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February 11, 2005

Bachelorette Shefft is the Girl Next Door—if you live next door to Hades

This season's Bachelorette has been full of surprises, with contestants passing out, crying, and playing full-contact shirts-vs.-skins basketball. Not only have the episodes been more shocking than ever before, but the men have been crazier. Twenty-eight-year-old Jen Schefft (quite possibly one of the luckiest women in the world) has had the opportunity to sift through 25 eligible bachelors over the past few weeks. Not only does she get the keys to a plush Manhattan pad and a second chance at reality-TV love—after dating, then dumping Bachelor Andrew Firestone—she also gets to surround herself with a bevy of sexy men all vying for her heart and attention.

Initially, Jen's Midwestern roots make her seem like the Girl Next Door. But as the show progresses, she seems more and more pretentious. Parading around in chic clothes and shoes I can almost guarantee are Manolo Blanik's, Jen acts as if she deserves to be dating all of these men simultaneously. Her arrogance makes her less enjoyable to watch than previous Bachelorettes, but hey—at least she can call herself a trendsetter. However, it's no wonder that the ratings for the third installment have been poor.

Currently, Jen's pool of 25 has been reduced to 3: John Paul, Jerry, and Ryan (all of whom look like they just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog). John Paul, a 25-year-old entrepreneur from Oklahoma, seems the most settled. He's also the most compatible with Jen, if only because of their shared sports background. (She was a cheerleader, he was an athlete—how clichéd). Not only does Jen seem incredibly comfortable with him, but her eyes lit up—with adoration? with greed?—when she found out that he owns his own company and a beautiful house.

Jerry, on the other hand, is a 29-year-old art gallery director from Los Angeles. He has a sneaky quality about him, but Jen can't seem to get enough of his ass-kissing or suave tactics. Because he happens to be the most gorgeous of the three, there's a good possibility he may just be Jen's top pick.

Lastly, there's 28-year-old teacher/stud Ryan, a native of Manhattan Beach, California. His genuine, down-to-earth character makes him the sentimental favorite, but it always appears that Jen's enamored and Ryan's bored. I'd like to see him stick around until the end just because he seems the most sincere, but Jen's awkward, bizarre visit with his family may have ruined his chances. John Paul, Jerry, and Ryan are all amazing candidates for Jen, but I'm afraid her superficiality may ultimately lead her to choose Jerry.

It's difficult to say who will be eliminated at the next rose ceremony, but whatever Jen's choice, I'll be happy to see another good-looking man thrown back into the dating pool (keep your eyes peeled, ladies!). Jen has definitely done well for herself, and from the way her relationships are progressing, there's a good possibility that she'll be getting a ring at the end.

But who knows? All of the surprise twists this season have left me entertained and anxiously awaiting the following elimination. The next episode should be full of uncomfortable and outrageous moments, as Jen brings these men to meet her family. My guess is that Jerry and John Paul will be the final two standing. Tune in next week, Monday (Valentine's Day!) at 8 p.m. on ABC, to get in on all of the drama—and to see if my predictions are correct!