Listen to our interview with Reality Steve below:
For as boring a star as Arie Luyendyk was perceived, Steve Carbone says his was one of the most eventful Bachelor seasons in franchise history.
Carbone would know. Since 2009, the Frisco-based blogger known as Reality Steve has been spoiling the show and its counterpart The Bachelorette by publishing tips about where the cast travels and who gets eliminated long before the season even airs. That kind of point plotting, however, isn't what kept him busy this time around, he says.
When The Bachelor finale airs on Monday, March 5, Arie will get down on one knee and propose to one of two women: Becca, a publicist from Minnesota, or Lauren Burnham, a sales executive from Dallas. Carbone divulged the winner shortly after the show finished filming last November.
But it's what happened after the season was wrapped neatly in a bow that sent Carbone, his devout followers and even contestants of the show into a frenzy.
"This is definitely going to be the most dramatic" season finale, says Carbone, quoting host Chris Harrison's famous tagline. "And it's going to be good television."
We caught up with Reality Steve ahead of the finale to dish on the winner, the runner-up and why those two terms are interchangeable.
Arie has been flagrantly tossing around the word "love" with both remaining women. Foul or no foul?
Carbone and I agree: Major foul.
While it's not unprecedented -- Bachelor Ben Higgins told his finalists, including Dallas' JoJo Fletcher, he loved them -- it's not common, says Carbone. Nor is it a good idea.
"I don't care if you are feeling that way ... of course the girl you told it to is going to think, 'This means he's picking me,'" Carbone says. "'Is he going to tell me he loves me and three days later say he's not choosing me?' It doesn't make any sense."
That means one contestant is going to be sincerely brokenhearted.
And the winner is...
Well, technically both ladies.
During The Bachelor's season finale in Peru, Arie gets down on one knee to propose to Becca. It makes sense, considering their relationship has been easy and conflict-free since they met. She says "yes" and they become the archetypal happy couple -- for a few months.
According to Carbone, sometime in January after The Bachelor was already on air, Arie realized his worst fear had come true: He had chosen the wrong woman.
Talk about a plot twist!
By Carbone's account, Arie breaks off his engagement with Becca and grovels back to Lauren, who accepts his apology and takes him back. And, oh yes, there is footage of the whole hot mess.
"They are together now," says Carbone of Arie and Lauren, "and as far as I know they're engaged."
However uncouth the move, this too is not unprecedented. In season 13, bachelor Jason Mesnick changed his mind post-filming, broke off his engagement and went back to his runner-up, Molly Malaney. The difference, says Carbone, is the couple dated for another 10 months before getting engaged.
"[Arie] was engaged to someone six weeks ago ... and the person he was engaged to six weeks ago he chose over you," says Carbone. "I don't understand [Lauren's] thought process."
How is this going to play out during the 'After the Final Rose' special?
The Bachelor season finale is actually going to be a two-night event.
On Monday, viewers can expect the traditional two-hour episode during which Arie proposes, followed by a one-hour follow-up when he breaks off the engagement. Then on Tuesday, host Chris Harrison welcomes the (happy?) couple for a two-hour live special, After the Final Rose, which will tackle all the drama of the season. With several of the show's former contestants in the audience, Carbone expects Arie will be sweating.
"Arie is going to be on the firing line," he says. "They are going to shoot daggers at him all night long."
And Lauren may get caught in the crossfire. While viewers can question her judgement for getting back with Arie, Carbone attests she's not to blame for this stickiest of situations. Still, he thinks she'll be guilty be association.
"We see on the After the Final Rose every season, they bring out the final couple and announce, 'Now for the first time in public...' and everyone stands up and cheers," he says. "There's no way Arie and Lauren get that."
The silver lining? Becca for the next Bachelorette.
She's the obvious and most deserving choice, says Carbone.
"Obviously, it's never fun to be broken up with. It's probably 100 times worse for it to happen on camera and she's going to have the support of America behind her," he says. "That's why Becca's going to be the bachelorette -- she has the best built-in story line of any previous contestant."
Tweet me your thoughts about the season. And grab a bottle of wine because you're going to need it. The dramatic, two-part Bachelor season finale airs Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. on ABC.
CORRECTION, 3:16 p.m., March 4, 2018: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Jason Mesnick was on season four of The Bachelor.