Just as the drama of #champangegate dies down, Peter is faced with another brouhaha in the house — is Alayah the pageant queen here for the Right Reasons™?

By Kristen Baldwin
January 20, 2020 at 10:00 PM EST
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Right, so where were we, rose lovers? Oh, of course — #champagnegate and its wide-ranging aftermath! When we last left the “ladies,” Pilot Pete confronted Kelsey about calling Hannah Ann the b-word (bitch, bully — take your pick), and she locked herself in the bathroom to cry.

The Bachelor (screen grab)
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Today, as the sun rises on Casa Bachelor, Kelsey is still crying — as is Hannah Ann. “I would never do that to someone,” she sobs to Alexa. “Why would I steal champagne?” Alexa and the rest of the women look like they’re sick to death of hearing Kelsey and Hannah Ann whimper about their fizzy feud. “I’m sure Peter is exhausted from dealing with this thing for two days,” notes Alayah. Meanwhile, this woman is getting ready for her one-on-one date.

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My hand to God, I have no memory of this woman or the moment she got the date card last week. I had to look her up here to figure out who it was, and even then I wasn’t sure until the chyron identified her on-screen as Victoria P. The Bachelor picks her up in a vintage pick-up truck that appears to have only one (outdated) seatbelt?

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Drive safe, Peter! They drive through Peter’s hometown and stop at a General Store to pick up some provisions for their date, which involves one of the pilot’s favorite activities: Line dancing. Victoria P. feels like “the luckiest stinking girl in the world” to spend all this country-western alone time with Peter after all the “drama” in the house. “I’m a little smitten right now,” she tells him with a giggle. And he LOVES it. They smooch a bit and dance some more. Is it me, or is this date really boring? Let’s check back in on what’s going on at Casa Bachelor.

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Oh, it looks like the Poolside Peace Talks between Kelsey and Hannah Ann are underway! Kelsey tells her nemesis that she will not “tolerate” being called a bully. “Using unkind words to you, I apologize for that — but that is not bullying,” she insists. (She is correct.) Hannah Ann is all “we’re gonna have to agree to disagree,” and she’s super perplexed when Kelsey claims the whole thing wasn’t actually about the champagne. (“I don’t even like champagne!” wails the blonde.) “You don’t know me,” says Hannah Ann. “So why call me fake?”

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Oy. These two aren’t really getting anywhere, are they? I guess we should just go back to Peter’s date with Blonde Victoria.

Dinner takes place in an airplane hangar (we get it, HE’S A PILOT!). Since it’s time to Go Deeper™, Victoria dives right into her sad backstory: “My dad passed away when I was really young, and after that, my mom… kinda fell into addiction,” she says tearfully. “We were in and out of shelters growing up.” I’ve gotta say, Peter’s “concerned listening face” is really on point.

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Victoria’s story is pretty upsetting, of course. With her mother struggling and her dad gone, she had to be a caretaker for her little sister at a very young age. “I would literally, like, peel a potato and cut it in half and put salt and pepper on it,” she says. “I’d make sure my sister was, like, taken care of.” Growing up, all Victoria wanted was a happy life, and to have a family someday. “You deserve it all,” says Peter. “This shows me what kind of person you are.” The Bachelor then goes on to tell Victoria P. that before production began, he asked God to watch over his future wife. And God answered: “The second that I said that, a shooting star went across the sky.”

I mean, okay? The whole “God spoke to me” thing is giving me some Luke P.-related PTSD, but let’s give Peter the benefit of the doubt for now. And Peter, please go ahead and give Victoria P. that date rose, okay?

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Welp. Back at Casa Bachelor, Alayah — a.k.a. Miss Texas USA 2019 — is drinking some red wine, wearing some Daisy Dukes and a purloined pilot’s cap, and holding court in the crowded kitchen. “Basically, like, everybody sees me and thinks, because of the pageants I do, that I’m like this sweet little elegant proper thing,” she tells the other “ladies.” When someone asks her if she has a wild side, Alayah says, “F–k yeah, dude! Bro, I get nasty! I mean, I’m very good at putting on [a] face when I need to.”

As the date card arrives and Alayah makes a boozy toast — “Cheers to all of you bitches, I love you!” — Sydney observes from the sidelines. “With Alayah, I can tell something’s off about that girl,” she says. “She is just all fake.” This, rose lovers, is what’s known as foreshadowing.

Early the next morning, all of the women on the group date — Kiarra, Sarah, Tammy, Kelley, Shiann, Savannah, Sydney, and Alayah — get a literal rude awakening.

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That muscular woman in the tube socks and tank top is there on behalf of former Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Demi Burnett. And Demi is back because… it would have been weird to have one of the guys from Hannah’s season of The Bachelorette barge into the women’s sleeping quarters with a bullhorn?

