Minnesota teacher and former prep basketball star Michelle Young has made the final four on "The Bachelor." That means leading man Matt James will meet her family during next week's episode, a big step.
"I'm fully invested in Matt," Young said during the tense conclusion of Monday night's episode. "He's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. He's the person I want to have a family with."
Over the course of a week that whittled ten contestants to four, James gave Young the last rose.
The Edina resident and elementary school teacher also earned the episode's biggest laughs. Gathered with James and the other three finalists, a glass of champagne in hand, Young paused.
"Before I make my toast, I just do want to make sure that I look good for the camera," she announced. "So I'm going to knock out a few push-ups real quick."
She handed off her wine, set her rose in her mouth and, in a gorgeous long evening gown, got onto the floor. As the group laughed, she did five push-ups, ten.
"Good form," James said.
The short segment spotlighted the silly side of Young, who arrived late in the season but quickly impressed James with her care for her students. Young taught fourth grade at Normandale Hills Elementary School in Bloomington during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, according to a district spokesperson. She now teaches fifth grade in Burnsville.
"Michelle is hilarious," said Serena Pitt, who also won a rose Monday night. "She's just a hoot. I just get a kick out of her."
The episode of "The Bachelor," during the first season to feature a Black leading man, aired amid a firestorm over comments host Chris Harrison made last week.
In an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the first Black star of "The Bachelorette," Harrison, who is white, defended a current contestant who is facing allegations of racism in her past.
Photos show Rachael Kirkconnell, one of James' final four, attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. (Kirkconnell has since apologized for her "offensive" and "racist" actions.) Lindsay asked Harrison about it, and the longtime host called for "grace" for Kirkconnell, criticized the "woke police" and argued that "this judge-jury-executioner thing is tearing this girl's life apart."
When Lindsay said that the photos of Kirkconnell are "not a good look," Harrison asked: "Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?"
Harrison later apologized and has stepped aside from the show for an undefined period of time.
Cast members, including Young, shared an identical statement on their Instagram accounts Thursday denouncing any defense of racism. They also supported Lindsay, noting that she "continues to advocate with 'grace' for individuals who identify as BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] within this franchise.
"Just because she is speaking the loudest doesn't mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her."
Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168