The Baffling ‘Bachelor’ Finale: Unusual and Uncomfortable
What would your reaction be if a man said he had an engagement ring in his pocket he was not going to use? Oh, and you’ve just poured your heart out to him on national television and don’t even get an “I love you,” in return. For Bachelor contestant Nikki Ferrell (the woman pouring her heart out) it was to stay with Juan Pablo Galavis, accepting his final rose sans diamond ring. Judging by the reaction on social media and the live comments and faces from former contestants and the audience during the “After the Final Rose” special, it was not (as Juan Pablo often says) “okay.”
The Bachelor ended last night in a bizarre, awkward finale where the country learned that Galavis had chosen Ferrell over the other remaining contestant, Clare Crawley. During the final show, both women met his family and went on final dates with Juan Pablo. The evening was interspersed with live audience reaction from previous contestants, including the recently married Bachelor alums Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici.
Lowe tweeted about how painful it was to watch the show unfold, and commented in studio about the awkward final encounter between Juan Pablo and Clare. On the final date in a private moment, Juan Pablo said something Clare described as “insulting,” adding that, “The words he used … I can’t even repeat it.” She tried to confront him later, but any semblance of an argument quickly fizzled out. Or, as Lowe put it, Juan Pablo was able to talk circles around Clare, like he has done previously in the season.
For ABC, Juan Pablo proved to be a bit of a PR nightmare, and the image wasn’t improved after last night’s finale. Every time he found himself in trouble — notably, when he brought it on himself by making offensive comments about the mentally handicapped and the gay community — he tried to back himself out of the corner by saying that English is his second language, and he does not always fully understand the cultural connotations of words.
His actions had him labeled the worst bachelor in the history of the show going into the finale. Last night’s episode added self-centered to the picture of Juan Pablo painted for America. When she did not get an engagement ring, Clare was furious (she did just get broken up with on television), and let Juan Pablo have a piece of her mind. As she walked away after the outburst, Juan Pablo said under his breath, “I’m glad I didn’t pick her.”
Then it was Nikki’s turn to face Juan Pablo. She confessed to not being able to imagine a life without Juan Pablo, and got in return that he was not 100 percent ready for a proposal, and that he “likes” her a lot. The Neil Lane ring remained firmly in his pocket, and People reports it will now return to the producers. The only way Juan Pablo will get the diamond back will be if he does eventually propose to Nikki.
Some may have been hoping for that outcome during last night’s special, but that wasn’t the case either. A new level of discomfort was introduced following the ringless rose ceremony when Galavis and Ferrell appeared on the live after show, their first public appearance together since tapping for the show ended. As the couple sat down on the couch for an interview with host Chris Harrison, the room was thick with confusion. Nikki still professes to be in love with Juan Pablo, who has yet to say those three words to her.
Harrison tried to draw out details about the couple’s relationship — anything that would make it seem real. Instead, he was stonewalled by a defiant Juan Pablo. The pair cozied up on the couch, inching closer and closer as each unbelievably strange moment passed. Although he and Nikki said they were happy, it seemed hard to believe.
“I don’t know what I’m looking at,” Harrison said as he stared perplexedly at the two sitting before him. “I would like to say you are in love … but it’s awkward.” The Bachelor Twitter account even called out the strange feeling that settled over the studio.
You can really cut the tension with a knife in here… #AfterTheFinalRose
— The Bachelor (@BachelorABC) March 11, 2014
Others, like US Weekly, felt for Harrison, who tried his best to interview a couple who publicly aired their relationship and now refused to talk about it.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) March 11, 2014
But the night wasn’t a total wash. After the interviews wrapped, it was confirmed that Andi Dorfman, one of this season’s contestants, will be the next Bachelorette. When speaking with her, Harrison made sure she realized that she was going on national television to find love — and that people would want to talk to her about it.