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Bachelor finale airs Wednedsay

PREVIEW: The Bachelor finale airs from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday on WFTS-Ch. 28, followed by a one-hour live special with bachelor Byron Velvick and the woman he has chosen.

By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer
Published November 22, 2004

IT'S THE MOST REVEALING STORY IN SIDESHOW HISTORY!! After setting a possibly unmatchable standard for hyperbole this season, The Bachelor concludes its sixth saga Wednesday with, ABC promises, "the most romantic proposal in Bachelor history."

This is after weeks of "the most dramatic rose ceremony yet," bachelor Byron Velvick making his "most difficult decision yet" and tensions among the bachelorettes "getting higher" each week.

Barring one of the greatest surprises in Bachelor history, the proposal will be made to either Tampa's Mary Delgado or Tanya Michel of Plano, Texas. And if it is made to Michel, The Bachelor will have showcased the greatest ego-scorcher in its history: Delgado would be rejected for a second time in the series. Bob Guiney cut her loose after she made the final three in the fourth season.

THE HINTS ABOUT WHOM: Detailed fan analysis of finale photos on the Internet - examining fingernails, dresses, skin color, the presence or lack of a rose - has speculation going Delgado's way.

The National Enquirer cites a Bachelor insider as saying Delgado is Velvick's pick. (The show was taped over the summer.) In pictures on ABC's media Web site, Velvick looks happier with Delgado.

As for something concrete, nothing has popped up yet.

Neither Velvick nor Delgado, who like all reality show contestants are contractually sworn to secrecy, slipped up in interviews last week.

HE SAID, SHE SAID, THEY SAID: In a conference call with reporters, Velvick gushed about the woman he chose but took pains not to sound like he was revealing anything. "I have hopes that I've met "The One.' She's just kind, and she's warm, and she's caring. That speaks well to both of them; they both are," he said. "Ultimately, everything about her, the essence about her, it's impossible to pinpoint (what makes her "The One')."

In a separate phone interview, Delgado, sounding a little tired, said her life right now is "up and down, up and down, up and down." Besides dealing with the show, she recently started a real estate business in Tampa with two friends. "We're still looking for agents and things like that. But it's going really well," she said.

Both Velvick and Delgado said they're ready for all the drama to be over.

WHAT DID SHE SEE IN HIM? Delgado and Heather Cranford , from the second Bachelor, were brought into this season in the middle to shake things up. Cranford didn't make it past the episode in which the two were introduced.

Delgado, who had a rough time emotionally in the aftermath of Bachelor Bob's rejection, hesitated before agreeing to again try finding a husband on national TV. With the same option as the other women to reject any request from Velvick that she stay, Delgado said he kept her interested because he's a decent guy.

"He was always attentive, not just to me, but to the other women," she said. "I observed him a lot, his behavior around the other women, with myself. To me, there was something honest about him."

AND WITH "THE BACHELOR" 0-FOR-5 IN MATCHMAKING: Velvick said he believes in divine intervention and that close family members who have passed away - led by Grandpa - worked on the other side to lead him to The Bachelor . "It's almost a fatalistic attitude: If I'm here, (the right woman) must be here, too," he said.

The pro bass fisherman said he made his final choice by going with his heart and intuition - "It's sort of the same thing in fishing" - but the next few months are key to seeing if everything really did fall into place.

And, he said, his choice thinks that, too. He thinks.

"We haven't even been a normal couple yet," he said. "It's really early in the juncture. I think she feels the same way. It's time to be real, to see if there's merit to what we have."

-- Sharon Fink can be reached at 727 893-8525 or fink@sptimes.com

[Last modified November 22, 2004, 01:19:19]

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