Brad rejects both women, a Bachelor first

It took 11 seasons, but a Bachelor contestant finally decided that the women selected by producers weren’t good enough for him. Brad Womak, the Texan bar owner, rejected both Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas, leaving the last rose to wilt and die by itself.

Of course, this ending was somewhat predictable, considering that the show has been teasing a finale “first” forever. And what else might be a first? The couple consummates the relationship in front of the cameras? Chris Harrison doesn’t use superlative adjectives to preview and spoil every upcoming segment? Brad modulates his voice?

In addition, the editors gave us plenty of hints. Brad began the final rose ceremony by telling us, “I’m about to break someone’s heart, and I’m about to have my heart broken, too. It’s tearing me apart.” Shortly after that, he dumped Jenni, who he seemed to have no real connection with. But to try to throw us off, he said, “I’ve waited my entire lifetime to find the perfect girl. There’s not a single thing that I’m looking for in my ideal wife that DeAnna does not possess.” He said rejecting Jenni was difficult, but “I’m even more scared and more nervous about what I’m about to do.”

And then DeAnna showed up, telling us that Brad is “the most perfect man that I’ve ever met in my life.” Surely her heart swelled when he told her, “Remember when you told me that marriage for you is one time and one time only? I feel the same exact way. And I just said goodbye to Jenni.” In that moment, she probably thought that she won the rose and the ring and the inevitable People cover story about their break-up in six weeks.

But after a long dramatic pause, Brad said, “‘k, hold on real quick,” and then left the little stone podium, with DeAnna standing there trying to keep a straight face. After a few moments of wandering around the garden, he climbed back up and said, “I’m sorry,” he said. “We always promised ourselves that we’d be completely honest, right? No matter how much it could hurt. … I’m trying to tell you that I have so, so many feelings for you, and I want so badly to be so confident to pick you up and twirl you around and give you a diamond ring and spend my life with you, but I can’t look you in your eye and tell you that I love you. I can’t. I can’t give you any promise that I can’t keep. I refuse to do that,” Brad said.

Then he did something no other Bachelor has ever done: rejected both women. “I have to tell you goodbye,” he said. DeAnna didn’t understand, which makes sense because he’d just said all sorts of amazingly positive things about her. “It just doesn’t sound right, to say that you do care about someone so much, but you’re willing to watch them walk away,” she said.

In the limo of shame, she said, “Half of me was looking at him like I don’t give a fuck what he says, and the other half could just not understand. I definitely didn’t think he’d be the next person to break my heart. Stupid me.”

Tonight, the “After the Final Rose” reunion special airs at 10 p.m. ET, and both women will confront Brad. In a preview, he says, “It’s real hard for me to explain why I didn’t fall in love.” It is indeed, especially because doing so might actually involve using words with more than one syllable.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.