Kasey comes on too strong, and Chris L. seems too real as Ali and the guys head to New York

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated June 15, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Bachelorette Ali Kiss
Credit: Steve Fenn/ABC

We began the ”traveling around the world” portion of the proceedings with a stop in New York City, as Ali continued to speak (as all Bachelor/Bachelorette participants do) as if we were watching her embark upon a normal, everyday courtship: ”Traveling with someone,” she said, ”is how you really get to know everything.” True… if you’re going on, say, a road trip to meet your parents in Homer Glen, Illinois. Or maybe on an ill-fated jaunt to Mexico wherein you get stuck on your Dallas layover for seven hours longer than expected, then find yourselves booked in a place that looks much less classy in person than it does on the Internet, then drink some bad water. Not when you are traveling with a bunch of guys who are vying for your affection while corporate sponsors put you up in five-star hotels and teams of producers plan all of your picturesque dates to precise perfection.

Case in point, there Ali was, at the Andaz Hotel, being made over by InStyle for a surprise fashion shoot. (You know, what we all do before a date.) This advanced the plot not a bit, but the time she spent getting her extensions blown out presented a convenient opportunity for her to express the incredibly generic opinions she’s formed of her suitors thus far: She was ”smitten” with Roberto. She was ”looking forward to having a date” with Chris L. Frank? ”Funny.” Kirk? ”So amazing.” Kasey? ”Guard and protect my heart.”

And speaking of the guy who has applied branding concepts to dating like no one I’ve ever seen there was…

Date #1, On Which Hearts Were Guarded and Protected

Upon the revelation that our fair Kasey would receive the first of the New York dates, Jonathan delivered an unconvincing, ”He’s a lucky guy, Kasey. I’m jealous, as usual.” Kasey delivered a similarly unconvincing (for different reasons), ”We have our own unique connection.” Chris L. proved himself the love of my life once again (what are you doing on a dating show, sir?) with this succinct commentary on Kasey’s feelings for Ali: ”I think Kasey closes his eyes and thinks of Ali and thinks of, like, doves flying out behind her, Cupid hitting her with an arrow — you know, like, hearts floating around her head, in a meadow, magically running toward each other with unicorns. I don’t see her as that kind of romanticized love. Not like unicorn love.”

With that, Ali boarded what I believe is her third flight (we’re at two helicopters and a plane, right? Or have there been more?) — so I’m calling her officially not afraid of flying. The Bachelor/ette: Not the best marriage record, but great at curing aerophobia. Oh, hey, speaking of flying and unicorns and meadows, Kasey wanted us to know that Ali has ”expanded out into this beautiful butterfly and she’s ready and open to love.” Also, just in case you hadn’t heard yet, he wants ”someone to protect and guard my heart, just like I want to do for Ali.”

NEXT: Oy, Kasey, chill out.

So much so, in fact, that he was prepared to do anything to woo her. No, really, anything. Including… well, he had to prepare us mentally first. It’s important to have proper warning. ”I’ve just been waiting for this special moment,” he said cryptically. ”Here it comes. Here’s my moment. I hope she takes it in.” Even that build-up could not prepare us for what was to come: Kasey sang us the song in his heart, bless him. It went like this (imagine it a cappella — with no real melody): ”When I was flying in the helicopter over this amazing city, I looked to my left and never saw something so pretty.” [Insert Ali’s nervous laugh here.] ”At the end of tonight I’m not just your average Joe, but I hope in my hindsight I’ll see and find a rose.” [Insert Ali’s confused look here.] He summed it up best when he said, ”Yeah, that’s pretty intense stuff.”

The date itself — they got the American Museum of Natural History to themselves — was bound to pale in comparison to that display. Ali was trying hard to rationalize her way through it: ”I’m keeping an open mind with Kasey. I get that he’s being a little cheesy and singing. But I’m hoping that tonight he can just sort of be real. I’m looking forward to that tonight.” Kasey was looking perhaps slightly more forward: ”I could see Ali being my wife. We’re pretty much meant to be together.” And don’t think he was saving all this for his camera talk — nope, he brought it all as they picnicked on the museum floor. ”You’re everything I’ve ever wanted because you make me happy,” he told Ali. ”I choose you. And I hope that someday you can choose me.” She asked him how he knew someone was right for him. Can you guess the answer? Come on, I know you can. Here’s a hint: The lady in question wants to ____ and _____ his heart. I’ll let you think on that a while.

