With just seven suitors remaining and hometown dates looming, Tuesday's episode of The Bachelorette saw Michelle enlisting some of her fifth-grade students to design and lead the dates.
Ahead of the first one-on-one date, the students peppered each of the men with a number of questions aimed at finding the best husband for their favorite teacher. While Nayte and Rodney both scored points with the kids, Clayton's fort-building skills made him stand out among the others, earning him the first one-on-one date.
However, while Clayton "completely checked every single box" for the qualities Michelle was looking for in a partner, she didn't believe their relationship had progressed to the point where she was ready to meet his family. In one of this season's most heartbreaking eliminations, Clayton was sent home.
Later, the group date ended with a rose and another elimination.
Martin emerged as the new villain after criticizing Michelle's "immaturity" during conversations with the other suitors. Olu, heeding Michelle's request for them to "leave everything out on the table," used his time with her to expose Martin's true character. When Michelle confronted Martin, his attempts to deny the accusations only got him into more hot water, until Michelle finally showed him the door.
Meanwhile, Nayte's declaration that he was "definitely, seriously, strongly" falling for Michelle, followed by her confirmation that she felt the same, earned him the date rose.
A final one-on-one date went to Brandon, who got a tour of Michelle's childhood home, followed by another surprise. While cozying up to each other in the family's backyard hot tub, Michelle's mom and dad "unexpectedly" showed up. Brandon hit all the the right notes with the parents, especially during a private conversation in which he asked their permission for Michelle's hand, should he make it that far. They said yes, and later, Michelle offered him the final date rose.
That left four men competing for the two remaining hometown spots, and each saw they're chances slipping away as hosts Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe announced that Michelle had already made her decision, and would therefore skip the cocktail party and head straight to the rose ceremony.
The remaining roses went to Joe and Martin. Olu and Rick were sent home.
Here are the four men whose families Michelle will meet:
Brandon J., 27, a traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, Ore.
Joe, 28, a real estate developer from Minneapolis, Minn.
Nayte, 27, a sales executive from Austin, Texas
Rodney, 29, a sales rep from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The Bachelorette returns Tuesday at 8 p.pm. ET on ABC.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.