“The Bachelor” season finale recap: The best Bachelor ever finds a mate

Congratulations, you crazy kids!

As the old saying goes, rose lovers, the heart wants what it wants. And in tonight’s “unprecedented” season finale of The Bachelor, one woman took herself out of the running at the Proposal Platform™ because she knew Joey’s heart wanted someone else. And if that isn’t enough, ABC announced their bold choice for the next Bachelorette.

Let’s recap!

We begin where we started nine weeks ago, with the distressing footage of our sweet angel baby Joey Graziadei weeping at the Proposal Platform in Tulum. From there, it’s straight to the Tealight Candle Thunderdome, where host/hype man Jesse Palmer assures us twice that “history will be made” tonight. Sure, pal. Enough preamble. Take us back to Mexico, please. Our sources tell us that Joey’s on the beach, and we’ve gone a whole week without seeing him shirtless. Chop chop!

<p>ABC</p> Joey emerges from the sea like a male Venus on 'The Bachelor'


Joey emerges from the sea like a male Venus on 'The Bachelor'

That’s better. “I have two women left. I’m falling in love with both of them,” says the Bachelor. “And in a few days, I’ll be getting down on one knee and proposing — and hopefully getting engaged.” He’s nervous, he’s scared, he’s got doubts, but Joey insists he’s not going to run away from love — instead, he’s just gonna channel all those feels into his journal.

<p>ABC</p> There's no way Joey owns a journal.


There's no way Joey owns a journal.

Dear Diary, what do people usually write in these things? Just pretend you’re writing about the two women you have left, sir! They’re using this footage for the “in case you missed it” recap for viewers who somehow missed the previous 10 episodes. First, there’s Kelsey, the 25-year-old junior project manager from New Orleans. Joey says she’s “a bright light. She’s goofy, she’s fun, she’s sweet, she’s kind, she’s everything I wanted and more.”

And behind door number two, we have Daisy, the 25-year-old account executive from Becker, Minnesota. “She had a hold on me from the beginning, as soon as she stepped out of that Christmas tree truck,” says Joey. “I have zero doubts that a life with Daisy would be special… I can see us having a really beautiful life together.”

Lurking underneath all these good feelings, however, is Joey’s fear that he’ll be rejected at the Proposal Platform™ again. Still, the Bachelor is determined to shake off all those doubts, because his family is here to offer some guidance.

<p>ABC</p> Joey's family waits for him on 'The Bachelor'


Joey's family waits for him on 'The Bachelor'

Please welcome Joey’s dad, Nick, his sisters, Carly and Ellie, his mom, Cathy, and his brother-in-law, Zach! LOL, look at mom’s face when Joey tells her that he started this “journey” with 32 women:

<p>ABC</p> "You dated HOW MANY women???"


"You dated HOW MANY women???"

Adorable. Joey fills his family in on the final two women and explains why he’s held off on telling either that he’s falling in love with them until this past week. “I haven’t said ‘I love you,’ I won’t say ‘I love you’ until the last day,” he adds. With that, it’s time for family meet and greet No. 1. Daisy, you’re up!

<p>ABC</p> Joey and Daisy on 'The Bachelor'


Joey and Daisy on 'The Bachelor'

Daisy looks great. Her tan, that dress — she’s just adorable. During the initial get-to-know-you chat, Daisy explains her hearing loss and cochlear implant to Joey’s family, and how Joey’s sweet and understanding reaction “kind of changed everything” for her. “He is truly so remarkable, and I know that is because of you, and the people that love him,” she says, choking up. “So, I wanted to say thank you to you, because honestly this whole of experience has changed my life.”

With that heartwarming moment behind them, Carly and Ellie invite Daisy for a two-on-one chat. “Have you said, ‘I love you’ to him?” asks Carly. Daisy says she’s gone as far as “falling in love,” but if Joey were to propose, she’d absolutely say yes “because I am in love with him.” Perhaps knowing that like Joey, his family also worries that he’ll be rejected at the end, Daisy assures his sisters that she will “choose him every single day for the rest of my life.” Oh yeah, everyone’s crying.

