SPOILER ALERT!

Credit: ABC via WENN Photo: Emily Maynard Contemplates Her Future in The Bachelorette Season 8

Spoilers are fun, but speculation is better for the imagination. It’s like a power food!

Right now we think we know Emily Maynard’s final three boyfriends on The Bachelorette Season 8 — Arie Luyendyk, Jr., Jef Holm, and Sean Lowe — but then the road gets hazy. Sure, there are rumors out there — and we want to believe some of them — but it all feels less confirmed than usual. Part of that is because it sounds like Em’s third favorite guy didn’t go home right away, so it wasn’t like “OK, he’s out, these two guys are left.” Us Weekly said Emily cut Arie right after she learned he had dated one of the show’s producers, but Reality Steve questioned the timing of that elimination.

Anyway, it’s just not clear what happens in the end and Emily hasn’t confirmed that she got engaged or even fell in love and picked someone. There are tons of possibilities for what happened and, as a commenter called “kasey31 noted” in the comments of Reality Steve’s latest blog, we haven’t even seen any hints of a final rose ceremony in the previews:

“pps.. does anyone else think it’s strange that they haven’t shown promo clips for the finale of emily’s season???
i agree with steve, i think something big happens bc they’ve usually started to aire those promos at this point in the show.. hmmmm…”

UPDATES!

On July 2, ABC revealed some big news. Emily’s finale will be held on Sunday, July 22, followed by a live “After the Final Rose” special. It will be the first live ATFR special in seven years.

So that could potentially explain why we haven’t heard too much about what happens after the final three, including no real footage of her final rose ceremony. What if Emily left the show either with her final three or with her final two and will make her big choice at a live final rose ceremony, held during the “After the Final Rose” special? Charlie O’Connell did something to that effect back on The Bachelor Season 7. He dated his final two ladies in the real world, after taping, then revealed his choice — Sarah Brice over Krisily Kennedy — at the live “After the Final Rose” special.

Or, what if Emily and her Chosen One get married on the live ATFR special? Brad Womack and Emily were planning on getting married during their ATFR special (instead they talked about their past breakup and communication issues), so maybe Emily decided to go ahead and do that with her Mr. Right from Season 8. Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss has said that’s his dream — to have a couple so in love that they decide to get married right then and there. Do you think that’s possible?

Credit: Life&Style Photo: Emily Maynard on the Cover of Life&Style's June 13, 2012 Issue

Some folks have speculated that Emily won’t pick anyone in the end, but if that’s true, why would ABC exec Robert Mills tweet this, when asked if this would be the first live ATFR special: “Charlie O'Connell and Jen Scheft were also live. This will be the best though.” It’s not hard to top Jen’s Bachelorette ATFR special, when she dumped the guy right then and there. Charlie and Sarah were actually a success for a long time, even if they didn’t quite get engaged during their ATFR. So if this live special includes an engagement it will already be an improvement on the past. If it includes a wedding — holy crap, y’all. 

Life & Style did a cover story on Em's rumored engagement, with details about the finale. If those details are accurate, a proposal already happened in the pre-taped finale and something else would have to happen on the live ATFR special. It can't just be a regular ATFR that happens to be taped, so a wedding would make sense. But that's only if we can trust Life & Style's cover story. Last week they said Emily was making "secret calls" to Brad Womack because she wasn't sure about the guy she chose. But maybe she was just contacting Brad to give him a heads-up on her big news? Or maybe she never contacted him at all and that was just a false rumor?

Here are the other end game possibilities we speculated on when we first wondered what the heck was up with the finale:

What if she goes back to the “let’s take a chance on love” promise ring stuff they used to do back in the day, instead of getting engaged? What if she rejects a proposal, like Jennifer Schefft on Season 3, just saying let’s see how we feel in a few months and then they break up at the After the Final Rose ceremony? What if she picks someone but he decides he’s not ready to be her husband and Ricki’s dad and asks to not get locked into an engagement? What if Arie — or whoever — pulls a Reid Rosenthal and returns at the final rose ceremony to propose? What if she accepts that proposal? What if Em pulls an Ali Fedotowsky and dumps her runner-up ahead of time and focuses all her attention on her Chosen One? What if they actually do get married right on the show? 

We’ll find out soon!