Bachelor Nation mourned the loss of fan favorite contestant Tia Booth on Monday when the straight-shooting Arkansas gal was sent home by Arie Luyendyk Jr. after the much-awaited Bachelor hometown dates.
Calling the choice, "the hardest decision I've ever had to make in his life," Arie eliminated Tia.
"I don't even know what to say," Tia said, sobbing on her way out of the mansion. "I did not expect this. What did I do wrong?"
"You didn't do anything wrong," Arie replied. "I don't have a good explanation, I really don't. ... I don't know, there was just something missing."
That leaves just Lauren Burnham, Becca Kufrin and Kendall Long to vie for the 36-year-old race car driver's heart during next week's overnight dates and the following finale.
The four women also showed fans a glimpse at their background during the visits to their hometowns Monday.
After Kendall creeped out viewers (and possibly Arie) with a quick taxidermy lesson back home in sunny California, her sister and parents expressed doubt that she would be ready for a proposal by the end of The Bachelor. Long, however, said she's willing to open herself up to the possibility of marriage with Arie due to her strong connection with the 36-year-old hunk.
Tia channeled her inner country girl when returning with Arie to Weiner, Arkansas, where the two did a little racing in honor of Arie's passion for race cars before heading to her family's home.
There, Arie wasn't given as easy of a time as he might have expected, with Tia's brother confronting him about his nickname, "The Kissing Bandit," asking him how he can prove that he's not the "playboy" he's read about in the tabloids.
"I've had some good times and good years of my life where I wasn't serious and was racing and traveling the world, but I don't feel like that now," Arie responded.
Tia's dad eventually gave his approval, but hedged it with a threat that instantly became an iconic part of Bachelor history.
"If you hurt her," he said, "I can find you on Google."
Becca's hometown date brought the 27-year-old back to her Minnesota roots, where she and Arie frolicked through a picturesque apple orchard before meeting her mom and Uncle Gary. The publicist's father passed away when she was 19 years old.
Although Becca's mom said she couldn't offer a blessing per se for a proposal, she did offer this: "I would honor whatever her choice is, because I honor her and I love her. But I really like you too."
But Arie seemed most nervous to meet Lauren's admittedly "conservative" military family, who began to grill him before he stepped out of the room to blot his face sweat with a napkin.
"I'm kind of freaking out," he admitted, saying that the most nervous he's ever been was before the Indy 500, "and I'm approaching that."
Lauren's dad quickly bonded with Arie, however, saying, "She's gonna make the choice on you," he said. "So if she likes you, I like you."
The next episode of the ABC dating show takes the final three ladies to Peru for their overnight dates with Arie.0comments
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo Credit: ABC