Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on week eight (part 1) of Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor (original air date: Monday, February 24, 2014).
Welcome back El Bachelor lovers! To kick things off…cows! Cows and more cows. We’re in Nikki’s hometown of Kansas city y’all. Nikki and Juan Pablo meet up in a park, where she runs at him. Hard. They were both too excited to sleep the night before, apparently. First thing’s first: BBQ. The kissy duo chow down on ribs and JP is a huge fan. Then it’s off to a mostly empty bar (called PBR Big Sky Cowboy Bar – I die!) to ride the mechanical bull. Over beers, Nikki almost drops the L bomb but in the end decides to wait. Later that day, Nikki and Juan arrive at her family home and it’s hugs all around. In typical Bachelor fashion, the group gather ‘round the dining room table for dinner (that no one eats…ever). Nikki’s mom pulls her away for a private chat, and she wants to make sure there’s both a physical and mental attraction. Nikki confesses she’s in love, but is waiting for the right moment to tell Juan Pablo. “The next time you guys see me I could be engaged!” announces a giddy Nikki. Mom seems to approve. Meanwhile, El Bachelor and Nikki’s dad are having a heart-to-heart. Dad asks that JP not propose if his heart isn’t 100% into it, but he trusts his daughter and would welcome JP into the family. He also THANKS JUAN FOR HIS TIME. Oh my goodness, I love this dad! When Nikki and her dad chat, Nikki gushes that she feels “really, really good about it.” When talk steers to being a step-mom, Nikki says she’s up for the task and has “a lot of love to give.” And with these last words from dad – “It’s just as important for Nikki to select him as it is for Juan Pablo to select her” – it’s goodbye hugs and front porch kisses (the latter just between Nikki and JP of course). But no ‘I love you.’ “It didn’t feel right,” according to Nikki.
Next up for hometown dates is Andi. She stands on the edge of a dock in Atlanta, Georgia, and squeals as JP approaches. Apparently she’s been “at the top” of JP’s list since the beginning. Mine too! So what’s on deck for their date? Shooting guns! Welcome to Sharp Shooters USA. A ‘relaxed’ Andi shoots first while an ‘ecstatic’ Juan Pablo looks on. She’s a pro marks-woman, and JP thinks it’s hot. When it’s his turn, he lacks Andi’s skills but eventually shoots a bulls-eye. That night they head to Andi’s family home, where a ‘Welcome Home, Pookie’ sign greets them. They sit around the family room chatting and the conversation quickly turns to all of the group dates Andi’s been on. Unimpressed Dad points out that Andi didn’t get a one-on-one date until JP was down to eight women. Andi attempts to lightens the mood by asking who she got the “bad dancing gene” from, and then it’s dinner time. Dad is worried about the whirlwind nature of their romance but Andi’s mom points out that they got engaged after 6 months of dating and are still together 30 years later. Juan Pablo and Andi’s mom are the first to break away for a solo chat, where JP sings Andi’s praises. They soon call Andi out so that her and JP can demonstrate their salsa dancing. JP’s time with Andi’s dad Hy is decidedly less…light. “What in the world made you go on this show?” he asks. Well basically, dad, the answer is that American women were lusty for JP and that’s pretty much the whole story. Horny women = next Bachelor. His answer is more about finding a wife blah blah whatever. Juan flat out asks if he’d get dad’s approval should a proposal happen. Hy responds that “if somebody came to you that was dating three other people, and said to you, ‘If I do…’ my answer to you is, ‘I won’t answer you’…The person that is going to be good enough for my daughter is going to come to me and say ‘There is no one else in the world for me.’” Inside, Andi and her sister are talking about how hot El Bachelor is, but Andi does say she’s “not there yet.” Andi’s ‘Debbie Downer’ sister Rachel doesn’t see a major connection between Andi and Juan. Andi and her dad have a more heated chat where he points out that The Bachelor is dating a bunch of other chicks (duh) and asks “what happens if he doesn’t choose you?” Andi responds: “I can’t control his relationships with other people. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m willing to risk getting my heart broken.” Dude, your daughter is an Assistant District Attorney. I think she’s (mostly) got her shit together. Trust. “I am very, very close to being in love with him,” Andi’s voiceover declares. By the end of the night, Andi is feeling better than ever about her relationship with Juan Pablo.
