'Bachelor Pad' crowns Holly Durst and Michael Stagliano champions
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/13/2011
Bachelor Pad crowned Michael Stagliano and Holly Durst its winning couple during Monday night's finale broadcast of the second season of the ABC reality competition, which featured 18 former The Bachelor bachelorettes and The Bachelorette bachelors competing for a $250,000 cash prize.
Michael and Holly defeated former fifteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette Michelle Money and former fourth-season The Bachelorette bachelor Graham Bunn to win Bachelor Pad's grand prize, which they will split.
Michael and Holly received votes from Jake, Blake, Erica, Jackie, Ames, Justin, Ella, and Gia, while Michelle and Graham received votes from Vienna, Kasey, Melissa, and William.
Given Holly and Michael had already secured enough votes to win the second season of Bachelor Pad, the votes of Kirk and Alli were not shown.
Bachelor Pad's finale began with four couples -- Kasey and Vienna, Holly and Michael, Michelle and Graham, and Ella and Kirk -- still in the running to win the competition and host Chris Harrison surprising them with the news that their final challenge would take place in Las Vegas and require them to perform a synchronized Cirque Du Soleil routine in which they had to be suspended on a wall 100 feet in the air.
The couples learned in the auditorium where they would be performing that they must learn a routine, which would normally take a professional two months to learn, in 24 hours with the help of Cirque Du Soleil members.
Before they performed the following day, the couples learned that they would be getting judged by three former The Bachelorette and The Bachelor stars: first-season The Bachelorette star Trista Rehn, thirteenth-season The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick and sixth-season The Bachelorette star Ali Fedotowsky.
The couples would be judged based on technical ability, showmanship, effort, and chemistry as a couple. The team that gave the worst performance would be leaving Bachelor Pad, Las Vegas and miss out on the $250,000, while the winning couple would be guaranteed a spot in the finale and afforded the chance to choose the couple who would be joining them in the final four.
"This was the scariest thing I've ever done. Childbirth was easier than this," former The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love bachelorette Ella said about the challenge prior to performing.
Holly and Michael outshined the pack and ended up winning the competition. Ella -- who sincerely feared the task -- and Kirk came in last place and were eliminated as a result.
"Ella's taking this hard. I know she feels like she let me down, but I know she tried her best even though she was scared out her mind to do it. I'm proud of her for that. If we would have made it past today, I think we would have been in the finals but it just wasn't in our cards. I'm very disappointed. But I chose Ella as a partner and we stick together and we went down together," former sixth-season The Bachelorette bachelor Kirk said.
"This was crucial. I feel like I let Kirk down. I let myself down; I let my son down. I was going to buy me and my son a house, and I feel like I just threw it away because of fear. What would happen if I fell? He would have no mommy and I know how that feels, and it just got me. I couldn't let it go. I just couldn't let it go," Ella said.
When the couples returned to the mansion, former The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love bachelorette Vienna and former sixth-season The Bachelorette bachelor Kasey told Holly and Michael they were playing for second place because they knew they wouldn't win, an argument Michael and Holly found very appealing.
Michael then admitted to Graham and Michelle he believed they would win over Holly and himself. It really upset Graham because he felt like they were good friends throughout the entire game.
"Michael caught me off-guard, blindsiding me -- a Mike Tyson upper cut -- like stunned. Michael was my teammate. Michael was my family here. So for him to be like, 'Man, I'm thinking about this money and not thinking about you as a friend?' Are you f***ing kidding me bro?" Graham said in extreme anger over what seemed to be Michael's decision.
"Best of luck to you in life, because that's not how I operate. I don't have a lot of friends that I truly know I can call at the end of the day, and before that conversation, I felt like Michael was one of those guys... I wouldn't trade my closest friends for $100,000."
Much to everyone's surprise, Michael and Holly finally opted to eliminate Kasey and Vienna and take Michelle and Graham to the final vote with them.
"This decision was probably the hardest thing I've done since walking through those doors. It has come down to selfishness versus selflessness. Kasey and Vienna, we feel like if we take you two to the finale with us, that you two will win, and that's us being selfish. Graham and Michelle, our loyalty has been with you, but we feel like if we take you two to the finale, we're pretty much handing you guys $250,000, and that's our selflessness because you guys have been loyal to us since day one," Holly told the remaining two other couples before revealing her and Michael's decision.
"Kasey and Vienna, you guys have been the biggest competition here and you guys have also been loyal to me, and I appreciate that. Graham and Michelle, you guys have become more than fast friends to Holly and I. It seemed like every time I needed a hug, Michelle was there to give me one," Michael added.
