NEW YORK – And then there were five.
Bulldozer jockey Evan Marriott, the phony millionaire of Fox's Joe Millionaire, last night eliminated seven women out of the 12 who were still vying for his attention on the hit reality show.
At the conclusion of last night's program, the second of seven planned episodes of the red-hot series, the lucky five were each awarded a sapphire necklace and then whisked off in a limousine to Paris from the faux millionaire's French chateau.
The seven pouting losers were ordered to pack their bags and go home.
The five who advanced were flame-haired Alison, 28, a graphics specialist; freckle-faced blonde Melissa Jo (Mojo), 25, a loan officer; sassy brunette Melissa M., 24, a customer-service representative; slim, prim and aristocratic Sarah, 29, a mortgage broker's assistant; and sultry Zora, 29, a substitute teacher.
Among the losers was the group's most despised contestant -- the ultra-competitive Heidi, 24, a bank officer who drew the ire of the other contestants when she revealed that she already had a boyfriend back home.
Tousle-haired Evan, the hunky, $19,000-a-year ditch-digger and one-time underwear model who is masquerading on the show as an heir to a $50 million fortune, made his choices after a series of unusual "dates" in which the women were required to perform tasks such as raking hay and horse manure in a stable, shoveling coal into the furnace of a steam locomotive and picking grapes in a chilly downpour.
With the tasks completed and the choices made, the five women still in contention prepared to spend four days and nights in Paris, where they will be wined and dined by their bachelor suitor beginning next week.
Scenes for next week's episode indicated that the proceedings will be heating up a bit as Evan and some of the women lock lips in the City of Light.