brightcove.createExperiences(); After JoJo Fletcher won viewers’ hearts as a fan favorite on Ben Higgins‘ season of The Bachelor, she’s now on her own journey to love on The Bachelorette. She is blogging exclusively about each and every rose ceremony for PEOPLE – check back each week and follow her on Twitter at @Joellefletcher!
Wow, that was intense. Just watching it was intense. And I was there when it all went down!. Just … Chad. When was the last time that Chris Harrison had to step in like that? I think the tension with Chad had just reached a point where Chris felt he had to step in and help provide some perspective. I’m grateful to Chris that he was able to do that – for the guys and for me.
And can we talk about Evan and his shirt? What really happened between Chad and Evan on the group date? Did Evan really try to push Chad and that’s what provoked Chad to rip his shirt? Would Evan actually do something like that? Someone needs to slow down that footage and figure out what really went down!
I thought for sure that having a pool party instead of a cocktail party would just help ease the mood and lesson the stress surrounding Chad and the guys. And that worked. Until it didn’t. Seeing Chad basically intimidate Derek was hard to watch. And did you see all the guys standing in the living room behind Derek??? So awkward! Maybe I shouldn’t have asked Derek about Chad, but after Chad’s behavior the other day on the group date, I needed more information.
This rose ceremony was intense. I could feel it. So much attention and time had been taken up by Chad and all the drama surrounding Chad that I really needed to refocus and make sure I was moving the right relationships forward. Nick, Christian and Ali are all wonderful guys, but I knew it would just never be there with them.
Leaving the Bachelor mansion felt great. So many amazing memories there, but after all the drama of those couple weeks, I was hoping to really start fresh. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort seemed like the perfect place to do just that. If you haven’t been there, you need to go. It’s a majestic place with so much to do. I think I could actually just move in there! Quick shout out to all my friends there, especially Maggie and her amazing team of people who made that week so much fun. Ashli, Monty, Brian … I miss you guys!
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I couldn’t wait to get this week of dates started and I knew spending more time with Luke was on the top of my list. I was beyond excited to go dogsledding with Luke. I had never been before and I couldn’t wait to experience it! Of course there wasn’t much snow for us to ride through but don’t doubt for a minute that it wasn’t freezing. I will say seeing those adorable pups made me miss my dog Jackson at home. Watching this back, I had to cover Jackson’s eyes for this one. I didn’t want him to think I was cheating on him! And I may have kept them covered; he didn’t need to see that hot tub moment! And yes, it was very, very hot in there!
Going into our dinner that evening, I was more intrigued by Luke than ever. He’s just so mysterious, and I really like that. At dinner, so much of that mystery started to make sense. Luke has been through so much in his life, and hearing him talk about the loss of his good friend just broke my heart. To know he trusted me with this, well, I still struggle to find the words to express how much that means to me. I am so grateful to Luke, and to all the men and women like him and Jason who so proudly serve our country. I felt so honored just to be in his presence that night and I am so very grateful for his sacrifice.
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Finishing our evening with a special performance from Dan + Shay was the most surreal moment. Walking into that theatre, with hundreds of screaming fans, this amazing country band performing and being on Luke’s arm was a dream. I left my date with Luke that night feeling as lucky as a girl could feel.
As great as the night before had been, I couldn’t wait for the next day’s group date. Knowing we were about to spend the day with some of the best professional football players around was thrilling. Big Ben showed up early with his wife, Ashley, who turns out is a big fan of the show! So great!
I couldn’t wait for the look on the guys’ faces when they found out. Plus, who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of hot guys play some football? I’m from Texas after all, where football is in our blood! In true Texas football fashion, my guys went after it. Hard. I was shocked by just how quickly they went from zero to a hundred. But poor James T! I felt terrible when he got injured. I love seeing the guys really give it a hundred percent, but I never want to see anyone get hurt. James was actually told multiple times by the medic that he needed stitches, but he refused.
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I was on pins and needles to see if the blue team or the white team would bring home the win. And I will say, this might have been the most invested I have ever been while watching a football game! But who am I supposed to root for?! These guys played hard and I couldn’t believe that this game was a nail biter all the way up until the last second! More than anything, I was just glad the guys had a good time. I know I did!
At the evening portion of our date, it meant a lot to me that Robby was so forth coming with how he was feeling. I knew I wanted more time with him and I could feel that things with us were progressing. Robby makes me feel so safe, and I really enjoyed the time I was spending with him. He was someone who I felt confident in, and didn’t need to question. Jordan on the other hand, was someone I did have questions about. There was no denying the attraction between us, but something about Jordan scared me. I would often find myself getting nervous around him. I couldn’t decipher if it was nervous butterflies or something else. But having him open up to me and to see him begin to drop his walls was exactly what I needed in that moment. It felt like a turning point for us, and I knew I wanted to show him that I saw that by giving him the group date rose.
When I started this journey as The Bachelorette, I knew group dates were going to be challenging. But no one, NO ONE, could have prepared me for the challenge of a two-on-one date. And not just any two-on-one date, but one with Chad and Alex – two guys who I knew who weren’t BFFs, but two guys I definitely needed more time with.
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If I could have seen what happened that morning with Chad and the guys, maybe that would have changed my thinking going into the date. So hard to know. I do know that behind all the anger in Chad, there is probably a decent person. Chad’s been through so much in the past year. And that’s why I broke down the way I did. Because I knew what he’d been through. But it still doesn’t excuse his behavior. You can’t threaten people, no matter what you’ve been through. I don’t want that in a friend, and I definitely don’t want that in a husband.
Handing the rose to Alex felt right. He and I had had a connection from the very first night, and spending time with him that day – even in such uncomfortable circumstances – just confirmed that. Alex is husband material. Chad, however, has a lot of work to do before he gets to that point. Hopefully someday he’ll get there. I know he has it in him.
That night, Alex and I had time to really sit and reconnect. It was great. Little did I know, Chad was heading back to the guys’ place. Wow. His hands on the door! So, so scary! I hate to do this, but you’re going to have to wait an extra week to see just what happens when the guys open the door and Chad steps in. I know, I know! But I promise it’s worth the wait!
Check back two weeks from now and we will get through it together!
The Bachelorette returns Monday, (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.