"Men Tell All" features one guy's love connection with a random audience member, one admitting he'd give Katie another chance right now -- plus, the next Bachelor?
It was a wild night of "Men Tell All" on "The Bachelorette" as Katie Thurston's men proved that even if the romance didn't work out for any of them, the bromance was alive and well.
But before we could get to that, there was one more piece of business to take care of before Hometowns. That's because one of Katie's Final 4 guys was actually at the "Men Tell All" special after bailing on Katie just before she would have met his family.
Eagle-eyed fans who pay attention to those juicy promos you just know the "Bachelorette" producers love editing together were probably able to guess who it was right away based on one pivotal conversation moment that we hadn't seen yet.
But before we get to that, we have to talk about our co-hosts, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe. We still don't have a permanent host for this franchise, so in many ways this season could be seen as an audition for the both of them.
If so, then this "Men Tell All" is a pivotal part of that, seeing how the pair of them handle the live audience, the banter from the guys and corralling what's effectively a fast-moving talk show format.
From what we just saw, we'd say that Tayshia is proving she has the perfect skillset to take over this ship, while Kaitlyn still comes across as stiff and unnatural. Tayshia has been better on the show both in her actual hosting duties, and in her empathy and communications with Katie one-on-one.
Now, she deftly navigated what could be very dry reading from a teleprompter, delivering with poise and a natural charm that was very inviting and conversational. Conversely, Kaitlyn is the Brian Dunkleman to her Ryan Seacrest. Consider this our vote for Tayshia to take over as permanent host for the whole franchise!
As Michael A revealed early on in the season, he'd been granted the opportunity to FaceTime with his young son James every day. Well, we've seen that happen a few times already, but there was one tough moment we hadn't seen yet.
That's what happened this week, as Michael A's FaceTime conversation took a hard turn for him when James threw out the notion that maybe Michael A left because he didn't want to see James anymore.
It's impossible to fathom how awful that would be to hear from your young child, who barely understood why Michael A was gone anyway. He'd opted not to tell James what he was doing, instead saying he was off on a work trip. They'd missed one another back and forth, but this was too much.
This is where the format of the show becomes a bit challenging, because there were surely viewers wondering why Katie didn't just bail on the process if she was really falling for Michael A as hard as she said she was. Well, probably because she'd signed a contract.
Talk about having to compromise your shot at love for the sake of a television show. Luckily, Katie later said that she had no regrets about anything that happened in the season, instead choosing to believe that all things happen for a reason and as they must.
There were plenty of tears in the moment as Michael A became the second guy in a row to walk off of the show a fan-favorite and someone Katie had a really strong connection with. But for the very reason we saw him leave the show tonight, he'd be an impossible choice for the next Bachelor. Not so the other guy we mentioned.
We said it last week, and Tayshia and Kaitlyn -- not to mention Katie herself -- came about as close to confirming it as they possibly could with everything they said to Andrew S.
If the next Bachelor is going to come from this season, the charming football player with the million-watt smile, the goofy sense of humor and the sweetest disposition we've seen in years has to be the guy, right?
He had us when he turned down Katie's offer to return to the house (with Michael A bailing, how could their story have turned out differently had he come back?) saying that he deserved someone who chose him.
He reiterated that tonight, saying that he is waiting for someone to pick him for authentically being himself. It's much the same story as fan-favorite Katie during Matt James' season, and look where that landed her.
If there was a second option -- we did get Katie and our next Bachelorette Michelle Young out of Matt's season, after all -- the show could do worse than to not only choose Michael A, but to incorporate James into the whole process, if they were at all interested.
The fans are certainly interested, even as they were trying to figure out how to make it work for Michael A with James a part of the picture. We do have to give props to the innovation of having Michael A and Andrew S Bachelor together so one of them can always watch James.
Outside of those two, if Greg (our pick to win from Day 1 -- before we knew Blake was joining the show) doesn't pull it off, he would be a viable choice from how we perceived this season. Tré is a lot of great personality, but it just doesn't feel right.
Then there's cat-man Connor, an absolutely delightful guy who would probably deliver a fun season. He could even write his own theme song!
Oh, and Thomas is a definite no. Dude was as stoic tonight when he called in to video-chat with Katie than when she was pouring her heart out to him and he was reciting a prepared speech to her as if she was invisible to his narrative in that moment.
A quick note for our current Bachelorette Katie ... Aaron is not Thomas! That was an inexcusable faux pas!
Speaking of Connor, props to him for defending his kissing on national television, with a little help from a random audience member (or producer plant). If Katie doesn't wind up finding love this season, it's quite possible the "Men Tell All" special may have sparked a love connection right there.
As you'll recall, it came down to their final kiss before Katie decided that there just wasn't that spark or connection between them that she had with some of the other guys. Obviously, considering their incredible chemistry to that point, he was devastated.
He was also incredibly insecure about his kissing, admitting that he actually reached out to a few people from his past to see if he was a bad kisser. They did their best to assure him, but we suspect Tara (from the audience) did even better.
She stood up and said she refused to believe he was a bad kisser, and within minutes she'd crossed the stage and Connor was all in -- with Andrew giving him all the love and support a guy could want (bromance!).
He also admitted he was totally checking her out before they started filming, with her confirming she'd seen him doing it. The whole thing was adorable and would certainly make for a memorable meet-cute story later in life. After the first round, he asked for her name. After the second, it was her phone number.
For a guy who showed up in a cast costume, Connor's got game!
Of course, what would a "Men Tell All" special be without bloopers and a juicy look at the final two episodes...
"I went back home. I texted like two or three people I'd kissed in the past." --Connor (talking about Katie saying it was the kiss that cost him)
"I know that you can't be a bad kisser." --Random Woman Tara (to Connor from audience)
"I was literally checking you out earlier." --Connor (before kissing her)
"What's your name?" --Connor (after kissing her)
"I noticed that earlier, 'He's checking me out.'" --Tara
"One more for the road!" --Connor (going in for Round 2)
"You get in there, tiger. You're not a cat, you're a tiger! You're a tiger!" --Andrew (to Connor)
"Will you accept this rose?" --Connor (handing Tara a rose)
"I want your number." --Connor (to Tara before she returns to her seat)
"I'm still waiting for someone to pick me for me, to pick me for 100 percent me." --Andrew S
"Katie and I had this connection right off the beginning and nothing's changed." --Michael A
"So, if Katie did say she wanted to give this another shot, you still feel the same way, you would do it." --Kaitlyn (to Michael A)
"100 percent. It feels as though we left so much left unsaid. When we were in her room discussing this, there was one thing-- it was a kind of theme that we were always juggling around, which was, if love exists, it will find a way. I know how beautiful marriage can be, so I wanted to let her know that's-- that's where we're heading." --Michael A
"I know my journey kind of really got encompassed by conflict, but hopefully you also know that I had your best interests at heart, and hopefully it made it easier for you to fall in love with whoever you did .. I'm always gonna be in your corner. Thank you." --Aaron (to Katie)
"Thanks, Thomas -- er, sorry, Aaron!" --Katie
"Why am I here?" --Aaron
Katie's journey to find love is winding down with only two weeks left, Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.