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'Bachelorette' instant reaction: The rules of reality dating are thwarted!

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My fearless predictions as of now (and having read no spoilers) for the final three: Chris L., Frank, and Roberto, with Kirk as a possible wild-card. It’s possible I’m letting my own love for Chris L. color that pick, but Ali really did light up as they talked about oysters and something called Flip Cup that I have now learned too much about via Google search. (It’s exactly like you think.) My other predictions: Justin will stick around longer than he would have otherwise, thanks not as much to his limp up the hill (which you’ve known about all week if you saw any promos) to visit Ali, but because the Bachelor/Bachelorette usually gets protective of the very people others are trying to oust — unless those people are as douchey as Craig the Hair Guy last week. Kasey will sing the song that’s in his heart. And Jonathan will get a bit part on The CW’s critically acclaimed drama Life Unexpected as Kerr Smith’s younger weatherman brother. But only if the part does not require kissing.

The full recap with all the specifics will be up soon, but if you’ve already watched and want to weigh in on the fallout of The Bachelorette‘s first guy-on-guy smackdown of the season, read on after the jump for more. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you’ve already watched Monday’s Bachelorette premiere. Seriously.]

Ali did her now-weekly facedown with her fear of flying on a one-on-one date with Roberto, and he clearly benefited from all the adrenaline produced by the helicopter ride and wire-walking. Not that he needed it; she’s been smitten with him since Day 1, and by the time they got around to dinner this time, it was all “you’re pretty,” “no, you’re pretty.” He got a rose, duh.

The group date got us another musical appearance no one’s been waiting for, this time from Barenaked Ladies (and I say that as someone who spent a lot of college time being into Barenaked Ladies). We learned that their song lyrics are secretly coded messages about reality dating programs, and we learned that Jonathan suffers from debilitating fear of kissing on camera. (Bad news for you, buddy: You’re on The Bachelorette!) We also learned that Kirk has “energy” that “draws” Ali to him, especially when he’s shirtless, so he got a rose.

Hunter got the old mid-date boot after a lackluster dinner cookout with Ali. Justin, however, got to stick around despite his castmates’ outrage over his crutch-laden limp up the hill for an unauthorized visit to Ali’s place. I think he deserved to stay just for so blatantly flouting Reality Dating World constructs, but my patience with all the fuss over him is wearing thin. My full recap will be up in a few hours, but let us know right now what you think now. Who’s the current frontrunner? (Roberto, right?) Did Ali make any mistakes with her roses this round? Whose side are you on in the Justin dust-up?

Image Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC