There was a lot riding on Monday night's episode of The Bachelorette, as the prospect of next week's hometown dates loomed for the remaining contestants. That and Dallasite JoJo Fletcher took several of the men on dates horseback during their final stay in beautiful Argentina.
To be honest, it was one of the most painful episodes this season. Dates ranged from awkward — JoJo dressed fun-sized marine Alex up as a gaucho and had a spiritual experience with a horse — to down right embarrassing when contenders on a "sleepover" themed 3-on-1 would seemingly do anything for attention. (Talk about desperate.)
The group of dudes even had another cringe-worthy singalong on a bus ride to the middle of nowhere Argentina. This time they showed off their freestyle skills (ehem, lack thereof):
Although Alex garnered the first solo date of the episode, which was notably his first bit of alone time with Fletcher all season, their connection was short-lived. Alex dropped a preemptive "I'm falling in love with you" that JoJo couldn't reciprocate, so she did the humane thing and showed him the door immediately. It was the best day of Alex's life, he said — with the worst possible ending.
James Taylor, the sensitive singer-songwriter from Texas, surely felt his pain. After his genuineness and charm made him a frontrunner at the beginning of the season, it seems those attributes weren't enough to beat out the more meaty men for the final rose Monday. JoJo and James both were all tears as she walked him out.
That leaves four men, Jordan, Robby, Chase and Luke, in the running toward getting down on one knee. And it's now safe to say we know what Fletcher's "type" is: bulky muscles and whispy hair.
Let's recap JoJo's relationship with each so far, shall we?
The hunky former pro quarterback Jordan Rodgers made an impression on JoJo out the gate, even garnering the first impression rose on the season premiere. With this toned body and majestic hair, who could blame Fletcher for going weak at the knees? But other contestants have been shouting foul play throughout his stay.
Rodgers comes from a line of famous athletes. You may know his brother, Aaron, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers football team. This stipulation has led Jordan to spend much of the season fighting rumors of infidelity and proving he's not entitled like other Bachelorette contestants insist he is.
Monday during his 1-on-1 date, Rodgers divulged to JoJo what she could expect from meeting his family — and, no, his celebrity brother won't be there. In a heartfelt conversation, Rodgers, the youngest of three sons, revealed he is estranged from Aaron. In fact, his brother doesn't even know he's on the show.
"At every step of my life, I was just kind of disappointing," Rodgers told Fletcher.
"And no matter what I did it wasn't never good enough for a coach or a teammate because I was being compared to someone who did it the best."
Either way, Fletcher seems excited about the prospects. When Rodgers dropped an "L" bomb, she lit up and laid a big ole kiss on him.
Even if you don't know his name, you'll recognize Robby Hayes' body, especially after he stripped down Monday night and ran through the halls of a hotel at the bachelorette's request.
If we had to guess, Fletcher's relationship with Hayes has been strictly physical. He is formerly competitive swimmer, after all, with the abs to match. But something about him -- perhaps his way too tight pants and excessive grooming -- makes him seem better suited for the role of gay best friend than husband.
Monday night Hayes threw another wrench in the mix when he told Fletcher he broke up with a longtime girlfriend around Christmas 2015. If my math serves, that means he was fresh off a break up when he auditioned. (The Bachelorette began filming in March, so men tried out likely a month or two before that.)
Still, this didn't seem like a red flag to JoJo, who gave Hayes the group rose date Monday. The couple will likely be heading to Hayes' home state of Florida (if you couldn't tell that by his tan).
Fletcher is coming home to the Lone Star State to visit Luke Pell's family next week. The war veteran first caught the bachelorette's attention with his southern accent and charm — he showed up on night one riding a "unicorn" and gifted Fletcher a pair of boots, both of which made her feel right at home.
The one thing about Pell that's enraptured Flecther is his "passion." The two just can't keep their hands (or tongues) off each other.
Monday night, Pell garnered the last coveted solo date with JoJo during which they rode horses through the Argentinian countryside and went skeet shooting. Pell was 100 percent in his element and it paid off — JoJo felt she glimpsed what their life might be like post-reality TV. What I love most about this duo is that every time they're together, JoJo gets a subtle twang in her voice.
To be honest, this choice has me scratching my head. Chase McNary is a medical sales rep from Highland Ranch, Colo., he's slightly insecure and a little beefy. He and JoJo connected early in the season with intimate yoga session, but he's struggled to stay at the center of her attention since.
That's what I know about McNary, the rest is being left on the editing room floor.
It seems there's something about this guy that JoJo can't shake. In Argentina, he beat out dreamy-eyed Derek on a 2-on-1 date, even though viewers were certain he was going home. Even Monday, he didn't get much camera time on the group date and still beat out James Taylor.
So what are we missing? Hopefully we'll find out when McNary take Fletcher to meet his family during hometowns. Catch us here next week to dish about that drama and more!