Michelle Didn't Break 'Bachelorette' Protocol With Brandon On The Proposal Platform

- The Bachelor -
Michelle Didn't Break 'Bachelorette' Protocol With Brandon On The Proposal Platform

Spoilers ahead for Michelle's Bachelorette finale.

In the grand tradition of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the first person to step out of the limo for the final rose ceremony is the loser. This Bachelorette season stuck with convention when Michelle broke up with Brandon during the final rose ceremony. Although she didn't let him get down on one knee and pop the question, she did let Brandon pick out an engagement ring, get all dressed up, and come to The Bachelorette proposal location to profess his love. There's nothing inherently wrong with this per se — in fact, it's the show's structure and wouldn't even be a topic of conversation if this was a Bachelor season. But as many Bachelorettes in recent history have ended things before the "proposal platform" (my very formal term for the rose-covered altar), was Michelle in the minority by letting Brandon get that far?

Breakups on The Bachelor franchise are going to be inherently messy. But the hurt might be a bit worse if say, the rejection happened after the proposal. Perhaps that's why so many Bachelorettes choose to break up with their runner-ups before the final rose ceremony. After all, societal gender norms dictate that men propose (I give you infinite eye rolls, society!), so having a male contestant go through with meeting Neil Lane, picking out a ring, preparing a proposal, and getting down on one knee when the Bachelorette knows they're not going to pick them is particularly brutal.

The phenomenon of breaking up before the final rose is not prevalent with the Bachelors. Out of 25 Bachelors, only three broke up with their runner-ups before the final rose... and the first one is kind of a technicality:

  • Charlie O'Connell did his final rose ceremonies live back in Season 7. Rather than break up with Krisily Kennedy on stage in front of a live audience, he did it backstage (with cameras, naturally).
  • Colton Underwood broke up with Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin at their hotel rooms before going after Cassie Randolph after she had quit the show.
  • Matt James broke up with Michelle before giving his final rose (but no engagement ring) to Rachael Kirkconnell.

Brandon handled the breakup as best as he could and there's nothing wrong with Michelle following the rules of the show (that's what causes the drama!). But let's see how all of the past Bachelorettes have handled the final rose ceremony.

The Pre-Proposal Platform Breakups

1. Ali

Runner-up: Chris Lambton

The sixth Bachelorette Ali broke up with Chris a day before the final rose ceremony, saying, "I'm in love with somebody else. I have to let you go here and not wait until tomorrow." She chose Roberto Martinez, though the two broke up before getting married.

2. Emily

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Runner-up: Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Emily didn't go through with her final date with future Bachelor Arie once she knew she was picking Jef Holm. Too bad Arie didn't extend the same courtesy to Lauren... or Becca. But clearly, his current wife Lauren doesn't hold a grudge.

3. Desiree

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Runner-up: Drew Kenney

After Brooks Forester self-eliminated, Desiree broke up with her runner-up Drew halfway through their final date. "I'd be so lucky to have you in my life," Desiree tearfully told him. "[But] I don't know if I see our futures together." She's still married to her final pick, Chris Siegfried.

4. Andi

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Runner-up: Nick Viall

Andi came by Nick's room before his ring shopping to let him know she wasn't picking him. When he confronted her about why she had sex with him if she wasn't going to choose him on "After the Final Rose" (boo), Andi brought up how she spared him the proposal. "I did know how you felt, which is exactly why on the very last day, I didn't have you pick out a ring," she said. "It's exactly why I didn't have you walk down there and think you were going to get engaged to somebody and think you were going to propose to somebody and then say no."

5. Rachel

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Runner-up: Peter Kraus

Peter wouldn't commit to getting engaged to Rachel and so she ended things during their final date. Rachel has been open that she thinks the way the show edited her relationship with Peter was one-sided and didn't accurately portray how strong her feelings for her current husband and winner, Bryan Abasolo, were.

6. Tayshia*

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Runner-up: Ben Smith

Anyone else forget that Ben — not Ivan Hall — was Tayshia's runner-up? Well, after Tayshia took him back after eliminating him, the comeback kid didn't have a very long comeback. Before their final date, Tayshia came to his hotel room to tell him that, "I just feel like my heart is with somebody else." Her heart was with Zac Clark, though the couple ended their engagement in November.

*Clare technically shared this season, but her choosing Dale so early was so unconventional, she's not getting a spot on this list.