Renee, the single mom from Sarasota, is the next lady to enjoy a hometown date with Juan Pablo. But even more exciting is that she gets to reunite with her son Ben and “literally eat” him. JP and Renee meet up near the beach, and she’s wearing some horrible shirt with what I think are tassels on it? BUT I STILL LOVE YOU RENEE. Ben arrives in his Little League uniform (that got me right in the cuterus) and mom and son have a cute hug and tearful reunion (on Renee’s end). “Hi buddy,” Juan greets him, with a handshake. “She talks a lot about you,” Juan jokes around with Ben. With a good luck fist bump from Juan, Ben heads off to his game. That evening, Renee, Ben and JP arrive at Renee’s parents’ house. JP tells Renee’s mom that there’s chemistry there and that he appreciates that Renee never feels the need to “show off” in front of him. Renee tucks her son in, knowing that she’s going to have to leave again soon. Ouch, my heart. Renee’s mom Brenda wants to see that “sparkle in her eyes,” and it’s definitely there. “I want you to be in love!” declares mom. “I’m totally, madly, crazy in love with him,” says Renee. Whoa!!! Mom is thrilled. Renee’s dad is “always right” and he approves of JP. Dad likes that his daughter “glows” around him. After a romantic goodbye, JP is off. I really, REALLY like these two together. They seem to have the most natural, easy, and honest relationship. But like Nikki, Renee doesn’t tell JP that she’s in love with him. I hope these two end up together because they will look so precious doing the awkward day-after-the-finale interview on the Today Show or Good Morning America or whatever.
The last of the hometown dates is Clare in Sacramento, California. Clare appreciates the simplicity of being on a hometown date versus the over-the-top romanticism of dating in the Bachelor world. Clare confesses that it’s the first time she’s brought a man home since her dad passed away from cancer. While sitting on JP’s lap on a park bench, Clare tells her beau that before her father died, she admitted her immense sadness at the fact that he wouldn’t be alive to dance with her at her wedding. So her dad suggested they dance right then and there, and asked her to pick out the song she wanted them to dance to at her eventual wedding, and they had their father-daughter dance. Shit. I’m not a weepy person, but having lost my dad to cancer almost three years ago I could super relate to Clare’s story. DAMN YOU BACHELOR PRODUCERS FOR MAKING ME FEEL MY OWN FEELINGS.
JP and Clare arrive at the family house where he meets her million sisters. Ok so it’s actually four but it seems like a lot more. Sister Madeline asks to speak to Clare privately, and asks if Clare would accept a proposal from Juan Pablo. Clare would “say yes in a heartbeat,” and reminds her sister that their parents only knew each other for three weeks before they got married. Sweet fancy Moses! Three weeks?! Sister Lisa is totally on board, and would probs marry JP herself, it seems! Less on board with the Bachelor romance whirlwind is sister Laura, who asks “how much would it hurt if he didn’t choose you?” Clare responds: “It doesn’t matter because of how strong I’ve become.” Nice! Clare tearfully asks (begs, really) for her family’s approval, and Laura accuses her of trying to “manipulate” their mother. Laura leaves abruptly, but lurks around in the garden listening in. Cue the dramatic music. Laura tells the sisters in the living room that Clare “didn’t like” some of her questions, but softens when Lisa says that JP has similar qualities to their dad. When mom and JP get to chatting, Clare is pissed when she notices Laura inserting herself into the conversation. Juan is fully aware of the drama and tries to placate Clare. Laura eventually softens to JP, when he talks about how he is very “family-oriented” and sees that in Clare in fact, it’s one of the main things that attracted him to Clare in the first place. Comforted by this, Laura leaves JP and mom alone and they launch into comfortable Spanish and seem totally at ease with each other. Mom’s a fan! “We would be very happy to have you, but it’s up to you,” Clare’s mom tells El Bachelor. In her confessional, Clare tells the world about 17 times that she would love to marry Juan Pablo “if he can look past her crazy family.” Ha.
Everyone is back in Miami and it’s time for the rose ceremony. We already knew that Andi is sticking around because they’ve been promoting the crap out of some ‘Fantasy Suite drama’ involving her and JP, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to see what that’s all about! Yes Bachelor lovers – this week is a double episode week!
After the hometown dates, I’m thinking it’s time to say adios to Nikki but she gets the first rose and as soon as we see that Renee and Andi are the final two it’s obvious that lovely single mom Renee is going home. “NO WHAT THE FUCK YOU IDIOT NO!” I may have shouted. Sigh. Fine. I guess maybe they did have more of a ‘friend’ vibe. It just bums me out to see Renee sent home, because she’s so easygoing and drama-free. I definitely preferred her over Nikki who I don’t dislike but there’s..something, right? Something’s off? Her family is awesome but something about her irks me.
Juan Pablo tears up while Renee says her goodbyes. Always pure class, Renee handles her au revoir with JP perfectly, telling him that she did fall in love with him and that he opened up her eyes to “a whole new world.” JP chokes up telling Renee she’s “so great” and that he respects her a lot. In the limo Renee says she came on the show to find love and she did. She adds that Juan Pablo is “as good as they come.” SO ARE YOU RENEE. So are you.