4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Two observations:

A) These really ARE the craziest girls yet. :)

B) I no longer fancy the pants off Bachelor Matt Grant. :(

This episode was all about sharpening the claws on two group dates. The first outing called for Ashlee, Kristine, Marshana, Noelle, Michelle, Amanda, Erin H., and Holly to model in Matt’s own personal fashion show. “Watching my eight dates strut down the catwalk is arguably one of the best dates I’ve ever been on,” he said. “But I didn’t really get to speak to them much…” (Strike one.) Erin H. captured the general feelings of the girls when she said she was both excited and mortified. Beauty queen Marshana did a walk so fierce that it was unintentionally funny, while Holly purposely went for laughs with her moonwalk. (Well done.) Kristine said she’d rather jump out of an airplane than walk a runway, but rallied. (I’m happy she’s sticking around because I genuinely look forward to the moment that she and Matt, you know, speak.) It was Leelee Ashlee, however, who earned herself the rose up for grabs because Matt felt a “connection”… and her knee as they sat on a bed and she “hinted” that she wanted to be kissed with the subtle line “I have been staring at your lips all day”. (Strike two.) Ashlee’s Happy Dance and exclamation of “It’s mine!” upon receiving said rose was, possibly, one of the most childish things I’ve ever seen on The Bachelor — which is saying something. (When Marshana tells you to be humble???) We found out that Matt digs the singer-songwriter vibe when it comes in a hot, little, 22-year-old Jewel-like package (Ashlee). But is frightened by it when it sounds vaguely like Sondheim (Michelle) or opera (Carri).

Yes, I can no longer wait to get into the singing. Why do women think this is a good idea? Michelle (pictured), who played her clarinet on the first night, treated him to a song she wrote for “the Bachelor” on Day 2. Note: It took me three tries to play this scene without hitting the mute button. That’s how awkward it was. “I want to find you/ I want you to find me/ I want to touch you/ I want you to touch me/ And I want to feel you/ I want you to feel me/ I want to find you, in front of me.” Just… no. Matt ultimately sent Michelle packing, and she said was eager to get home and see her cat, the love of her life at the moment, because, “It’ll be great to have her purr again.” As EW’s Kristen Baldwin e-mailed me this morning — because yes, the four of us on staff who still watch this show e-mail after every episode — “[Bachelor creator] Mike Fleiss is an evil genius. I mean he somehow finds women who are like, ‘What’s that, off-camera producer? You need me to have a post-rose ceremony meltdown about Fluffy so I can fully embody the single-women-are-crazy-cat-ladies stereotype? Sure!” I think Michelle is actually sane (and talented) but believed that she was put on that show for a reason, and it was to meet a man who’d be wooed by her musical ability. Same goes for “Tin Cup” Carri, the church marketing exec from Oklahoma, who tried to enchant him by singing opera before the rose ceremony but only managed to entrance me with her batting eyes and wide-open mouth (which could not have looked that pretty up-close).

After the jump… What happens in Vegas is that spoiled Shayne gets jealous.

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The second group date found the other seven girls accompanying Matt on his first trip to Sin City. Kelly, who always seems to be slurring her words (read: drunk), won some alone time with Matt by being the best gambler. This pissed off Shayne, as did Matt choosing to spend time with anyone who wasn’t her. I feel like we missed the beginning of Shayne’s tantrum, but cameras caught up with her in time to hear her tell Matt, “You have 20 other girls downstairs eying [sic] for your attention, and do you think that I am a person that is, like, you know, waiting in the wings, and, like, would do this not to get to know you?” No, Shayne, he thinks you’re a person who signed up for a show that has ALWAYS had 25 girls vying for the attention of one man — so suck it up. As Shayne admitted when she sulked after Chelsea got the group-date rose, “I’m used to getting my way. I’m used to getting a million roses.” This is why I think Matt should trust his instincts — as opposed to his twig and berries, which believe stunning Shayne is beyond his level of attractiveness — and not trust her. She says she doesn’t feel this way about anyone. That’s because no man ever makes her chase him. Shayne assured Matt that she was there for him, and he kept her around despite insisting that the drama was a big turn-off. (Strike three.)

Other movers & shakers in Las Vegas included Robin, who sat on Matt’s lap and played the piano for him. (This was acceptable because they were in a suite that had a piano — presumably, she didn’t bring it with her.) And, of course, Chelsea. Matt said he was “gutted” that he wasn’t leaving with her; I feel like we didn’t see why. She seems fun, athletic, and more normal than her champion arm-wrestler background would have you expect. But “gutted?” (Was it just her stating that she has a great life and just wants someone to share it with, or did her showing off her flexible tongue help?) Anyway, I like that he’s responding to her, and that they haven’t rushed a kiss. I think he’s taking things slower with the girls he actually considers long-term contenders, i.e. chronic-hiccupper Amanda, whose perfectly-timed “meep!” at the rose ceremony, right after Chris Harrison said three girls would be going home, made me squeal.

Speaking of the rose ceremony, can we just discuss the dance party that preceded it? Could Matt really like Marshana, who went from asking him to slow dance to no music, to giving him a full-on lapdance? I’m glad he kept her — so we get more confessional sound bites like, “It’s okay, Matt. Kiss me. Come forward. These lips, they are waiting for you” — but I’m also glad that he didn’t kiss her.

So, after an eventful episode 2, who’s your favorite Bachelorette? And did anyone else think that Robin totally dropped the ball on her let’s-pretend-we-met-by-chance role-playing scenario? Maybe it was just the editing, but it was a cute idea that just dissolved into a giggle. And, okay, a kiss. So maybe she did play it well…

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