In the latest episode of their podcast Coco Caliente, Nicole Franzel and Victor Arroyo give an in-depth account of their side of the drama with Rachel Reilly and Elissa Slater, which ostensibly erupted in Wednesday’s episode after the Reilly sisters told the couple that Team Fun, Becca Droz and Floyd Pierce, wanted to U-Turn them, but kept backtracking and changing details so much that Nic and Vic wanted to ask Team Fun about it. “Well, I think people are confused,” Nicole says early in the episode. Understatement of the year.
Some background context first: Team Vicole says they were not close to the Reilly sisters at all before or during the show. Outside of the “Big Brother” alliance that the Reilly sisters approached them about and they felt they had to accept, the couple says they never spent any significant time with the Reillys during their downtime at the airports and on flights. In fact, despite their “Big Brother” connection — and all of them having either won “BB” or America’s Favorite Houseguest — they had never met before “Race.” Nic and Vic were closest to Chris Hammons and Bret LaBelle, and Team Fun, and Nicole was very tight with Britney Haynes.
“There are people we are close to at this point in the race, like really close to, that we spend our free time with at the airport, which could be six to eight hours, on the plane, which could be 14 hours. And Rachel and Elissa are not one of the teams we spent any time with; therefore, we didn’t have a relationship,” Nicole explains. “I think Elissa said at the mat, ‘Nicole liked my Instagram photos and we are friends.’ I’d never met her before in my entire life. And liking someone’s Instagram photos — she would like mine, I would like hers. I don’t owe you anything for that. Up to this point, there was no foundational relationship.”
“People don’t know this. We weren’t friends before the show. There’s a difference between talking and sitting down with somebody for like three and a half hours,” Victor adds. “I talked to Chris and Bret a lot. I juggled, played games with Team Fun all the time.”
What we didn’t see in the episode — because cameras weren’t rolling — was that one of the sisters told Nicole on the plane to Switzerland that Team Fun planned to U-Turn Vicole. Nicole was immediately suspicious because they were close to Team Fun, not the Reillys, and Team Fun is “the one team [the Reillys] don’t get along with because of U-Turning” them on Leg 2. So she felt like the Reillys wanted Vicole to do their bidding for them and U-Turn Team Fun, which was true. After she told Victor, they decided to verify the intel with Team Fun.
“If we act on impulse and it’s wrong, then we’re basically doing the Reilly sisters a favor by U-Turning a team that they U-Turned and failed to get out,” Victor notes. “People think the Reilly sisters were heartbroken because we betrayed their trust, but there wasn’t trust established before that point. Team Fun, we had a relationship with. Not saying we were best friends, but we thought we were in the good with them, we talked to them, we told them they were our favorite team.”
Furthermore, the teams knew there would be a hella long hike after the train ride and they all were convinced there would be a U-Turn board at the end waiting for them. Nicole and Victor say they knew they would never beat Team Fun in a foot race, but felt if they asked Team Fun — they fully expected them to deny it, which they did — it might deter them from U-Turning Nic and Vic.
Plus, as we all saw in the episode, the Reilly sisters were intentionally vague with shifting story details, setting off even more red flags. “The story kept changing and that’s why we distrusted them,” Nicole says. “First was they overhead, but there was no other teams there. But then it was other teams there,” Victor adds.
Nicole also reveals that she and Elissa apologized to each other and agreed to put it all behind them before performing the Roadblock. That’s why she was even more upset at the mat — when she and Victor thought they were out — that the Reillys brought up the beef again. “Rachel and Elissa definitely got to be secretly happy. Elissa hugs me right before the jump and says, ‘Let’s get over it, let’s drop this.’ We both said we’re sorry. That’s why you see us hug in the episode,” Nicole shares. “[But] when the cameras were there, they were all, ‘Oh we beat them.’ They turned on, man. I was like, ‘We just said we weren’t going to bring this up.’ I’m already thinking we’re eliminated, you said you weren’t going to bring this up, and they just turned it right back on.”
The pair says they were mostly annoyed that the Reillys defaulted to personal attacks so quickly when the leg was over, and it appeared like Nic and Vic were out. “Chris and Bret jumped in and said something to the effect of, ‘Nicole and Victor don’t deserve what’s going on right now. They’re good people,'” Victor reveals.
At some point during the bickering, Nicole suspected that it might be a non-elimination since producers were allowing the drama to unfold and Phil Keoghan hadn’t officially eliminated them yet. After being told they have a second chance, “I was dreading running the race again with [the Reillys] because I knew it would be so bad,” Nicole confesses.
Meanwhile, Rachel told her side of the story on Twitter, responding to us that she and Elissa were upset that Nic and Vic “told eveyone [sic] that we told them about the uturn plan making eveyone [sic] mad at us – The whole group was then upset w/us and nic vic came out clean turning eveyone [sic] on us.”
This is very true but we were mostly upset bc nic and vic told eveyone that we told them about the uturn plan making eveyone mad at us – The whole group was then upset w/us and nic vic came out clean turning eveyone on us –
— Rachel Reilly (@RachelEReilly) May 30, 2019
Based on both accounts, both sides have a legit reason to be upset, and the context certainly helps a lot. Nic and Vic being much closer to Team Fun than their ostensible “Big Brother” alliance members explains why they were unwilling to accept the Reillys’ story at face value, let alone the fact that their story kept changing. And it’s completely understandable that the Reillys would be upset that their alliance members didn’t want to keep the intel on the down low, even though they had an ulterior motive, which is also fine, for sharing that information: to get Nic and Vic to target Team Fun. Also, you’d think after multiple seasons of “Big Brother,” they’d know how to lie by omission better.
Of course, this U-Turn drama was all a prelude to the inaugural U-Turn Vote next week. Gee, I wonder who both teams might vote for.
Listen to the full Coco Caliente episode, which includes an interview with Korey Kuhl, below.