Michelle denied Joe, a 28-year-old real estate developer from Minneapolis, MN, a rose at the Rose Ceremony in Mexico that followed her week of overnight, off-camera dates and therefore determined Nayte, a 27-year-old sales executive from Austin, TX, and Brandon Jones, a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, OR, as her Final 2 bachelors.
"I am in shock. I am in a pretty big shock right now," Joe confessed in his final words, wiping tears out of his eyes. "I didn't see that coming. I really thought she was my person."
The Bachelorette broadcast began with Michelle and her Final 3 bachelors in Mexico anticipating a week of overnight Fantasy Suite dates.
Michelle said she could only imagine what spending a full night with each bachelor off-camera, and potentially being intimate, could do to her relationships, and she was apparently falling in love with more than one person.
During a chat on the beach with The Bachelorette co-host Kaitlyn Bristowe, Michelle revealed she didn't have a single concern about Brandon, which made Kaitlyn want to say "game over."
But Michelle was also clearly crazy about "Minnesota Joe," her little "slice of home," and Nayte, whom she had a strong physical attraction and emotional connection with.
Michelle, however, wondered if it was going to be a challenge for Nayte to say, "I love you," and worried if she had developed stronger feelings for Nayte than he had for her.
Meanwhile, Joe, Nayte and Brandon were staying in the same hotel, and Joe acknowledged, "At this point, we're all getting closer and closer to Michelle and our relationships are getting more serious."
"So we're not really friends because we're competing for the same girl," Joe added. "So now we kind of went from bros to foes, and it is awkward -- very awkward."
The first Fantasy Suite date of the week went to Brandon, and he felt honored and went into the date with a high level of confidence.
On his way to getting ready, he told Nayte and Joe to "enjoy Mexico," but the other two men were on a roller-coaster of emotions waiting for their time with Michelle to come.
Michelle admitted she first thought Brandon was "a player" and "smooth-talker," which left her feeling unsure about him on Night 1, but she said it took only two conversations for her to realize Brandon is the real deal. He apparently surprised her every day.
Michelle told the cameras that she could see Brandon being her best friend in life, which is so important when looking for one's soul mate, and the suitor felt like "the luckiest man in the world."
While sitting on the beach, Michelle shared with Brandon how he's one of a kind, and Brandon -- who was "so in love" -- told Michelle that she meant the world to him.
Brandon gushed about loving every single minute he had with The Bachelorette star, but he wondered if he was enough for her considering two other guys were still in the picture.
Back at the hotel, Nayte explained to Joe how he wasn't thinking or stressing about Michelle's relationship with Joe or Brandon, but Joe was trying to stay distracted from thinking about what Michelle could be doing with Brandon.
That evening, Michelle and Brandon enjoyed a romantic dinner, and Brandon shared in a confessional of his girl, "Literally rip my heart out and throw it on the table and do what you want with it, because it only beats for you at this point."
Brandon insisted his heart was "100 percent all in" for Michelle, and he told the Bachelorette that night how he didn't want to be with anyone else.
Michelle asked Brandon if it was realistic for him to feel ready to propose marriage soon, and he replied, "Since Day 1 when I met you, I knew that you were The One... Michelle, I want you to know that I am in love with you."
Brandon added, "I was going to wait, but I don't want to wait any more. I want you to know how I feel, that I am truly in love with you. I am just so sick of keeping it in. I want you to know I will always put you first... until I take my last breath."
Michelle smiled big and said her heart was beating so fast, and she reiterated how she was "falling in love" with him, which is not something she took lightly.
Michelle confirmed to Brandon that she could see a future with him and she had never met a man who made her heart feel so safe before.
"Brandon is soul mate material, but on top of that, we also have this incredible spark and this burning passion and chemistry with each other," Michelle explained in a confessional.
Michelle then invited Brandon to join her in the Fantasy Suite, and the pair kissed in a hot tub while watching a fireworks display. Brandon pointed out how he and Michelle were going to be together "forever" if she chose him.
As the fireworks were going off, Nayte said the moment served as "a reality check" for him.
