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Top 10 most dramatic finales in Bachelor history

Madison Prewett and Peter Weber on the After the Final Rose couch next to Vanessa Grimaldi and Nick Viall getting engaged
There have been several “the most dramatic” Bachelor finales in history. Pic credit: ABC

The top 10 most dramatic Bachelor finales in history (we say “in history” as if the show has been around since Shakespeare roamed the planet) have given viewers exactly what they deserve after watching all season long.

While some have been disappointing, leading to nothing but tears in the back of a black SUV and a dull proposal, others have given us a prize for making it to the end.

What makes these Bachelor finales so dramatic?

Usually, it’s down to the lead changing his mind (*cough* Jason Mesnick *cough) or simply refusing to follow the Bachelor formula and not proposing at all.

There have been tears, Neil Lane engagement rings that keep getting bigger every season, more tears, and Chris Harrison using his most dramatic voice.

But the glue that holds it all together is the expectation of a proposal on the final episode of The Bachelor.

1. Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. looks at Becca Kufrin with her head in her hands crying
Arie Luyendyk, Jr. breaks up with Becca Kufrin to go back to his runner up, Lauren Burnham. Pic credit: ABC.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. was obviously not the first Bachelor to change his mind.

Producers even rolled out Jason Mesnick on the After the Final Rose stage to let viewers know Arie wasn’t a villain; he was just following his heart.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke up with Becca Kufrin during what was supposed to be a “happy couple weekend” (oh, the irony) in what producers called “the first unedited scene in reality television history.”

Yeah, they weren’t salivating at the thought of Becca getting dumped at all.

Arie followed Becca around as her mascara began to run, leaving Bachelor Nation cringing yet not wanting to look away.

The side by side shot of both their faces really sealed the deal, with Becca looking completely betrayed by everyone, including the Bachelor crew (that includes the guy in charge of sandwiches.)

Arie was later seen at Lauren’s House, asking her for another chance, and the pair are now married with a daughter.

2. Jason Mesnick

Molly Malaney in a black headband and dress looking seriously at Jason Mesnick
Molly Malaney and Jason Mesnick get back together during the live After the Final Rose ceremony. Pic credit: ABC.

Jason Mesnick, you the real OG, my man! Jason didn’t just break up with his final pick Melissa Rycroft; he did it on live television!

He sat there sputtering out his thoughts during After the Final Rose, looking like Melissa was about to backhand him with that Neil Lane engagement ring still on.

It wasn’t a surprising turn of events, considering he cried like he was auditioning for a Nicholas Sparks movie after dumping Molly Malaney.

Jason asked Molly Malaney out during After the Final Rose after dumping Melissa on the same couch 33 seconds beforehand.

Clearly, things worked out for the pair, as they are now married with children. Melissa later stopped talking about herself in the third person, at least that’s what we’ve been told.

3. Brad Womack

Brad Womack standing in a tan suit looking at DeAnna Pappas
Brad Womack breaks up with DeAnna Pappas after also sending Jenni Croft home during the After the Final Rose taping. Pic credit: ABC.

Brad Womack, the slowest talking Bachelor anyone has ever seen, proposed to… Oh wait, he didn’t.

Brad Womack didn’t choose either of his final two contestants, DeAnna Pappas or Jenni Croft, not even to date.

After sending both women home broken-hearted, Bachelor viewers were furious with Brad. He had one job as The Bachelor: get down on one knee and propose!

However, looking back years later, audiences felt he had done the right thing (normal people don’t often propose after 2 months of non-exclusive dating).

The guy was sweating bullets the whole time as if he knew he would take some heat for the decision. However, he redeemed himself as Brad 2.0, becoming The Bachelor for a second time.

He chose Emily Maynard in the end, but the two split a short time later.

4. Charlie O’ Connell

Sarah Brice sits on the couch with Charlie O' Connell as she puts his face in her hands
Sarah Brice and Charlie O’Connell sitting at home together on the couch. Pic credit: ABC.

Charlie O’Connell is a hard one to remember, being that his season took place in what now feels like a different era. He was one of the first Bachelor’s to make a decision that was different from the standard formula viewers are used to seeing.

In the end, Charlie made it easier on himself than Brad Womack did and asked both women to continue dating him because he hadn’t made his decision yet (this definitely took place way before 2020.)

During the live taping of  The Bachelor: The Final Rose, Charlie eventually (was forced by producers) to make a decision, choosing Sarah Brice and giving her a promise ring.

Basically, it was a whole lot of hype that led to a guy simply asking someone to be his girlfriend. Yeah, sounds a whole lot like a middle school dance.

5. Juan Pablo Galavis

Juan Pablo in a suit gives Nikki Ferrell in a blue dress a rose
Juan Pablo gives Nikki Ferrell his final rose during The Bachelor finale. Pic credit: ABC.

Juan Pablo Galavis will forever be known as the biggest mistake Bachelor producers ever made. He was condescending, shallow, irritating, and if we heard “eeees okay” one more time, things were going to get ugly.

Andi Dorfman left after spending just one night alone with Juan Pablo, listening to Ray J and watching his old soccer highlights on YouTube.

When Juan Pablo began his speech to Clare Crawley about why he was dumping her, she was not having it, and many viewers wondered why she even went in the first place.

After yelling at him, “I’ve lost respect for you,” and “I would never want my children having a father like you,” Chris Harrison was there to give her his arm.

