The anti-Michelle Money tirades were more intense and lasted almost twice as long in person. "I never in my life thought I would get that emotional," Money told PEOPLE backstage. "I was so upset I couldn't breathe. I never felt uglier. The whole process has been hard but tonight was my breaking point." Michelle did appreciate hearing words of support coming from the audience. "It feels redemptive to think maybe I changed a few opinions of me tonight," she said with a rare smile. "Maybe people at home will see I'm not the villain I was edited to be."
If you thought Madison's comment about not wanting to be friends insinuated that the fanged femme took issue with Michelle, you'd be wrong. She defended Michelle extensively, giving her props for being "honest from go about being there to find love not friends." Madison was also one of the women – along with Alli, Ashley H., Melissa and Lisa – who were thanked with hugs and hand squeezes from Michelle when she returned to her seat. "That was overly brutal," Madison said. "I would have cried too."
Brad had a much easier time at this reunion compared to the last one. "I didn't feel I did anything shady," he said. "I went in open-minded and gave everyone a shot. I let people go when I knew there was no chance at a future with them and I tried to be honest. And I fell in love so it was much easier to face them."
The Rachel vs. Melissa segment was nastier in person than it appeared on TV. Rachel's chest implants were mocked and mental disorders like ADD and OCD were bandied about to describe Melissa. When Jackie told her she should have just walked away from the drama and been the bigger person, Rachel told Jackie to go sing "Beauty and the Beast" because she was acting "so Disney." Rachel had so many zingers, it felt at times like an audition for season 2 of Bachelor Pad. "I hope they see from tonight that I would be a great candidate for that show," Rachel said. "My doctor would be happy to turn this $11,000 boob job into a $20,000 one after I win."
Rachel also had a chance to ask Brad if Melissagate was responsible for her exit. "I'm not a fan of drama and I wanted it out of the house," he said. After the show, Rachel felt vindicated: "I was happy to hear that the connection wasn't something I made up in my head, but I'm still pissed because I think that had I not gotten into the drama with Melissa, I had a real shot at the final two ... But now we'll never know thanks to that poisonous b–ch."
Chris Harrison did a double take when he first laid eyes on Ashley Hebert's new hairstyle. But she told PEOPLE after the show that she thought it surprised Brad more than anyone. "He didn't even recognize me, but when we hugged he said he thought it looked great a second time," she said. "I'm really happy with it. I feel like this is the natural me and I needed to refresh after this experience."
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