“Wake up you maggots! Rise and shine!” bellows Demi, who then orders the women downstairs for their group date instructions. Her two “henchwomen,” Champagne and Killer, pass out bags to all the women going on the group date. Kiarra, the nanny from Georgia who has yet to speak much this season, helpfully explains that the bags contain a “cute pajama lingerie set” — but God help me, rose lovers, she pronounces “lingerie” as “ling-ger-ee.” (All but Savannah, by the way, who has to wear a dowdy flowered nightgown for some reason.)

“Is this actually how you sleep?” asks Peter, as he rides with the lingerie-clad “ladies” to the date. The women reply in unison: “NO!” Duh, Pilot Pete.

The bus drops them off at the Cowboy Palace Saloon, and inside they find Champagne and Killer beating the holy hell out of each other with feather pillows. After their bout, Demi announces that she planned this “Extreme Pillow Fight Club” date to help the women get out some aggression given all the tension in the house. (But I think we all know that it was the men of Team Bachelor who dreamed up this girl-on-girl outing and asked Bachelor Nation’s bisexual alumna to host.)

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Once again, comedy legend Fred Willard is there to help Chris Harrison call the action. (Props to the graphics team for that “Bachelor Nation Sports” logo.)

Match No. 1 — Tammy “the Tamminator” vs. Kelley “the Prosecutie” — ends when Tammy executes an illegal tackle and is disqualified. (Yes, apparently there are rules in Demi’s “Extreme Pillow Fight Club.”) Shiann “the Shiannimal” triumphs over Savannah and her mumu, and this old lady LOVES it:

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That grandma looks like a stone-cold killer.

Kiarra “the language killer” whacks Sarah “the sleepwalker” so hard in the head I was worried she’d end up with a concussion, or at least whiplash. It all builds up to the championship round between (of course) Alayah “the royal pain” and “Syd Vicious.” Wow, what a coincidence that Demi chose these two women who clearly already have a beef brewing! Anyhow, the pillow battle gets nasty fast.

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“Show me you want it!” bellows Peter from the crowd. Sydney pulls Alayah’s hair, but then Alayah plunks herself down on top of her opponent and earns the victory. “What am I supposed to do?” fumes Sydney. “It’s a f—ing elephant sitting on a rat. How are you gonna get up?” First of all, Syd Vicious, let’s not perpetuate unhealthy body expectations by calling Alayah an “elephant.” Second, out of all the small animals in the world, why did you decide to call yourself a “rat?” This, rose lovers, is an example of subconscious foreshadowing.

Sydney is still steaming mad at the post-date cocktail party. “People like Alayah just win in this world,” she grouses. “Alayah is the type of girl that puts on the pretty little princess façade and flaunts herself in front of the cameras in an absolute orchestrated show.”

Possibly, or could it be that Alayah, much like Walt Whitman, contains multitudes? “I feel like you’ve seen, like, the sweet side of me, and the innocent side, and all of those sides,” she coos to Peter during their one-on-one chat. “Today was the fighter and the strong side.” The Bachelor is into all sides of this multifaceted pageant diamond. “Alayah has a very positive, fun energy about her that I totally connect with,” he tells us.

You know who’s not giving off positive energy right now? Sydney. As soon as Alayah is back from her chat with Peter, she gets hit with this question from her rival: “Do you, like, work at all?” Girl, didn’t you read her chyron? Alayah is an Orthodontist Assistant. In fact, Alayah says she has three jobs. (Any guesses on what the other two are?) Sydney then asks Alayah if she still uses the training from her beauty queen career in her day-to-day life. “Yeah,” she replies. “I’m so used to it.” Alayah goes on to say that her eight years competing in pageants have taught her “how not to offend anybody when I’m saying things… Or if I don’t want to answer a question, how to answer without answering. Those things are easy for me.”

This is exactly what Sydney wants to hear — or, more accurately, what Sydney wants Alayah to say on camera so everybody else can hear it. Though to be honest, I felt like Alayah was being genuine about her ability to be fake, if that makes any sense. It certainly didn’t seem sinister — and if Alayah were consciously trying to manipulate people into thinking she’s something she’s not, would she talk so openly about how good she is at putting up a front? I don’t think so. That may be why Alayah looks so taken aback when Sydney says this: “Opening up and, like, being your true core is kinda hard.”

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“You sound so rehearsed,” Sydney continues, “and so, like, on… But if you come in here worrying about how you’re perceived, then you’re not going to be your real self to Peter. And, like, that’s what he’s here to find, like a real person.”