<p>ABC</p> Joey's sisters Ellie and Carly on 'The Bachelor'


Joey's sisters Ellie and Carly on 'The Bachelor'

“Daisy is very precious and sweet,” says Ellie. “I could tell that she was really serious and really ready for this next step… That made me really happy.” The sisters immediately sit down with Joey for a debrief. Ellie reports that Daisy is “all in,” and if she appears to be holding back a bit, it’s because she’s “scared of getting heartbroken.” Joey hates the idea of hurting anyone. “It puts knots in my stomach,” he admits. “Whoever I don’t choose, there will be two people that are heartbroken — it’ll be me and them.”

<p>ABC</p> Being the Bachelor is hard.


Being the Bachelor is hard.

Sir, did no one explain the concept of The Bachelor to you before you signed the contract? How rude.

Meanwhile, Cathy and Daisy are getting to know each other in another room. Mom asks Daisy what makes her unique, and she says it’s her resilience. “I don’t give up on myself, and I don’t give up on other people,” says Daisy. “I love very deeply, and I love very big.” She also admits to being scared that she’ll get hurt, but says Joey is worth it. “I’m so confident in him,” adds Daisy, choking up again. “I’m so sure, and so it is scary.” Mom can’t help but get teary, too. “I want the best for you,” says Cathy. “I would be honored to have you as a daughter-in-law.”

UGH, how dare this show make me feel actual emotions?

<p>ABC</p> Joey's mom gives Daisy a hug on 'The Bachelor'


Joey's mom gives Daisy a hug on 'The Bachelor'

Welp, it’s time for Daisy to say goodbye. Hugs all around! She and Joey share a few farewell smooches, too, but she doesn’t drop the l-bomb. I guess she’s waiting for her Last Chance Date™?

Huh. Normally there’s a day between family meetings, but it looks like Daisy and Kelsey will be doing back-to-back meet and greets. Come on in, ma’am!

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey meets the family on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey meets the family on 'The Bachelor'

Oh, look! Kelsey and Joey’s mom match! That must be a sign, right? Also, how did we not know until now that Joey made a joke about having a “Lizzie McGuire moment” during his date with Kelsey in Spain? As so many of you have pointed out, rose lovers, Joey Graziadei is truly a man written by a woman.

Like Daisy, Kelsey gets choked up a bit while recapping her “journey” with Joey. “I lost my mom a couple years ago,” she says through her tears. “I know she would love Joey. He’s got the best heart.” Speaking of moms, Cathy says the “emotional connection” between her son and Kelsey was “very obvious from the get-go.”

Ellie and Carly sit down with Kelsey first, and she immediately makes it known that she loves Joey. But when Carly asks if she’s ready to be engaged, should Joey propose, her answer is slightly — only slightly — hesitant: “Um, I think so, yeah.” Big sister does NOT love it. “Kelsey is amazing,” says Carly. “But she wasn’t able to give the same response that Daisy was in saying that she was 100 percent ready.”

To be honest, I think Carly’s overreacting a bit here — but you can’t blame her, because the last thing she wants is her little brother to experience the misery of proposal interruptus again. Carly and Ellie express these concerns to Joey during their subsequent debrief. “Daisy had kind of told us without us asking too much that she was like, ‘I’m all in this.’ If you proposed today, ‘100 percent yes,’” says Carly. “When we asked Kelsey, she said, ‘I think so.’”

Naturally, the Bachelor does NOT love it. “It does get me a little scared,” he says. “I need to talk to Kelsey more about that answer.” Or maybe just talk to your mom, Joey — because right now, Kelsey is crying to Cathy about how sad she’d be if Joey didn’t choose her. “I know if it’s not me, I know that he’s going to be really happy with Daisy,” Kelsey chokes out through her tears. Mom remembers something Joey said when he brought Charity to meet his family during hometown dates: “He looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I’m the one. I know I’m the one. But if I’m not, that means that Charity, who I care for so greatly, has found someone who she connects with more, and I will be happy for her.’” OMG, this MAN, y’all!

