Her time in Paradise may not have been, well, paradisiacal for Ashley Iaconetti, but that's OK–her happy ending came to pass regardless. Yay love! And having been through the ringer on the spin-off twice over now, her take on this year's Bachelor in Paradise madness is both critical and compassionate.
Read on for her insight into this year's madness, whether it's who's coupling up, who's breaking up, and who's just fired up–all's fair when it comes to love and tropical cocktails.
Go figure, Paradise’s most dramatic split didn’t even happen on TV. Instead, it all unfolded online as the pre-taped reunion show aired. You know what I'm talking about. On their last day in Mexico, Jenna and Jordan got engaged–if a little unexpected at first, their connection seemed strong, and genuine, to Bachelor Nation. Jordan seemingly fell in love with Jenna at first sight!
And then, a man who had allegedly been seeing Jenna at the same she’s been with Jordan sent text messages detailing their relationship to infamous Bachelor spoiler king, Reality Steve. In the messages, Jenna says, "Me and Jordan aren't together for real. I don't even like him let alone love him... He means nothing to me and never has.” Ouch.
Jordan says he believes the texts are legit, though Jenna continues to deny this (and has said she is seeking legal representation). After some attempts at damage control, the newly-engaged couple had serious conversations over a day or so and announced their breakup on Wednesday.
Except, look, this isn’t a normal breakup, this is a public betrayal of pretty epic proportions. This couple had set a wedding date already! I know some people might think that Jordan was in on the whole scheme, but I am not one of them. I saw the way he looked at Jenna while they were doing press after the reunion show. If that was acting, then he deserves an Academy Award! Off camera, he tended to her and was so proud to slide the engagement ring on her finger.
So not only is this going to leave poor Jordan with trust issues in the future, but I think there will be ramifications throughout the franchise. Yes, it's already a thing for contestants on the show to question whether their rivals are "here for the right reasons," but this serves as another example of what the wrong reasons are, and how seriously messed up things can get. Getting engaged on The Bachelor or Bachelorette–or Paradise, yes!–does lead to big business. That’s undeniable. And it's naive to think that contestants are signing up these days without being aware of that, but at the same time you have to hope they're also ready for love, and respecting the process. Certainly that they'd respect what an engagement means!
Speaking of, then, Krystal and Chris got engaged too and, for the moment, seem to mean it! But before getting down on one knee, Chris totally freaked Krystal out by making it seem like he was going to break up with her. Psych! That lil' proposal stunt aside, for two people who each have a reputation for drama, I think Krystal and Chris are unbelievably undramatic as a couple.
In other happy endings, I know I haven’t spoken much about Kevin and Astrid this season–I don’t think it’s appropriate to commentate on your ex’s new relationship. Still, I’m not sure why Kevin freaked out at the last minute, second-guessing over that "20 percent" he'd suddenly decided was missing from the relationship. Maybe he just felt too much pressure to propose? I think Kendall had the same experience with Joe–and that she didn’t know how serious Joe was about her when he brought up engagement either.
Paradise couples who have been together since the beginning are under a lot of pressure to get engaged, that's for sure. And I mean, not having a definitive ending, like a breakup or an engagement, is anticlimactic for the audience. Bachelor Nation needs closure as much as, well, Jordan does. (Seriously, don’t judge yourself, but what if everyone left to figure things out IRL just as casual couples? You’d be disappointed!)
Anyway! Kevin and Astrid are together now! Joe and Kendall are together now! Joe's on Dancing with the Stars! I’m happy that so much love has been found!
Oh, but one more instance of love lost to end on, though. Kamil did Annaliese wrong, let's be clear. They left Paradise together, and I think Annaliese wanted a proposal as a means of moving their relationship forward–even though she'd known the guy for less than 10 days!
Annaliese is the sweetest, most well-intentioned woman, but if she goes back to Paradise next year I hope it's with more confidence, and less of a tendency to fall for anyone. She deserves someone who truly cares for her. And Kamil obviously did not. He broke up with her during the reunion show just like that, and what's more, I've been told Annaliese had asked him just days before the taping to swear on his mother’s life that he wouldn’t pull a move like that. Party foul, Kamil. PARTY FOUL.
And on that note, I'm signing off after seventeen straight weeks of Bachelor programing! Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?! I’ll be back when a limo full of girls named Tia and a limo full of virgins show up on Colton’s first night as The Bachelor in January. Wishing him all the best on that journey! He'll need it.
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