Tonight is the season 23 finale of The Bachelor, and Colton Underwood has been clear throughout the season that he expects his journey on the reality dating show to end with an engagement. Although engagement ring designer Neil Lane has provided engagement rings for many of the Bachelors before him, the events of last week’s episode make it unclear if Underwood will propose.
Twitter user Dani Keegan pointed out that in one of the promo videos teasing the season finale, though Underwood is shown dressed in a suit and looking down at an open ring box in his hands, the box is empty – there is no ring in it. Underwood avoided addressing this detail in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, who asked him if there was ever a ring in that box and if the ring was on someone’s finger. In response, he said “Yes, in that box, there’s been a ring in there… yeah, Neil Lane put it in that box. That was Neil Lane’s box.” He also confirmed that he met Neil Lane during filming.
During finalist Cassie Randolph’s one-on-one date in Portugal with Underwood, she made the decision to go home after revealing to Underwood that she would not be ready for a proposal at the end of the season if he were to choose her. He expressed all season that his biggest fear was falling for someone who wasn’t ready to get engaged, so he was understandably devastated during their conversation. Though he told her he loved her, wanted to be with her in the end, and would be okay with dating instead of getting engaged right away, the episode concluded with her leaving.
Although there are two women remaining, Hannah G. and Tayshia, it seems unlikely that Underwood would propose to either of them, since he was caught on camera telling Cassie that he would choose her over them. If he chooses not to propose, that means that Neil Lane will likely be absent from the episode, since an engagement ring would not be necessary.
According to the New York Times, jewelry designer Neil Lane has been designing engagement rings for The Bachelor since 2009 at no cost. He has also designed rings for The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. On the last season of The Bachelor, he designed Arie Luyendyk’s ring for Becca, as well as a new ring for Lauren after Arie changed his mind and proposed to Lauren during the “After the Final Rose” special.
The last time Neil Lane was absent from a Bachelor season finale episode was in 2013, when Juan Pablo Galavis was the season 18 Bachelor. Though he chose Nikki Ferrell over Clare Crawley in the end, he did not proposed to (nor say I love you to) Ferrell. Entertainment Tonight points out that if Colton Underwood does not propose during the season finale, although most recent seasons have ended with proposals, he would be nowhere near the first Bachelor to forego that milestone. Alex Michel (season 1), Bob Guiney (season 4), Jesse Palmer (season 5), Charlie O’Connell (season 7), Travis Stork (season 8), Lorenzo Borghese (season 9), and Brad Womack (season 11) all opted out of proposing in their earlier seasons of the franchise.
To find out for sure if Neil Lane and his engagement ring selection will be featured on this season of The Bachelor, tune in to the two-night finale on ABC, Monday and Tuesday at 8/7c.