I was totally ready to kick off tonight’s “shocking” Bachelorette finale live recap with an energetic little rant about how in previous seasons we knew exactly what was going to happen, but that this time around all our spoilers have been conflicting and rather confusing. And that even though the spoilers were frustrating and often quite stupid this season, the lack of a definitive answer to “Who does Ali choose?” was rather refreshing and actually made me more excited to see how this finale would all play out.

And then I was going to nostalgically note how much I missed that feeling of anticipation from previous seasons, and how it almost took me back to the good old days when I still believed that The Bachelor(ette) could produce a “happily ever after.” (So, like, around season 2.)

But then Reality Steve came out five hours before tonight’s finale with an updated account of what his sources say will happen in tonight’s finale, and it just makes so much sense and sounds so logical that I can’t help but believe it. So, last ounce of anticipation (and intended recap introduction) … gone. (If you haven’t read today’s spoiler, AND you haven’t watched tonight’s finale yet, I encourage you not to read it and let yourself be surprised. But, if you must, here it lives.)

Anyway, whether I knew the ending or not, it makes no difference: I’ve been here every step of the way since Ali and her 25 original doofuses started this journey, and I’m sticking it out until Ali finds her man every last opportunity to make fun of them has passed. And tonight, I’m doin’ it LIVE–so join me in the comments with your thoughts, hopes, dreams, zings and random observations during tonight’s Bachelorette finale.

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  • Proclaim your Ali-giance in our “Team Chris vs. Team Roberto” poll

Now, let the Live Recap begin.

8:01: Even though only Roberto and Chris remain, it’s still all about Frank in the pre-episode recap. ABC definitely wants us to believe that Ali’s faith in love has been totally shattered and that she’ll choose no one as a result.

8:04: “I GAVE UP EVERYTHING TO BE HERE!” gets one last shout-out in the finale’s second recap montage.

8:06: Ali on Roberto: “He makes me feel like a woman.” You can actually hear her smiling when she talks about Roberto.

8:07: Ali on Chris: “I feel like we’re really good friends that are just starting to fall in love.” “I know he’d fit into my life so well.” Ali’s all cerebral when she talks about Chris, versus all gushy and gooey when she talks about Roberto. Take that as you will.

8:12: Roberto’s up first to meet Ali’s family. Ali squeals, “You look so handsome!” (That’s his face, Ali.) The fam quizzes Roberto on his favorite baseball team (the Tampa Rays) and whether he loves Ali. Both equally important questions. Ali tells her parents that Roberto “brings [her] to a peaceful place. He’s so romantic. He’s great.” Mom sees how she’s gushing like a geyser: “He’s the tall, dark, handsome man of Ali’s dreams.”

8:18: Ali’s mom cries as she gushes about how happy Roberto seems to make Ali. (Cry-count: 1) Ali’s mom met the guy like five minutes ago and says (in Spanish) “I believe your heart is pure.” Well, that was fast. And Roberto definitely deserves some points for not laughing at her broken high school Spanish skills.

8:22: Now it’s Ali’s dad’s turn with Roberto. R’s a traditional guy, and he wants to ask for Ali’s hand. After what seems like a brief conversation, Dad says, “It sounds like you love Ali and come from a strong background. I think you’re a great guy. I don’t see a problem with that.” (That’s a blessing?)

8:27: Ali lets out a contented sigh as she watches Roberto saunter away after the family visit. It’s a definite “I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave” moment.

8:31: Now it’s Chris’s turn to meet the parents. In case you were unaware, Chris is very family oriented, so he appreciates the significance of this meeting. And it starts off well, thanks to his being from Massachusetts. And the similarities continue: Chris’s mom and Ali’s mom were/are both nurses, and Ali’s dad and Chris both used to teach high school. “They are loving him!” says Ali. (Roberto who?)

8:35: Ali’s brother and sister take Chris outside to chat. He describes his Bachelorette strategy: “As slow and steady as you can.” Yup, sounds about right. Inside with Mom, Ali seems to have taken a sleeping pill as she describes her “slow” relationship with Chris–at least compared to how hyper she was yesterday when she talked about Roberto.
8:43: We’re 40 minutes in, and this finale is putting the BORE in Bora Bora. Get to the intense/awkward/sexy Last Chance Dates, PLEASE!

8:44: “Today was wicked amazing.” — Chris

8:45: Chris raves about Ali and then asks her dad for his blessing. Dad: “You’re family orientated, and that’s what marriage is all about. I would have no problem offering my blessing.” Dad’s handing out half-hearted blessings to veritable strangers left and right!

8:48: “I really think that Ali is my soul mate and perfect person. I can stop looking and it makes my life complete. […] She’s the perfect girl for me, and we’re going to have an incredible life together.” — Chris, who seems to have forgotten that there’s still another guy in the picture.

8:55: Ali’s dad thinks Roberto is the right guy for Ali, but Ali’s brother and sister are Team Chris. (“Decision”-count: 2) Or at least they got a better impression than Dad did (who still gave his blessing to Chris, may I remind you). In the end though, Mom says what Mom always says: It’s your decision, Ali.

9:02: It’s Last Chance Date time with Roberto. Ali is wearing a bizarre yellow-spotted white tunic thing. They get on a jetski, and they both “love to do those things that get your heart going.” They get in the water, and Ali is “screaming for dear life” around the scary stringrays, but big, strong Roberto protects her.

9:07: It starts to rain during their picnic on a private beach. “It feels like we’re the only people in the world [minus our camera crew!],” says Roberto as he picks up Ali and takes her out to the water for a last chance makeout. “Kissing Roberto in the rain is the most magical and romantic moment I’ve ever experienced in my life,” says Ali. What?! What about Kasey’s helicopter song?

9:13: It’s Ali and Roberto’s last night together, and OH THERE IT IS: Ali says “I’ve given up everything to come here,” AGAIN. She hopes Roberto can “open up more emotionally” to her, while I’m sitting here thinking that he’s about 50 times more open than most guys I’ve ever known.

9:15: Ali tells Roberto he’s “perfect,” and that she’s never met a man like him in her entire life. He gives her a present: A picture of them in the heart-shaped lagoon. He wrote a message on the back that says, “You inspire me to be a better man, for you and for the both of us,” and ends the message with “Mucho amor.” 

9:18: Roberto tells Ali that he’s “definitely, definitely falling in love” with her, and she giggles and then kisses him. “My heart feels like it’s exploding out of my chest.” Then she tells the camera: “I feel like for the first time in my life, I’m in a relationship where I feel so safe.” (Hey, remember Chris? “Chris who?” — Ali) OK, that’s it. This contest is so clearly over. Or is this just misdirection? (Nah. It’s over.)

9:22: It happens every season, and it’s always so uncomfortable: The each of the final two tell the Bachelor/Bachelorette “I love you,” and he/she responds with a kiss.
9:25 Chris is ready for his Last Chance Date, and the producers are really, REALLY milking how totally, heartbreakingly (I made up this word, SO WHAT) invested in Ali he is. Then Ali shows up and knocks on his door and sits down with him … not quite the beginning of a Last Chance Date that it’s supposed to be. 

9:27: Yep, this is the beginning of a breakup talk. Here it is: “I’m at a point where I have two guys here, and I don’t know what to do. You’re one of the best men I’ve ever been able to meet in my whole life. And I think that even if two people really enjoy hanging out, I don’t know if that necessarily means that it’s supposed to be. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m in love with somebody else.”

9:29: “This wasn’t an easy decision. It was really hard.” Ali tells Chris she didn’t want to put him through “tomorrow” (aka the Final Rose Ceremony) when she already knows she’s in love with Roberto. Gotta respect her honesty, except that Chris is AMAZING, and it sincerely blows to see him so sad.

9:30: Ali Cry-count: 1.

9:31: Chris is so wonderful it hurts my heart. He wishes Ali good luck tomorrow and thanks her for being honest. Can he come be my boyfriend now? Yes? OK, awesome.

9:33: “I know I sent an amazing guy home. I know I did.” But the heart wants what it wants, and what it wants is in Roberto’s baseball pants. Ali Cry-count: 2.

9:34: No tears from Chris. “It really hurts,” he says rather unemotionally, but he’s taking it pretty well for a guy who literally just said he wanted to propose. Then Chris saw a RAINBOW! (Remember his rainbow thing with his mom?) So everything’s OK now. The rainbow said so.

9:36: As he gets in a little dingy and leaves Tahiti (but never my dreams), Chris says, “I have to keep looking. Just got to keep looking” … as the next BACHELOR. (Please?)

9:42: Ali: “My heart is not capable of loving more than one man. I am in love with Roberto. It’s going to feel so good to finally tell Roberto how I feel about him.”

9:43: “I know I love Ali, but I don’t want to get on one knee and propose until I’m 100% sure Ali’s the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Yep, that was it: The cue for Neil Lane to show up and talk rings with Roberto.

9:45: Roberto looks at a couple yellow rings (Ali’s favorite color) but in the end picks a more classic looking ring. Smart guy. But he is still taking uncertainly about whether he should propose or not. (Oh, THERE’S our misdirection.)

9:46: Boyfriend looks GOOD in his Final Rose Ceremony suit.

9:48: The “Happy Ending” music has begun playing, and Roberto isn’t even off the boat yet.

9:52: That is one RIDICULOUS palm-frond-covered tiki boat they’ve got Roberto in, by the way.

9:54: This is IT. Will Roberto propose? “I have one guy here and I’m putting everything I have into him, because I love him.” Roberto doesn’t know he’s the only guy here … think Ali will tell him or just let him talk first?

9:55: Ali smiles like a goof and kisses Roberto when he walks up. If he’s ever seen this show, he should know that’s a good sign.

9:58: They’re in love. They’re kissing. They’re saying things like, “I want to grow old with you.” It’s happeningggggg …

9:59: Roberto proposes. Ali says yes

10:00: “CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?” starts playing. I put that in all-caps because LOL, REALLY? Even though Ali and Roberto were in The Lion King musical together in that one episode … STILL. This is ridiculous, and if you’re not laughing as Elton John sings The Lion King theme song over this montage of their televised love, then I don’t even know what to do with you. This is blissfully cheesy.

Well, that’s it folks: Ali and Roberto–not exactly a nail-biter, but pretty freaking precious. What do you think of the way she let go of Chris? Are Ali and Roberto the real deal? And will Chris answer America’s call and become the next Bachelor? Sound off!

More Bachelorette Finale Coverage:
The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose: Ali and Roberto Talk Marriage, Chris Gets Closure
The Winners and Losers of The Bachelorette Finale

(Images courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.