‘The Bachelor’ recap: Sydney calls out Alayah in front of Peter, leading to a shocking elimination

ABC/John Fleenor(LOS ANGELES) -- On Monday’s episode of ABC’s The Bachelor, Hannah Ann and Kelsey attempted to smooth things out between them, while a new rivalry between Sydney and Alayah led to a shocking elimination.

The episode kicked off with a one-on-one date between Victoria P. and Peter, who enjoy a fun day of line dancing, before Victoria confides to him a heartbreaking story of her father’s death when she was very young, which led to her mother’s slide into drug addiction.  The tragic series of events took a toll on Victoria, who admittedly feels insecure in her romantic relationships.  However, she confesses to being smitten with Peter, which makes him he feel “inspired” by Victoria, so he offers her the date rose.

Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Hannah Ann and Kelsey try in vain to put "Champagne-gate" behind them, to the frustration of the other ladies.

Another group date includes Kiarra, Sarah, Tammy, Kelley, Shiann, Savannah, Sydney and Alayah, who are warned that Peter “likes surprises” and hopes they do too.

The first surprise is the return of The Bachelor Season 23’s Demi Burnett, who helped out Hannah Brown during season 15 of The Bachelorette, and wants to do the same for Peter.  She brings along a couple of “henchmen” who rouse the girls out of bed with an early morning pillow fight.  Next, all the girls are asked to choose one of eight shopping bags, each containing some form of sleep ware, leading to the next surprise: an extreme pillow fight at a packed local saloon – emceed by Bachelor host Chris Harrison and actor/comedian Fred Willard. 

Alayah “The Royal Pain” and Sydney “Syd Vicious” are the two finalists deemed worthy of fighting it out for Pete’s heart.  Alayah decides to throw her weight around -- literally -- by sitting on Sydney and is declared the winner.  That victory only riles Sydney all the more, who already has daggers out for the former beauty pageant queen.

She exacts her revenge by telling Peter that Alayah is fake, both privately and in front of the other ladies on the date, explaining that she doesn’t want him to get hurt.  Peter believes Sydney is sincere and offers her the group date rose.

The following day, Harrison informs all of the ladies that instead of the usual pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Peter will be joining them for a pool party.  It’s there he discovers that several of the other women share Sydney’s opinion of Alayah.

However, it’s Victoria P. who delivers the final bombshell.  It turns out that, unbeknownst to the show’s producers, she and Alayah knew each other before the show, and that Alayah has pressured Sydney to keep their friendship a secret.

There's more.  Victoria also disclosed that Alayah was "open to all the opportunities that will come after this" even if she didn't marry Peter, adding, "So, maybe she's not the one for you."

When Peter confronts Alayah, she admits to the cover-up, explaining she did it because she thought it would protect both women from disqualification.

Peter, who feels a connection with Alayah, is then forced to decide on following his heart or his head.  Then, in a dramatic rose ceremony, he sends Alayah packing, along with Alexa and Maurissa.

The Bachelor returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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