‘The Amazing Race’s’ Luis and Michelle: ‘The piano took us out’

Luis Colon and Michelle Burgos, unfortunately, did not have the keys to success on “The Amazing Race 34” finale on Wednesday. During the final memory task, they didn’t know think to check the black keys of their giant floor piano for photos until it was too late. Because of that, the couple, who had made up time after Emily and Molly got lost following the Roadblock, fell behind and wound up in third place.

So what photos were they working with before they realized their faux pas? And what was it like for Luis to watch his brochacho Derek breeze by to win the $1 million with Claire? We caught up with Team Mimi below.

Gold Derby: How was the watch party last night? You were the hosts with the most.
Michelle: We have our Red Bull with us! It was so much fun and have the cast there and to be able to watch the finale together, it really fulfilled this whole “Amazing Race” journey for us.
Luis: The party was so much fun. Obviously, so many people thought we thought we got first place because we were hosting it. Going into it, I was like, “Man, so many people are gonna be so disappointed in person.” [Laughs] And I was thinking, “Why did I do this to myself?” But we had so much support, just being able to have everybody in one spot — we haven’t had that since our wedding and we probably won’t have that chance again, so I don’t regret it.

Gold Derby: And you gotta party in Miami.
Luis: Exactly. That’s what I told the cast. I said, “Hey guys, I’d love to do the party in Miami. Are you guys down?” And everybody’s like, “Yeah! Miami in December? Let’s go!” Everybody was so down to come.

SEE ‘The Amazing Race’s’ Derek and Claire on their ‘surreal’ win and gamble that ‘paid off the way we wanted it to’

Gold Derby: What was it like watching your brochacho Derek win?
Luis: [Laughs] You know, when I saw them running out of the auditorium, I was not happy with my brochacho. We were not close to finishing that task. We had a lot of mess-ups in that task. Our strategy of going five keys first and five keys last — that wasn’t a good strategy because you had a timer. And you had to go back and forth. There was a choreography you had to memorize. That was one thing we did wrong. We didn’t realize we had to touch the black keys, so we were not close. So to see my brochacho run out of there, I was not happy. There was an eerie 10 to 15 seconds of silence that we just stood there, quiet, like exhausted.
Michelle: It broke my heart. I think the thought of losing a million dollars wasn’t in my head. It broke my heart to see his face and how disappointed how sad he was. Because it was a tight race the entire time. We were seeing each other everywhere. The moment we got to the last task, I was very excited. I could tell you the streets we were on, what everybody looked like and wearing in every single episode. … But the piano took us out. It’s sad to say. The beautiful thing about “The Amazing Race” is you don’t know who’s going to win. It all depends on the last task. It’s a beautiful thing when I watch it, but being on it, it was not a beautiful thing because that was just not our challenge. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: Yeah, as a viewer, you want all three teams there battling it out with a really tough memory challenge.
Luis: Yeah, we were all very close to each other. To finish in less than an hour — behind first place, we were probably 30 minutes behind. That’s a close race. Some seasons, it’s like a runaway [win]. I hope the viewers enjoyed it.

Gold Derby: I talked to Derek and Claire earlier and they thought you guys would be good at the final task and the piano because you’re musical and you’re dancers.
Luis: [Laughs] Dancing to music and playing music are very different things. My lack of instrumental knowledge was showing. I’m holding an electric guitar am I’m like, “Is this acoustic?” I have no idea! Derek is there spitting out notes and letters. For me, the keys looked the same. All those keys look the same and if you’re one key off, you get that X. You know, we play music with our bodies.

Gold Derby: You’re feelers.
Luis: Yeah, we don’t play music with instruments.
Michelle: Yeah, and I looked at my mother — because my brother actually plays the piano — and I told her, “It’s all your fault. You didn’t put me in piano classes as well!” [Laughs]
Luis: My sister played the piano as well. I probably could’ve been a million dollars richer. Maybe.
Michelle: It was a difficult end task. Not only was it memory, it was coordination between each other, it was timing. It had a little bit of everything.

SEE ‘The Amazing Race’s’ Emily and Molly explain their navigation issues and the finale ‘mistakes’ that you didn’t see

Gold Derby: Since you didn’t realize the black keys also contained photos, did you have 11 photos picked out before you realized that?
Luis: We started trying to get the first five. There was a building in Germany that we passed by driving, so there was a picture of a building and we were like, “Was that in Germany in well?” So we put that in our mix. So there were pictures in there that kind of looked like it but didn’t make sense.
Michelle: Another one was they had a charcuterie board with pizza, and in Italy, we were running around with charcuterie with meats and stuff. I think in the clue it said something related to what we saw. We were trying to say, “Oh, the board was there. Maybe it’s that one.” We had no more pictures, so that was the only way we could relate it.
Luis: There was a volcano, so we were like, “There’s a volcano, so maybe Iceland.” You heard me say that on the show. We were off. I definitely won’t be going to a Black Keys concert. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: Your new nemesis.
Michelle: I’m gonna get him a piano for Christmas.