Rather than leaping up and yanking Sydney’s hair out of her head, Alayah maintains her beauty-queen cool. “I don’t know,” she says curtly, before emotionally checking out of the conversation.

Oh, but Sydney isn’t done talking. When it’s her turn to sit down with Peter, she informs him that she’s very “different” from the other women, in that she’s not a fake-ass beeyotch. “When I’m in the house with some girls, it’s two different things,” she explains. “And like when the cameras show up and the lights are on, and there’s that time for some camera time, like, it’s like a whole different person… I just, like, don’t want you to get blinded by that.”

This sends Peter into the requisite “my greatest fear is that I’ll fall for someone fake” tailspin. And what he does next is, in a word, hilarious.

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That’s right, rose lovers! Peter immediately heads back to the “ladies” and informs them that Sydney has been throwing shade in their general direction. “Sydney, sorry to kind of put you on the spot,” says Peter, “but you had mentioned that there were people that maybe were different off-camera or different in the house when I’m not there… I want to just kinda squash this now.” You may call this “tattling,” but I call this the “all’s fair in televised love and war” defense. You know how those “workplace compliance” videos are always telling you not to put something in an email that you wouldn’t want to see printed on a billboard? The same goes for The Bachelor, Sydney! Don’t say something on camera to one person if you don’t want the whole world (or at least about 5 million people) to hear.

As you might imagine, Sydney was not really prepared for this sudden development.

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“Um…” she begins. “Maybe Alayah, maybe you put on a little bit just for the imagery of things?” After shooting Sydney a death glare, Alayah asks the group if anybody else thinks she’s a phony. No one appears to respond, so Peter ends the awkward silence with this plea to the assembled women: “I just ask, be real, be raw, be yourself… If you’re doing this for any other reason besides seeing if this can work with me, I do not have time for that.”

And with that, he walks. As soon as he’s out of earshot, Alayah asks Sydney why she “felt the need” to say anything about her. Sydney accuses her of being “a little bit dramatic” for the cameras, which Alayah doesn’t deny. Still, she says, “You don’t know me outside of this. I have a big personality… But now you made Peter doubt me.” To that end, Alayah walks off to find Peter and assure him that she’s here for the Right Reasons™.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t feel something for you,” she says through tears. “And now to think that it’s possible that you think I’m being fake just sucks.” Peter, clearly exhausted and annoyed by all the drama, just hangs his head. “I just hope that I’m not getting fooled,” he sighs.

I was really hoping he’d end the whole night by throwing the date rose into the tiny table fire in front of him, instead, he gives it to Sydney. “I appreciate you being honest with me,” he says. Though that must have felt like a gut-punch to Alayah, she is not deterred. “I’m not going to allow him to dislike me because of some other person’s opinion,” she vows.

We interrupt this recap to bring you this GIF of Sydney wearing a teddy bear coat while eating avocado in the Casa Bachelor kitchen.

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It’s the next day, of course, and Alayah is still pretty upset about Sydney’s comments. Chris Harrison arrives and adds to the tension by informing the women that Peter will be coming over to hang with them at the pool — and after that, they’ll go straight to a rose ceremony without having a cocktail party first. But when Peter arrives, he’s a total Gloomy Gus. “I’m not really feeling my best,” he tells his harem. “I unfortunately, I guess, kinda feel a little bit of doubt creeping in with all this.” He’s only here for one reason, y’all: To find “magic” at the end of this “journey.” So get it together, “ladies!”

Before the party commences, Peter pulls Sydney aside. (Guys, she’s still carrying her date rose around, which is brilliantly hostile.) The Bachelor apologizes to her for putting her on the spot on the group date, and of course she forgives him. “I would just take today and really, like, don’t look at the outside,” she advises. “If you do that, I think you’ll figure out, like, what’s going on.”

Or he could just ask all of the women if they like Alayah or think she’s fake, which is exactly what Peter does. Kelsey tells him that while Alayah is a “great” person, she also “acts a certain way when the camera’s on.” Natasha informs Peter that “Sydney was not wrong” about Alayah, while Lexi (remember her?) notes that Alayah is one of those people who “kind of turn it on a little bit for the cameras.” This is all juxtaposed against clips of Alayah monologuing at Hannah Ann and Mykenna about her “big personality,” and how she knows “not everybody is going to love me in life,” and that she’s “never going to apologize for being a pageant girl.”

When Alayah tries to hash things out with Sydney a second time, it does not go well.

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“Do you have feelings?” she asks Alayah bluntly. “Do you have emotions other than… perfect?” Rude! Pageant queens have many emotions, like “genuinely happy,” and “dying inside but pretending to be genuinely happy” and “asleep.” (I kid, I kid.) In response to Sydney’s accusation that Alayah is “happy all the time,” the former Miss Texas USA says, “This has pissed me off… You don’t care who you hurt in this process!” Sydney’s all, Who me? I’m just telling it like it is because no one else has the balls to do it!

