Previews for the final episode, with scenes of a tearful Fedotowsky and the final two suitors saying they may not be ready to propose, hinted that Fedotowsky could walk away without a ring.
Viewers had been told by host Chris Harrison to prepare for a finale "unlike anything we've seen before." And Fedotowsky did not fail to deliver.
Breaking with "Bachelor" tradition, Fedotowsky decided to let runner-up Chris Lambton, 33, go during their final date instead of making him wait until the final rose ceremony.
"I have to let you go here and not wait till tomorrow. This wasn't an easy decision," she told her suitor. "I just didn't want to put you through tomorrow because I knew it was going to be so hard."
A visibly shaken Lambton took the rejection in stride.
"Thank you for being honest," he told her. "Good luck tomorrow. Go find out tomorrow if he loves you."
Moments later, Lambton said he saw a rainbow streaking through the Tahiti sky and took it as a message from his deceased mother.
"That's my mom telling me it's going to be OK," he said.
Mathison said her relationship with Lambton, which took longer to pick up speed, was never much more than a friendship.
America first fell in love with Fedotowsky on last season's "The Bachelor," when she left Jake Pavelka and quit the show to give priority to her career. The fan favorite was then chosen to return as "The Bachelorette," where 25 bachelors vied for her love.
"The Bachelorette's" sixth season was filled with its fair share of drama.
Suitor Frank Neuschaefer, who furiously romanced Fedotowsky and won enough of her heart to be one of the final three guys, was flown halfway around the world to Tahiti -- only to break up with the bachelorette in favor of an old flame he took up with on the side during a visit to his home town of Chicago.
Fedotowsky was completely blindsided by his change of heart.
"I think it's so selfish of you to have done this," she said to Neuschaefer. "I've given up everything to be here."
If Neuschaefer had called and asked to come back to the show, as she did on "The Bachelor" with Pavelka, Fedotowsky said on "GMA" she would refuse.
Another dramatic plotline this season involved Justin Rego, better known as "The Wrestler," who was accused of using the show to promote his career. The Canadian entertainment wrestler was ultimately kicked to the curb after Fedotowsky learned that he had two girlfriends.
Bachelor Kasey Kahl, who was eliminated in Iceland, floored Fedotowsky and viewers when he branded himself to prove his undying dedication to Fedotowsky. Kahl got a tattoo on his wrist of a shield, which he said was a symbol of his promise to "guard and protect" Fedotowsky's heart -- a line he repeated ad nauseum on the show.
The drama this season on "The Bachelorette" wasn't a departure from the show's history. Season three Bachelorette Jenn Schefft rejected both finalists. During the 2007 season of "The Bachelor," Brad Womack didn't choose either of his two finalists during his final rose ceremony.
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In all the incarnations of the popular show, only two couples have made it down the aisle -- Season 13 "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, and season 1 "Bachelorette" couple Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter.