ABC's repeat "Bachelor" Brad Womack, 38, said goodbye to 26-year-old dental student Ashley H., who's from a small town in Maine, on the week-nine episode of the dating reality show.
Brad's final two bachelorettes are Emily, a 24-year-old hospital event planner from Charlotte, NC., and Chantal O'Brien, a 28-year-old divorced executive assistant from Seattle. Emily has a 5-year-old daughter, Ricki. Emily was engaged to race car driver Ricky Hendrick, who died in a plane crash in 2004. Hendrick was the son of Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon's NASCAR team owner. Chantal slapped Brad "for every woman in America" when she met him on the week-one episode. Brad appreciated her "aggressiveness."
Before the week-nine elimination rose ceremony, Brad told host Chris Harrison, "I've reached some turning points in relationships... I know that I'm falling in love. I'm more than likely going to take that step and have a fiance at the end of this," Brad said. "Chantal and I have had chemistry since day one... I feel like I've known Emily for a decade," Brad said. He admitted that on his date with Ashley, they both started shutting down. "It's driving me crazy that I'm at this point with Ashley," Brad said. "I can't imagine saying goodbye to Ashley."
Before he started the rose ceremony, Brad asked to speak privately with Ashley. "You and I both know that our date didn't go well at all. Not at all... I am so sorry. I'm completely shocked that a relationship I felt so strongly about has gone in a different direction." Brad apologized for asking tough questions on their date. Ashley said she wanted him to ask those questions. "I'm sitting here very brokenhearted, but I still have questions," Brad said. "I'm just frustrated, I guess," Ashley said. "I need to tell you goodbye. I don't want you to stand through the rose ceremony and look at you and not give you some rose." Ashley stood up and said O.K. When Brad seemed surprised at her attitude, Ashley said, "I'm not going to beg you to change your mind... Very surprising. I thought this was it," Ashley said. Brad walked her out.
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"I wish I could have smiled and hugged him and been myself... Brad's a great guy and I think we had a really great thing. And when we were together, it was honestly magic for me but sometimes that spark isn't enough," Ashley said in the limo that drove her away from Brad.
Brad returned to the rose ceremony to offer roses to Chantal and Emily. "I'm looking for the rest of my life," Brad said. He told them it was important for them to choose him, too.
Next week's "Bachelor" is the women-tell-all episode. The women eliminated on this season get to confront Brad on the show. In two weeks, Brad will give his final rose (and perhaps an engagement ring) to Chantal or Emily.
A RECAP OF THE EPISODE
Brad traveled to Africa with his final three bachelorettes on the week-nine episode.
"I have a very strong connection with each of these women," he said at the beginning of the episode. "I'm so comfortable and so myself with Chantal." The problem? Being with Chantal was a "roller coaster" of emotions. "With Ashley I am so comfortable, definitely myself." The trouble? Brad wonders where Ashley's heart really is when she talks about feeling "disconnected." With Emily, Brad said "I'm myself but a much better self." The issue? He's intimidated by her past which resulted in her 5-year-old daughter, Ricki.
Ashley was happy to see Brad, but she was terrified of getting into the helicopter that would take them to their destination date. Once she was in the air, she seemed fine. "I just feel like I can do anything with him there," Ashley said. Brad was happy to see Ashley overcome her fear and smile on the helicopter ride. During their afternoon picnic, Brad told Ashley that he loved her family, and he could see watching football on Thanksgiving with her dad. "You remind me exactly of myself," Brad said. He told Ashley that he was all about work during his 20s, too. "Maybe I can help you find balance," Brad said.
Over dinner, the conversation got serious. Brad questioned Ashley about where she wanted to live and what her life goals where. After graduation, Ashley said she felt like she'd have a lot of freedom to decide where she wanted to live and where she wanted to set up her dental practice. Brad was worried. "I'm freaking out. I really am. I feel like there's such limited time with such an amazing woman," he said. "Why are we spending so much time trying to reassure ourselves instead of just going with it?" Brad asked. She tried to reassure him that she was ready for a future with Brad but it didn't seem to work. "I'm making no sense," Brad confessed. When the fantasy card came, Ashley didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to spend the night with Brad instead of in her own room. "We can still have so much," Brad said. Things didn't seem to get less awkward in the fantasy suite. Ashley asked Brad what he thought of the mosquito nets before admitting that they were "off their game" that night. "I'm very, very afraid that I screwed things up... but we're taking steps back. I just want my Ashley back, you know, the one I feel for," Brad told cameras.
When Brad saw Emily, he said, "I've been counting the seconds." Then, he told her that he forgot something. He left her alone for a minute but returned riding an elephant with a guide. The elephant kneeled before Emily so she could climb aboard. "It's 'The Lion King' but better," Emily said when they stopped at a watering whole and saw a family of elephants playing. Brad told Emily that he missed her daughter. Emily fondly remembered the day Brad meet daughter Ricki. "It was the most perfect day," Emily said. When Emily asked if Brad was really ready to be a dad to a 5-year-old. He said he was. "I realize that you are a package deal and I love that about you," Brad said.
Over dinner, Emily told Brad that "I'm so excited about the idea of you and I and Ricki. This is something that I've waited for forever," Emily said. When the fantasy suite card was presented, Emily seemed stressed. "I'm a mom to a 5-year-old girl and I want to set a good example for her. Um, but with that said, um, also I want more than anything to spend more time with you... just use it to get to know each other better and just talk," Emily said. At the suite, Emily said "I am absolutely, completely falling in love with you," Emily said. "I didn't expect that at all," Brad said. "I'm falling in love with you too. I am and I want you to know that. I'm not going to sit her and listen to you tell me that and me not say anything back" Brad said. "It makes me the happiest guy in the world to hear you say the same thing," Brad said. Emily told cameras, "There's no question in my mind that Brad is the right person for me."
Chantal and Brad went on a safari where they saw lions, hippos, elephants and giraffes. Chantal compared the adventure to dating Brad. "There's scary things around every corner," she said. Brad told Chantal that he missed her family. She wasn't surprised. She knew he would be a perfect fit. "I love Brad, and it's more than just this feeling... I want to be better for him... I want what's best for him and it's me dammit," she said.
"I'm definitely the most comfortable with you," Brad told Chantal over dinner. Chantal suggested they get married right then. "I like Chantal's boldness... She doesn't mind being very vulnerable," Brad told cameras. When the fantasy card came, they decided to forgo their individual rooms and spend the night together in a tree house. "I want to spend more time with him. I want to be off-camera with him," Chantal said. Their fantasy suite was a simple deck with a bed draped in mosquito netting as the focal point. "I have fun with you whatever we do... You're a special person," Chantal told Brad. They kissed as the sun set and the cameras disappeared.
Here are the women who made it to the week-nine episode:
Ashley H: a 26-year-old dental student in Philadelphia, who's from a small town in Maine.
Emily: a 24-year-old hospital event planner from Charlotte, NC. Emily has a daughter, Ricki. Emily was engaged to race car driver Ricky Hendrick, who died in a place crash in 2004. Hendrick was the son of Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon's NASCAR team owner.
Chantal O'Brien: a 28-year-old divorced executive assistant from Seattle. She slapped Brad "for every woman in America" when she met him on the week-one episode. Brad appreciated her "aggressiveness."
Eliminated on the week-eight episode after hometown visits:
Shawntel, the 25-year-old funeral director from Chico, Calif. "Your family's so great," Brad told Shawntel. He said he just didn't feel the way a man should feel when Shawntel said she was falling in love with him. "You've set the bar for me," Shawntel said. "I have, like, just so much respect for you and I just wish you, like, the most happiness in the world. You're just so great." Shawntel said as Brad walked her to the limo that would take her to the airport. In her limo ride, she said, "I saw myself marrying Brad... I definitely didn't see this coming. I think he's so perfect." She said Brad treated her like a princess and she hoped she'd meet someone just like him.
Eliminated during week seven:
Michelle, the 30-year-old mom of one from Salt Lake City, refused to talk to Brad when he eliminated her. "I have an intense physical attraction to her but that would have worn off and her intensity and the way we kept butting heads that would have become a volatile relationship," Brad said. Michelle didn't say anything on her limo ride to the airport.
Britt, the skinny 25-year-old food writer from Washington, was sent home early during their first one-on-one date when Brad realized that he didn't have romantic feelings for Britt.
Eliminated during week six:
Alli: a 24-year-old apparel merchant from Columbus, Ohio. In her limo ride away from Brad, Alli said: "I feel really dumb that I'm crying right now. It's just weird to think about this coming to an end so abruptly... I can honestly tell you that I had, like, feelings for him." Brad sent Alli home during their one-on-one date because he couldn't see him and Alli being more than friends.
