With 17 seasons of "The Bachelor" under his belt, host Chris Harrison has seen it all, but even he couldn't have predicted Sean Lowe's final two women on this season of the long-running ABC dating show.
Following Sean's all-important overnight dates, Harrison told TV Guide that "never in a million years" would he have expected to find Lindsay Yenter and Catherine Guidici the last two women standing in the quest for Sean's heart.
"Lindsay was almost cut the first night, and Catherine was on the chopping block the last few episodes. [This] may be the most bizarre final two," Harrison said.
He ain't kiddin'!
While Sean developed a playful connection with both women over the course of his nine-week (in TV time) love trek that took him everywhere from Montana to Thailand, he seemed to have a much more serious bond with AshLee Frazier, the 32-year-old personal organizer who screamed her love for the hunky entrepreneur atop a chair in St. Croix. In fact, at the start of this week's episode, Sean even said he had the strongest connection with AshLee. But three "overnight" dates in the Fantasy Suite clearly changed all of that.
Over the course of this season's show, the ultra-intense AshLee opened up to Sean about her abandonment issues after spending her early childhood years being shuffled between various foster homes. She also came clean about a teen marriage that had her divorced by her senior year in high school. All along the way, Sean seemed to empathize with this fragile girl, who was handing her heart to him on an easily breakable silver platter.
Of course, this is the same Bachelor who dumped a girl who has one arm -- and he didn't camouflage it by doing it during a rose ceremony, either. (Instead, Sean gave Sarah Herron an impromptu one-on-one dumping. Gee, thanks.)
Monday night's dates in Si Kao, Thailand, took Sean and his final three girlfriends to a Thai market (which included cricket and grasshopper munchies), a secluded beach surrounded by a rain forest, and a beautiful boat ride.
But AshLee may have gotten the short end of the dating stick here. Sean decided to test her trust of him, so he took her swimming in a creepy pitch-black cave. Smooth move, dude. The girl was petrified, even though she had a beefy hunk and a camera crew to "protect" her. (Personally, I'll take the crickets, thank you.)
Later they got cozy with some PG-rated alone time (Sean told her he just wanted to "talk" all night in the fantasy suite) with AshLee prefacing things with, "The idea of spending the night together, I don't take it lightly. ... I'm not willing to morally put myself out there, and he's doing the same with the other two girls." She wanted assurance that they wouldn't cross any boundaries, which really wasn't a problem for the self-proclaimed "born-again virgin" Bachelor.
AshLee ended up giving Sean her engagement ring size and declared that he was the love of her life. "This man has literally healed my broken heart," she said.
Meanwhile, Sean's time with the youngsters in the group -- 24-year-old Lindsay and the giggly 26 year-old Catherine -- also provided some romantic moments, with Lindsay finally uttering the L word.
"I love hearing you say that," Sean told her, which isn't exactly "I love you" back.
Later, Sean referred to Catherine as a "best friend" type. And perhaps he should have, since her sisters already told him she's nowhere near ready to settle down and have kids. But Cath did inform Sean she'd move to Dallas with him. "I'm pretty expired in Seattle right now," she told him.
The morning of the rose ceremony brought Sean clarity, though: "I woke up this morning knowing who I needed to send home," he said. And yes, that person was AshLee, the girl in the group who seemed the most ready for marriage.
It seemed obvious that AshLee would have married Sean in a heartbeat. She professed her love episodes ago, and at age 32, was ready for the next chapter in her life. (Her age was pointed out as a negative by some of the other girls on the show.) Meanwhile, the less-mature Lindsay and Catherine's status as marriage material was much more questionable. Which makes us wonder just how serious Sean actually was about finding his wife on this show.
When Sean failed to give AshLee a rose, there was stunned silence. Then she just walked out. "She's pissed," Lindsay whispered to Catherine. Ya think?
Sean tried to explain as he followed his latest reject out to her exit limo, but she really didn't want to her his spiel.
"I thought it was you from the very beginning, and this was honestly the hardest decision I ever had to make. I think the world of you," he groveled. But an angry AshLee remained silent and just got in the car. ("I think the world of you?" Worst "Bachelor" cliché ever.)
While AshLee gave Sean nothing except a stony stare when he let her go in Thailand, we haven't seen the last of her. Sean still has to face her wrath during next week's "Women Tell All" episode. According to Harrison, it was awkward. (The WTA was taped last week.)
"I haven't seen the final cut, but I hope they show a very awkward moment that none of us knew about or saw coming when AshLee and Sean started talking," Harrison said.
We have a hunch they will.
"The Bachelor" Season 17 airs on Mondays at at 8 PM ET on ABC.
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