Gold Derby: You guys made up time during the leg after you lost a bit at the beginning. Michelle, why did you climb the bridge that way?
Michelle: I mean, nobody climbs bridges. [Laughs] So I didn’t know how to climb it. Whenever I train for anything, you usually climb up and rappel down. I thought I had to climb this. There was a point every so often where you switched the clamp when you’re closer to the top. And I switched my clamp and I realized it was holding me back, and that’s the moment I realized I could walk this up. I didn’t know how much that rope was holding me in, so I didn’t think to walk right away. It’s frustrating, but navigation was very good, so we kept catching up.
Luis: And she didn’t have the advantage of looking at Derek. She was on the other side of the bridge. That would’ve helped if they were on the same side.
Michelle: Yeah, Emily and Derek were on the same side. I don’t know if Emily knew how to climb it, but she was able to see Derek.
Luis: But at the end of it all, it was just a few minutes. It was all the piano task.

Gold Derby: It was negligible when you watched Emily rappel down too.
Luis: Exactly.
Michelle: At the top — it’s funny because this is a racer’s mind — I thought I had to wait for Emily to go because she beat me there, but they wouldn’t let go through because I hadn’t gotten the clue. So I’m standing there, tired. I wait for Emily to get down and I try to go next and they’re like, “No, you can’t go.” I was like, “Why? I don’t get it? She’s already down.” And then I realized.
Luis: It wasn’t our day. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: That would’ve been really cruel if they had let you go down and then you were told down on the ground that you hadn’t completed it and have to go back.
Michelle: That would’ve been very frustrating.
Luis: I’m sure it would’ve been faster the second time. [Laughs]

SEE ‘The Amazing Race’s’ Aubrey and David on taking the penalty: ‘I don’t think we would’ve changed anything’

Gold Derby: You were such a positive team. I love your energy. Luis, you were still so positive when Emily came down first. What was going through your mind and not knowing what’s going on up there?
Luis: That was always our mantra with each other. Be positive with each other because I know how she works best. If I fight with her or push her in a negative way, she will break down. That’s I married her. Because I love her heart and I want to protect her beautiful heart. And that’s why our relationship is great. It’s so easy to be negative in moments like that. And I wanted to show that we are better than that, that we are stronger, even though we have so many stressors going on. We have a setback. It doesn’t matter. Let’s keep going. I don’t care if you’re last. Let’s push forward and keep that momentum going.
Michelle: This is the way we are personally. We’re always so energetic, we want people to be happy and smile. We wanted to show that you can still get far and be competitive while having a good time.
Luis: Some people want that dramatic couple that fights. That’s not us. We are who you saw on the race. I love being with this woman. I love being married to her and that’s who we are. I’m sorry, viewers who wanted an arguing couple. Maybe next season. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: Besides the legs that you won, what were some of your favorite legs?
Luis: Rugby for me was so much fun. Just getting on that field, having those short shorts on, just tackling the dummies — I had such a great time. What was yours, babe?
Michelle: I just had such a great time in Petra and Iceland. It was so beautiful. Those are places I would love to go back. We would run around and we would really take it all in. One of my favorite moments was running down Petra, even though I was exhausted. It was long, but it was so beautiful.

Gold Derby: I did like you at the rugby because you were having so much fun in contrast to Marcus struggling.
Michelle: And his slide to the ground was so funny.
Luis: Oh, my God! My epic fail of a slide. My attempt at a soccer slide — I laughed at myself. I scraped my knees when I fell. That was so fun.

Gold Derby: What are you up to now?
Luis: Right now, we’re a little hungover. [Laughs] Other than that, we’ve been getting so much support from everybody. We’re going to enjoy these holidays. Next year, we’ll try to start a family. That’s next for us. And our trips next year. We’re not sure what order it’s going to be in, but that’s what’s next.
Michelle: We’ve really been soaking in this whole experience. Every week, we’ve had 20 to 30 people, our family and friends watching the show together, listening to the podcast. We did our own podcast as well. It’s just been phenomenal.
Luis: It’s been a crazy year. In February, we sent our audition tape and four hours later, we got a call. It was actually February. January was my only normal month this year. [Laughs] Every since then, it’s been crazy. The application process, the race, post-race, recaps, watching ourselves on TV. I’m so grateful to be part of it.

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