"After hometowns, there is a plot twist, something that has never been done before... I think even in the entire franchise's history, the US included—drumroll, pause for dramatic effect—we will not be getting a top three this season," says show host Megan Pustetto, who frequently speaks to 'on-set sources'.
In the episode, Pustetto revealed that Irena's family was the only one who could not partake in hometowns, as they were in Melbourne, and will therefore be featured via Zoom.
Per Pustetto, they reason they've reportedly cut the season down by two weeks is due to COVID, with the lack of a top three attributed to uncertainty around further potential lockdowns (no more Zoom dates, please).
Production was reportedly already behind schedule and needed to wrap up filming as fast as possible, so they could start filming The Bachelorette, which takes place in the same mansion.
Speculation that Bella and Irena would make the final two is nothing new, with punters having long tipped the pair to reach the end, and for Irena to win.