The Bachelor hometown dates made us cry, scream and wonder why Juan Pablo would ever break up with someone as amazing as Renee Oteri. But we all know that answer. C-H-E-M-I-S-T-R-Y.
That physical spark was never there between Renee and Juan Pablo. As much as she wanted him to be Ben's stepdad — and as much as Juan Pablo respected Renee — they had done little more than kiss, while the other girls have practically (or actually) slept with him. C'mon. How do you compete with that?
But let's start at the beginning ... the hometown dates.
We're on the fence about Nikki, but we can definitely see why Juan Pablo adores her. The minute he met her in her hometown Kansas City, Miss. there was an ease between the two of them.
Nikki may have killer legs and amazing hair, but she's down-to-earth. First stop is Kansas City was homestyle BBQ. They got messy, but Juan Pablo loved it.
Then Nikki decided to test Juan Pablo. She wanted to make sure he could be a Midwestern cowboy. So she had him try a mechanical bull. Juan Pablo admitted he was terrified, but he held on for longer than Nikki expected. And she was happy to see he was more of a cowboy than she thought.
We liked Nikki's family most, and we guess so did Juan Pablo. They were sweet and easy-going. Nikki and her mom really do seem like best friends, as she told us. And Nikki's dad was quick to embrace the bachelor. Yet Nikki couldn't bring herself to say "I love you" at the end of the date.
She's holding back for some reason, and we're not sure why. Occasionally, we worry that Nikki — who is an aspiring model, in addition to a pediatric nurse — may be on this show for the wrong reasons. But there's no question this date went well. Juan Pablo's hooked.
Juan Pablo and Andi's relationship has probably been the most confusing to us over the last few weeks. It's clear the bachelor is extremely attracted to Clare and Nikki, and yet when he's with the assistant district attorney his eyes always light up.
Andi was thrilled to have him on her turf in Atlanta and, like Nikki, she was ready to put him to the test. She had him hide his eyes as they walked toward a building. It was a shooting range!
Turns out Andi knows how to hit a bullseye. And she was happy to show off a bit. But Juan Pablo had some difficulty hitting the target. Does this mean he's going to have trouble focusing on one woman?
After shooting, Juan Pablo seemed calm. But he had no reason to be. Andi's father was tough. Dinner was awkward, and Andi was starting to realize her dad didn't approve of The Bachelor format.
Her mom was sweet and asked Juan Pablo to show her how he dances the salsa with Andi. Then her mom took a turn, as well. But her dad, Hy, was skeptical to say the least.
"I don't know him well enough to wish him any ill will," he said to the camera. And then he basically told Juan Pablo he couldn't give him a blessing unless he eliminated the other girls.
Juan Pablo had good reason to worry after this date. Andi admitted to her sister that she's not sure she's in love with the bachelor. And Andi's father didn't approve. Not good.
As always, Renee looked adorable when she showed up in cutoff shorts and an off-the-shoulder top in her hometown Sarasota, Fla. She couldn't wait to see Juan Pablo, but she was even more excited about seeing her 8-year-old son, Ben. She was trying not to cry thinking about Ben. But she admitted she missed him terribly.
First she met Juan Pablo, and we immediately saw a disconnect. She was beaming, and he seemed like he was hanging out with his sister. He respects her, but a little too much.
All she could talk about and think about was Ben, and when he started walking toward her she got very emotional. On one hand it made us love Renee more, on the other hand the date didn't feel very romantic.
Juan Pablo was amazing with Ben, asking him about his Little League position (turns out he has three). His favorite? Pitcher, of course. Then they headed back to Renee's parents' house. Her parents were caring, and her brother was adorable. Can we get his number, Renee?
Renee told her mother that she's in love with Juan Pablo and that she hasn't yet told him. Her mom asked why, and Renee explained she's having trouble saying it.
Like Nikki, she planned to say it before Juan Pablo got in the car, but she still couldn't. The minute he left, she got upset with herself for not saying it.
We have to admit: There were moments during this date we thought Juan Pablo might have a change of heart and keep Renee. They just looked so cute together.
We've never liked Clare. But we have a lot more respect for Miss 4:00 A.M In The Ocean after this date.
We also have to say: Clare gets Best Dressed this week by far. Can't these other girls make an effort? Clare took the time to put on a cute black sundress and high espadrilles. She looked adorable.
Also, instead of taking Juan Pablo to a BBQ place or shooting range, she intelligently took him to a rose garden by the water. Hello, guys. This is a romantic location. Take note.
They sat down on a bench, and Clare opened up about her late father again. She told Juan Pablo that before her dad died she asked him who would dance the father-daughter dance with her at her wedding.
He suggested that they dance together then. So she chose her song, and she and her dad danced together. Juan Pablo teared up, and so did we. But we are still unclear whether Juan Pablo is extremely sensitive, hams it up for the camera or both. He cries a lot for a guy. We're just saying.
After a romantic picnic, Clare and Juan Pablo headed to her mom's home, where here five sisters, brother-in-law and mom were waiting. Clearly, Clare's hair is dyed because there wasn't one blonde in the bunch. But we digress.
Four out of the five sisters were very supportive, one was horrible, and her mom barely spoke. Clare told her sister Madeline that she would marry Juan Pablo and her sister asked: "How long have you known him?"
Madeline wasn't the problem, though. Her sister Lara is. Lara would not let her mom speak and — we're sorry to say — seemed a little jealous of Clare. She told Clare that she and her mom could not give their blessing to a wedding just yet. Clare was mortified and started getting flustered like she always does. Fortunately for Clare, Juan Pablo didn't see most of the drama.
This is where it gets tricky. Sure, Andi's father wasn't nice. And Clare's sister, Lara, was extremely annoying. But none of the hometown dates were hideously awful.
We really hoped Juan Pablo would change his mind about Renee. We adore the single mom, and really wanted Ben to have a stepdad. Yet it wasn't in the cards.
Andi got a rose despite her skeptical father. And we're a little frustrated with Juan Pablo. This was a chemistry decision from start to finish.
Tomorrow we're on to the dreaded Fantasy Suite dates. Stay tuned!