9:37pm PT by Jackie Strause
ABC Gives 'Bachelor' Couple Engagement Ring for Future
The Bachelor finale came and went without a proposal on Tuesday night. Star Colton Underwood revealed on Tuesday's live finale that he and his winner, Cassie Randolph, are currently dating — but they are not engaged. The move breaks from recent tradition on the long-running franchise; the last Bachelor to skip out on a proposal was in 2014 and before that, it was way back in 2007.
When Underwood broke the news to Jimmy Kimmel on his Tuesday show, the ABC late-night host had a lot to say. Underwood, who was joined by Randolph, actually taped Jimmy Kimmel Live! that afternoon and before he and Randolph would go on to appear on the live Bachelor finale that aired ahead of Kimmel's show.
Kimmel, who is a diehard viewer of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has made a name for himself as the "Rosetradamous" for his ability to correctly predict the winner after the first night. Following Underwood's premiere, Kimmel and wife Molly McNearney picked Randolph to be the final one standing.
"My wife picked you before Colton picked you," Kimmel told Underwood on Tuesday, gloating.
Underwood told Kimmel that he knew in the fourth week of filming The Bachelor that Randolph was the one. He said Kimmel can refer to the couple as "confidently boyfriend and girlfriend" now that the show is over and that Randolph is his "future" wife.
"I'm confident in all the decisions I made. It's led me here; it's led me to her. I'm so happy and so in love right now," Underwood told the host.
The star of the franchise always has to face his or her critics during finale week. The network's late-night host is traditionally the lead's first stop and, on Tuesday, Kimmel ended up surprising Underwood. After harping on the fact that Underwood is a 27-year-old virgin all seasonlong (he even told Ellen DeGeneres he thought Underwood was lying), Kimmel complimented the pair.
"I think you are the only couple in the history of this show that handled this like human beings because it is preposterous to get engaged at the end of this period," said Kimmel of the reality show's timeline. "It doesn't make any sense! It's a recipe for disaster, it really is."
On The Bachelor finale, Underwood all but confirmed that he lost his virginity to Randolph in their make-up Fantasy Suite. He remained coy on the live show and Kimmel joked that the couple was going to "make love" live on his show before they made their debut.
He told Underwood, "I can see that something has happened to you. That you've blossomed." But, once again, Underwood didn't take the bait.
Calling out Randolph's father's concerns — which played out on the show — Underwood said he has won her father over and has even watched the episodes with Randolph's family. "We've probably been with each other more than any other couple," said Underwood of their secretive weekends together since filming. "It just worked out. We're spending a lot of time together."
While he respects their choice to not rush an engagement for TV, Kimmel did acknowledge that the no-proposal ending left out a key scene that viewers have come to expect from the franchise's finales: when jeweler Neil Lane gifts the star with an engagement ring.
The ring is reportedly a gift to the couple from ABC and, as long as the star and his or winner stay together for two years, is contractually theirs to keep. If they split before that time, the ring goes back.
But Kimmel — presumably with the help of ABC — found a way to salvage that Neil Lane promotion this season. "I do feel like you guys got cheated a little bit because of the way you went about this, because they love to have you get engaged on television and part of the deal is you get the ring from Neil Lane," Kimmel said before handing them a diamond ring for the future. "So this afternoon, we called Neil Lane and here — he sent the ring. I'm not asking you to do anything. But not only can you hold onto it, it's no joke."
Randolph replied by saying, "Wait, really?" And Underwood reiterated they have spoken about getting engaged.
"It's from Neil Lane. I'd like to take credit for it, but it's really not mine," Kimmel added.