Poor Kelsey, getting her second “you might lose” pep talk from an older woman in as many weeks! To be fair, Cathy does assure her that “it could very well be you” because “the way you look at him is special.” When it’s time to say goodbye, Kelsey once again says the three words Daisy has yet to utter:

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey bids Joey farewell on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey bids Joey farewell on 'The Bachelor'

After two successful family visits, the Bachelor is still waffling. “I wish I knew more about what I was going to do,” he says with a sigh. “I don’t want to mess this up.” Poor guy. Perhaps the Last Chance Dates™ will offer some of that all-important “clarity.”

First, though, we must cut back to the Thunderdome, where Palmer stands center stage. “How is Joey going to sort through his feelings and finally make a decision?” he asks gravely. “Maybe… he won’t. I know, I just threw a curveball at you.” LOL, good effort, sir — but we’re not buying it. Back to the final dates!

Once again, Daisy goes first. She meets Joey at a sweat lodge, where a nice gentleman explains in Spanish that he’s going to give them a “cleansing with copal.”

<p>ABC</p> Joey and Daisy receive a copal cleanse on 'The Bachelor'


Joey and Daisy receive a copal cleanse on 'The Bachelor'

Daisy, whose emotions are toggling between equanimity and panic, could use a good cleanse. “I need him to reassure me and give him that validation,” she says. Unfortunately, today’s date activity doesn’t allow for much talking. After the copal cleanse, Daisy and Joey head into the sweat lodge, where they sit in meditative silence as their host performs another cleansing ritual. “Right now, in this moment to be honest, I’m a little bit, like, frustrated,” admits Daisy in her confessional. “I definitely want to tell him that I love him, and it hurts.” A producer asks her, “What about it hurts?” Daisy pauses for a moment before giving her answer: “That he’s not sure about me.”

The ritual ends with Daisy and Joey making a wish and then throwing a piece of copal into the fire. Daisy says her true desire is to keep “growing together” with Joey, while the Bachelor says his true desire is “for both of us to find true happiness, whether that’s with each other or just in general.”

OH, SNAP! And he’s not done, rose lovers! “I feel so lucky to have gotten to know you,” Joey adds. “And I know that you deserve nothing but the best.” I would say this is foreshadowing, rose lovers, but Joey just took it from “foreshadowing” to “foregone conclusion.” That is a breakup speech, and Daisy knows it.

<p>ABC</p> The moment Daisy realizes she's not the one.


The moment Daisy realizes she's not the one.

Joey doesn’t seem to realize that he just sent Daisy into a complete spiral. “Right now, I just feel like it might not be us, because I’m just used to not being chosen,” she says sadly.

That night, the Bachelor arrives at Daisy’s hotel room for one final tête-à-tête. She’s decided to go into the evening with a more positive attitude — in part because that optimism will help her tell Joey how she really feels. But first, Daisy wants Joey to know that he’s the Best. Bachelor. Ever. “I don’t think anyone in this position has ever handled it with so much grace and so much love and so much kindness toward everyone,” she says. (As someone who has watched every season — God help me — I can confirm she is correct.)

Now for the big reveal:

<p>ABC</p> Daisy declares her love on 'The Bachelor'


Daisy declares her love on 'The Bachelor'

Again, Joey’s response is… muted. “That’s so good to hear,” he says. “That means so much.” While Daisy feels like a weight has been lifted from her heart, she’s also bummed that the Bachelor didn’t give her even an ounce of “validation.” Instead, he just talks about how “impossible” the decision is going to be for him, and Daisy does NOT love it. “I feel like something’s a little bit off,” she admits. “He’s not talking about that potential future with us, and I feel like he’s being measured and careful, honestly.” In other words…

<p>ABC</p> At least she's still able to smile.


At least she's still able to smile.


Kelsey and Joey meet up for their Last Chance Date™ at the hotel spa. They start with a foot exfoliation treatment. I’m surprised Joey agreed to this, given how self-conscious he is about his feet. Next, they apply face masks and give each other massages. (Did production not have enough budget left to pay for professional masseuses?)

That evening, Kelsey welcomes Joey to her hotel room for a last chat.

