On Monday night, America watched the Bachelor break Becca Kufrin’s heart.
On Tuesday night, America watched her heart start to heal.
“Our new bachelorette is Becca,” announced host Chris Harrison on “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose,” a two-hour live special.
A standing ovation followed for Kufrin, 27, a publicist from Prior Lake and the first Bachelorette from Minnesota.
Although the show starts May 28, contestants started courting her immediately, including one who serenaded her and another who brought along a horse called Bradley (“When you fall off the horse,” said her suitor, “you have to get back up again”).
It was all part of an outpouring of love and support for the Minnesotan that Harrison called “unprecedented.”
Harrison said picking Kufrin as the next Bachelorette “was one of the easier decisions we’ve ever made.”
It was pretty easy for Kufrin, too.
“At the end of the day, the show is about finding love,” Kufrin said. “That’s all I want to do, … I’m just ready to do this.”
Are we, though?
“It was the breakup that shocked America,” said Harrison at the start of the ABC special.
Unfortunately, we had to watch that breakup all over again in a flashback, watching Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. follow Becca around from room to room while she kept telling him to just leave.
Theirs was a short engagement - Luyendyk had difficulty choosing between Becca and the other finalist, 26-year-old Lauren Burnham, a sales tech from Virginia Beach, Va., and he said he couldn’t stop thinking of Lauren after proposing to Becca in Peru.
By New Year’s Eve, he had reached out to Lauren on Instagram.
After the whole drama was rehashed, we got to see Becca come home to Minnesota. She was still crying, looking at pictures of herself with Arie in happier times, but at least she was home.
“I seriously feel like I’ve been lied to for so long,” she said as the tears dripped down her face.
“Do you love him?” someone asked off camera.
“Yeah,” she said.
Then she collapsed with sobs.
Meanwhile, Arie was almost collapsing in Virginia Beach, Va., as he waited outside Lauren’s door. “Why am I having a panic attack?” he asked, breathlessly.
He shouldn’t have worried: Lauren almost tackled him with the strength of her hug.
Then, it was time for a chat: Why had he chosen Becca?
“It was the safe decision,” he said.
Was he fully over Becca?
“A thousand percent,” he said.
How could he be over a fiance so fast?
“I made the wrong decision,” he said. “I want you back.”
That’s all it took.
“I mean, I forgive you,” Lauren said.
Flashback to the studio: Five of the other ex-contestants sat like a Greek chorus.
“I don’t know even know what to say, man,” said one of the women.
Then it was time for Becca to take the stage, sporting a darker hair color and a strappy dress - and receiving a standing ovation from the studio audience.
“I’ve never seen such an outpouring of love and support for one person on our show like I have for you,” Harrison said. “Did you know there are billboards up?”
It’s true: “Bachelor Nation” fans sponsored digital billboards around the country on Tuesday. Their messages included: “Becca - You’ll always have a rose from Minnesota.”
Harrison also told Becca about how people have been buying her drinks, so to speak, by depositing money in her Venmo account (a digital wallet mobile app). The amount has surpassed $6,000.
“I don’t think I can drink that much,” said Becca, laughing.
Instead, she said: “Donate it,” she said. “Give it to some cause that needs it.”
That cause, Harrison announced, will be Stand Up to Cancer, and the show will match Becca’s Venmo dollars.
Then, it was time for the Becca and Arie reunion.
“I do regret proposing that day,” he admitted.
“Then why did you?” Becca asked.
“The pressure,” he said. “I was conflicted.”
“I forgive you,” she said. “I do.”
It wasn’t the kind of “I do” she had hoped for, though. That hope belongs to someone else now.
“Lauren Elizabeth Burnham, will you marry me?” Arie asked near the end of the special, getting down to one knee (again).
“Definitely!” she said.
The studio audience seemed shocked; so did Harrison.
“Wow,” he said. “That was actually dramatic … I do hope this engagement lasts a longer time!”
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.