Good morning, troops. It's Wednesday, March 13.
Colton Underwood's final television appearance on and as "The Bachelor" was similar to the closing ceremony of the Olympics — too long, too forced and devoid of much content.
Just like the closing ceremony usually features, a cheesy, past-its-prime musical group even made an appearance.
Following much tumult and intrigue, Underwood ended up not alone by the time his turn on the ABC-TV reality series wrapped up its 23rd season.
After much pursuing and convincing, the former Washington Community High School football player won the affections of the comely Cassie Randolph, a 23-year-old speech pathologist from California.
Underwood and Randolph appeared publicly as a couple live Tuesday night during the two-part season finale.
The first two-hour part, aired Monday night, featured 27-year-old Underwood dismissing the final two contestants after Randolph dumped him. That's not the way it usually works on "The Bachelor."
As the episode set in Portugal ended, it appeared Underwood was ready to ask Randolph for another chance. He did. She accepted, albeit hesitantly.
A trip across the Iberian peninsula to Spain ensued, as did a meeting there with Underwood's parents, Scott and Donna. They gave Cassie a mixed blessing.
"My son's fallen in love, and what if she does not love him back?" Scott Underwood said in a taped segment. "We still sit with the possibility that he'll be heartbroken at the end of this."
Randolph revealed to Colton Underwood she's had relationship issues in the past that make it hard for her to commit. But Underwood won her over enough to spend a night together in a "fantasy suite" on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
That did the trick, apparently.
Underwood and Randolph had to keep their relationship under wraps for four months, from the time taping ended until the live finale Tuesday night. That also meant Underwood had to play it coy regarding his virginity, the possible loss of which became a major part of the "Bachelor" plot.
When "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison asked Underwood if the night in the Spanish fantasy suite made him a man, his response was:
"I know I've been very open and candid about my virginity, but now that there's two of us, it's something we're going to keep to ourselves."
Said Harrison: "I take that as a yes."
That was about the only suspense in a two-hour episode that could have been halved and not been crowded for relevant content.
No marriage proposal was made. Harrison spent much of the show pimping other ABC programming and an upcoming movie. He interviewed men and women featured previously on "The Bachelor."
Also revealed was the star of the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette" — Hannah Brown, a 24-year-old Alabama native whom Underwood eliminated about halfway through his "Bachelor" journey.
Brown's introduction, which included meeting her first five suitors, filled the final 20 minutes of the "Bachelor" finale. But not before Underwood and Randolph were serenaded on stage by none other than Air Supply, which performed its hit "Making Love Out of Nothing at All."
Remember Air Supply? "Lost in Love"? "All Out of Love"? The Australian duo was big in the late 1970s and early '80s. Even performed on the big stage at the Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria.
All that was years before Underwood and Randolph were born.
Nick in the Morning will wager a sawbuck neither one of them had heard of Air Supply until Tuesday night.
The brief turn on national TV gave Air Supply frontmen Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock a good warmup for their show this weekend at a California casino.
(Speaking of which, if Russell Hitchcock married Graham Russell, he'd be ... oh, never mind.)
Underwood told Harrison he's moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Randolph. They aren't engaged yet, but they're "super in love," as Randolph put it.
"We still have a lot of conversations to have and room to grow," Colton said. "We're enjoying dating right now."
Here's to the happy couple. May the rest of their courtship remain off the airwaves.
But it doesn't appear the Peoria area is done with the "Bachelor" franchise.
As our compadre Cleve in the Eve reported Tuesday night, former Bradley University basketball player Sam Maniscalco is likely to be one of the men vying for Brown's hand on "The Bachelorette."
Center of the Universe (TM) strikes again. For better or for worse.
We just wish Underwood and the rest of the bachelors were more like this guy. It certainly would be more entertaining.