This week Ben and his harem of semi-desperate paramours continued their tour of Latin America with a visit to Panama City, where Ben had to survive his first two-on-one date (any veteran “Bachelor” junkie knows these can get especially feisty), Courtney got naked (again), Jamie did her best Woody Allen impression, and three more teary-eyed ladies walked the proverbial plank. Now, with six weeks in the books, only six contestants remain. Here’s one self-proclaimed insider’s take on how they stack up as the competition enters its final stanza.
Eliminated This Week
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
For weeks, we’ve had to listen to Blakeley lament the fact that Ben has continually overlooked her when selecting his one-on-one dates. This week, her wish was (sort of) granted with the announcement that she and Rachel would be going tête-à-tête in the season’s first “loser goes home” two-on-one date. The 34 year-old “VIP Cocktail Waitress” (which sounds suspiciously like a euphemism for “stripper”) figured the favorite when Ben ushered the girls into a salsa bar for some impromptu dance lessons. Rather than floor him with grace, though, Blakeley opted to grace the floor, apple-bottom-jeans style. The only thing missing was a glitter-speckled pole. Sexy? Perhaps. Ladylike? Not so much. And that’s without mentioning the gag-worthy “scrapbook” she revealed to Ben over dinner – a collection of photos and magazine clippings memorializing the approximately two minutes they had spent alone together up to that point.
Last Week: 8 (tie)
Casey had skated through the competition largely unnoticed until last night’s episode, when she grew into a more prominent (if notorious) roll with the revelation that she was “still in love” with someone back home. How Chris Harrison was able to successfully corroborate this alarming development is anyone’s guess, but he is to be commended for his tireless investigative work on Ben’s behalf. Anyhow, a quick visit to Ben to explain her conflicted position – and inadvertently reveal her unstable mental state – was all the convincing Ben needed to sever any further ties with the leggy blonde.
Last Week: 8 (tie)
Jamie, who failed to ever make an enduring impression on Ben despite sincerest intentions, committed one of the great felos-de-se in Bachelor history during the cocktail party that preceded last night’s Rose Ceremony. Resolute to overcome her inherent “prude-ness” and demonstrate to Ben a more aggressive side, Jamie attempted to seduce the resident bachelor, only to succumb to a fit of nervous giggles and hyper-neurotic digressions. “It was like an instruction guide,” remarked Ben, referring to Jamie’s painfully detailed explanation of how their kissing should graduate from tightlipped pecks to a more gratuitous and mouths-agape brand of saliva-swapping. Remember this scene (NSFW) from Superbad? Jamie put it to shame last night.
And now, on to the contenders …
1. Kacie Boguskie
Last Week: 3
Kacie B. walks away this week’s big winner after successfully navigating a second one-on-one date with Ben – the first contestant this season to do so (or even have the opportunity). The date began with the pair marooned Survivor-style on a private (and presumably uninhabited) island, where they collected coconuts, caught a fish, and bonded over their ability to work as a team. The latter part of the date situated the pair adjacent one another over a candlelit dinner. Sensing intimacy, Kacie opened up about her past, recounting to Ben her struggle with an eating disorder in high school. This kind of admission represents a high-risk/high-reward play, but we can qualify it an overwhelming success after hearing Ben’s response: “She opened up to me … and that takes guts. So it makes me like her even more.” Openness would prove to be the theme of last night’s episode, with Chris Harrison issuing a near-ultimatum to the remaining girls after outing Casey’s secret: open up to Ben, or go home. With that in mind, Kacie B. claims top honors this week.
2. Lindzi Cox
Last Week: 1
Lindzi again won easy passage to the next round, this time as the recipient of the coveted group-date rose. She again asserted her no-drama approach to romance, an ideal every guy dreams of but few believe actually exists. It’s tough not to believe her, though, considering the equanimity she displays on a weekly basis. She seems completely unfazed by the overtures of her competitors, whereas others (Emily and Courtney come to mind) waste as much breath putting-down opponents as they do selling themselves. To her detriment, she is yet to have the kind of surrender-of-self moment that so benefited Kacie B. this week … and frankly, I’m not sure it’s coming. If anything, this girl might be a little too laid-back for sentimentalist Ben, who seems to revel in moments like the aforementioned “confessional” scene he shared with Kacie B.
3. Emily O’Brien
Last Week: 6
Even at number six, I felt the need to justify Emily’s position in last week’s poll after she narrowly avoided elimination. This week she made good on my prediction, reasserting herself as the diversely talented and tastefully playful vixen who accompanied Ben to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge on a Week 3 one-on-one date. I think Emily’s stellar performance this week can be illustrated by two moments: first, she pulled Ben aside to dispel his disapproval of her preoccupation with the dastardly Courtney. That she prefaced this discussion with a timely and hilarious prank (involving her “love” for another man … only to reveal that man as the Panamanian chief with whom the group had earlier cavorted) spoke volumes to her sense of humor. The second moment was withheld until the show’s closing credits: a scene which featured Emily serenading Ben with an impressive 40-bar freestyle rap, delivered a cappella and forecasting a beautiful romance between the two. It’s the exact kind of silly but endearing stunt that Bachelor legends are made of (see: Sutter, Ryan, poet laureate of the Bachelor/ette empire).
4. Courtney Robertson
Last Week: 2
I’m tempted to drop Courtney even further in the rankings, though doing so would seem blasphemous to some. The fact is she seems to be pinning her campaign for Ben’s love almost entirely on her overt sexuality, which in past competitions has proven to be a vehicle for early success but eventual elimination. Sex is the ultimate bargaining chip a Bachelor contestant has in her arsenal; that Courtney seems ready to play hers so early in the game is a questionable tactic. Whatever happened to the chase, the tease, a little protracted seduction? While the other girls leave much to Ben’s imagination, thus enticing him, Courtney has twice propositioned him with the invitation of a late-night rendezvous. Last week, in a moment of admitted weakness, he gave in. This week, though, Courtney waited up for him – powdered and scantily clad – to no avail. The sequence delivered an obvious blow to her formerly unwavering confidence, leading your correspondent to believe her lascivious ways may prove her ultimate undoing.
The Long Shots
5. Rachel Trueheart
Last Week: 5
Rachel brings a touch of class, grace and maturity to the competition. One need look no further than the stark contrast between she and Blakeley’s distinct approaches to their two-on-one date with Ben to affirm this. Though Blakeley – at 34 – represented the oldest contestant still standing in the competition, you’d have been forgiven for presuming the 27 year-old Rachel her elder. While Blakeley used a salsa-dancing lesson with the leading man as a platform for seduction (detailed above), Rachel stayed at eye-level, conversing, laughing and generally exchanging good vibes with Ben. Later, at dinner, she spoke to him with eloquence and concision – a far cry from the waterworks and scrapbook approach of Blakeley.
6. Nicki Sterling
Last Week: 4
Any chemistry that Nicki was able to cook up on a one-on-one date with Ben last week seemed to disappear just as quickly on this week’s episode. She ends up here largely by default, as a result of playing the most ancillary role of those who were present on the group date. In former weeks we could write this off to bad luck, or simply editing, and look ahead to next week as a chance for Nicki to redeem herself. But at this stage in the game, hiding in the background and simply avoiding elimination are no longer viable strategies. If Nicki wants to be around for the Final Rose Ceremony, she’ll need to devise some type of power-play, and fast.