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey and Joey have one last chat on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey and Joey have one last chat on 'The Bachelor'

How is it possible that her hair only gets more glorious with humidity? Amazing. Producers must have told Kelsey that her “I think so” answer about an engagement was giving Joey pause, because she brings it up right away and tries to offer an explanation. “It’s not like a box that I’m trying to check,” she says. “It’s because it’s you that I’m ready for an engagement, really.” Kelsey also wants the Bachelor to know that she broke down crying when his parents asked her how she’d feel if he didn’t pick her. “That’s okay,” says Joey. “I don’t want you to think about that, either.”

Easier said than done, bro. “You just make me feel so special,” Kelsey says weepily. “I want you to know just how much I love you.” The Bachelor answers by giving her a smooch, and then takes his leave.

At long last, proposal day is here. And so is the man who loves nothing more than a TV camera, Neil Lane!

<p>ABC</p> Neil Lane shows Joey a ring on 'The Bachelor'


Neil Lane shows Joey a ring on 'The Bachelor'

As Joey chooses a ginormous rock, Kelsey — making a bold statement in a sparkly white dress — strolls pensively around the hotel grounds, wondering if today is the day she’ll get engaged. And Daisy, wearing a red strapless dress with a plunging neckline, gazes mournfully into the mirror. She says her last conversation with Joey made her feel like he was trying to “prepare” her for bad news. “Maybe I’m wrong, but today I have to be, like, so strong,” she adds. “Love shouldn’t feel like it hurts this much. I know what I need to do.”

With that, Daisy strides down the hotel hallway and knocks on someone’s door. Is it Joey on the other side? Nope.

<p>ABC</p> Daisy hugs Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'


Daisy hugs Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'

The way these women clearly love and support each other — it’s making me emotional, y’all! As Kelsey and Daisy take a seat on the couch, Kelsey moves some papers — perhaps her “vows” for the Proposal Platform™? — out of the way. “How was your week?” Daisy begins. “If you don’t mind me asking.” Kelsey doesn’t mind. She tells Daisy that she had a “really good” week with Joey, and that she felt “a lot of validation” during their last evening together.

Okay, Daisy, now it’s your turn. How was your week? “Mine was interesting,” she says. “Our date felt a little bit off. There was something, like, missing between me and Joey, I don’t know exactly what it was. And then, there was like no form of validation or confirmation, and it was hard, and it did hurt.”

Understandably, Kelsey doesn’t know what to do with this information, but she tries her best to be supportive. “I still [don’t] really know if he’s going to pick me,” she says. “I don’t want you to be heartbroken at all… But then, I don’t know, I do love him so much.” Hearing this reinforces Daisy’s fear that it’s going to be Kelsey, but she’s still holding onto the tiniest shred of hope: “I’m not going to just walk away right now, because what if it’s not?”

There’s only one way to find out, ma’am. March yourself up to that Proposal Platform™ and get some answers! Just when I was thinking to myself, “I guess there won’t be much of a mystery about which woman gets out of the limo first, since it’s pretty clear Daisy is not the one,” something truly… unprecedented happens.

<p>ABC</p> Holy crap.


Holy crap.

The way I screamed, rose lovers! Are Daisy and Kelsey going to walk up to Joey together and announce, Brenda-and-Kelly style, that he must choose between them? No such luck.

Daisy walks up alone and listens patiently as Joey goes through his brief preamble. When it’s her turn to speak, she thanks Joey for showing her how important it is to know her own worth. “Falling in love with you has been so fun, and I do love you,” she says, choking up. “But the thing is…”

<p>ABC</p> Daisy does the breaking up for Joey on 'The Bachelor'


Daisy does the breaking up for Joey on 'The Bachelor'

The Bachelor instantly hangs his head, and he does not deny it. “I know you said you want the best for me,” Daisy continues, choking up. “So, I’m going to do what’s best for me and I’m gonna go.” The Bachelor, weeping, tells Daisy that she’s “one-of-a-kind” and “truly special,” and that he wishes he could have given her what she wanted. Then Joey offers to walk her out, but Daisy politely declines. “I think it’s something I should do on my own,” she tells him.

HELL YEAH, DAISY! You are the architect of your own future. Before leaving on her own, Daisy bids her friend — and the woman who’s about to get the proposal she wanted — a fond and loving farewell.

