It’s rare for former stars of ABC’s Bachelor franchise to criticize the show that made them famous. But on Tuesday, last season’s “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay revealed that she was not pleased about how Becca Kufrin’s season finale played out compared with hers.
“This might be the realest article I have ever written,” Lindsay wrote in an essay for Us Weekly, where she has been recapping the show all season. “It’s not quite how I thought I would write this recap. But watching Becca’s finale brought about a range of emotions that I was not expecting.”
A reminder: Lindsay’s finale last August was a pretty brutal three hours of television. Viewers saw prolonged scenes of Lindsay parting ways with runner-up Peter Kraus, who said he loved her but was unwilling to propose to someone he had only known for six weeks. (Also known as standard operating procedure in “Bachelorette” world.) When it became clear that Lindsay wanted a proposal, Kraus bitterly told her, “Then go find someone to have a mediocre life with.” The whole thing was a nightmare.
At the end, Bryan Abasolo proposed, and Lindsay excitedly accepted — the two are still together and hope to get married this year. Yet viewers didn’t see much of the joyous end to their journey. Instead, the finale was mainly focused on Kraus; many fans noted they were far more emotionally invested in Lindsay’s breakup than her actual engagement.
Meanwhile, on Kufrin’s finale on Monday night, viewers did witness a tough, raw breakup conversation with Blake Horstmann, as they both broke down crying — but shortly after, it transitioned to her ecstatic engagement to Garrett Yrigoyen.
Then during the post-show interview, she and Yrigoyen practically bounced onstage together, as they cuddled and beamed with happiness. Plus, Kufrin got closure with Horstmann during a talk where he genuinely wished her the best. It was a marked difference compared with the tone of Lindsay’s finale.
“I am so happy for Becca and I am so happy she is getting everything that she deserves,” Lindsay wrote. However, she added, “Do you ever recall seeing Bryan profess how excited he was to propose to me? Do you recall seeing me cry about how I was so excited to say yes to Bryan and get my fairytale ending? The answer would be ‘no’ to both of those questions. And it is a shame because both of those things actually happened. You just did not see them.”
Another key difference: Lindsay sat with host Chris Harrison during the entire live finale as they watched it together; contestants usually arrive onstage after the show has aired, or only for portions of the episode. Lindsay’s experience was unpleasant, as Harrison grilled her with probing questions. She also had an awkward onstage reunion with Kraus.
“Do I sound a little pissed off? Well that is because I am,” Lindsay wrote. “Becca did not sit on stage for three hours and watch the finale for the first time in front of a live audience. Becca did not have to deal with someone telling her she would live a mediocre life. Becca did not have to deal with being baited with real time questions about her emotions watching certain scenes. Nope, that was me.”
Lindsay, the first black star of the franchise, continued: “Let’s just be honest. Becca did not have the finale that I had. There was no controversy and she was not put in a position to face any. She was protected and I was placed on display for three hours and labeled an angry black female. And there will always be that stigma attached to my finale because it has been said that when truth is blurred by misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost.”
She brings up another good point: While Kufrin’s finale did have one controversy — those unearthed Instagram likes from Yrigoyen on posts that mocked immigrants, transgender people and a teenage school shooting survivor — the show mostly skated over it. During one segment toward the end, Yrigoyen apologized and Kufrin emphasized she did not condone his Instagram activity. Still, no one actually brought up the content of the posts, or pressed Kufrin on her thoughts about them.
In an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year, reporter Amy Kaufman (author of “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure”) said she always feels sorry for the show’s “winning” couples, as they often aren’t portrayed in the most flattering light.
“The edit almost always works against the final couple,” Kaufman said. “They have an uphill battle when the show’s over.”
Indeed — although it’s up to the producers to decide how to present the star’s decision between the two finalists. Lindsay’s finale certainly was on the negative side, and now it seems that she would like ABC to do something about it.
“As for my happy ending, it was not demonstrated within the confines of your television screens, but I am living it every day in real life,” Lindsay concluded. “So in regards to a future on-camera happy ending and whether or not I will get married on TV, I have no idea but they damn sure owe us one.”
When reached for a response regarding Lindsay’s essay, an ABC spokeswoman had no comment.