The season finale of "The Bachelor" Monday night started off with a "wwhhhaaatttt...!"
That's because host Chris Harrison announced that Ben Higgins' pastor was on standby and ready to marry the happy couple after the two-hour show — on live TV during the "After the Rose" special.
Because Ben became the first "Bachelor" ever to tell the two finalists he was in love with both of them, that was an extra dose of crazy. So the idea that he would go from being in love with two women just a few months ago to deciding to spontaneously get married on live TV seemed a little unrealistic.
Plus, both women were confident going into the finale that they would be the one getting the final rose.
Don't you think after the winning woman watched the show back over the past three months and saw his connection with the runner-up, she might be a tad hesitant to get married so soon? Well, we learned the answer Monday night.
During the finale I decided to try to predict the winner by counting the "I love yous." To be exact, I counted how many times Ben said that to each woman, directly to her face. The final count: He said "I love you" to Lauren four times; he said it to JoJo five times.
Hmmmm. Very close, but did that mean JoJo was going to slightly pull ahead of Lauren?
Before he decided on who would be "the one," he asked his parents for advice, and I think his mom said what we were all thinking.
After meeting both ladies, the parents agreed that both women are "spot on" and "wonderful." They described Lauren as "polished" and JoJo as a potential wife who would also be a "best friend." Ben left them more confused than ever.
He then had final dates with both women. There were lots of tears, confused looks and an overwhelming sense that doom was lurking close by. Lauren's date was joyless and emotional and she could tell that Ben was, in his words, "being torn apart." At the end of the date, he thanked Lauren for making him "a better person."
He then went on a date with JoJo. This one actually started out fun but quickly turned serious when she asked about the future, and he confessed that he "was confused."
Later in the evening she snuck him into a bathroom so they could talk privately (away from cameras), but of course they still had their mics on (thanks, producers!). We got to hear Ben confess to JoJo that he had told Lauren he was in love with her as well.
JoJo cried and said she felt foolish because to her their relationship was unique and special — but it obviously wasn't that unique and special to him.
So who did he pick in the end?
He finally decided in the middle of picking out an engagement ring! He chose the woman he was "fully" in love with (ummmm, OK!).
So (drumroll please): Who did he pick and who did he dump? He decided to let JoJo go. Cue the tears and heartbreak!
JoJo seemed absolutely shocked and she cried, saying she was heartbroken, speechless, confused and blindsided.
And in the limo ride home, she said she "wanted to hate him but still didn't want to see him cry," even though he ditched her. See — she's classy to the end! I think most women would have slammed his hand in the limo door... just sayin'.
And so the final rose went to Lauren B.! But first he called her dad to ask permission for her hand in marriage... Awwwwwwww! No surprise, Dad said yes!
So, in the end Lauren got out of the helicopter and walked over to a smiling Ben, and he finally popped the question with an estimated $95,000 Neil Lane diamond ring.
Why did he finally pick Lauren over JoJo? He said couldn't imagine his life without Lauren. And to be honest, after their engagement was revealed, they were one of the cutest couples in "Bachelor" history.
So now to the live "After the Rose" show. Two major things happened:
Did Ben and Lauren get married live on the show? Nope. Ben and Lauren are smarter than that. They probably know it's best to wait and negotiate a two-hour wedding special deal with ABC!
So sadly Ben's pastor was on standby for three hours and in the end he was sent home... just like JoJo.
But Ben did bring out Lauren's parents and re-enact the proposal so they could be a part of the happy moment.
And in other HUGE news: There could be love on the horizon for JoJo — she's the next "Bachelorette!"
Even though there was speculation that third runner-up Caila got the job, it appears there was a last-minute switcheroo and JoJo will be back this summer as the new Bachelorette! Go Team JoJo!
So goodbye until the next season starts in May, where we are sure to see "the most dramatic rose ceremony in Bachelorette history."