"And Graham, I've talked to you, I don't know, 300 times here about life and this game. And the last thing I say to both of you guys is that this is a game and being selfish in this game is something I think all of us have realized you kind of have to do. This is a game, so with that, Kasey and Vienna, we are not going to take you guys to the finals. Graham and Michelle, we would like to take you guys to the finals with us -- and hopefully not beat us."
Kasey and Vienna then departed the mansion in shock. Kasey was flustered, while Vienna broke down into tears.
"I've always had a target on my back, but I've always manipulated and gotten what I want. I've played this game hard this entire time. I've carried Vienna on my back, and Graham and Michelle have had it very easy. They don't really deserve to be in the final four," Kasey said following his ouster.
"I'm really upset because my perfect rose record was just ruined," Vienna lamented.
"They were talking about loyalty and playing the game and in the end, I put the whole thing together. There's no loyalty in what they did. They're talking about selfishness and selflessness -- selfishness is what they did. They backstabbed us once and they just did it again. I don't know what Michelle and Graham did that was so special to earn the right to be there," Kasey explained.
"We built this alliance. We brought them all in and we did everything we said we were going to do. And the first chance they got to get rid of us, they did it. I think we got 100% percent screwed," Vienna said.
"Good luck to both couples," Kasey added.
After being declared the winning couple of Bachelor Pad's second season, Holly and Michael were "surprised" with an additional twist in which they then each had to privately vote on whether they wanted to split the $250,000 prize with their partner or attempt to claim it all for themselves.
If only one of them voted to keep the entire $250,000, then that person would receive the entire amount and the other partner would receive nothing. However, if Holly and Michael both voted to keep the entire $250,000 for themselves, then neither would receive any of it and the prize would be split among Bachelor Pad's 16 previously eliminated contestants.
But Holly and Michael -- who weren't going to continue a romantic relationship after Bachelor Pad, although they had once been engaged and in love -- both voted to split the prize, resulting in each one receiving $125,000 and walking away with a strong friendship.
During the finale's reunion segments, former fifteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette Jackie Gordon admitted her break-up with former seventh-season The Bachelorette bachelor Ames Brown took a real toll on her. She said she didn't get out of bed for a week and his decision to end things just came as an utter shock to her.
Jackie felt her relationship with Ames was nearly perfect, but then it all apparently ended so fast, leaving her with little closure. Ames seemed to feel very badly about how things ended, but he still had little to say except he nipped it in the bud when he realized they didn't have a good chance of working out together.
However, Jake did get the closure he needed from his ex-fiancee Vienna -- whom he proposed to at the end of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love -- and Kasey apologized to Jake for all the mean things he had said throughout the season. Kasey admitted he "made a fool out of himself" and attempted to bury the hatchet. Kasey then broke down and attempted to explain the man that was shown on the television was not who he really was.
Kasey began to cry because he hated seeing the drama play out between him and his girlfriend. He felt he treated Vienna badly at times, which was something he said he would never want to do. He also said he was a caring guy who loves everyone and he felt he was portrayed as such a heartless game-player.
Although unclear about where their relationship might be headed, Kasey said he loved the sweet loving side of Vienna and wants to spend the rest of his life with that person. However, he offered little comment on the other side of Vienna he doesn't get along with so well.
Also during the reunion show, former seventh-season The Bachelorette bachelor Blake told Chris his relationship with Holly kept progressing after the show. He said he was "madly in love with her," they talk everyday, and things only continued to get better and better between them. He said Holly was moving to South Carolina and was moving in with him.
After telling Chris his relationship with Holly was the most serious relationship he had ever been in, a video played and showed an intimate moment between the couple.
"I can't believe how much I love you. I never thought I'd love anyone as much as I love you. There's something I'd like to do," Blake said as he knelt down on one knee. "Holly, will you marry me?"
"Are you serious? Yes! Are you kidding? I love you so much!" Holly replied. "I love you."
"I love you too," Blake said.
"We're going to get married?!" Holly asked in excitement.
"We're going to get married," Blake said in reassurance.
Afterward, Holly, Michael, Michelle, and Graham came onstage and Holly revealed to Michael she had gotten engaged to Blake.
"I'm sorry. That's super awkward. I didn't know until I got here. I'm sorry. I'm shocked still. Maybe a water would be great or a commercial break or something. Really? Here is where everyone found out? Maybe an email would have been great or something prior," Michael, who was obviously still in love with Holly and wanted to be with her, said in confusion.
However, after Michael had a moment to calm down, he said he was thrilled Holly was happy because that's all he wanted for her, but he forced the tears back as he tried to express his approval over the situation.
Michelle then shared the heartbreaking news that her father had passed away from colon cancer, but she said Graham stayed by her side the entire time when she needed him the most. Graham said he cared for Michelle an "insane amount" and was fortunate enough to act as the man he has always strived to be.
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