'The Bachelor' Finale: And the Final Rose Goes to...

On last night's finale, Jake Pavelka proposed to controversial contestant Vienna Girardi

Vienna! Yes, Vienna Girardi is the “wind beneath Jake Pavelka's wings.” (Sorry, but after hearing weeks of The Bachelor’s constant pilot metaphors, it’s hard not to tack one on.)

Of course, the 23-year-old Floridian blonde was the long-rumored winner. Blogger Steve Carbone of Reality Steve named Vienna the victor weeks ago, based on information from a reliable source (previously, Carbone had correctly predicted Jillian Harris’ final choice on the latest Bachelorette). The media’s relentless focus on Vienna these last weeks (with less scrutiny directed at rival Tenley Molzahn) was certainly another hint.

Still, many fans held out hope that Jake would snap out of his self-described “crazy love” for Vienna, the former Hooters waitress with the alleged breast implants and a reported history of troubled past relationships. Her abrasive manner with the other contestants, especially fan favorite and upcoming Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky, turned plenty of viewers against Vienna early on, with fan forums trashing her before gossip rags seized on accusations from her ex-husband (according to OK! magazine: "Marines Sgt. Josh Riley claims Vienna cheated on him while he served in Iraq and that she allegedly took money from their joint account after the split to pay for her boob job.")

During the two-hour finale, Jake asked loved ones for input. "The trouble I’m having," he said, "is that I’ve fallen in love with Vienna and Tenley so deeply that I need a second set of eyes." No surpise, the family adored sweet, smiling Tenley.

When his relatives took an instant dislike to Vienna, his mother explained: "If she had trouble with the girls [in the Bachelor house], I worry about your sister-in-laws," said Mom. "Can’t you see that she might be poking at her sister-in-laws and that she may be poking at you, eventually?" In the end, though, after a not-so-convincing "private" chat, Jake's mama changed her mind and declared Vienna A-OK.

Just a wild guess, but it sounds like Jake chose the woman with whom he had the most sexual chemistry. He’d hinted as much with Tenley when he admitted that, for him, their connection was more emotional than physical. “With Tenley I had her up on this pedestal....I just didn’t feel comfortable being myself,” he said after dumping her. “You can’t force it.”

During ABC's After The Final Rose special, Jake said of his new fiancee: "I have never had this much heat in a relationship.” 

“She wasn’t the popular choice,” said host Chris Harrison. “It’s almost controversial that you’ve chosen her.” Jake replied that the gossip magazines are "painting this picture of her that she has no values and is a really miserable person, and none of that is true."

When Vienna joined Jake on set, she laughingly confirmed she'd heard “that we’re broken up apparently” and she brushed off negative reports: "The tabloids are coming up with fabricated stories that aren’t based on facts at all," she said. "America’s getting this image of me, and it’s not me."

Next, Vienna is relocating to Dallas to live with her prize, er, fiance. "Out of all the women I’ve ever dated and ever met, she is the best girl for me," concluded Jake, with certainty in his voice. "And everybody’s gonna have to trust that, and celebrate with us, as we move towards a marriage." The rest of us, meanwhile, are moving toward somehow getting that "On the Wings of Love" melody out of our brains. Good luck to us all!

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Were you surprised that Jake chose Vienna?

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