reality tv

The Bachelor Pageant Feud’s Shocking Twist Was Its Diplomatic Resolution

Hannah B. and Caelynn. Photo: ABC

Just when we thought Hannah B. and Caelynn’s long-teased Bachelor confrontation would mimic the catastrophic crowning scene in Miss Congeniality — just substitute William Shatner with our boy Chris Harrison, it holds up something extraordinary happened, at least for reality-TV standards. There was no finger-pointing. There were no torn sashes. There wasn’t even a two-on-one date with some vague pageant theme, sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board. Rather, the former Miss USA contestants sat down, had a polite conversation, and hugged out their differences for the sake of staying sane throughout the rest of their “journeys.” So, how did we get here?

Waiting around at the cocktail party while Colton was dry-humping a ladytestant in his bedroom — and sensing that the other women were getting annoyed with their drama — Caelynn, who already received a rose, asked Hannah B. for a private talk to hash things out. The duo is trained in the art of pageantry, so we honestly should’ve known how this was going to go down: They smiled at each other, radiating as much warmth as they could, and quickly buried the hatchet with very kind words.

“There’s been tension, there’s been unnecessary drama. I think we’ve both been putting it off and we don’t want to address it,” Caelynn said. “It’s hard enough as women and hard enough as we’ve both been through such tough things. I think my thing is, why not be supportive of one another? Let’s put the past in the past. Let’s squash this once and for all. I’m not necessarily saying we’re going to be best friends.”

Hannah B. agreed, and the apologies began flowing. “I think it’s okay for us to be a little upset. There is no getting around it,” she responded. “It’s been frustrating. I had to deal last week with stuff I never had to talk about. I’m aware Colton has a connection with you and I know he has a connection with me. I don’t think you’re a horrible person.” Hannah B. later added in her confessional interview, presumably after a well-earned glass (or four) of Merlot: “World War III was averted tonight.”

If this is genuinely the conclusion of Miss Alabama and Miss North Carolina’s tiff, a polite reconciliation is a nice reprieve from the scammers, the racists, and the fameballs who have infiltrated Bachelor Nation through the years. But also, if the women had eschewed social niceties and continued to “feud” for the sake of, well, pleasing the show’s producers, it would’ve stood in stark contrast to the seriousness of the rest of the episode: Caelynn, during her one-on-one date with Colton, revealed she was sexually assaulted in college, a traumatizing experience that fueled her desire to compete on the pageant circuit and give fellow survivors a voice.

It was a powerful conversation, one that was enhanced by Colton’s clear compassion and understanding. (You may recall he previously dated Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnast who was a prominent voice during Larry Nassar’s trial.) To go from that striking scene, which ended with information about RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline, to petty whispers about what may or may not have happened while on a quest for a pageant crown, would’ve been beyond tone-deaf.

The Bachelor Pageant Feud’s Huge Twist Was Its Resolution