7. Katie

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Runner-up: Justin Glaze

Despite the undeniable messiness of Katie, she did the right thing by breaking up with Justin before his Fantasy Suite date. She had already told Blake she loved him — "And that is something I can only say to one person," she told Justin while breaking up with him.

The On-Proposal Platform Breakups

1. Trista

Runner-up: Charlie Maher

Charlie picked out a ring for Trista before she sent him home. But it didn't seem he really wanted to be engaged to Trista, telling TVGuide.com how he had wanted to "redefine the word engagement," and admitted he hadn't fallen in love with her. Clearly, Trista made the right choice with current husband Ryan Sutter.

2. Meredith

Runner-up: Matthew Hickl

Despite telling him she wanted to leave the show with an engagement ring from him, Meredith broke up with Matt during the final rose ceremony. Matt handled the rejection like a champ and Meredith became briefly engaged to winner Ian McKee.

3. Jen

Runner-up: John Paul Merritt and Winner: Jerry Ferris

Jen ended things with both of her finalists in highly-dramatic ways. Jen first rejected John Paul's proposal during the final rose ceremony. But when her chosen winner, Jerry, arrived, she also turned down his proposal and asked him to hold onto the ring for later. "I just want to make sure that we do it right," she said. But they were already over by the time the "After the Final Rose" special aired, leaving Jerry to ask about the ring on live TV, "I guess the big question is what the heck am I supposed to do with this thing?" The men weren't happy, but you gotta appreciate a lead who doesn't get engaged just because the show pressures them to do it.

4. DeAnna

Runner-up: Jason Mesnick

Deanna let Jason go down on one knee before she ended things, which is kind of a faux pas nowadays. Don't worry, Jason ended up doing something far messier when he got the chance to be the lead.

5. Jillian

Runner-up: Kiptyn Locke and Reid Rosenthal

Poor Jillian not only had to break up with Kiptyn before his proposal (he had chosen a ring), but then the producers threw back in second runner-up Reid as well. The surprise guest got down on one knee and proposed, but Jillian rejected him as well. She ended up accepting Ed Swiderski's proposal, but overall, a tough day emotionally for Jillian.

6. Ashley

Runner-up: Ben Flajnik

Ben was not pleased when Ashley dumped him after he proposed. She didn't stop him from going down on one knee where he proceeded to ask, "Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on earth?"

7. Kaitlyn

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Runner-up: Nick Viall

For Nick's second time on The Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe did have him come to the final rose ceremony... before very awkwardly stopping him from getting down on one knee. As his above Instagram post notes, he can laugh about it now.

8. JoJo

Runner-up: Robby Hayes

Your feelings about Robby might have changed after he went on Bachelor in Paradise Season 5, but you had to feel bad for him when he was about to propose to JoJo. "I want to be with you forever. I will love you forever. I will protect and care for you for forever," Robby told JoJo. "You're not just my partner in crime, you're my best friend. And I promise I'll love you 'til the day I die." A tearful JoJo stopped him there and said, "Hold on. I can't let you get down on one knee. I can't let you do that," despite claiming how she wanted Robby to be the one she picked. As of now, JoJo is still engaged to Jordan Rodgers.

9. Becca

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Runner-up: Blake Horstmann

When a very sweaty Blake asked, "So Becca, will you let me spend the rest of my life making you smile?" Becca whispered in reply, "Wait, give me a moment." Blake wasn't expecting the breakup and considering how Becca's time on The Bachelor went, she might have considered ending things with Blake before they got this far.

10. Hannah

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Runner-up: Tyler Cameron

Hannah and Tyler didn't get intimate on their Fantasy Suite date, so maybe he wasn't too surprised when she broke up with him during the final rose ceremony. But their Bachelorette breakup wasn't the end of their relationship since she ended up asking him out on a date at "After the Final Rose" since her winner Jed Wyatt had a secret girlfriend. Tyler and Hannah remained friends, but these pals have since fallen out of touch. And besides hooking up with Tyler after The Bachelorette, Hannah admitted to hooking up with her other runner-up, Peter Weber, after the show too.

11. Michelle

Runner-up: Brandon Jones

Michelle has joined the ranks of the many Bachelorettes before her who went with the on-site dump when Brandon came to propose. Instead, she accepted Nayte Olukoya's proposal.

With 11 Bachelorettes following the normal procedure, Michelle was just doing what the show demands. So if the proposal site dump makes you angry, blame the show. Plus, Brandon will be OK. Because if nearly every Bachelor runner-up can survive the heartache and humiliation, so can he.

Images: Craig Sjodin/ABC

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