'The Bachelor' star Matt Grant visits hometowns, cuts Noelle Drake
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/22/2008
Noelle Drake's connection with Matt Grant was apparently too little too late.
The 26-year-old photographer from Loveland, CO failed to receive a rose from The Bachelor: London Calling star during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' twelfth installment.
"It's tough being the one that gets sent home," said Noelle after her ouster. "He said that we were connected, obviously we weren't as much. It's a little confusing. Ultimately, I'll take the blame to an extent for not really opening up. The higher your hopes, the further they have to fall. So I try to protect myself from getting too excited about anything."
The Bachelor: London Calling's sixth episode began with Matt embarking on the hometown visits.
"Meeting a woman's family is a massive step," he said. "If I don't get on with the family then that's a no go for me."
Matt's first stop was in Los Angeles to meet Shayne Lamas' divorced parents. The 22-year-old actress from Malibu reiterated how her dad -- former Renegade actor and Are You Hot? judge Lorenzo Lamas -- is "a bit of a star."
"I think Matt is still a little bit skeptical that I'm an actress and that I'm here to be on TV," said Shayne. "But I've made my intentions clear. I'm here for Matt and to find true love -- and nothing else."
Matt, Shayne and Lorenzo then conversed as the British bachelor tried to correctly pronounce Lorenzo's last name. Lorenzo described Shayne as "kind of a daredevil" and then said something that didn't sit too well with his daughter.
"It surprised me to hear that Shayne was on The Bachelor," he said. "I think that it was the idea of being on television that was very enticing to her."
Shayne said she disagreed and was "furious" since she's been "fighting that comment since Day 1."
"I am not here for any other reason than to be here for you," she told Matt, with Lorenzo listening. "Dad, I just want you to know that I am genuinely here to find love."
Lorenzo was happy to hear it and took Matt for some one-on-one time, explaining his daughter's heart is something that shouldn't be toyed with. Matt said he wouldn't "screw" with her emotions.
"It's almost too good to be true," Matt told Lorenzo. "The connection we have, it just works."
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"His feelings for Shayne I believe are true," commented Lorenzo.
Matt and Shayne then left Lorenzo and traveled to meet her mom Michele and younger sister Dakota -- a Shayne Doppelganger. Michele's house was covered in leopard print, and Shayne explained her family as "loving" but "a little bit crazy."
Michele made Matt feel at home by preparing him roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a gesture he called "really nice." Matt and Michele then watched some old home movies of Shayne performing a dance routine as a little girl as she conversed with her sister about The Bachelor star.
"I'm falling in love with him," Shayne told her sister. "I know that he's a man that I could fall easily in love with. He's almost too good to be true."
Michele made sure Matt understood the life of an actor and how Shayne would be traveling quite a bit and also kissing other actors. Matt said he thinks if the effort's made, they'll "be fine."
"I feel good about all of this. They're a beautiful couple," said Michele. "I'm just praying that we see more of Matt."
Shayne and Matt then said goodbye to one another.
"I had a brilliant time all day," said Matt. "I think I have to be honest here and say I got Shayne completely wrong. I'm really falling big time for Shayne."
Next Matt arrived in Durango, CO to meet Chelsea Wanstrath and her family. Matt described the 24-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative as "hot and cold" up to this point and was hoping she was willing to further let her guard down. Chelsea was also a "little nervous" because she realized Matt was a man she could "potentially fall in love with."
Prior to entering her parents' house, Chelsea warned Matt she gets emotional when she sees her family -- whose feedback she was also interested in receiving. Matt and Chelsea enjoyed a meal with her mom and dad. Chelsea's dad described Matt as "very sincere and honest" and was also "very pleased with him." He then asked what Chelsea thought as Matt spent some time with her mom.
"I don't think I truly wanted this to happen. I didn't want to like him," Chelsea told her dad. "I didn't even want to get to know him that well, because I don't want to like the guy and get let down by him. I like him a lot and we have so much in common I can't help it -- I can't help but like him."
