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'Age of Love' star Mark Philippoussis cuts third 'Kitten,' fourth 'Cougar'


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/10/2007 

Mark Philippoussis' lips were busy, but he still found time to eliminate his third 20-something "Kitten" and fourth 40-something "Cougar" during last night's broadcast of NBC's Age of Love reality dating series.

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The 31-year-old Australian professional tennis player decided to eliminate Kelli, a 40-year-old legal secretary from Los Angeles, CA who became the fourth Cougar sent packing from the competition; as well as Tessa, a 23-year-old executive assistant from Peoria, AZ who became the third Kitten sent home.

Age of Love's third episode began with the four remaining Kittens -- Tessa; Mary, a 24-year-old hemodialysis technician from Albuquerque, NM; Megan, a 21-year-old Loyola University student from Chicago, IL; and Amanda, a 25-year-old financial planner's assistant from Nashville, TN -- moving-out of their bachelorette pad and moving-in with the four remaining Cougars -- Kelli; Jayanna, a 38-year-old mortgage loan officer from Newport, CA who has been married once before; Jennifer, a 48-year-old executive assistant for the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers from Carson, CA who has been married twice before; and Maria, a 42-year-old photographer from Playa Del Rey, CA. 

Needless to say, the Cougars weren't very welcoming to the Kittens.

"The last elimination really gave me a wake-up call," said Mark.  "Since I've been here, I think I've matured a lot.  I've learned a lot about myself.  I need to step-out more and show these women the way I feel.  I'm attracted to all of them.  They all have incredible personalities.  They're all sexy."

The suitors then received a message from Mark informing them to don some work-out clothes and meet downstairs.  They were taken to the waterfront, where Mark revealed they'd be competing in a triathlon.  The girls would be split into two pairs of Cougars and two pairs of Kittens for the first part of the race, where they'd compete on tandem bikes.  They would then have to run along the water before paddling out on a surfboard to a yacht, which would serve as the finish line.  The first three girls to reach the yacht with Mark awaiting on it would go on a date with him that night.

Tessa and Amanda quickly pulled ahead on their tandem bike, while Mary and Megan's chain slipped forcing them to run almost the entire distance to the surfboards.  Tessa and Amanda were the first to hit the ground running, but Tessa rolled her ankle and was slowed incredibly by it.  While Maria and Kelli were in last, they never gave-up and pushed themselves.  It paid off, as an ambulance had to be called for Tessa.

"It kills me that I didn't make it," said a tearful Tessa.  "It makes me very friggin' pissed off."

Realizing she would finish in the top 3, Amanda slowed her pace allowing Jayanna to pass her.  Jayanna was the first to reach Mark's yacht, followed by Amanda.  Kelli finished third and enjoyed appetizers with Mark on the yacht.  Mark commented how the conversation was comfortable with her.  Jayanna then had dinner with the Age of Love bachelor, who thought there was some chemistry between their personalities.  Amanda had dessert with Mark, and as the two were able to look each other directly in the eyes, it was obvious she had the best connection with him out of all the remaining bachelorettes.

"I just want to kiss her," said Mark, so he did.  "The kissing was amazing," commented Amanda.

The next morning Amanda was still on cloud nine following her romantic evening with Mark when the Cougars and Kittens learned they'd be meeting with their object of affection to partake in something he feels passionate about:  tennis.  Initially Mark thought Tessa would not be able to participate due to her rolled ankle, so he sat her under an umbrella and gave her a glass of lemonade.  Watching the other women spend time with Mark didn't sit too well with Tessa, who decided to tough out her injury and participate in a Cougars vs. Kittens doubles match.

"Tessa, she went out there and played a game, which was incredible to me," commented Mark.  "It was big points."

While the Cougars won the tennis tournament, Mark informed them he was going to be taking Tessa on a one-on-one date that night for all of the heart she showed by just participating.  As the bachelorettes returned to their shared space, Amanda realized tensions were running high.  Jayanna yelled at the Kittens for acting like "prima donnas."  When Mary tried to defend herself and rest of the Kittens, Jayanna put her in her place, causing Mary to cry.  Meanwhile Tessa was excited about her date with Mark and was aware of its importance.

