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Welcome to The Bachelor version of The Hollywood Reporter's Power Rankings. Each week, THR's Bachelor experts will be tuning into the romantic connections and dramatic shenanigans taking place on season 21 of the long-running ABC franchise. In an effort to cater to viewers who opt out of show spoilers, these rankings are based on opinions and observations week-by-week.
And then there were four — or maybe five? Nick had a surprise visit Monday when his ex-girlfriend (and former Bachelorette) Andi Dorfman knocked on his hotel door in Brooklyn, New York.
The Bachelor had just landed in the Big Apple after embarking on four hometown dates: Hoxie, Arkansas with Raven; Dallas, Texas with Rachel; Miami, Florida with Corinne; and Quebec, Canada with Vanessa. Moments before this week's rose ceremony and with only three roses up for grabs, Andi may have possibly added herself into the mix. It's unclear what the intentions are of ABC's 10th leading lady of the female spinoff series. Before yet another "To Be Continued…" the 29-year-old taunts, "Hello, Nick." The preview for next week teases a little more: Nick and the woman who broke his heart sit down for drinks and yell about "being honest," as a cutaway shot shows Nick in tears, again.
For those who need to be caught up to speed on Bachelor history, Nick famously asked Andi during her Men Tell All reunion special, "If you weren't in love with me, I'm just not sure why, like, why you made love with me?" He proposed to Andi before being rejected for Josh Murray (who he ironically competed with again for love on 2016's Bachelor in Paradise).
So is Andi asking Nick back after all this time? Should the Bachelor set aside their differences and consider giving her a second chance? Sound off in the comments below, as THR ranks the four remaining women we know for sure are still in the running for Nick's heart.
Rachel, 31, attorney from Dallas, TX
It’s awkward to rank the next Bachelorette as the Bachelor frontrunner, but it’s hard to deny how strong Rachel and Nick's trip to Dallas was compared to the rest of the hometown dates. The Texan and the Wisconsinite took a big step forward in their relationship, as they openly discussed the challenges of being an interracial couple. “Everyone may make this an issue, but for you it doesn't matter, and for me it doesn't matter,” Rachel affirms.
The 31-year-old tested Nick’s comfort level by taking him to church with a predominantly black congregation. The experience left Nick feeling “very" welcomed. “I don't think I've ever felt closer to Rachel than I do in this moment … I would love to have this be a regular thing that we do as a couple,” Nick says on camera, adding that he can be himself around Rachel and talk about anything. Rachel was just as content, “I was proud to have him there.”
The tough conversations continued when Nick met her family, as he acknowledged that he has never seriously dated a black woman and Rachel’s never brought home a white man. The first to put Nick in the hotseat was her older sister, Constance, and her husband, who asked why Rachel is his first black girlfriend. “The fact that she's black is just like a fact, but what I like about her is just the fact that she's smart, good looking, challenging, in a great way funny, easy to talk to,” Nick explains. Was Constance convinced? He made a good first impression, she says, but she still has her concerns. “He's like, 'I don't see color. I see Rachel,' but at the same time with this climate we're in, I feel like you've seen more racism come out and so he does need to be aware it's not something that you can just hide and ignore," she says in her private interview.
The ultimate test was getting her mom’s support, and Nick couldn’t have earned a better stamp of approval. Rachel’s mother compared her daughter’s relationship to what she holds with her father. “I like what I see with Nick so far. What attracted me to your dad was that he knew where he was and where he was going. He was very self assured.”
So why do we think this date was so successful? Nick and Rachel did not skirt around the tough talks. They pushed through awkward moments to be real and honest with each other, which seems like the healthiest way to bridge that gap between reality TV and the real world. Plus, Nick couldn't help but be smitten with the Texan babe. “My chemistry with Rachel is probably my most explosive chemistry I have with any of the women. She has all of the qualities I'm looking for in a wife,” he shares on camera. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what cracks the powerful bond they share, since we know their breakup is around the corner.
Raven, 25, fashion boutique owner from Hoxie, AR
Mud makeout, anyone? Raven gave us a taste of the dirty South this week: For her hometown date in Hoxie, Arkansas, the boutique owner introduced Nick to the local pastime of mudding. The lovebirds raced in thick puddles and smooched in the swamp-like water. The gross (but kind of sexy?) outing represented “the truest form of who I am,” Raven told the camera.
After what we hope were very thorough showers, Raven escorted Nick to another Hoxie date staple: a grain bin. But Nick is a good sport, especially when Raven’s brother shows up in a cop car pretending to write them up for trespassing on the property. Finally, it was time to meet Mr. and Mrs. Gates, but this was no ordinary dinner chat. The parents of the 25-year-old reveal that while Raven was filming the ABC reality series, her father learned he was “cancer-free.” Needless to say, it was a very special moment for Nick to witness, and he made sure to express his best wishes to her “daddy” in their father to potential son-in-law chat. “If Raven and I get to the end, are you comfortable with that?” Nick asks Raven’s dad, who just months ago did not think he’d live to see the day Raven brought someone home. He responds bluntly, “I didn't expect to like you. You're a very likeable guy… I could live with that.”