The next morning, Michelle and Brandon woke up kissing, and Brandon said spending the night with her was the most amazing feeling in the world. Michelle said she felt very close to Brandon and a level of comfort with him.
Brandon then brought Michelle breakfast in bed, and the pair hilariously had a food fight. Michelle, noticing how much fun she always had with Brandon, realized their romance had it all, and she said she could trust him to take care of her heart.
When Brandon rejoined the guys after his date, Brandon, smiling ear to ear, wouldn't share any details other than the fact he had gone on a date with Michelle. Joe noted the silence was deafening and the guys were clearly trying to play it safe.
The next day, Joe -- the most introverted, quiet and laid-back bachelor in the group -- met Michelle and the pair went ziplining.
Michelle acknowledged her relationship with Joe had moved at a bit of a slower pace, but she insisted that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Michelle had helped Joe open up and show the real him.
After quite an adventure, Michelle said she had seen Joe's goofy side and really liked it and wanted to see more of it. Michelle noted how being with Joe made her feel less homesick.
Michelle and Joe proceeded to drink champagne and feed horses, and Joe wanted Michelle to know that he was ready for a partnership, marriage and building a life together.
Over dinner that night, Michelle was searching for a few more pieces of a puzzle to know if Joe could be her future husband. Joe assured Michelle that he loved how extroverted she is and wants three or four children.
Michelle and Joe agreed they want a life that is "impactful," and Joe said they could be a power couple together.
Meanwhile, Brandon and Nayte playfully argued -- but with a little tension in the air -- about whether Michelle would choose to have her strongest connection first or last for Fantasy Suite week, and Nayte poked fun at Brandon for feeling a little insecure about his relationship.
Brandon did admit Michelle was his "everything" and he was "just scared to lose her."
Back on Michelle's date, she and Joe entered the Fantasy Suite, and Michelle realized how she and Joe are actually very similar in how they want to change the world and would balance each other personality-wise.
When Michelle and Joe woke up next to each other, a night off-camera apparently served as a game-changer for the couple. She said she could get used to waking up next to Joe every day.
"I am falling more and more in love with you every moment we have together," Joe told the Bachelorette, before kissing her in bed.
Michelle shared how her feelings for Joe had grown immensely overnight because she could really see who Joe is -- a relaxed, fun and kind-hearted person. She said Joe could maybe be her soul mate and she truly cared about him.
Michelle told Joe before he left that she could see a future with him and 24 hours with him had apparently "changed everything."
"Now, I feel like I have so much to think about... I feel like I have clarity, which is exciting, which is terrifying, which makes my decision harder than it already was," Michelle said.
Joe also played it cool when he saw Nayte and Brandon again. Joe confirmed he had enjoyed the Fantasy Suite with Michelle and "it was fun," but he didn't offer up any additional details.
Nayte then embarked on his Fantasy Suite date with Michelle, and Brandon and Joe weren't convinced Nayte was going to open up to The Bachelorette star like he needed to. Brandon wasn't convinced that Nayte was ready for an engagement, and he was afraid Nayte was going to end up hurting Michelle.
Nayte and Michelle sailed on a yacht for the day in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the couple agreed it was a "perfect" day filled with romance. Michelle, in fact, called Nayte her "favorite person."
Nayte and Michelle told each other, "I am crazy about you," as they kissed on the boat, and Nayte pointed out how he could definitely see them "doing life together."
"Kissing Nayte is magical," she gushed, "and I've never had a feeling like when I kiss Nayte. I'm very crazy about Nayte. Once we're together, it's like we did not miss a beat."
But Michelle needed to know if Nayte was ready for a lifelong commitment, and she explained to the cameras, "In a perfect world, Nayte would say that tonight, but if he can't get there, I will be incredibly heartbroken."
Michelle was more nervous about her night with Nayte than she had been with Joe and Brandon, and that's because she was prepared to ask him some difficult questions about their potential future together. She needed to hear that Nayte was ready for an engagement.
Michelle asked Nayte over dinner that night to share exactly where he was at and what he was feeling in the process, and Nayte danced around an answer a little bit.
After a lot of self-reflection following his hometown date, Nayte said he didn't have all the answers but "that's life" -- and life should never be boring.
