Hello, and welcome back to the Cut’s Bachelor recap. I missed you! We’ve known each other for three whole weeks now, which is why I feel comfortable opening up to you and asking: Who is Alayah, and has she been here the whole time?
According to her Instagram bio, Alayah is a former Miss Texas USA, as well as a “traveler, iced latte addict, romantic [heart emoji].” According to this episode of the Bachelor, she is a FAKE who is not here for the right reasons (to marry a stranger after competing for their affection on national television). Has she ever appeared onscreen before? Unclear. But she is here now, and this whole episode belongs to her.
First, though, back to the Champagne. As you’ll recall, last week, the sparkling, effervescent shit hit the fan, and also Kelsey’s face, when Hannah Ann (or Madison? But I’m pretty sure it was Hannah Ann) and Peter opened Kelsey’s special bottle of Champagne that she had been saving for this moment for over a year. Kelsey thought Hannah Ann had stolen her Champagne on purpose and then Hannah Ann accused Kelsey of bullying, and despite his best efforts, Peter couldn’t make out with women fast enough to make the drama, like Kelsey’s beloved Champagne, disappear.
The episode starts with birds chirping and everyone at the mansion sobbing. Kelsey, crying, confronts Hannah Ann, who is also crying, and tells her that even though she’s called Hannah Ann a bunch of terrible names, that doesn’t count as bullying. Hannah Ann says repeatedly that she is “not a Champagne-stealer!!” and expresses her frustration with what she calls this whole “finasco.” Then, Kelsey reveals she doesn’t even like Champagne, even though she has made it her whole Thing. The other women watch this exchange and agree they never want to talk about Champagne again, even though it’s the only sustenance they seem to get on the show. What a finasco, indeed.
By the way, did you know Hannah Ann was the face of the Sonic drive-through ads? That’s neither here nor there, just a fun fact, from me to you.
Meanwhile, Peter is on a one-on-one date with Victoria P., the nurse. He picks her up in an old red pickup truck, wearing a buffalo-plaid shirt, talking about how excited he is to show her his hometown, and then takes her to go buy cowboy boots and a hat. His hometown, to be clear, is Los Angeles, California. Still, Peter really leans into the whole down-home folksy thing, and takes Victoria P. line dancing, something he claims he and his L.A. friends do all the time.
Anyway, he and Victoria P. seem to have a good time at this traditional Los Angeles line-dancing bar. Afterward, they go to dinner in an airplane hangar, because in case you had forgotten, Peter is a pilot. Victoria P. opens up about her difficult childhood and growing up in foster homes. Peter responds by telling her about this shooting star he saw before coming on the show, and how maybe it was a sign that she’s the One, but it also could have been a sign that one of the other girls on the show is the One — he’s not sure. The date ends with them making out in a plane.
Back at the mansion, we are finally introduced to Alayah, who is swilling a grain-silo-size glass of red wine, wearing one of Peter’s pilot hats, and yelling-swears so that everyone knows she’s more than just a proper pageant queen. Sydney says she thinks there’s something “off” about Alayah. What’s off, probably, is that nobody on the planet has ever seen Alayah before.
The next day, the girls are woken up by Demi, a former Bachelor contestant in Colton’s season, and two women introduced as “Champagne” and “Killer,” who rouse them by smacking them with feather pillows. The women are subject to this attack because eight of them, including Alayah and Sydney, are going on a group date during which they have to pillow fight each other in a saloon. Another traditional L.A. activity, I guess. The women wrestle in sexy pj’s while Peter watches them hungrily, eager to see who he’ll get to make out with next. Eventually, Alayah wins, pinning down Sydney, who says it was like “an elephant sitting on a mouse.”
At the group cocktail party that night, Sydney sets out to get her revenge. When Alayah returns from talking to Peter in an itty-bitty baby voice that made the glasses in my kitchen cabinet shatter, Sydney asks her, “Do you, like, work, at all?” Alayah says she does, and, actually, she has three jobs (“traveler, Iced latte addict, romantic [heart emoji],” I guess). Not satisfied with this confrontation, Sydney goes to tell Peter that she thinks some of the girls in the house are being fake. This freaks Peter out, because unlike most people who absolutely love being romantically duped, he actually hates it.
Clearly annoyed at having to use his mouth for something other than Frenching, Peter puts Sydney on the spot in front of the other girls, and demands that she name names. Sydney says she thinks Alayah’s fake, but Alayah says she’s not fake. Wow, who to believe? Peter says he’s confused. Still, he gives Sydney the group-date rose as a prize for snitching.
The next morning, Chris Harrison tells the girls Peter will be coming over to the mansion for a pool party. Fun, right? Wrong!!!!!!! Peter comes in wearing swim trunks and a hoodie and announces he’s in a bad mood — an incredible way to kick off a party.
He explains that he has doubts about whether everyone’s here for the right reasons, and decides to launch an investigation. In the episode of Law & Order: Villa de la Vina that follows, Peter interrogates each contestant/witness about whether they think Alayah is authentic or not. Even though everyone tells him she’s very different on- and off-camera, and even though he admits there are some red flags, Peter says he’s not sure what to think, because he’s also very attracted to Alayah, and it’s famously impossible for someone to make you horny and betray you at the same time, right?
Wrong again! During her make out/interrogation, Victoria P. reveals that she and Alayah knew each other from when they competed in the Miss USA pageant together, but that Alayah told her to lie to producers and say they didn’t know each other. Alayah is a liar! When Peter confronts Alayah about this, she gets the same terrified expression on her face that I do when my dentist asks me how often I floss, really. Okay, fine, yes. She did tell Victoria P. to lie, she says, but it was only so that they could both make it on the show! And so she could come and meet Peter and they could fall in love on national TV! And if she should happen to get lucrative sponsored-content deals after her appearance, I mean, sure, whatever.
Peter is again confused. Should he believe the dozens of people telling him Alayah is shady, or his one penis telling him Alayah is pretty? Hmm. He leaves the terrible pool party early to meditate on this difficult question.
At the rose ceremony that night, after consulting with his penis and with Chris Harrison, Peter decides to send Alayah and three other women home.
But, hold on, as soon as Alayah walks out, Peter tells a producer he regrets his decision. Will Alayah come back next week? Does Hannah Ann the Champagne-stealer get discounts at Sonic? How long until Peter’s lips wither up and fall off from too much kissing? Tune in next week to find out.