While I completely understand why so many people hated Sharleen, I have to admit I had a soft spot for her. Even though she seemed unduly tortured by the prospect of having a fling with a hot guy on national television (pfft, Sharleen, hardly anyone gets married after "The Bachelor"), I had to admire her ability to keep a clear head in the face of mental manipulation and her own primal instinct to fight for what appear to be limited resources (as in, Juan Pablo). She was attracted to him. She couldn't stop kissing him. But in the end, she knew she wanted something more.

And so, Sharleen broke Juan Pablo's heart by leaving the show -- after he'd already admitted he suspected she might be The One. He took the bad news like a champ, but I wasn't surprised he cried a little after she left. Let's remember, he gave her the very first rose on the show -- while he claimed it was to make her feel more confident, the truth was that the attraction was immediate. I can't help but wonder if she's watching the show somewhere and deeply regretting her decision. I hope she isn't, because it took real guts and a strong sense of self to do what she did. More importantly, she gave the budding relationship every opportunity to blossom -- and ultimately did the right, selfless thing by leaving. Sorry to see you go, Sharleen. Now, let's just hope Juan Pablo doesn't settle for an asshat like Clare or Nikki. 

At this stage in the competition, there are always a few girls who find the easiest way to deal with the tension of not knowing where they stand with the guy they like is to whip out the claws and tear into their toughest competition. That's essentially what happens to Clare and Nikki, neither of whom have established themselves as particularly likable or, really, sincere. Clare had no problem breaking the rules to drag Juan Pablo out for a 4 a.m. swim a while back, while Nikki doesn't have a nice word to say about anyone unless she's talking to Juan Pablo. 

Of course, they hate one another, and when Clare confronts Nikki after the latter woman leaves the room, suspecting the other girls were going to start bagging on her one friend, Andi, the result is pretty comical. "Do you sleep here?" "Did you pay for this room?" "Do you sleep here?" "Did you pay for this room?" Yay, we're five years old! 

Through all of this Renee and Andi have come across as pretty level-headed women, and now that Sharleen is gone, either one might have a chance with Juan Pablo. Despite reading cutesy letters from her mom and dad to Juan Pablo, Chelsie never really seemed like a contender (and, no surprise, she was the one sent packing at the end of the night's episode). She also seemed all too ready to dive into the backbiting and sniping Clare and Nikki seem to enjoy, so it's not much of a loss for Juan Pablo, I think, even if he did get emotional about it. 

Oh, and sidebar -- how funny was that extended segment in which Clare and Nikki ignored the other, stewing in silence during the cocktail party? 

Still, I think everyone was a little surprised that Juan Pablo gave the group date rose to Andi (especially, of course, Clare). I'm still not sure why she started crying ("I'm so full of emotion!" isn't really an answer), and hopefully her terrible dancing during their hot evening date won't come back to haunt her. 

Next week we have hometowns, followed by a Tuesday episode in which it seems that the Fantasy Suite becomes a bed of tears and failure for some reason. I suspect this is just more clever editing (is it ever really an "episode that will shock America"?), but I'd hate to see Andi go down in flames. At least not before Juan Pablo wises up and sends Clare and Nikki packing. 

Who do you think Juan Pablo will pick? Do you think Sharleen was right to leave? What do you think about Clare and Nikki's battle?