<p>ABC</p> Daisy and Kelsey embrace on 'The Bachelor'


Daisy and Kelsey embrace on 'The Bachelor'

“I know your mom’s going to be looking down on this moment and she’s going to be so happy,” she whispers. Oh my God, SOMEBODY SEDATE ME DOT GIF!

Riding away in the Reject SUV, a tearful Daisy offers this bittersweet summary of her experience: “The thing is, like, if I can love the wrong person that much, imagine how much I can love the right person.” Damn, that is a Bachelorette intro if I ever saw one. (More on that later.)

Back on the beach, Joey has collected himself and is back on the Proposal Platform™. “I know I gave as much as I could to Daisy, and she just wasn’t my person,” he says. Now he’s ready to propose to the woman he does want to marry.

<p>ABC</p> Joey greets Kelsey at the Proposal Platform on 'The Bachelor'


Joey greets Kelsey at the Proposal Platform on 'The Bachelor'

“I knew early on that there was something different about you, and I just wanted to learn more,” says Joey. “It has been seemingly easy at times, and I know there’s a lot of tough decisions through this journey, and that’s what makes today really difficult.”

Come ON, Team Bachelor! Are you seriously making Joey do this lame fake-out when Kelsey already knows she’s the last woman standing? Ridiculous. Joey, please proceed.

“But there’s nothing difficult about choosing you,” he says. “And I can’t wait another minute to tell you that I love you.” All rightie, let’s do this!

<p>ABC</p> Joey proposes to Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'


Joey proposes to Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'

Of course, she says yes. “I love you!” she wails as they embrace. “I’m so happy!” With that, Joey gives Kelsey his final rose. Show us that bling, mama!

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'

Awww, congrats you crazy kids. Good luck and Godspeed.

Back in the Thunderdome, Palmer is triumphant. “Look at that!” he bellows. “It all worked out!” But the host is also quick to tease the potential upcoming drama of Daisy’s first meeting with Joey since that sad day on the beach in Tulum. DID SHE SOMEHOW MANAGE TO GO ON WITH HER LIFE? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

First, though, it’s time to bring out the man who will no doubt sit atop all “Ranking Every Season of The Bachelor” lists form now on: Joey Graziadei! Palmer asks him what it was like to watch that “unprecedented” (my word this time) moment between Kelsey and Daisy on Proposal Day, which he didn’t see until now. “Special,” says Joey. “They were empowering each other as they should be. There was so much about that day was special.” As for Daisy surprising him at the Proposal Platform™ with “you’re not going to choose me,” Joey says his first thought was, “How did you know?” Well, let’s ask her. Please welcome Daisy!

<p>ABC</p> Daisy and Joey on 'After the Final Rose'


Daisy and Joey on 'After the Final Rose'

Daisy walks on stage to rapturous applause, and she and Joey share a sweet hug. “It’s really great to see you,” she tells him. “I’m so happy for you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy. Honestly, watching that, I got emotional because the proposal was so beautiful, and you two are two amazing people.”

Interestingly enough, Daisy said that the first time she suspected that Joey wasn’t going to choose her wasn't at that cleansing ceremony — it was at the last rose ceremony, when Rachel went home. There was something about the way Joey looked at Kelsey that night that left her shook. “I was like, ‘Woah!’” Daisy recalls. “For the first time I was like, ‘I don’t think it’s me.'”

And then on their Last Chance Date, she finally understood that Joey could not see a future with her. “It was really great for me to watch [it back], because it was kind of validating the fact that I knew it,” she adds. Joey is understanding, and he says that he was trying very hard to be intentional with his words, but looking back, he realizes that “it was more obvious” how he was feeling. “I appreciate your understanding,” he says. “I appreciate most of all the amount of respect and love you gave to us, too.”

Daisy says she tried to “lead with love and grace and understanding,” which is what her parents always taught her to do. It was hard to walk away, of course, but she knows “sometimes the hard thing is the best thing.” Amen to that, sister! We stan an emotionally intelligent queen. The segment ends with Daisy thanking Joey for helping her find her inner light again. Oh my god, are these two the sweetest exes ever??