"I am very thrilled about my date with Mark tonight," she said.  "This is a make it or break it night with him."  As the two enjoyed some drinks in Mark's bachelor pad, he was glad he finally had the chance to spend some time with her -- and Amanda was nervous -- calling Tessa an "amazing woman."  However Amanda shouldn't have worried because Tessa was speaking highly of her with Mark, telling the Age of Love bachelor Amanda "really has caring feelings" for him.

"Is this girl here to set-up Amanda with me... or is she here... You know what I mean?" said a surprised Mark.  "It was kind of weird.  It was like going on a date with a girl and her telling you how beautiful and sexy her best friend is... This is a chance to see if I have feelings with Tessa."

Age of Love host Mark Consuelos then met with Mark to discuss how he was feeling about that night's elimination.  Mark said Amanda stands-out at the moment, and added Jayanna is "just great."  However he wanted to spend five minutes with each of the four remaining Cougars and four remaining Kittens to help aid his final decision on who would be sent home.  Tessa was the first to meet with Mark, and he explained how he thought her previous comments about Amanda were "weird."

"The reason I brought-up Amanda is because I know that she likes you and I don't know you very well and I don't know how to communicate to you my feelings and my thoughts," explained Tessa.  "There's a definite, definite attraction.  You're a beautiful man, and you have a beautiful heart.  You have so many qualities that I admire."  Mark seemed satisfied and appreciated Tessa's honesty.

Then it was time for the kissing to commence.  Jayanna was the next to Mark's bachelor pad, and when she told him he should have kissed her by now, he decided to kiss her.  When Maria was the next to arrive and she also kissed Mark, his head started to spin a bit.

"I didn't at all expect to kiss more than one woman tonight," he said.  "Obviously it's extremely flattering.  I'll be honest with you, I didn't know what to think of it."

While Kelli described herself as not being "super aggressive," she realized this could be her last chance to impress Mark so she went for it and the two kissed.  When Amanda was the next in the pad and told Mark all she could think of was him kissing Kelli, he had to smooth things over with her.

"I'll be honest with you.  There's girls that I've kissed.  And I kiss girls back, but you're the first one I've wanted to kiss kiss, and that I have," he explained, with Amanda answering she "totally believed" him.  "If he told me the sky was purple, I'd say, 'Okay,'" said Amanda.  If Megan and Mary got kisses it wasn't on camera, but Jen got a kiss... and it could definitely be described as a "kiss kiss."

"I'm like wow..." said Mark.  "She blew me away.  I wanted to get a last sense of what the girls felt for me.  It just confused me more."

The Cougars and Kittens both prepared for elimination, with Mark explaining to them that for the first time it would be taking place in their suite rather than poolside because he thought this was a more "personal" setting.  He didn't waste any time in eliminating Tessa.

"Since we had the chance to talk, and you opened up to me, thank you very much for being honest," he told her.  "I'm sorry, I just don't think we'll quite work out."  Mark said he decided to send Tessa home because she dropped Amanda's name on their date.  "That definitely ruined things."

"There's not very many guys that have his level of sensitivity and depth," said Tessa.  "I know they're out there.  I just had one in front of me that was willing and wanted that connection... and it just wasn't there."

While Kelli wanted to believe their could be "true love" between her and Mark, he had other ideas.

"Kelli, I feel very relaxed with you and you opened yourself up and I know it's not easy... I'm sorry Kelli, I just don't think we'll work out," he told her.  Mark explained it wasn't anything Kelli lacked, he just felt there was something more with the other Cougars.

"I definitely was not prepared for my name to be called at this point.  I thought I was in the top of this," said Kelli.  "Getting blind-sided isn't fun.  I don't need to be reminded of my age.  I know how old I am every day.  And I know I've been single my whole life everyday.  Nobody wants to get hurt.  I put my emotions out tonight, and I'm a little hurt."

Age of Love's fifth episode will air Monday, July 16 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.

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