Étienne got the better of the Belgian couple on M6. At the end of the final duel of this fifth stage of Beijing Express, Paloma and Jason had to return their beacon, bowing to the pair of strangers represented by the former candidate who was responsible for racing in their place as a handicap. Still very moved by their adventure, the Belgians denounce the alliance erected between Parisian candidates. “With the secret choice we had no choice to escape the final duel, it was either immunity or the amulet. And it would have been like that until the end”, they regret to 20 minutes when it’s time to go back on their journey.
We saw you very affected at the end of the final duel. How did you experience your elimination?
Paloma: For me Beijing Express represented a lot of things, so the end of the adventure really comes as a slap in the face. The dream crumbles in a fraction of a second. Just talking about it is difficult.
Jason: It was very complicated. It’s very very hard to digest because we knew we had the potential to go much further in the adventure. Whether physically or mentally, we were ready. In addition I take all the responsibility for the defeat on my shoulders. Leaving is complicated, but even more so after coming second in the stage. The more the show progressed, the higher we climbed in the rankings. We were progressing well and there, Étienne arrives and goes: “It’s the game my poor Lucette” and boom…
Could we speak of an excess of confidence in the face of Etienne?
J: Maybe. I left very confident, telling myself that I was against Étienne. We tend to underestimate him but we must not forget that during his season, he did not lose any final duel. I am someone who is always very optimistic because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will do it for you. Maybe there was too much confidence this time around. I paid dearly for it.
P: It is above all that during the secret choice, we had an immense feeling of injustice because we were the victim of an alliance.
How did you realize that the sisters, the strategist couple and the pair of strangers had bonded in the game?
J: It was clearly affirmed from the third stage. It was then confirmed over the course of the game. They knew that whatever happened, even if they did not qualify, they were protected. The target was us. On the one hand it is flattering because if we are the target it is that we are strong and on the other hand, it was demoralizing. I think they bonded because they were all from Paris. There would have been other Belgians, we might have done the same…
P: During the final choice of the fifth stage, we clearly felt that a pair held the reins. But I couldn’t express it because I didn’t have any proof, I didn’t want to appear paranoid. Looking back I notice that all my feelings from the beginning were correct. We secretly hoped for a little lift from the pair of strangers. We had spared him during the second stage when we could have chosen them instead of Cyrille and Luc during the final duel…
Knowing this, do you regret having chosen to preserve Nathalie and Angie against Cyrille and Luc during the second stage?
J: That day we had chosen to send Xavier and Céline to the final duel because they had arrived just before us. But we were forced to choose between Cyrille and Luc and the pair of strangers because of the votes of the others.
P: We made a choice in three seconds without really having time to take a step back. Nathalie hurt me because I thought it would be unfair to send them back a second time in the final duel. This choice, I made it with the heart so I do not regret but I note that kindness does not pay in this kind of competition.
Why didn’t you try to make a counter-alliance with Xavier and Céline and Clément and Émeline?
J: We tried to create something with Clément and Émeline as they were on the same ejection seat as us. But this alliance did not have time to work. Xavier and Céline also voted against us so we never really knew if they were in alliance with the Parisians or not.
Do you think the secret choice rule has harmed you?
P: Completely. In a classic season of Beijing Express, we would have gone much further because the goal is to take the weakest pair for the final duel. We were far from the weakest because we were really determined. We had extra pressure compared to the others and that’s why we lost the pedals a bit on the wheelbarrow test. We were clearly on edge. We were broken in our tracks with this secret choice, there is a taste of unfinished business.
Do you still have a bitterness about this end of adventure?
J: We cannot forget. It was a dream to do Beijing Express, our goal was to cross the logo. They pulled the rug out from under us. Water has flowed under the bridges but it’s still like a thorn in the side.
P: We realize that merit no longer exists with the new rules, it is the strategy that takes over. Diffusion brings everything to the surface, so it’s complicated.
More generally, what do you remember from this experience?
J: We met extraordinary people, the locals are incredibly kind. We are still in contact with a lot of them on social networks. We saw incredible places, breathtaking landscapes. There, just looking up at night and seeing a starry sky with no light, no smoke, no pollution, I was like, “Wow! »
P: I don’t know if you can imagine, but our travels were once in the south of France and that’s the end of it. I am very grateful because what the production has given us is an experience that thousands of people dream of having.
What was your best memory during the adventure?
P: For me it’s still the evening at Grandma Bertha’s during the first stage. They don’t know us, we arrive with cameras, they don’t understand what’s going on… And despite that, they still have their hearts on their sleeves, they give everything as if you were part of their family when ‘they don’t have a tenth of what you have. We have so much to learn from them because here we are unhappy even though we have a lot more material things than them. The difference in mentality between Europe and over there is something that really touched me.
J: For me it’s the same thing, meeting the locals. It’s hard to say just one thing because everything was amazing.
The production called you a ” funny couple », Why ?
P: They say funny because we are naturally funny every day. We have the joy of living, we joke around, we are without filters and without complexes. We are completely detached from the judgment of others. At the casting they died laughing on their table. In the editing we don’t necessarily see but we are very funny.
Did this experience help you strengthen your relationship?
J: Yes, because it’s an experience that we lived together. Paloma really amazed me. I discovered the wonder woman who was hiding behind her…
P: I have risen in his esteem. I am a small nature but in Beijing Express, I discovered a new side of me. Through the stress and adrenaline of adventure, I’ve done some things I never thought I could. I was ready for anything!