Ali finally had to call him on all this, thank goodness. ”I feel like you’re reading a story,” she said. ”It’s just so perfect.” He didn’t really get the hint, as his response was: ”It’s just my heart. Jump in. Stay awhile.” Then there was more singing, mostly about forever being yours. This came off as possibly a little more planned, as there was a hint of melody and a lot of less specific lyrics that made no mention of helicopters. Nonetheless, he insisted it was freestyling: ”It just kind of came to me. I guess that’s just what you do, you inspire me.” Maybe so, but it did not get him a rose — she asked him to stick around (did we know this was an option?) until the rose ceremony, but she wasn’t ready to commit to handing over the flower because, as she explained, ”A rose on a one-on-one date for me holds so much weight. It’s ‘I think of you as a potential husband.”’ So basically Kasey embarrassed himself enough for her to feel so terrible about rejecting him that she chose not to. And, well, it must be said: This is a viable courtship strategy Kasey has going. I bet it’s worked for him in the past. We’ve all been suckered into dates. But potential husband? Really, Ali?

NEXT: Is there anything Roberto can’t do?

Group Date, On Which the Love Was Felt Tonight

What was basically an all-star team date — Roberto, Jesse, Craig, Kirk, Jonathan, Frank, and Ty — turned into a group audition/giant commercial for ABC parent company Disney’s Broadway production of The Lion King. It also confirmed what we have long suspected: Roberto is good at everything. As the guys learned a dance number, one of the producers remarked, ”Has Roberto ever done this before? Look at him, he’s nailing it.” For a second, as they started to sing ”Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”, it appeared Jesse might steal Roberto’s spotlight, as he had a pretty damn decent voice… but then Ali, and we, forgot all about that when Roberto — not the best singer — saved his audition by singing right to our fair Bachelorette. ”Roberto looked her in the eyes and sang to her,” Kirk summarized. ”That should’ve been the first thing I thought of. But he’s smooth. He’s Rico Suave.” (If we must continue to endure the, let’s say, heritage-specific characterization of Roberto’s skills, the least we can do is enjoy this flashback video.) Anyway, surprise surprise, Roberto won!

Which meant namely that he got to perform a sort of interpretive dance/makeout thing while suspended on a wire with Ali while wearing a costume that resembled mold growths on nude spandex. But hey, he was shirtless. And he got to, as Kirk characterized it, ”put his head in her cleavage.” And — what’s that sound you hear? It’s the Time for a Weatherman Pun Alarm going off! ”The forecast was for sunny skies,” Jonathan said, basically reminding us that he was still on this show. ”And out of the blue this storm just crapped in my face. Now I feel like s—.” So yeah, with the weather pun out of the way and the wrestler safely at home and out of wordplay’s reach, the Guys Not Named Roberto watched on a TV monitor as Ali and Roberto writhed around and further adrenaline-bonded while hanging above the stage in their Broadway debut. Jonathan dramatically described it as a ”beehive of knives of jealousy in your face,” but I didn’t believe him.

At the after-party, Ali threw the entire Bachelorette dating system out of whack by catching a cold. That didn’t stop her from going outside in the rain with Frank to ”reassure” him that she is ”crazy about him.” Why this needed to happen outside in the rain while she had a cold was anyone’s guess, but okay. When they returned safely indoors, Jonathan tried in vain to talk to Ali; he even went so far as to politely ask for permission to speak with Ali for just a moment now that she’d been talking to Craig for a while… but Craig shut that down, then Kirk moved right in. Kirk may have missed the sing-right-to-her moment, but he did catch this one — and promptly volunteered to help the sick little bachelorette off to bed for some convalescing. Smart.

Once again, she declined to give out a rose on the date — this time due to illness, not weird impromptu song lyrics.

NEXT: Chris L., do you know what you got yourself into?

Date #2, On Which a Birthday Was Celebrated

Chris L. got the second one-on-one date, and just in time for his birthday! Ali was still sick, but she generously invited the birthday boy to come stew in her germs in her suite. He actually quite accurately said, ”This is probably the truest glimpse of husband material.” It was, in fact, as close as things are likely to get to ”real” on The Bachelorette. He brought her flowers and soup, which is the right move in this and most circumstances. In fact, it was such the right move that she decided she was up for going on their planned date.

This took them to 230 Fifth Ave., where they had oysters and lobster, just like they’d talked about. They discussed his mom and her seven-year struggle with cancer in depth for the first time — and it was genuinely touching, which always kind of confuses me on this show. The bit about how she told him, before she died, to ”look for me in rainbows”? ”And since then, I haven’t seen so many rainbows in my life.” Then they even got to call his dad for his birthday!

