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Printed from the Charlotte Observer - www.CharlotteObserver.com
Posted: Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

Back-stabbers surprise Charlotte bachelorette

By Mark Washburn
Published in: Entertainment

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Blakeley Shea says tense times with the other women during filming of "The Bachelor" were bad enough, but reliving the experience by watching the show is even worse.

Shea, a Charlotte cocktail waitress and sometimes-model, left the show sobbing in this week's episode after being ditched by bachelor Ben Flajnik, 29, a California winemaker. In the weeks the show has aired, she's gotten to see how some of the other bachelorettes trashed her behind her back.

"Seeing the girls say the most hateful and hurtful things about me behind my back - I knew there was tension and people ostracized me, but I never knew they said such things about me," says Shea, 34, a native of Rutherfordton.

Things improved with most of the other contestants during their visit to San Francisco, she says, but never quite got right with model Courtney Robertson, who plays the role of the scheming villain in this year's "Bachelor."

Robertson called Shea a "stripper" behind her back. Shea says that's unusual coming from Robertson, who took Flajnik skinny dipping one night in front of the cameras.

"I just wouldn't go skinny dipping in front of America," Shea says.

Shea says she developed feelings for Flajnik. As she got to know him, she found in him qualities she wants in a mate - compassion, energy, humor.

Flajnik rejected her, though, saying he just didn't think he had long-term feelings for her. She left wondering where she'd gone wrong.

"It's definitely hurtful when you don't understand. ... It hurt me so bad. Just holding him and crying before I got into the car to leave, I think he felt, 'Wow, I didn't know how strongly she felt.' ... If he wasn't feeling it, it was probably better for both of us."

North Carolina is not done with "The Bachelor," though. Still on the show is Emily O'Brien, 27, a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill. And in the next season of "The Bachelorette," the roses will be handed out by Emily Maynard of Charlotte, who got a proposal but ultimately broke up with former "Bachelor" Brad Womack.

Media Movers

WBT-AM (1110) continues to try out potential co-hosts to team with Stacey Simms for "Charlotte's Morning News" after the departure of Al Gardner. Among locally known personalities who have taken the microphone are longtime reporter Jeff Sonier, WBT reporter Mark Garrison, weekend host Don Russell, "Fox News Edge" producer Bo Thompson, Panthers post-game host Rick Benjamin and sports director Jim Szoke, who will likely remain with the show in a sports capacity if not chosen as co-host. Next week, former morning WLYT-FM ("Lite" 102.9) host Jim Shafer will sit in. Program director Carl East says he hopes to settle on a permanent host by sometime in March. ...

Longtime Charlotte media personalities Fannie Flono, associate editor of The Observer, and Bea Thompson of WBAV-FM ("V" 101.9) will be inducted March 23 into the Women's History Hall of Fame sponsored by the Charlotte Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club in partnership with the Levine Museum of the New South. ... WBTV (Channel 3) anchor Molly Grantham was named to the Charlotte Business Journal's top "40 under 40" annual list. ...

Former WSOC-FM (103.7) morning personality Jeff Roper has left his morning gig at Greensboro station WTQR-FM (104.1) after three years, landing a morning spot at a San Antonio country station. Roper left Charlotte in 2004 for a job in Columbia. ... Charlotte comic David Livingston leaves Brotha Fred's morning show a year after it moved to Chicago. It had been heard on WHQC-FM ("Channel 961" 96.1) through syndication until December, when the station added its own morning show. ...

Monica Palumbo, former Miss Sprint Cup, will continue her role on "Ace & T.J." on WHQC-FM after joining Charlotte-based Speed channel as social media reporter, creating content for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets. ... Also at Speed, former Sprint Cup driver Ricky Rudd signs on as "Speed Center" analyst. ... "Palmetto Mornings" co-host Josh Brandon leaves Rock Hill's WRHI-FM (94.3).

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007; mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

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