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‘The Bachelor’ recap: Juan Pablo makes his choice in awkward, unprecedented finale

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Whew. The worst — and most bizarre — season of "The Bachelor" is finally over.

After a rocky season filled with tears, anger and controversial comments, Bachelor Juan Pablo did not get down on one knee to propose to a lucky bride-to-be in Saint Lucia. Instead, he offered the last woman standing, Nikki Ferrell, just a rose.

“I can’t imagine spending my life without you,” Nikki, 26, told Juan Pablo, clearly expecting a diamond ring. “I love you.”

“I can see you as a good stepmom for Camilla,” Juan Pablo, 32, said. “It’s been a perfect time every time I’m with you.” 

Then it got awkward.

“I have a ring here in my pocket and I’m not going to use it,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent sure that I want to propose to you, but at the same time, I’m 100 percent sure that I don’t want to let you go. I like you a lot. So, Nikki, will you accept my final rose?”   

“Absolutely,” Nikki said.

Really?

Runner-up Clare Crawley’s departure was just as uncomfortable.

“I appreciate you being here and trusting me all along,” Juan Pablo told Clare. “But I have to follow what I think is best for me. I’ll have to say goodbye to you.”

Clare is livid.

“This entire time I’ve stuck around because I believed in you,” she said, fighting back tears. “I needed that reassurance [on our date last night] and I gave you that opportunity right then.”

Clare was alluding to an off-camera moment during the pair’s last date, when Juan Pablo told Clare he barely knew her at all. 

“He told me that he really doesn’t know me and then said some sexual thing,” Clare said the night before. “It was insulting and it made me feel awful.  The words he used…I can’t even repeat it.”

Clare cited Sharleen Joynt and Andi Dorfman, two women who exited the show as soon as they weren’t feeling the relationship.

“You had every opportunity like those other girls did to tell me how you felt,” she said. “I lose respect for you. I would never want my children having a father like you.” 

Ouch. 

Even more ouch? Juan Pablo’s comment under his breath when Clare ran away in tears.

“I’m glad I didn’t pick her.”

The show got even more bizarre during the live “After the Final Rose” special after the taped finale.  

Juan Pablo and Nikki made their first appearance in public together, and while most “Bachelor” couples gush about finally being able to appear together after three months of hiding, profess their love repeatedly and show off engagement rings, the mood was quite awkward and emotionless.

“So you love her?” host Chris Harrison asked. 

“I’m not going to answer that question,” Juan Pablo said. “People don’t understand this is real life. We’re very happy and we are so done with the show.”

“So….you’re not gonna tell us you love her?” Chris asked, obviously baffled. “This is what this show is about.  We’re on this journey with you. This is your time to shine. You can express your feelings.”

Chris polled former “Bachelor” alums in the audience, newlyweds Catherine and Sean Lowe, who tried to explain to Juan Pablo that he signed up for a reality show and the spotlight is part of the deal.

“Don’t bite the hand that fed you,” Catherine said, to loud applause from the studio audience.

“This is a real relationship to us,” Nikki said. “We’re taking it very seriously. He has a daughter, he doesn’t just have himself to think about.”

“Sorry the show didn’t end up like you guys wanted it to,” Juan Pablo said, to boos from the audience.   

“This is so awkward,” Chris said laughing, as he tried one more time to get just a bit of information from the couple by asking them their plans for the future.

“We have our plans,” Juan Pablo said. “It’s something we want to keep private.”

“Bachelor” fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the show cut to a commercial break and Chris was able to announce the new Bachelorette — Atlanta assistant district attorney and fan-favorite — Andi. 

The new season of “The Bachelorette” premiers May 19.   

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