Since she’d already said ”I would love to marry into a family like that,” the rose seemed a foregone conclusion. But rest assured, it did really happen. Then they went outside on the roof, overlooking the city, and Joshua Radin (allegedly Ali’s favorite!) was playing with a band. They danced — and, like, seriously kissed. ”She’s my girlfriend now,” Chris said. ”I don’t want to go back and hang out with a bunch of dudes.” This reminded me of Frank, who said almost the exact same thing after their first date, and suddenly I got really sad thinking about people dating on television, and how maybe it’s not for real people, like people whose moms just died a year and a half ago, because that’s a little too real. I know he signed up for it and he’s a big boy and can handle it. But I still don’t like it.

The Rest of the Time, In Which Tattoos Are Procured and Hidden

Also in the category of people who maybe shouldn’t be dating on television: Kasey. He went missing, And unlike Justin, who can apparently saunter off for hours — and when I say ”saunter,” I mean ”hobble on crutches” — Kasey cannot go undetected. ”We put out an APB on him,” Jonathan said, apparently having exhausted every last weather joke. ”Amber alert.”

Kasey explained to us that because Ali ”questioned my sincerity — she questioned my genuine heart,” he would be going to a place marked, ominously, TATTOOS & PIERCING. And you’re never going to guess what he got. Well, a tattoo, obvs! (Though a piercing really would’ve taken this in an unexpected and fresh direction.) But specifically: What better way to show that you’re into guarding and protecting hearts than to get a shield protecting a heart? Because, for those of you who don’t know, he would like to tell you, ”I promised to protect and guard her heart.” Further: ”For some reason Ali has closed off and maybe this will help her to open up her heart to me.” Yes, that reason being that you were totally weirdly way too intense and into guarding and protecting her heart. Definitely getting a tattoo of that on your inner wrist will do it.

NEXT: Cloudy with a chance of meatheads

So anyway, he got back to the house, and the guys were all whipped up about his absence, probably because they were worried he’d gotten some crutches and limped over to Ali’s private suite or something. He lied and told them he’d burned himself and then gone to the hospital. Justin, of all people, jumped on this: ”I’m calling him a fibber. I’m going on record and calling him a fibber.” Good instinct, buddy, but you do not get to be the one calling people out on this.

There were, however, other emergencies to attend to as well — namely, the Weatherman had a guitar. As Kirk said, ”You know what we need? We need one more guy to play the guitar in this house.” His vocal stylings, however, fell into the deadly zone — not egregious enough to be memorable, but not good enough to stick, either. Forecast calls for a cloudy future — and no roses! Ha! You see what I did there? I made a weather joke!

Justin was still stomping around about Kasey, which just seemed blatantly weird at this point. ”You’re lying to us one day,” he said, echoing what Craig said to him just a few weeks ago, ”and you’re lying to Ali the next.” This at least forced Kasey to unveil his new ink to the guys and end the lying. They all played it low-key, which seemed smart at the time — you could see them all figuring that once he revealed this to Ali, he’d be out. ”Getting a tattoo, that doesn’t prove anything except that you’re nuts,” Frank told the camera. Chris L., once again, put it best: ”You’re going to be the tattooed Bachelorette guy for the rest of your life. That’s going to be his nickname.” Then Kasey summed up his interpretation of their reactions: ”They loved it. They thought it was a great, great addition to my life.”

But somewhere between there and sitting down to talk to Ali, Kasey developed the tiniest hint of perception. So while he gave her his thoughtful gift of Skittles, he hesitated before immediately presenting his permanently guarded and protected heart to her. He stammered a little. ”I kind of took heed to what you said,” he told her. ”I was a little confused at first, but then I kind of thought about it. So I have something for you.” And in a moment only The Bachelorette could give us, Frank showed up to interrupt just as Kasey was about to obliterate his chances with Ali for good. Then it was time for the rose ceremony.

Kasey’s heart remained hidden, while gorgeous Jesse and Jonathan went home. Translation: No more weather puns. But still the prospect of more songs. A win-win?

What did you think, Bachelorette watchers? How much longer can Kasey last? What will Ali think of the tattoo? Is Roberto still the frontrunner? Or is it Chris?

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The Bachelorette

Chris Harrison hosts the romantic reality competition series in which one single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs. Will you accept this rose?

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