Well, let’s keep this lovefest going. Kelsey, get out here and sit down with your fiancé!

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey and Joey on 'The Bachelor'

Looking glam, ma’am! “I’m just so excited for everyone to see how in love we are,” she gushes. Joey, too, is thrilled that he no longer has to hide their relationship. “It’s been very hard for me to keep this in,” he says. They reminisce a bit about the proposal — “it’s all a blur,” jokes Kelsey — and then Palmer decides it’s time to make Kelsey cry. “Kelsey, I’ve gotta say, you have always spoken so eloquently about your late mother,” he says. “As we’re sitting here now celebrating your beautiful engagement, how much is she in your thoughts?”

Kelsey says she felt her mom’s presence throughout the journey, and she always takes comfort from the quote “grief is love’s souvenir.” She’s grateful that she had her mother with her for as long as she did, and today, “I definitely think that she’s smiling down on us for sure.” Her dad, Mark, meanwhile, is smiling on her from the audience. Can we please get this man on The Golden Bachelorette ASAP? (Palmer did suggest that we might see him “soon,” so fingers crossed.)

<p>ABC</p> Kelsey's dad, Mark, on 'The Bachelor'


Kelsey's dad, Mark, on 'The Bachelor'

Watching his daughter fall in love with Joey has been “a blessing,” says Mark. “I couldn’t be prouder. I couldn’t be happier.” Joey’s parents, Nick and Cathy, look pretty happy in the audience, too.

There’s only one thing left on the agenda, rose lovers: Bring on the next Bachelorette! As he has all evening, Jesse makes sure the whole thing takes way longer than it needs to. First, he brings Daisy back out to the couch and has her rehash her feelings on that last day in Mexico. “I think what everybody wants to know now then is, ‘What’s next for you?’” he asks.

Daisy says her life since being on the show has “been crazy,” and as much as she loved the experience of being on the show, “right now I know it’s time for me to focus on the things I love and the people I love. So right now, no, I’m not ready, and that’s okay.” Welp, I suppose that means Daisy is NOT our next Bachelorette. Oh, wait, and now Kelsey’s here, too.

<p>ABC</p> Daisy and Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'


Daisy and Kelsey on 'The Bachelor'

Why are we talking about their day in Tulum again? Yes, their sister act was incredible, but Palmer, you promised us a Bachelorette announcement! There are only 15 minutes left in this three-hour ordeal — get on with it already! After yet another commercial break, Palmer finally announces… that Charity Lawson, our last Bachelorette, is coming to the stage to announce the next Bachelorette.


The next Bachelorette is…

<p>ABC</p> Jenn Tran is the new Bachelorette


Jenn Tran is the new Bachelorette

Oh… okay. It’s Jenn Tran! And she’s the Bachelor franchise’s first-ever Asian lead. Hooray for progress! When Jesse asks her what she’s looking for in a man, Jenn makes a bit of randy joke — “I’m looking for someone who has a really, really big, like… personality” — and she says her goal is to find a guy who can “take it just as well as he can dish it.” Okay, well, with any luck they'll cast some funny guys for this Rose Queen.

As for the choice? Daisy just told us she wasn’t ready — but it’s not clear why they didn’t pick Maria. Producers probably knew we’d be asking that question, because they make time for Maria to shout her endorsement of Jenn from the audience. “Jenn!” she hollers. “Listen, I love you so much, and I got to know you inside and out, and I want you to know how amazing you are!” Hmmm… maybe Maria just didn’t want to do it? (No offense to Jenn at all, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who believes she was ABC’s first choice. Still, progress!)

And with that, the credits begin to roll. “We’re all rooting for you, Jenn!” Palmer yells over the sound of the screaming audience. (And did he just say The Bachelorette is not premiering until July? That’s quite a delay — but hey, this recapper is fine with a long break.)

Welp, we made it, rose lovers. Our sweet angel baby Joey found his person, and we have a new Bachelorette none of us saw coming. Before you go, please tell me how you’re feeling. Do you think Joey and Kelsey will live happily ever after? Will you be watching Jenn’s “journey” to find “love”? And is it “shot o’clock” yet? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @KristenGBaldwin or on Bluesky at

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