Juan Pablo chose Nikki Ferrell in the end but didn’t propose.

Things became incredibly awkward during the After the Final Rose taping when Juan Pablo let viewers know he hadn’t told Nikki he loved her yet, and she giggled like a schoolgirl.

Unsurprisingly, the pair are no longer together, and Clare Crawley has already found her husband during week one of The Bachelorette.

6. Colton Underwood

Cassie Randolph in a white dress smiling at Colton Underwood on the After the Final Rose couch
Cassie Randolph and Colton Underwood smile at each other during happier times on the After the Final Rose couch. Pic credit: ABC.

Colton Underwood gave Bachelor producers exactly what they needed for a really good season trailer — a fence jump.

This was the only season of The Bachelor that didn’t end with a long walk down a wooden path to an altar that only Dan Brown could write about.

When Cassie Randolph, the woman Colton was clearly obsessed with, told him she was leaving because she didn’t want to get engaged, he freaked out. And jumped a fence.

Colton dumped his other choices, Hannah Godwin and Taysia Adams, deciding that he would choose nobody if he couldn’t have Cassie. Can we call this pulling a Brad Womack?

Colton later convinced Cassie to date him without getting engaged, but the pair are no longer together. Cassie recently filed a restraining order against Colton, so it appears things are way more dramatic off-screen.

7. Peter Weber

Chris Harrison talks to Madison Prewett and Peter Weber during the After the Final Rose taping
Madison Prewett and Peter Weber talk with Chris Harrison during the dramatic After the Final Rose taping. Pic credit: ABC.

Peter Weber, The Bachelor’s resident mamma’s boy, apparently had a season in which producers claimed was “unspoiled.”

Clearly, they were tired of Reality Steve and his blog, so they claimed even Chris Harrison had no idea what the ending would be. And oh! Not even Peter knew his own ending! The mystery!

It was clear during the finale that Peter wanted to choose Madison Prewett, but his mom clearly had other ideas. It seemed as if Madison had burned down Barbara Weber’s house in a past life because she absolutely hated her!

Barb was all about Hannah Ann Sluss, causing Madison to self eliminate. Rather than doing the right thing, Peter proposed to Hannah by default.

Of course, he later met her for their “happy couple weekend” at an Airbnb where he dumped her and was later seen getting back together with Madison.

Mamma Weber was not having it, launching a scathing attack on Madison during the After the Final Rose taping, leading many viewers to feel she was overly harsh.

Now, Peter is with Kelley Flanagan, whom he eliminated way earlier.

Did you keep up with all that?

8. Ben Higgins

Lauren Bushnell in a blue dress standing in front of Ben Higgins while he gets down on one knee to propose
Ben Higgins gets down on one knee to propose to Lauren Bushnell during The Bachelor finale. Pic credit: ABC.

Ben Higgins — or Mr. Wears His Heart On His Sleeve — broke a major Bachelor formula rule. During the finale, he told both Jojo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell he was in love with them.

A lot.

So many times!

Viewers were understandably stunned at his honesty, and many felt it wasn’t fair to the girls.

Ben left Jojo feeling absolutely blindsided when he didn’t pick her, and his final pick Lauren Bushnell couldn’t have felt very good watching the episode back.

Somehow though, Ben has still managed to remain a Bachelor Nation favorite due to his vulnerability and boyish charm.

Ben and Lauren later went on to do a reality show called Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?

They split a short time later, with that question mark still haunting them.

9. Nick Viall

Nick Viall in a suit proposing to Vanessa Grimaldi wearing a black dress
Nick Viall proposes to Vanessa Grimaldi during the finale of The Bachelor. Pic credit: ABC.

Nick Viall has been somewhat of a Bachelor Nation villain just for the fact that he’s constantly around. But, at one point, viewers were forced into believing he was actually looking for love when he became The Bachelor.

Nick had a pretty standard Bachelor finale when he sent home Raven Gates and proposed to longtime front runner Vanessa Grimaldi (does her name sound like a Disney movie character who found out she was a princess to anyone else?)

Things got awkward during the live taping of After the Final Rose. Viewers were expecting to see a happy couple — or at least a couple who looks like they’re on a date night at Applebee’s.

However, what we got were two people with uncomfortable body language talking about how hard things had been. They didn’t follow the Bachelor formula in which the happy couple sits on the couch and gushes over each other.

Rather, they were extremely honest about how hard the distance was and watching the show back.

Unsurprisingly, they later broke up.

10. Ben Flajnik

Ben Flajnik in a suit proposes to Courtney Robertson wearing a black dress and long black gloves against a mountain backdrop
Ben Flajnik proposes to villain Courtney Robertson during the Bachelor final rose ceremony. Pic credit: ABC.

Ben Flajnik had the personality of soggy paper, and the girls on his season were what really made things interesting.

Ben broke with tradition when he chose Courtney Robertson as his final pick over fan-favorite Lindzi Cox. How so? The Bachelor is never supposed to choose the villain!

Sure, he’s allowed to keep her around for the drama, ignore every opinion from the other girls, and dabble in the idea of being with her.

But, he never chooses her.

Clearly, that naked romp in the ocean must have sealed the deal because Ben chose Courtney in the end, and bad girls everywhere rejoiced.

Sarah Veldman has appeared in publications such as Bustle, The Everygirl, Hello Giggles, Yourtango, and Woman's Day. She has used her obsessive knowledge about celebrities... read more
Sarah Veldman

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