All Alayah can do is appeal to Peter directly. “A relationship is nothing without trust,” she says, “and I felt like last night you didn’t trust me.” Peter is noncommittal, but says he has to guard (and protect) his heart. “Do you see why some of the other girls in the house maybe feel a fakeness from you?” he asks. Of course she doesn’t! “I choose to be happy,” says Alayah, adding that she’s a “horrid liar.” After a pause and a sigh, Peter has this to say: “I believe you.” It seems like everything is settled, and they seal the conversation with a kiss.

“I feel so fricking amazing right now!” announces Alayah. “I feel back on top of the world.” Peter, however, still can’t shake the fact that his “logical brain” tells him there are “flags” when it comes to Alayah. And the logical part of the Bachelor’s brain is validated when he sits down with Victoria P., who tells him that she knew Alayah “a little bit” from their time in the pageant world. (Turns out Victoria P. is a former Miss Louisiana USA.) “I probably had spent, maybe, like collectively three hours with her,” she tells Peter. “It’s difficult for me to be in this position, but I do know that she asked that I not tell producers that we knew one another, and I didn’t really understand why.” Rose lovers, it gets worse. Victoria P. goes on to say that Alayah seemed “really open” to “all the opportunities” that come from being on The Bachelor (Instagram fame and fortune, y’all!!!!). With that in mind, says Victoria, “Maybe she’s not for you.”

Poor Pilot Pete now has to go back to Alayah to figure out if she’s a lying liar who lies. “My heart says one thing, but my head’s screaming, ‘Stop it!’” he tells us. Team Head all the way, bro.

The Bachelor sits Alayah down and informs her that “multiple” women have “brought stuff up” questioning her intentions. “Maybe you’ve been a little manipulative toward some of the women…?” Her response is predictable.

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But when Peter asks her point-blank if she asked Victoria P. to lie to producers about their relationship, Alayah just stares at him blankly for a full six seconds before offering up an explanation: She did ask Victoria P. to keep quiet, but only because she was worried they’d both be “disqualified” if producers found out they knew each other. “It wasn’t me being manipulative,” she insists.

Peter, however, isn’t buying it. “That doesn’t look genuine,” he says. When Alayah continues to protest, he cuts her off with a curt, “I’ve just got a lot to think about,” and walks away. And he’s not coming back, rose lovers! Harrison arrives and informs the “ladies” that the Bachelor is too “emotional” and “confused” to enjoy the party. They’re just going to have to wait for the rose ceremony to see him again.

That night, Alayah feels “broken” as she and the other women wait for Peter to return to the mansion. She’s shocked — shocked! — that Victoria P., a person she considered a “friend and an ally,” had the nerve to “slaughter” her good name. Whatever you say, honey. Peter, let’s do this thing!

Here’s who’s joining Sydney and Victoria P. in the Circle of Safety this week: Kelsey, Hannah Ann, Natasha, Lexi, Madison, Shiann, Kelley, Kiarra, Tammy, Savannah, Deandra… Hey, can somebody check on Mykenna? It looks like she’s about to collapse from nervous exhaustion.

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Maybe she’s just yawning? Speaking of exhaustion, Peter has reached his final two roses — and his breaking point. Should he give Alayah a rose or should he listen to his gut (and all of the other women)? Rather than make a decision on his own, he leaves the room to consult with Bachelor Nation’s foremost relationship guru, Chris Harrison.

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Eventually, Peter returns to the Rose Room… followed by Harrison, who snatches one of the remaining roses from the table. “There’s been a little bit of a change tonight,” he announces. “This is now the final rose tonight.” And it goes to… Mykenna! So sorry Alayah (and Jasmine, Alexa, and Sarah). Please take a moment and say your goodbyes. “This was not easy for me at all,” the Bachelor whispers to Alayah before giving her a farewell hug.

But is it really farewell? After saying goodbye to the “ladies,” Peter confers with a producer. “I don’t feel good right now,” he says. “I feel like I’m going to regret this like crazy.” This being sending Alayah home, or being the Bachelor in the first place? Just kidding — he obviously regrets both of those things!

As we see in the preview for next week, the Alayah drama isn’t over yet. Yay? Before you go, rose lovers, I have a few questions: Are you Team Alayah or Team Everyone Else? Has Mykenna really fallen out of favor with Peter or did she just get the last rose because someone has to get the last rose? And how nervous do you think producers were when Peter flew off that mechanical bull? Post your thoughts below!

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