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'The Bachelorette' recap: With Bentley gone for good, J.P. becomes the front-runner

June 28, 2011 |  8:59 am

Ash

It's taken six weeks of sometimes excruciatingly painful episodes of "The Bachelorette," but I may finally be heading over to Team Ashley.

Last week, when our perky star begged Chris Harrison to get her in contact with bad boy Bentley, I'm pretty sure the collective "Bachelorette" fan base cringed. How could Ashley have such poor taste in men? And even worse, how could she possibly believe that seeing Bentley again would be anything but a terrible idea?

But when Bentley showed up in all of his Robert Pattinson-esque glory -- the hair? anyone? -- I was shocked to watch Ashley actually cut to the chase. I'd thought that if he indicated in any way that he still had feelings for her, she'd continue to be hung up on him. Not surprisingly, Bentley was still wishy-washy about his feelings. After greeting her with an incredibly awkward closed-mouth kiss, he said that after he'd left the show, he "couldn't believe" he "went home and missed this" -- likely referring more to traveling around the world all-expenses-paid than actually falling in love with Ashley.

To that point, he told Ashley it "didn't look good" for their budding relationship, despite his lame promise of a "dot-dot-dot" between them, which left her thinking she might move to Salt Lake City with him if it didn't work out with any of the other guys on the show.

"So this is our period," she said. And then girl got mad. For the first time all season she actually stood up for herself. With Bentley obviously not on board the Ashley train, she asked him why he hadn't just told her so over the phone instead of flying halfway around the world to sputter out the sentiment.

"Just wanted a vacay?" she said, sassing him. And that was that. Finally.

With the "closure" she'd requested behind her, Ashley launched into a series of dates in Hong Kong with a new attitude, a big smile and a really bad fake tan. Lucas, who showed he had some mild game last week when he taught Ashley how to swing an imaginary golf club, got the first one-on-one date. While Lucas seems like an honest, down-home kind of Texan guy who with a sweet, protective nature, it was evident that there wasn't much chemistry between him and Ashley. After giving Bentley the ax once and for all, though, it seemed she was interested in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and left Lucas with a rose.

On the group date the guys were again forced to partake in some horrible-seeming physical activity -- dragon-boat racing. The entire event was pretty bland, with the only interesting moment coming later in the evening when uptight Ames got wasted and started wildly making out with Ashley in an elevator.

My favorite part of Monday night's episode was Ashley's one-on-one date with J.P., whom I absolutely now feel she will end up with in the end. Not only do I think J.P. is the best dude on the show -- emotionally supportive but not cloyingly so, honest about his feelings and still physically attractive -- but it's clear that Ashley feels more comfortable with him than anyone else.

Case in point: Though she hadn't told any of the guys about Bentley's little jaunt to Hong Kong, she decided to let J.P. in on the secret first. Because he's secure enough with himself not to be threatened by Bentley (yet another attractive quality), he didn't seem all that bothered by the news. As such, Ashley rewarded him with a rose, calling him by his full name, "Jordan Paul" and prompting me to hate myself for actually finding something on a cheesy reality show romantic.

Unfortunately for Ash, her little Bentley reveal didn't go over with the rest of the guys. Predictably, she worded the entire story horribly, telling the remaining suitors that in a "short period of time" she had fallen for Bentley. Yeah, that's just what a dude wants to hear. Understandably, some guys were a little peeved, feeling as if they were second fiddles. Some took it to the extreme, acting like total pouty, jealous drama queens. Blake the dentist -- who never got a one-on-one date with Ashley -- and Constantine were especially upset. And so was Mickey, who told Ashley that he felt she'd lied to them.

"I just don't see what the hell you saw in that guy," he said, inspiring a universal "true that" from viewers nationwide. "If your gut is saying that's what you're looking for, then please send me home."

Ashley refused, saying that she wouldn't cut him and he'd have to leave himself if that was the way he felt. Minutes later the guy was floating off on a boat back home. 

No big loss there. Still, the entire evening left Ashley rattled, as she whimpered to Harrison that she felt bad about "not knowing how to make" all the guys "feel special."

And it appears the waterworks will not cease in the coming weeks. Did you guys catch the teaser for the rest of the season? Duh-rah-ma.

Of course, some former contestant comes back. Of course, another worries about being ready to propose. And of course, it seems like something incredibly intense goes down during the final rose ceremony.

I'm sure the producers are just messing with us and Ashley probably gets so upset just about having to let one of her final two go. But what if both guys leave her at the coral-and-flower covered would-be altar? What if her chosen man isn't ready to tie the knot? What if she decides she really just wants to be with Bentley at his family fun center in Salt Lake City and help him raise little Cozy?

Whatever happens, all I know is that being forced to watch so much nonsense early on, we'd better get a stunner of a finale.

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

RELATED:

Ames gets a concussion, Ashley senseless

Bentley's shadow extends all the way to Thailand

Complete coverage of 'The Bachelorette' on Show Tracker

Photo: Ashley, in Hong Kong with Blake, left, and Ryan, was back to her perky self on Monday night's episode. Credit: ABC

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