So in an unsurprising move, Juan Pablo sort of picked Nikki but wasn’t quite willing to get down on one knee. And in typical JP fashion, he pinned the decision in part to words from Nikki’s father in an acute effort to be honest by deflecting his true motivations.
I think Juan Pablo has been unequivocally himself throughout the entire season, but it became increasingly clear in the finale that who he is rubs a lot of people, potential wives and audience members in particular, completely the wrong way.
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Fireworks are sure to fly during the always either giddy or feisty live “After the Final Rose” show. Why was “I like you a lot” enough for Nikki to accept the rose? Did Juan Pablo lead the women on? Was he really there to find a wife? And what is the big announcement he has? On to the unanswered questions!
Clare to the Hot Seat
We’re jumping right into the mix, with Clare and her leather dress headed to the stage. Watching it brought back the sting of that day, when her fantasy fairy tale turned into a nightmare. She opened up to Juan Pablo and asked him his fears, and she was disappointed he reassured her and didn’t follow through.
As for the comment in the helicopter (“I don’t really know you. You don’t really know me. But I’d love to f*** you”), which she still won’t confirm the specifics of, she put on rose-colored glasses instead of listening to her gut. She should have left, but she didn’t want to give up on the process and trusted there was a man there who wanted what she wanted. But that man wasn’t Juan Pablo.
Usually, the Bachelor comes out and talks to his No. 2, but this time around, Chris Harrison gives Clare the option, which she declines. Since the rejection was the first time she ever stood up to a man and laid her cards on the table, that was all the closure she needed. So there’s no need to rehash it all only to get fed more BS.
The crowd roars, and I don’t think Bachelor Nation has ever turned on one of their own so quickly. Clare is moving on, and she doesn’t have any lingering questions that need to be answered.
Juan Pablo Prepares for the Onslaught
JP himself is next to the couch, and I’m surprised he doesn’t get booed at this point. He feels great, but is relieved that it’s all over. To him, it was tough to say goodbye to people, but that’s the point of the game, and if Clare has a bitter pill, she has to swallow it. Still, he doesn’t regret anything.
Chris Harrison cuts him off for a follow-up question, and JP asks if he can just talk please. Wow. You don’t get snippy with the host. I am really starting to sense some mutual contempt. JP’s conversation in the helicopter was private, with him being himself and her being herself, and if she didn’t like it, that’s her prerogative.
I get why people don’t like this about him, but you have to admit his approach, while abrasive, is honest. He says, “This is who I am, and if you don’t like me because of it, I respect your decision. But I’m not going to change and will eventually find someone who will put up with me.” He’s consistent and unapologetic, even if it’s maddening and makes him seem like a giant tool. He is who he is, like it or leave it.
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Paging Nurse Nikki
Nikki accepted the final rose without an engagement or even an I love you, so it’s time to hear from her. Looking super duper hot in a tight red dress, she confirms that she and Juan Pablo are in fact a happy couple. It’s been hard in hiding, but they’re doing great, though he still hasn’t said those three little words. Still, her feelings haven’t changed since St. Lucia. He shows his love through his actions, and they have different ways of expressing emotions.
He’s so honest and straightforward that if he didn’t care or wasn’t invested, he wouldn’t be there. Chris Harrison says the crowd wants more, but she’s being patient and not going to force the issue. So maybe she’s the one to accept him?
Reunited and It Feels So Weird
Juan Pablo and Nurse Nikki are back together for the first time, and the crowd is pretty silent when they smooch and sit down next to each other. JP says they’re doing great, even though the four months in secret were a challenge. He told her dad that if he wasn’t prepared, he wasn’t going to propose, and if they made it through this big test, they could start out as a normal couple.
Chris Harrison asks what his big announcement is, and JP just awkwardly says that his surprise is Nikki and he doesn’t know what Chris is talking about. I get the feeling our favorite host is also very ready for this season to be over, and I doubt he and JP will be great friends or anything like that.
Chris fishes for an I love you, even directly asking, “So you love her?” But Juan Pablo isn’t going to be pressured into that, and he says they are “done, so done” with the show. He appreciates the opportunity, but he says it’s been tough and accuses the producers of boxing with him. Like he felt when Chris interrupted him (before and again now), he’s been very hurt by the social media firestorm, backstabbing and backlash.
Sean Lowe makes it all a little more uncomfortable simply by being a better different type of guy than Juan Pablo. He was prepared for all the attention and the lack of privacy, and when he loves someone, he wants that person to know it. But to each their own.
Chris pushes the envelope further and further, refusing to move on, even though they both say they’re happy. Nikki correctly points out that many couples have sat in the same seat and said they were in love, only for things to fall apart. So this is real, and it doesn’t matter if they say it or if they don’t. Juan Pablo apologizes for the show not ending up like producers wanted it to, but he’s being honest and he’s happy. They kiss as Chris throws it to commercial, buttons his jacket and walks off the stage.
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So Where’s It All Headed?
Chris ups the ante again, congratulating them for being so clearly in love and engaged. Then he asks how long she’ll give him to say I love you, and she’s like move on, bro. There’s no time limit, and she’ll stick around as long as it feels right.
They made plans but were forced to change them drastically after the “Women Tell All,” but that’s also something private that he won’t discuss. So will they live together in Miami or in Missouri? They’ll figure it out. He wants to keep everything quiet, and that’s what’s going to happen now that the show is over.
Sean bursts his bubble that it’s not private even after the final rose, and Catherine is too confused by the whole situation to comment on their relationship. Don’t slap the hand that fed you, she says, which is a phrase that needs to be explained to Juan Pablo. People are confused because we’ve all been on this journey together, and now we’re being denied the juicy after-details. And apparently, it’s going to stay that way.
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Introducing the Next Bachelorette?
The main candidate has to be Andi, though I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of that choice. I worry she isn’t charismatic enough, but you could argue that charisma doesn’t necessarily equal a rewarding season.
Chris tells everyone in the audience to go home and shower off what they just witnessed, going as far as to say he’s not sad to see this one end. At least the feeling is mutual. But before everyone rushes to their bathrooms and lathers up, the next Bachelorette is … Andi. Ugh.
It’s insane and surreal, but she can’t wait for her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find great love. She has a great life, but no one special to share it with. Then we get pelted with more obviously pre-produced, actor-filled scenes of her assistant DA’ing, firing guns and executing search warrants on drug dealers. C’mon.
She’s nervous and excited to be the one handing out the roses this time, and who knows, she could be engaged by the summer.
Welcome Back, Andi
She comes out on stage in a sparkling sequined number, and Chris Harrison makes sure that she knows it will be on television and that she is encouraged to show emotion. People will want to go on the journey with her, and if she falls in love, tell the man everyone in the world.
Chris points to Sean and Catherine and Desiree and Chris as proof that the only way the process works is if you throw yourself into it (which in Desiree’s case is also called “settling”), and Andi assures us she’s ready to disembark.
Oh well, she can’t be worse then Ben Flajnik. Because yes, he was still worse than Juan Pablo.
Were you happy with the way the season turned out? Do Juan Pablo and Nikki stand a chance? Is his personality, while abrasive, something the right person could put up with? Or is he just bad news for everyone? Does it matter whether or not they say they’re in love?
And what do you think of Andi being the next Bachelorette? Admittedly, they didn’t have a lot to choose from with this crop of ladies. But are you excited? Or is she just the best option available?
Thanks for sticking with us through another topsy-turvy season, and we’ll be back again to follow Andi’s quest for love in May. See you then!
(Images courtesy of ABC)