While her father was open with Nick, Raven had trouble sharing what was on her mind. Weeks ago, she casually told Nick she fell in love with him in Wisconsin, but she had yet to directly tell her crush, “I love you.” Her nerves got the best of her in Hoxie, though, as she kept her feelings vague at the end of their date: “I think I should tell you that there is no hesitation on my end of what becomes of this.” Nick’s response couldn’t be colder: “Well, I'm really glad. So, yeah.” And the conversation left Raven anxious, as she tells the camera, “It's just so hard for me to say I love you because I don't want to be rejected and I don't like to show my weakness at all. Now I'm just like worried that I'm the only one that hasn't said that.”
Corinne, 24, business owner from Miami, FL
Finally, we met the real MVP this season: Corinne’s nanny Raquel. As if there was there any other reason to care about Corinne’s hometown date. The Olympios family housekeeper was even sweeter than expected, as she stood up for the 24-year-old. “You know I love Corinne very much like my daughter,” she tells Nick. “I don't want you to hurt her … If she's happy I'm happy.” The best Raquel moment, though, was when Corinne’s mother tells Nick, “I couldn't do a lot of things without her"… as Raquel delivers the mama of the household a thick glass of wine. (All you could ever ask for, right?)
The most jaw-dropping moment of the date was easily the business owner’s shopping spree. The blonde beauty walked Nick through “a day in the life of Corinne” (speaking in third person), inside one of Miami’s most expensive shopping malls. Corinne, who’s on first-name basis with all of the shop owners, explains to Nick that “shopping and Corinne go hand-in-hand” and that “the dressing room is your holy ground.” The business owner insisted on buying everything Nick tried on, including $800 sweatpants and a $650 sweatshirt. Was this the most expensive date in Bachelor history? It’s possible; Corinne charged her credit card with a whopping $3,423.80 worth of clothes and “didn’t even flinch,” while Nick was “red with anxiety.”
As crazy as the date was, here’s what we appreciate: Corinne is not shy about her lavish lifestyle, and wants Nick to know what he’s getting into. “This is what life is like with me and he needs to get used to it.” Despite Nick’s sticker shock, he still had only positive things to say about his Miami girl: “She doesn't worry about the rules. She makes her own rules, and I dig that about Corinne … It's just hard not to have a great time with Corinne.”
Tonight, we saw a more sensitive side of the season villain. Corinne put her heart on her sleeve as she told Nick, “I love you.” And later that night, when her father questioned if Nick would be able to support her, Corinne insisted, “I'm ok with being the breadwinner.” And with that, Corinne’s father gave Nick his blessing. But how does Nick really feel about Corinne's expensive taste? Can he commit to the big spender for life?
Vanessa, 29, special education teacher from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Vanessa’s hometown date can be summed up by one word: confusing. The once frontrunner is possibly on thin ice, now that it’s apparent she and Nick have been poorly communicating about the future of their relationship. Would Nick move to Canada? Would she leave her special needs students and uproot her life for him? Vanessa’s family was not subtle in raising these questions when Nick visited her Italian relatives in Montreal. Adding to the drama, just about everyone in the family cried during their time with the Bachelor.
One of the more emotional family members was Vanessa’s sister Melissa, who was upfront with ABC’s leading man — and even made him cry. “I'm just really scared for her,” she tells him through tears. “I'll hate you if you break her heart.”
The date took an even more dramatic turn when Nick met Vanessa’s dad’s side of the family. The 36-year-old asked her father for his blessing if he chose to propose to his daughter. But Mr. Grimaldi wasn’t going to give it up easy. He put the Bachelor on the spot, calling him out for asking the same question to multiple fathers this week. Nick explained that while he did ask other dads for their daughter’s hand in marriage, “the most honest thing I could say to you is I will never make a decision if I didn’t think it's right. This is real life for me.” Finally, Nick won Vanessa’s dad over. Mr. Grimaldi later explained, “I was shocked because it was the first time I [met] him. It was sudden.”
Vanessa’s father gave his daughter the difficult news: Nick is just as serious about marriage with the other three women. Naturally, this left the 29-year-old feeling very insecure: “It makes me question whether or not Nick knows at this point that I'm the one. And if he's not sure at this point in the game it makes me want to reevaluate where our relationship is at,” she says on camera. “I feel like we've had the strongest relationship, but now I'm questioning whether or not my judgment is off … I'm terrified of not ending up with Nick, and I'm scared I'm going to regret all of this.” Nick doesn’t seem too sure about their relationship either, sharing that while he's "totally falling" for her, there’s “so much left to figure out” between them.
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