Jackie: a 27-year-old artist from New York. "This was a very, very tough decision for me," Brad said. "I think you're one in a million, I really do," he said. Jackie was sad. "Brad's a great guy. I just feel like I fell short... I feel like I constantly, like, put up a wall and, like, try to make sure that nobody can get through it," she said.
Eliminated week five:
Ashley S.: a 26-year-old nanny from New York. She got the first impression rose during week one for telling Brad that she wanted to be his friend. "I feel like they always say the same thing. 'You're going to be such a great wife. You're just not the one for me.'"
Lisa M.: a 24-year-old marketing coordinator from Ottawa, Kan. "I wanted to find love... It's hard to start liking a guy and not have time to express yourself... it just sucks."
Marissa: a 26-year-old sports publicist from Kissimmee, Fla. "It hurts to have to leave feeling like I was rejected. I put myself out there time and time again and it wasn't right. I didn't fit. I left behind a lot to come here."
Eliminated week four:
Lindsay: a 25-year-old first grade teacher from Plano, Texas. "It's disappointing that I'm going home tonight but I'm just not the girl for Brad. Rejection is always hard. But I think I was true to myself and I think my dad is going to be so proud of me for being the daughter that he and my mom both raised me to be."
Meghan: a 30-year-old fashion marketer from New York. "I'm totally bummed out... it's a blow to the ego... maybe my walls are too high." She and Brad had a conversation earlier in the episode where Brad said he admired Meghan's independence but felt like he wasn't getting to know her very well.
Stacey: a 26-year-old bartender from Boston. "I want to be in love with somebody. I don't know when I'm going to find the right guy. Hopefully soon. I'm sick of dating."
Eliminated week three:
Madison: the 25-year-old model from Brooklyn, who wore fake Vampire fangs in the first two episodes, walked away during the elimination rose ceremony. Madison said: "I came here because it sounded fabulous... but it's not so easy as just walking into a fairy tale and walking out with Prince Charming... Things may have worked out very differently if I'd come in and shown all my cards and been the real me from the very beginning... There's every chance I'll wake up tomorrow and wonder what the heck I just did... I just let a great man walk into the arms of some other girl."
Sarah P: a 27-year-old real estate broker from Denver, had a test for Brad during week one. Sarah asked Brad to get down on one knee and repeat after her. She said "Will you Marry Me," which Brad repeated. Sarah said "yes" and Brad admitted that wasn't so hard. "Everybody wants to come here and find love. It doesn't happen for everybody. I have so much happiness and love to offer. When you put yourself out there, you hope for something to come back but sometimes it doesn't. Not being chosen, that really hurts. Rejection sucks."
Kimberly: a 27-year-old marketing coordinator from Charlotte, NC. "I have no regrets. I wouldn't have done a thing differently. There just wasn't that connection. I think he was intimated by me. I'm talented, smart, successful. Some guys find me attractive. The list could go on. I could turn around tomorrow and start dating someone else and be fine with it. (Expletive deleted) Brad! His loss."
Eliminated week two of season 15:
Raichel: This 29-year-old manscaper from Fullerton, Calif. waxed Brad's wrist on the week-one episode. He said it hurt. A lot. About being eliminated, Raichel said: "I don't feel like I should be sitting here upset... I came here to fall in love. I didn't come here to get so upset by another girl." She and Melissa had several arguments during the two episodes.
Keltie: The 28-year-old Radio City Rockette from Hollywood showed Brad how to do high kicks during week one. "If they gave out an Oscar for worst dater ever, it would go to this girl. I'm the worst. I'm just so awkward. Honestly, I don't know if love is in the cards for me."
Melissa: The 32-year-old waitress from Lake Worth, Fla. was still complaining about Raichel in her exit interview. "I think there are several girls who targeted me... I had a really hard time in this house."
Eliminated week one of season 15:
Renee: a 28-year-old nanny from Palos Hills, Ill.
Cristy: a 30-year-old attorney from Ft. Lauderdale.
Lacey: a 27-year-old insurance agent from Tampa, Fla.
Lauren: a 26-year-old high school teacher from Arlington Va.
Lisa P: a 27-year-old sales consultant from New York.
Britnee: a 25-year-old paralegal from Holland, Pa.
Jill: a 28-year-old sales director from Frisco, Texas.
Rebecca: a 30-year-old esthetician from Mission Valejo, Calif.
J: a 26-year-old operations manager from Seattle. The filming of week one's episode was her birthday.
Sarah L: a 25-year-old musical theater performer from Saginaw, Mich.
Click here for bios and photos on all thirty bachelorettes.