The Texans were the first to figure out their mistake, followed quickly by the Beekmans, and the first to the docks, where they learned that one teammate had to re-enact the magician's escape from a straitjacket while suspended 15 stories in the air and upside down. As if that wasn't scary enough, there was a surprise bungee jump tacked on to the end of the roadblock. Poor Trey, who was the only one who seemed afraid of heights, was the guinea pig on the fall.
Jaymes and James had another wrench thrown in when they realized that their taxi had left and they had to call for a new one, causing them to arrive last at the next task at Lombardi's, the first pizzeria in New York. They had to make big deliveries to three addresses by memory. The hometown advantage would have really come in handy here, had it not been for Josh's mismanagement of which pizzas went to which customer, a mistake that Brent nagged him about repeatedly. Brent remarked, "Don't make errors and expect me not to point them out."
The Texans were again the first to finish, the first to figure out that the final challenge was taking place at the United Nations, and the first to get started on trying to identify "hello" and "goodbye" in the native tongues of the nine U.N. member countries they had visited on the trip and matching them with their respective flags. The other two eventually joined her and immediately had issues after they knocked out France and Spain. James made jokes to ease the pain, saying, "'Merhaba' sounds like a sandwich." Josh buckled down and methodically ran through the possibilities, but poor Lexi was brought to tears by the test. It became worse when a flag rolled back down and hit her on the head. Trey showed his true colors by being extremely comforting with his girlfriend.
After almost three hours had elapsed, Josh was the first to finish, and the Beekman Boys took the taxi ride that changed their lives. They ran into Gotham Hall and to the final mat, surrounded by the applause of the Phil-iminated contestants. Josh fell to his knees and then hugged his boyfriend fiercely, realizing he could quit his job in the city and live full time with Brent at the farm. "We [can] pay off our mortgage and be together again. Winning this race will physically bring us together again for the next 50 years."
The Chippendales arrived second, and happy-go-lucky Jaymes, who could be counted on to supply the quote of the week just about every episode, did his best not to look distraught, although the realization that he wasn't going to get the money to help his sick father was all over his miserable mug. The Texans came in third but declared the experience priceless, considering how much it had strengthened their bond. Lexi ended on a joking note: "[The race proved] we are definitely ready for the next step. It is just a matter of when Trey is ready for that next step."
Fans took to Twitter to voice their excitement and disappointment over how race 21 shook out. Tell us what you thought in the comments section.
I don't even like goats I like shirtless guys. Jaymes and James shoulda won or at least Trey and Lexi. #amazingrace— OliviaGravel∞ (@XO_Liv_Mahone) December 10, 2012