July 06, 2010 at 05:00 AM EDT

Image Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABCBefore we get into this week’s Bachelorette, I want to throw out a few final thoughts on Jake and Vienna. I don’t want to recap the entire ordeal, as I feel the interview really spoke for itself. I’m satisfied that you got to see and hear everything. Now that you have seen and heard for yourselves how this interview really went, you realize most if not all the tabloid reports that came out last week were just a little more than off the mark. Obviously there never was any threat of physical violence at any point during this interview. Let me be very clear with you that I would never tolerate any violence on this show — much less violence toward a woman. The bizarre atmosphere that surrounds this show now really astounds me.

Many of you wrote in, long before you had ever seen a frame of this interview, and complained that it was slanted in favor of Jake. Now that it has aired, I’d be interested to hear if you still feel that way. From my perspective, the interview was very fair to both parties and wasn’t very flattering for anybody involved. You have to understand that I come into this with a little different perspective. I know Jake and Vienna, and however hard it is for some folks to believe, these two had strong feelings for each other when we left St. Lucia. My true hope in conducting this interview, however naïve it seems now, was not to solve or fix this relationship, but to find a bit of closure and stop the nasty back-and-forth that will only flame the tabloid stories and crazy Internet reports. Obviously, that’s not what happened, and I apologize to Jake and Vienna for that. Maybe it was just too soon to have that intimate a conversation. It is my sincere hope that Vienna and Jake will find it in their hearts to bury the hatchet and move on peacefully with their lives, wherever that may take them.

It’s a little difficult to make the transition back to the here and now, but this was an important week for Ali and the guys. We landed in Lisbon, Portugal, with five solid guys, which is a good thing, but it also made it very hard for Ali this week. I started off by talking to the guys in one of the many beautiful town squares in Lisbon. We don’t close down these places when we shoot these scenes, and I love that. It’s priceless to see the people’s faces as these five guys walk across traffic and the square and come up to me with all the cameras around.

Ali’s first date this week was with Roberto. I was very happy to see her relationship with him take a serious step forward. If you noticed, Ali is no longer the giggly little schoolgirl she used to be around Roberto. She’s now able to compose herself and dig a little deeper to find out what this guy is made of. The good news for Ali is the deeper she digs, the more she likes.

On a much different note, the two-on-one date this week with Frank and Ty was just flat-out awkward. These dates are always tough, but at this point in the journey, when Ali cares deeply about both guys, Frank said it best: “The two-on-one sucks.” Ty seemed to settle all of his issues with Ali on this date. I’ll give you my thoughts later on why he left. Frank took this moment to tell Ali he lives with his parents. This brings up an interesting question for you ladies: Is living at home with your parents at this point in your life a deal breaker? Or do circumstances dictate how you feel about it? Ali obviously took into consideration Frank’s circumstances and didn’t mind. Yet once again, Ali throws out a random concern about Frank, saying he’s everything she’s ever wanted, but also everything she fears.

By the time Ali got to her date with Kirk she was overwhelmed. I think four straight weeks of travel, the enormity of the decision this week, and the fact that there’s really not much separating these five remaining guys finally got to her. It really affected her date with Kirk in the beginning, but being the guy he is, he turned it around. I think a lesser man would have taken it all personally and just shut down, but Kirk rallied and they had a great night. Kirk’s speech at dinner really brought it home for him, literally. The guy always says and does the right thing. Sometimes when a guy does that, it’s cheesy or insincere, but not with Kirk, and Ali loves that about him.

At this point in the show, I find Ali and Chris L’s relationship the most intriguing. Ali told me on several occasions her typical relationships start slow as friendships, and then blossom from there. This is exactly what’s happening with Chris and Ali. On their date this week Chris definitely moved out of the “friend” zone. Ali kept saying she’s glad his walls have come down. I think that trivializes him a little bit. Having gone through what he has over the last year, I really respect that fact that Chris wasn’t an open book from day one. He waited until he saw potential in this relationship and a future with Ali before really opening up to her.

As for who went home this week, it was really tough to see Ty go. At this point, Ali’s really splitting hairs trying to come up with a reason to send any of these final five guys home. In the end, Ali and Ty had a good connection but compared to the other guys it just wasn’t enough. I also think they just had different perspectives on life. After this week’s episode, I don’t think I have to tell you to leave your comments below. Have at it people, let it all out. I hope you all had a wonderful, safe Fourth of July. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the fireworks this summer.

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