I had the pleasure of watching last night’s episode with alums Ashley I. and Michael G. We were laughing over how I can’t really call them just “Ashley” or “Michael”—their last name initials are now synonymous with their television personas, and seeing as how I got to “know” them on television first, you can’t shake that. It also means that all those Laurens this season had better get used to it.
For the last several seasons, Week 7 has been used to bring the girls to the Bachelor’s hometown, and this week was no exception. It’s a very telling week as there’s often a date that involves either showing a girl around the town in which the lead grew up and/or meeting friends and parents, both pretty personal things. It’s very rare that the recipient of a one-on-one date in Week 7 doesn’t make it to Hometowns, and as such, I have a strong suspicion everyone (except Emily) knew that Emily’s date was a bit of a throwaway and that she would not be sticking around. I really like Emily—she’s endearing, can make fun of herself, and seems to really get along with the other women (a good sign)—but never for one second did I think she and Ben stood chance as a functioning, romantic couple. Her date felt stilted and stunt-like, taking her straight to the house in which Ben grew up and meeting his parents when she hadn’t even had a real one-on-one date yet. I am aware that a mere fraction of the conversations shared ever get aired, but what meaningful conversations have we seen between these two that didn’t involve Emily selling herself as a stronger contender over either Haley or Olivia, or that didn’t involve her dislike of Olivia and, um, vegetables?
Becca had full right to be upset with Ben when she left. She implored, “Just don’t blindside me,” only to get blindsided the very next day. Of course, we know he has a team of skilled people orchestrating his every move and it’s their job to make sure he blindsides women. Tears make great TV, and so do angry women.
We’re down to 4, so my predictions are as follows…
1. Jojo, 24: It’s a toss-up between Lauren B. and Jojo for the top spot this week. I feel Jojo represents the everywoman; I relate to Jojo and her fears, and I suspect most women watching do, too. This episode, so much emphasis was placed on how afraid Jojo is to be vulnerable and to let herself “fall,” as if those are hindrances to her chances at “finding love.” I for one love that she has those fears and keeps them at the forefront. When there are still 6 women remaining, she should be apprehensive. However, Ben’s insistence that she drop those walls and his near-threat (“When you’re scared, sometimes it pulls me away, too.”) made me feel like Jojo could really stick around. Ben is too considerate and careful to say those things if he wasn’t invested enough to back them up.
2. Lauren B., 25: Contrary to Jojo, Lauren B. is very confident in her place with Ben. With this many women still remaining, this could be seen as a negative, but considering how reasonable and non-dramatic she is in every other way, it in fact carries more weight. In other words, Lauren B. is not the type to be confident if she doesn’t have reason to be confident. She got the major frontrunner date in Ben’s hometown; he paraded her through his town and she hung out with him and his friends at his favorite dive bar (not dissimilar to Whitney’s date with Chris in Des Moines last season). What can I say? Lauren B isn’t going anywhere.
3. Caila, 24: We didn’t see a lot of development between Caila and Ben this week, but while I still can’t see Caila getting engaged at the end of this, these two definitely have chemistry. A lot of it. More than enough to make it to Fantasy Suites. (I have to laugh even writing that. How funny is it that the concept of “Fantasy Suites” has become socially acceptable enough for me to just write that? Oh man. This show.)
Going home next week…
4. Amanda, 25: I was certain Jojo, Lauren B., and Caila would be receiving Hometown dates. But the fact that I legitimately didn’t know whether it would be Amanda or Becca getting that fourth spot puts Amanda in my “most likely to go home” slot. First, Amanda’s relationship with Ben just seems behind those between him and the other three ladies. Yes, they had an adorable one-on-one at McDonald’s and on rides at the fair. However, when I see Ben and Amanda together, I see a lot of compatibility and mutual respect, sure, but I just don’t buy their chemistry. Again, as I said two weeks ago, their attraction is more about two very sweet, good-looking people being in the same place and the same time, and less about some magical je-ne-sais-quoi.
For more on this season of The Bachelor from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Omni 2.
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