I admit it. I didn’t see it coming. I know I had been promoting Nayte as one of the favorites to win it all season. Still, during the Fantasy Suites episodes, I convinced myself that the “is he really ready for an engagement?” flags that Michelle was concerned about were screaming bright red. Therefore, I thought he was the one going home. Wrong – even though @Bachelordata shows the last Fantasy Suite date gets eliminated nearly 60% of the time.
On the other hand, I had convinced myself that my other favorite to win, Baller Joe, had successfully overcome the “is he expressive enough for me?” flags that Michelle was concerned about. Wrong, again.
Let’s briefly recap how we got to this shocking state of affairs.
First, we had good signage and promotion.
[cue Shalamar Night to Remember] Brandon got the first date. They rode horses with one in front of the other through a jungle. I’m not sure how this was fun, plus I was thinking about mosquitoes and other annoying insects the whole time. He dropped the L-word, they wasted a good dinner with a food fight, and they got fireworks. Fireworks are always a good sign.
Then there was an awkward return to the other guys.
[cue Chicago Feelin’ Stronger Every Day] Baller Joe was up next. They went zip-lining. Extreme heights freak me out, but I feel like, with a zip-line, I could close my eyes and grit my teeth really hard and get through it. So, this date would be preferred over dealing with a large animal and tiny insects.
Baller Joe and Michelle had a nice romance novel cover shot moment.
I was VERY pleased by their honest extravert-introvert conversation. As you know, I believe introverts are at a disadvantage in the Bachelor world. These are legitimate personality differences which people often find frustrating to deal with at times or over time in relationships. Michelle had expressed her apprehension over this difference, and I thought their on-screen conversation helped allay that apprehension.
Moreover, I felt that the off-camera time in the Fantasy Suite would really help Joe “open up” and enable Michelle to see more accurately what life with Baller Joe would be like. That seemed to be the case the day after, as she seemed pretty pleased with him and how strongly she felt about the possibility of an engagement.
Then there was an awkward return to the other guys. This one involved some trash talk and My Daughter Diandra (MDD) saying that Nayte talking smack with a skeptical glance while holding a glass of wine reminded her of a specific member of the family . . .
[cue Demi Lovato Tell Me You Love Me] Nayte got the last date which is often the kiss of death, as I mentioned earlier. They got a day on a catamaran. I’m not one for water, so I would have left the show, forfeited any earnings, and risked my Instagram following if I was presented with any of these three dates.
MDD and I felt that Nayte had a degree of false confidence that was masking insecurity, i.e., the BIG RED FLAG. His family had already said they didn’t think he was ready for an engagement or maybe even a committed relationship. Michelle came to that date with those doubts, and she asked LOTS of questions. It’s clear that she’s very attracted to him – the physical chemistry they have is obvious – and she is desperate to get him to say that his feelings were at the same level as hers, i.e., are you ready to be engaged and married?
I felt that he had a LOT of reluctance to give direct answers to her questions. MDD said there was “a lot of circling around the drain. I’m getting a little dizzy.” And her facial expressions and body language seemed to communicate frustration with his unconvincing and vague answers.
Clearly, she saw and heard things I didn’t, or I read her utterly wrong as she came out of the Fantasy Suite talking about how she felt finally she and Nayte were in the same place.
(Ah, but we have previews of his parental units having a very different opinion.)
And there was a final awkward return to the other guys.
Yes, KMD!! There was a Rose Ceremony!! Right away, Brandon asks for a word in private, and he and Michelle take a walk so long that I thought they crossed back into Texas. He wants to assure her that no matter what happens that he is Pledging My Love [Diana (Ross) and Marvin (Gaye)] and that I Will Always Love You [Dolly Parton].
I didn’t like this. It felt like he was taking an unfair advantage to influence her feelings right at the point of her decision. Clearly, this could not have happened without the Evil Genius Producers’ (EGPs’) approval. Maybe the conversation didn’t matter because Michelle knew he was on her two-man list, anyway. But what would the EGPs motivation be for letting this happen? I have so many questions about this. And, again, I didn’t like the perception that the playing field had become unlevel.
And then Introverted Baller Joe was gone. Say it ain’t so.
See you next week for the end of Michelle and some lucky guy’s journey to find love.
P.S. This week’s viewing wine. Great value under $10 even before my discount coupon.
 AKA zipline, zip line, zip-wire, or zip-power-line.
 An old blues song covered by a lot of people including Elvis and Emmy Lou Harris but this version was the first time I heard it.
 OG blog reader KE will be stunned that I didn’t credit Whitney Houston here given my long-standing devil’s advocate argument that everybody associates the song with her.