The Bachelorette: Charity Lawson makes her choice as next Bachelor is crowned

Los Angeles, California - Charity Lawson's journey as The Bachelorette has finally drawn to a close with an eventful three-hour finale filled with surprises, tears, and a fairy-tale proposal.

Charity Lawson found her happy ending in the season finale of The Bachelorette.
Charity Lawson found her happy ending in the season finale of The Bachelorette.  © ABC/Craig Sjodin

The episode begins right where last week's ended as Charity attempts to wrap her head around Aaron's surprise return after he was eliminated ahead of fantasy suites.

Though our Bachelorette is thrilled to see him (especially after the disaster that was her fantasy suite with Xavier), Aaron's stay doesn't last very long.

At the rose ceremony, Aaron comes face-to-face with a baffled Joey and Dotun, both of whom had expected to see Xavier.

Joey secures the first rose before Charity asks Aaron to chat outside, resulting in a final goodbye before Dotun earns the second rose.

Down to two suitors, Charity is evidently adrift as she introduces the men to her family. Joey wins over her parents and sister with ease, but the Lawsons aren't as impressed by Dotun, though they don't express any clear disapproval.

The divergent responses send the Bachelorette into quite a tailspin, and despite her repeated begging of her mother to simply tell her what to do, Charity is off for her final dates with both men.

Sentimental gifts and plenty of "I love you's" are exchanged, setting the stage for one seriously dramatic proposal day as both Joey and Dotun feel fairly confident they'll be her happily ever after.

Charity Lawson makes her final call on proposal day

Dotun (r.) emerged victorious after Charity sent home a hopeful Joey before he could propose.
Dotun (r.) emerged victorious after Charity sent home a hopeful Joey before he could propose.  © Collage: ABC/Craig Sjodin & Christopher Willard

Alas, the first to exit the car is Joey, devastatingly confident in his love story with Charity. After a long-winded profession of love, Charity stops him before he gets down on one knee, spurring cringes from everyone in Bachelor Nation.

Charity says she "never doubted" their love but admits her connection with Dotun is "deeper," and with tears all around, Joey is sent home as he wonders when he'll finally find that forever love (setting the stage much?).

Charity and Joey then reunite on the live stage, as cordial as ever despite the heartache. Finally, it's time for Dotun's proposal.

A heartfelt speech from Dotun is followed by Charity's affirmation that he made her "believe in love again." And with that, he pops the question, and the rest is history.

The lovebirds are clearly head over heels in the live show as they share their enthusiasm about finally getting to go public with their relationship. Their families, sitting together in the studio, show their approval, with Charity's mom confirming she's "gotten to know Dotun a little bit better," giving her some more confidence in their romance.

The surprises didn't end there, with Dotun dropping the bombshell that Charity will be enjoying her time in the ABC limelight for a little longer as she joins the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

Lastly, Jesse Palmer provides the (fairly obvious) answer to the question on everyone's minds: Joey is our next Bachelor!

Joey Graziadei will be the next Bachelor

Joey Graziadei will lead season 28 of The Bachelor.
Joey Graziadei will lead season 28 of The Bachelor.  © ABC/Christopher Willard

Yep, the tennis pro is ditching the courts again for another chance at love. During the live show, Jesse surprises a woman named Leia in the audience with the news that she'll be one of the women vying for Joey's heart next season.

The 23-year-old from Hawaii hits it off with Joey about as well as one can when you're introduced on live TV, and it seems that the pair have plenty in common already.

Jesse reveals that the surprises still aren't over, as Leia will enter the mansion next season with a special envelope that with "absolutely change everything" on her quest to receive the final rose.

But alas, viewers (and Leia!) are not privy to its contents, so fans will have to wait for Joey's season to begin next year to find out what the big twist is.

As for what's next in Bachelor Nation, this fall will be quite busy as the iconic franchise moves to Thursday nights.

Bachelor in Paradise season 9 will kick off on September 28, with the first trailer featuring several contestants from Charity's season, including Brayden Bowers, Aaron Schwartzman, and now-two-time reject Aaron Bryant.

But that's not all! Bachelor Nation will have a double-feature every Thursday, with the Golden Bachelor now premiering on September 28 in the 8 PM EST slot before Bachelor in Paradise at 9 PM EST.

Cover photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

More on The Bachelorette: