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by Ethan Alter
Kris Perkins and Jon Buehler
With a whopping 92 percent popularity rating on CBS.com, Jon Buehler and Kris Perkins easily qualify as this season’s most beloved Amazing Racers. Honestly, how could you dislike these sweet long-distance daters? In a season filled with screaming matches and shoving incidents, the hot couple charmed viewers with their positive attitudes and genuine affection for each other. Believe it or not, they are just as nice in real life. Here, Jon and Kris discuss their relationship and why they’re really OK with finishing second.
TV Guide Online: It’s safe to say that, like last time, this race was determined by a single plane ride.
Jon Buehler: Yeah, that was definitely the deciding factor. We did ask the American Airlines guy several times, “Are you sure this is the first plane to land in Chicago?” And he kept saying that he was absolutely positive. So we just took his word for it, got the tickets and ran over to the Internet cafe to find information about where the Water Tower was in Chicago.
Kris Perkins: We hadn’t experienced any problems with that sort of thing throughout the entire race. Most people were honest when their flight wasn’t the first one in. In retrospect, it was the wrong move, but at the time we were like, “OK, we got the tickets, let’s move on to the next thing.”
TVGO: You made up time in the air, though, landing only five minutes after the United flight touched down. And weren’t you on the same train into the city as Freddy and Kendra?
Kris: We thought we were, but it turned out that wasn’t the case. The MTA lady who helped us said, “They’re on the train, you better hurry up and get down there.” But they really weren’t. We were actually on the train behind them, and [the trains] ran at about eight-minute intervals.
TVGO: So ultimately, how many minutes were you behind Freddy and Kendra coming to the finish line?
Jon: We’re really not sure, but I think we were about seven minutes behind. We were just coming into the pizza parlor as they were leaving. We got through that pretty quickly and we were able to find a cab pretty quickly that knew where it was going, whereas I think Freddy and Kendra got a little lost. But once we hit that train, we were delayed about ten minutes. So if that train hadn’t come, I’m not sure how much closer it would have been.
TVGO: You were easily the most popular team, largely because of your positivity. Watching the show, did you ever think, “Geez, shouldn’t we have yelled at each other just once?”
Kris: [Laughs] We just really don’t do that. It’s just not part of our personality, I guess.
Jon: We’ve always enjoyed each other’s company, and we really just loved being there and having the opportunity to enjoy this experience. I ran the race with my best friend and you can’t ask for anything better than that.
Kris: Jon and I woke up every morning and we couldn’t believe where we were. We’d wake up and go, “Can you believe we’re in Ethiopia?” And we were both healthy and safe, so it’s like, what’s bad?
TVGO: Does it feel weird to have strangers come to you raving about your relationship?
Kris: It fills me with pride. I’m very proud of Jon and [myself] and to have people recognize that feels very good.
Jon: It’s very inspiring. It inspires us to continue on with how we are and to just stay tight and respect each other. It’s a great thing and it’s neat to see that everyone saw our relationship and really appreciated how we were with each other.
TVGO: You had been long-distance dating for about a year before the race. Was this the longest time you’d spent together in person?
Kris: We actually spent the month before we left for the race together. But I think the race itself is the longest time anyone ever spends with each other — 24/7 for thirty days? That takes a lot.
Jon: Before the race, we wanted to get on the same page, so we trained together and ate together to get ready for the whole thing in general. We wanted to be a tight unit going into the race and be ready for whatever they were going to throw at us.
Kris: Even before the race, we tried to see each other as often as possible, but sometimes there would be a week in between. But we would always talk on the phone four or five hours a day. So I think our friendship and getting to know each other went to a different level, more so than on a date of two hours here or two hours there.
Jon: When all you have is the phone to communicate, you learn a lot about somebody else over the course of several hours. We built an excellent friendship above all.
TVGO: Was it hard to watch a couple like Jonathan and Victoria fighting?
Kris: I think it’s too bad that people let negative things come into their relationship and that they didn’t enjoy the race as much as they could have.
Jon: A lot of the other contestants have said that they wish they enjoyed the race more instead of arguing. But you know, to each their own. We just tried to stay away from the negativity that was going on at certain times and run our own race.
TVGO: Would you do anything differently if you ran the race over?
Kris: I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe I wouldn’t drink the water in Sri Lanka. I did spend a night with the toilet after that!
Jon: All in all, I’m really proud of how we ran the race. I’m just so proud of how everything ended up.
Kris: Yeah, it just wasn’t our time. Besides, everything that $1 million could buy, we have.
Jon: Yeah, the money was never a huge factor. We were out at this big party the other night after the finale, and we were overwhelmed by the support [from fans]. That was worth more than any amount of money you could possibly imagine.
TVGO: What’s next for you both? You live together now, right?
Jon: Yeah, we’re living together in Arizona now, but we also have a place in California. My business is in Arizona, so right now we’re just settling down. Once we can step away, then we’ll probably head back to California. We both love to travel and love the whole travel industry. We’ve actually talked to a couple of people from different magazines, so maybe we’ll get in touch with them and do some travel editorials. That would be fun to do.
TVGO: Finally, do you have a favorite Race memory?
Kris: For me, it was the times when Jon and I were off by ourselves enjoying where we were and not having the pressure of having to get to a flight.
Jon: While we were between legs in Sweden, we were sequestered on this boat and at night, we would grab a cup of tea, sit out on the bow and realize what was going [on] and how cool this whole experience was.
Kris: Yeah, everyone else was sleeping and we kind of snuck away and just sat up there. Our strategy was never to be eliminated just so that we could see every place possible.