Matt told Chelsea's mom that he had "fallen in love" with her the first time he met her and was "gutted" because he felt she "might not be completely into" him. Chelsea's mom explained The Bachelor's format makes it difficult for women to open up. Chelsea's dad suggested "nothing ventured, nothing gained" to his daughter, and she took the advice and ran with it.
"I realized if I want to take the risk, I need to put myself out there a little bit further," said Chelsea. "I just need to let myself just open up and feel the feelings I have and let him know how happy he makes me feel."
Chelsea and Matt then said goodbye to one another and shared a kiss.
"I came away from the family's house feeling like we could genuinely make it," he commented.
Matt traveled slightly less than 400 miles north to meet Noelle and her family in Loveland, CO. Matt explained Noelle is the remaining bachelorette he knows the least, so her hometown visit was "key" as to whether or not she'd receive a rose.
"Even though our relationship had a later start than some of the other girls, I want Matt to know it doesn't make it any less real," commented Noelle. "In fact, I think it's the opposite. I was waiting for it to be real, and that's the way it is now."
Matt then met Noelle's mom, dad and two sisters -- all of whom Noelle said are "kind of on the conservative side." Matt played horseshoes with Noelle's dad and he had some questions forThe Bachelor star. Meanwhile Noelle and her sisters talked, and she explained how it wasn't fair to Matt for her to go this far in the process and not put herself out there.
Over dinner Noelle's mom asked if Matt would be willing to relocate from London, and he said that wouldn't be a problem if he was with the right person.
"I'm ready to settle down," he told them. "The time's right."
After dinner, Noelle's sisters asked Matt if he was falling in love.
"I'm bizarrely falling in love with more than one person," he answered before being asked if Noelle was one of those people.
"Noelle's one of those people. Without a doubt," he replied.
Noelle explained to her parents how she has a hard time and was "terrified" of letting people in, and her dad suggested she be true to herself and go for it if she wants it.
Noelle and Matt then said their goodbyes.
"There's a part of me that's definitely falling in love with Noelle," commented Matt. "Just seeing Noelle as my ultimate partner. She's an amazing woman and someone I could easily see myself being with."
Noelle said she didn't want to say goodbye to Matt.
"I'm surprised by my feelings," she said. "It's all catching me very off guard that there is a future with Matt. I wasn't expecting that. I hope it isn't too late."
Matt traveled to the Florida panhandle for his last hometown visit, where he'd meet Amanda Rantuccio's family in Tallahassee.
"I decided to play a little prank on Matt," explained the 27-year-old account executive. "I hired actors that are going to play my mom and dad. They're going to be completely over the top. [Matt] loves pranks, and I want to see how he reacts to it."
Over the top was a bit of an understatement, as Amanda's fake mom had an awkward laugh that she would unleash at inappropriate times and also asked Matt to flex for her. He refused. Both of Amanda's fake parents also wondered if Matt had been intimidate with their daughter before mom took him outside.
Once there, she started to hit on him in a "Mrs. Robinson, cougar kind of way," according to Amanda. Fake mom rubbed Matt's nipple and leaned in to kiss him just as fake dad walked out and wondered what the hell was going on. Realizing the prank was starting to turn a little awkward, Amanda revealed it was all for fun.
"I was just speechless for a few seconds. I can't believe I got done like that," said Matt. "I can't believe I fell for it. Just very impressed that Amanda had pulled it off. She was brilliant. She impressed me so much. That was very, very funny even though it was at my expense."
Matt and Amanda then shared dinner with her real parents and also spent some alone time.
Back in Malibu, The Bachelor: London Calling's sixth Rose Ceremony commenced.
Shayne, Amanda and Chelsea received roses. Before Noelle was sent back to Loveland, she shared a moment outside with Matt.
"We've come such a long way," he told her. "I loved all our time together and I guess although we'd come a long way as far as connection, I didn't find it the easiest."
"We had a really late start," she replied. "Maybe if we were at the same point it would be different. But that's my fault. I take the blame for that -- for not opening up sooner."