I’d like to start this week by talking about another dramatic show that I hosted, The 90th Annual Miss America Pageant. It was an honor — as a TV host, there are a few jobs out there that you always look forward to checking off your bucket list, and that is one of them. My thanks to the folks at Miss America and ABC for making it a great weekend. While I’m thanking people I want to thank one of my favorite people in this business, Ellen DeGeneres. She has always been such a huge supporter of our show. I have no idea how many times I’ve been on her show over the last nine years, but I love each and every visit with her, and I enjoyed being back on last week. Now, I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

The episode started with me walking in to talk to the girls the morning after the rose ceremony. You have to understand that rose ceremonies go late, so often times only a few hours have passed since I just saw them and the drama of the night before ended. In this case it was a rough night. Raichel and Melissa really stirred up the house and the girls really felt Michelle only got a rose because it was her 30th birthday. Not sure if you heard, but last week was her 30th birthday.

So when I walked in there was still a bit of a dark cloud hanging over the house. Ashley S got the first one-on-one date. Her biggest fear was that the date was karaoke. Good news for her, it wasn’t. Bad news for her — it was worse, actually recording a song at the historic Capitol Records studio. Brad had no idea just how meaningful this date would be for Ashley. As a child she loved the old Batman shows with Adam West. This is why her and her father would sing the Batman songs, like “Kiss From a Rose” from the Batman Forever soundtrack. It turned out to be a very touching moment and date for the both of them. Ashley and Brad actually sang for about an hour and the folks at the studio really did press a CD which Ashley got to take home, and I’m sure it will be selling on eBay very soon. Ashley obviously hit it off with Brad and got the rose. Can we all agree that Seal is an unbelievable talent? The guy just amazes me. I’m not gonna lie — I was hoping Heidi Klum would be with him, but oh well.

Next up was the group date where the cast shot an action movie. I thought this date was pretty darn cool. The director you saw was Steven Ho. He did stunts in the new Green Hornet movie and was the fighting double for Donatello, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not sure if it’s just my age or what, but I was never really into the whole Ninja Turtle thing. I have to admit for a bunch of amateurs the acting ability in this group was pretty impressive. The two that really stood out the most were Chantal and Shawntel. (I know, don’t get me started on the whole name thing.) Shawntel made such a strong impression that she eventually got the rose that night. Come on, admit it — we had you going for a minute. You thought Michelle was getting the rose didn’t you? If you’re wondering what was going on back at the house during this date, well, I’ll tell you. Ashley S, feeling pretty good with a rose in hand, started challenging the girls in the house with little competitions. She bet the girls they couldn’t eat eight saltines in a minute or eat a teaspoon of cinnamon. Very serious stuff.

In my opinion this was easily one of the most emotional episodes we have ever had. First Ashley opened up, then Chantal — but nobody had any idea what Emily was about to tell them. When Emily let the girls in on her past and the tragedy that had taken place, the women fell apart. You saw a little bit of it, but the crying didn’t stop for some time, and understandably so. Interestingly enough this is what really sent Madison over the edge. After she heard the story she sulked around the house for a bit and just realized she wasn’t in this for the same reasons Emily and the other girls were. As emotional as it was to tell the other women Emily was really dreading telling Brad. She was so excited to get a date she didn’t want to bring it all down by telling him about her past so she deflected as long as she could but eventually gave in. There are no words to describe what Emily has gone through, and I along with everyone else who meets her am amazed at her strength, bravery and courage. The ironic thing about Emily finally telling Brad was she was dreading it so much, but by being open and honest it really took a huge weight off her shoulders and helped Brad see her in a completely different light, which he loved. There was something special about that moment for both of them that I haven’t seen on any other date we’ve ever had on this show. It was really good to see Emily genuinely smile for the first time this season.

After a great week of dates and talking to his therapist, Brad was in a great mood for the cocktail party. All of a sudden he really seemed to have a handle on this situation and had a very clear plan on how he was going to handle this from here on out. At the party Ashley H’s struggles with “first date syndrome” were clearly getting worse. She’s feeling more and more insecure by the day. As for Madison her exit was really unexpected. I really think she convinced herself during the rose ceremony. I find her very intriguing. I look forward to talking to her at the Women Tell All special because like Brad I can’t quite figure her out. Did she come on this show for her 15 minutes of fame and then all of a sudden feel guilty about it after hearing Emily’s story? Did she come on the show with her defenses up (the fangs), putting on a show, not really letting everybody in — only to realize she made a big mistake and blew a good chance? All I know is there’s a lot more to this woman than meets the eye, and to Brad’s credit he saw it right away. My only hope is whatever her motivation, she learned a valuable life lesson from this experience and can grow from here.

After this week the emotions in the house are at an all time high and it doesn’t get any easier. As you can probably tell Michelle is relentless. She’s strong, calculated and ready to go after what she wants, and that’s a dangerous combination for the other women. She really starts rubbing girls the wrong way — Chantal in particular. This is a battle that will build in the weeks to come. Thanks for the comments and questions below and thanks for coming back in such strong numbers to support our show once again. You can always find out more about the show at our web site, and you can always find me on twitter @chrisbharrison. Until then, you can find me watering down the driveway at the mansion.

More Bachelor from EW:

Check out Brad’s Bachelor blog on

Episode Recaps