After a brief interlude for a relationship that actually has a chance, it’s time to jump headlong back into Juan Pablo’s quest for love on season 18 of The Bachelor. Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici may have each found “the one,” but JP still has 13 weemon to whittle down to a single potential lifelong mate.

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Nurse Nikki still leads the pack in my eyes, and everyone’s momma Renee has certainly been the benchmark of consistency. Opera singer Sharleen and 21-year-old triple threat Cassandra are at the forefront, but first one-on-one daters fake pregnant Clare and Scottsdale’s Salsa-dancing Kat are lurking in the background. Then there’s archenemy Chelsie. Grrrrr, Chelsie…

Everyone else is still lingering in the shadows. Will anyone emerge this week? Let’s get to the action!

Goodbye, Camila. Helllooooo, South Korea

The local part of our tour has ended, and we’re off to our first exotic location. So pack your bags, ladies, cause we’re going Gangnam Style in Seoul. The women scream like Oprah just gave them a car, with Clare actually crying, and then it’s off to scramble-pack because the van leaves in an hour.

JP says adios to Camila and the ‘rents. He’s sad to leave his daughter, but excited for some dream dates. The women run screaming into the airport terminal, much to the chagrin of the guy walking down the jetway behind them. The only thing that can slow them down is the fleet of pushcarts necessary to carry these royal highnesses’ matched luggage. 

POP Goes Nurse Nikki

There’s two group dates and a single one-on-one this week, and Nikki is ready to score some alone time. But “POP” invites archenemy Chelsie, triple threat Cassandra, worst-ever first-grade teacher Elise (because she’s not actually a teacher), gets-no-time psych nurse Danielle, Salsa-dancing Kat and, alas, nurse Nikki. It’s ironic that the date card says “POP,” because her head is about to explode.

The girls head to YG Entertainment to dance with Korea’s most famous K-Pop (Korean Pop) group 2NE1. Juan Pablo says the fastest way to his heart is a woman who can dance, and Kat and Cassandra have a leg up (literally, in Kat’s case — she does a high kick). Nikki, on the other hand, does the sprinkler.

Kat is positively giddy and annoyingly dances throughout her solo on-camera interviews, while Nikki is melting down. They’ll be dancing with 2NE1 at a packed show, which is Nikki’s “worst nightmare” and makes her “want to crap [her] pants.” This should be fun (for us, not for Nikki).

Dancing into Juan Pablo’s Heart

JP gets everyone fired up for the night (that involves a performance in a five-story mall), but Nikki won’t stop whining and is disappointingly less than stellar for the first time this season. They join 2NE1 on stage, and Kat pulls out some of her sluttiest best dance moves. She’s a little too cocky and believes the crowd is watching her and not Korea’s version of One Direction (with a way stupider name. 1DieR3cti0n?), while Nikki loosens up a tiny bit and actually does a spot-on impression of Kat’s frantic head whipping. Despite her background, Cassandra is delightfully laid back and out of the spotlight.

After the dance party, it’s off to evening wear (Cassandra’s looking H-O-T in her thigh highs!) and drinks at the lodge. Kat makes use of her alone time to remind Juan Pablo how awesome she is, making sure he knows she’s not all fun and party, but also has a serious side. Still, she doesn’t really “do feelings.” 

She opens up about her dad’s alcoholism (lived with his parents, never paid child support, seven DUIs!) and her parents’ divorce. But, you know, it’s really hard for her to be vulnerable because she’s always been so “strong, independent and successful.”

Nikki ramps up the cattiness, gossiping about Kat, while Danielle, Elise and Cassandra all pine about how she’s the most negative person in the house. Elise warns Juan Pablo about being wary of those who start drama, though she stops short of actually naming names. 

Nikki is very honest when she gets her one-on-one time, telling JP that overbearing personalities make her uncomfortable because she feels like she’s shrinking into the background and gets nervous. But she doesn’t want to close herself off. He rewards her with the rose, and they smooch and hug. Elise says “yuck.” 

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Are You My Seoulmate?

The next date card goes to JP’s current favorite, Sharleen, and it’s soul-searching time. Clare is pissed because she doesn’t see any chemistry, and she wants Juan Pablo all to herself. Shar admits as much, saying she doesn’t feel an established connection but that she’s interested and wants to explore the relationship. 

They wander around a Korean market and then sit down at a tea shop, and he gazes at her while she answers his questions, calls him a smartass and tells him he’s not bland. She thinks he’s more fun than expected, and while I appreciate her honesty, she’s not all that believable. E-flat for effort, though.

At night, they mull around outside and he makes her sing. Then he strokes her face, calls her beautiful and kisses her in that awkward way that I can only hope feels better than it looks. And finally, she thinks there’s a shot for love. I really like her, but there’s no way they’re ending up together.

The Big Baby Question

They share some deeper real-life conversation, and things are going well until he asks how many kids she wants. She throws the same question back at him, and he fluidly responds “two more, maybe three.” You can see the panic in her eyes, and he asks again. Even though she knows it could be a dealbreaker, she comes clean that she’s never really thought about children and that previously dating a guy with a daughter was not something she was ready for because she could never be number one. 

He heaps her with praise, calling her different and classy, but he appreciates her honesty and gives her the rose despite the baby concerns. He figures that as long as she’s there, she’s looking for love. And then you can cross those bridges when you come to them. 