Michelle, clearly unsatisfied with that ambiguous statement, wanted to know if Nayte's heart was on the same page as hers.
Michelle expressed how she was afraid Nayte may pull away from her, but he insisted that he takes relationships very seriously and doesn't play with love or feelings. Nayte said he was experiencing feelings he had never felt before -- but that still wasn't enough for Michelle.
"Falling in love is one thing, being in love is another thing, and then an engagement is another thing. Which of those are you ready for?" Michelle asked.
"I mean, all three," Nayte replied. "Falling in love, being in love and loving you. There's something about you that I am certain about. I know I trust myself, I trust you, and I trust that I am literally falling in love with you."
Michelle said she could definitely see herself getting engaged at the end of The Bachelorette, and when asked if he could "get there" as well," Nayte confirmed, "Most definitely. With you, yeah."
Nayte assured Michelle that he wouldn't pull away from her and he wanted to continue being vulnerable and putting himself out there for Michelle. A huge weight had therefore been lifted off Michelle's heart, and any fears or doubts she had about Nayte had been "resolved" in that moment.
Nayte then accepted a key to the Fantasy Suite, and Michelle said she finally felt safe with him. Michelle had been waiting a long time to hear those powerful words from Nayte.
"After this overnight, I may be IN love with Nayte," Michelle revealed.
The following day, Michelle and Nayte gushed about their great night together and feeling so close to one another.
"I am falling in love with you, I am IN love with you. This is what I want," Nayte told Michelle.
"So Nayte is in love?" Michelle asked.
"Nayte is in love," he replied.
Michelle therefore announced, "Well I am definitely in love with you too."
Michelle giggled and kissed the bachelor, and it was a very intimate moment.
Michelle and Nayte discussed how they had been falling in love with each other for quite some time the night before, and so she apparently woke up feeling totally and completely confident in their relationship. The pair was even serenaded by a mariachi band.
It appeared in this moment Nayte had won Michelle's heart and either Brandon or Joe was a close second.
When Nayte rejoined the other men, he said he had a great day and was on "a high" due to Michelle and himself vibing, which left Brandon feeling a little more nervous than ever.
And Michelle acknowledged letting one of her Final 3 bachelors go was not going to be easy, and she feared breaking a man's heart -- a man who had taught her so much about love and herself.
At the Rose Ceremony in Mexico, before Michelle handed out her first rose, Brandon asked to speak with her in private for a quick second.
Brandon reminded Michelle how he'd always be there for her and support her through anything. He reminded Michelle of his love and how she could feel safe with him and rely on him, no matter what she decided to do that evening.
Both Nayte and Joe seemed bothered by the fact Brandon had stolen another conversation with the Bachelorette, and they appeared nervous whatever Brandon had said could change her mind about which roses to give out.
Michelle proceeded to hand out a rose to Nayte followed by Brandon, and then Michelle walked Joe out.
Michelle immediately broke down into tears and let Joe know how much he had meant to her.
"I'm sorry. I have been falling in love with you. I'm still falling in love with you... And I know how much you pushed yourself to open up and I care about you so much. You have a piece of my heart. You always will. And I'm sorry, I didn't want to break your heart," Michelle cried.
And Joe responded, "As much as it hurts, I know it's hurting you too. I may not be showing it right now, but I really did see that future with you that we talked about. I meant all of those words that I said to you, and I am definitely sad about going."
But Joe thanked Michelle for helping him to be more open and vulnerable, which made him "the best person I can possibly be."
Joe, who didn't show much emotion in the moment, hugged Michelle goodbye and then broke down into tears once he departed single and alone. And for Michelle's part, she fell to her knees bawling and sobbing.
"I'm wondering what Brandon said. I really have no idea," Joe lamented after leaving Michelle. "I have no idea. You open your whole heart and then this happens."
Joe, who had pictured buying a house with Michelle in Minnesota and marrying her and raising a family together, added, "It's a kick to the gut for sure. I just want to go home."
Michelle declared how letting Joe go was extremely hard, and she probably anticipated the process was only going to get more difficult in her final days.