9:15am PT by Rebecca Ford
'The Bachelorette' Smackdown: Arie Vs. Jef
On Sunday night, Emily Maynard will decide between her two final men on The Bachelorette. Will she choose the sweet and considerate race car driver Arie or the entrepreneur-with-an-edge Jef?
It’s been a tumultuous season from the start, with Maynard kicking men off for calling her an ideal “trophy wife” and calling her daughter, Ricki, “baggage.” The sassy single mom has been on a hunt to not only find herself a husband, but also find a father for her young daughter.
And now only two men remain. Emily has said she likes Jef , 27, for his edge, and the guy won over some serious points with a heartfelt letter he wrote to Emily. On the other hand, Emily is so attracted to Arie, 30, that she didn’t even invite him to enjoy some time in the fantasy suite because she was afraid she couldn’t control herself. She even forgave him for “forgetting” to mention that he once dated a producer of the reality dating show.
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So before Emily makes the big decision on Sunday, July 22, The Hollywood Reporter compares the two final suitors on everything from their grand entrances to their hometown dates.
The Grand Entrance
Jef probably has the upper hand with this one. The hip entrepreneur rolled in on a skateboard, hanging onto the back of the limo. He then nonchalantly threw the skateboard over his shoulder into the bushes because he’s that cool. Arie went the traditional route, walking up, giving her a hug, saying she looked amazing, and giving her another hug.
Maynard has been very open when talking about how physically attracted she is towards Arie. It all seems to have started with that very first kiss on the merry-go-round at Dollywood. As for Jef, after a romantic one-on-one dinner in London, he was ready to take “the relationship to the next level.” They walked by the water, and Jef finally kissed her. In an interview, Jef called that first kiss, “the most anticipated kiss and the best kiss of my life.”’
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Disappointingly, Jef’s Mormon parents weren’t able to meet Emily because they were off doing charity work. However, Emily got to see another side of Jef by hanging out with him at his Utah ranch house. They played with guns, and later Jef shared an emotional letter with Emily. “I’ve realized I’m completely in love with everything about you,” he said, and then listed nearly everything about her. Literally. But the letter obviously won over Emily’s heart, as she said, “That was honestly like the sweetest thing anyone has ever, ever said to me.”
Arie’s hometown visit didn't go quite as smoothly, mainly because his family is Dutch and enjoyed speaking in Dutch even in front of Emily. First, Emily visited the racetrack to see Arie hard at work, which she found very attractive. Then Emily met Arie’s family, who interrogated her about her previous relationship with Brad Womack, among other things.
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Maynard didn’t let any of her three remaining men spend the whole night with her, but there was one guy she didn’t even ask to go to the fantasy suite for a little extra hangout time. "At the end of the day, I don't trust myself. I won't let myself go there. But, good Lord he's hot,” Maynard said of Arie when deciding not to invite him to extend the date. She said her physical attraction to the racecar driver was just too strong.
As for Jef, he beat her to the punch about not actually spending the night together. When she offered him the fantasy suite card, he was quick to say it wasn’t the right time or place to be spending the night together. "He took everything that I was going to tell him about why I couldn't go, and he said it back to me," said Emily. "It was very sweet, but at the same time, I wanted to turn him down. But he kinda turned me down!"
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“I love so many things about Jef. I love that he is so humble, but still confident and kind of cocky, which is such a contradiction, but it feels perfect inside my heart, and that’s what really matters to me. Perfect.”
“I love his style. He is so his own person and doesn’t care what anybody thinks. He marches to his own drum, completely.”
“I will be the first one to admit I like guys with a little bit of an edge. And Jef has that, but yet he’s still one of the kindest, most thoughtful, sweetest guys I’ve ever met."
“My connection with Jef is unlike any relationship I’ve had in a really long time. I feel like he gets me in a way nobody else does.”
“Our connection was almost immediate. We just really hit it off.”
"There’s a youthfulness about him. He’s funny. He doesn’t mind making fun of himself, and he brings out that youthfulness in me.”
“I call Arie ‘Sweet Arie’ because he just is. He’s just so thoughtful and very sensitive too. Always building me up and so attentive.”
“When I think about what my life would look like with Arie, I know before anything else, that I would be with someone that would just adore me, forever, and that would just always make me feel so good about myself. And that would always be there for me.”
The finale of The Bachelorette airs Sunday, July 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will immediately be followed by the live “After the Final Rose” special.
Watch Emily Maynard talk to THR about the finale below.