Let’s Get Crazy in Korea

Going on the second group date are DA Andi, soccer nanny Alli, piano biker Lauren, fake pregnant Clare, dog lover Kelly and everyone’s momma Renee, and they’re off to explore Seoul. It starts with karaoke, where no one stands out because they all dance around like idiots. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you have a good voice when every K-Pop lyric is “na na na na na.”

Then it’s off to the market for lemonade, a Bling Bling photo booth session, a duckboat ride (Juan Pablo rides with Andi and Renee) and that pedicure where little fish eat the dead skin off your feet. Renee’s tootsies are the tastiest, the fishies proclaim. This group date is way too giggly and fun. 

Thankfully, first date curse victim Clare is getting territorial and keeps cozying up to her man. She asks that they eat anything but octopus, so JP immediately purchases some and gives everyone a bite. She refuses to do it until everyone chants her name, and Kelly grows on America when she says, “I know you’ve swallowed bigger things than that.”

Tongue Means I Like You

Drinks are at the Millennium Seoul Hilton, where kissing Juan Pablo is the talk of the town. 

Renee gets the first one-on-one, and they talk about kids like they always do. She drops the most awkward “kiss me” innuendo in history, asking what Camila would think if she saw them kissing. He responds that it doesn’t matter, because he’s already kissed six woman and his daughter’s not going to see him making out with 20 broads. “What would Camila think if she saw me mount you?” That’s what she should’ve gone with. 

Apparently, he’s taking this sudden and very inconsistent kiss ban quite seriously, because he also shoots down Lauren and Andi. A tearful Lauren takes it particularly hard, which is a shame because I like her a lot despite the fact that we haven’t seen much of her. But he’s kissed other girls, so why not her? He tells her to trust her gut and they hug it out. Renee must not be feeling well, because Andi fills in as momma and talks her down.

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Clare Backtracks, JP Backstabs

Andi and Kelly do a hilarious JP-Clare octopus-eating impression while Clare successfully overturns the kiss ban. Right after he talks about how much he liked that, she institutes a no-kissing rule on the second date, too. 

Then he stuns her by giving Andi the rose, and Clare makes a face I wish I could’ve snagged in a screengrab. Just pissed off and confused. Awesome (for us, not for Clare).

Kelly is Literally Stuck in the Middle

The women get gussied up and head to a palace cocktail party, where science teacher educator Chelsie stares at the South Korean architecture with her mouth agape like a South Korean would in Times Square. (Oh, calm down, it’s an accurate stereotype for ALL tourists in Manhattan.)

Juan Pablo pulls Kelly aside first, but all we see of their time is a hug. Clare talks about opening up and leaving her comfort zone before Nikki swoops in and steals JP, much to the girls’ dismay. It seems like a lot of them are saying negative thing about Nikki, but because it’s coming from people I don’t entirely trust (i.e. Elise and Clare), I’m taking the criticism with a grain of salt. 

Nikki tells JP that when a guy likes a girl, he looks her in the eye. And when a girl likes a guy, she looks away. It’s science, she says, but no one thinks to ask Chelsie. Sharleen, Lauren and Alli get in on the Nikki bashing, while JP makes a comment about conditions in the house. Nikki clams up, assuming that Clare said something to him. But no one did, so it’s manufactured drama. 

Then our poor dog lover has to sit on a bench between Nikki and Clare while they have words, with the latter telling the former that she acts differently around JP and the other girls. Nikki, however, refuses to be intimidated.

Hibiscus Syriacus

It’s also called Rose of Sharon, and it’s the national flower of South Korea. Already safe are nurse Nikki, opera singer Sharleen and DAndi (no idea how I didn’t think of that before). Juan Pablo will be distributing eight roses, meaning two more ladies are going home. Sticking around are:

Everyone’s momma Renee

Archenemy Chelsie

Dog lover Kelly (I’m realizing these roses are very, very tiny)

Gets-no-time psych nurse Danielle

Triple-threat Cassandra

Soccer nanny Alli

Fake-pregnant Clare

Scottsdale’s Salsa-dancing Kat

That means possible pathological liar Elise and kiss-denied piano biker Lauren are going home.

Elise is disappointed, because she is ready for a family and doesn’t understand what another girl could have that she doesn’t (please don’t make us answer that, though I respect that she never got any alone time). Guess it’s back to Pennsylvania Los Angeles to teach first graders audition.

Lauren is disappointed and embarrassed by her foolish kissy actions from the other night. She breaks down, chastising herself for making “so many mistakes.”

This week was all about lady stock rising and falling unexpectedly, with Andi and Kelly getting a boost in the likability department, while Nikki, Kat and Clare took a bit of a nosedive. Cassandra kept up her momentum, but Sharleen, while JP’s favorite, remains hit or miss. Danielle, Chelsie, Alli and Renee were largely absent. 

I’m not quit ready to give up on early frontrunner Nikki, despite the down week. Elise had a propensity for negative talk anyway, so at least that’s out of the way now. Did your opinions of anyone change with this episode? Who are your favorites and least favorites at this point? Who do you hope surprises you?

Next time on The Bachelor, Juan Pablo and his 11 remaining ladies head to Vietnam there’s and some more Clare drama. Like we couldn’t see that coming. 

The Bachelor season 18 airs every Monday at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order