And, as feelings become real at this stage of the show, Sophie, 37, confesses that the rose ceremonies are now harder than ever.
"I’m hurting people, and it’s real emotions," she says. "But you have to cut out all the crap because you don’t have the time. You have to ask, 'Is this person right for me? I might be attracted to them, but I’ve dated that before.' You’ve just got to look after yourself."
NW sat down with the hunky suitors to get the goss on what they REALLY think of Sophie…
Magic man Apollo Jackson can’t believe he made it past the first night – but with abs as hard as rock and a heart as soft as cotton, he’s totally boyfriend material. Even if he is 13 years Sophie’s junior.
"There’s a spark with me and Sophie – the age is not a big deal," Apollo, 24, tells NW.
"I feel like I’m at a later stage of my life and I’m ready to share it with her."
Straight-shooter Blake Colman hasn’t nabbed a single date with his dream girl yet, but he’s certain Sophie’s just "saving the best till last".
"I’m feeling pretty confident. She’s just taking the other guys on dates to figure out whether they’re there for the right reasons," he says.
As for who has the best chemistry with Sophie? "Myself," Blake says.
Australia fell for James Trethewie when he dressed up as Robin Hood’s mate Friar Tuck and got down on all fours during the photo shoot group date – but according to But according to the man himself, Soph fell waaaaay before that.
In fact, Jimmy says he gets the most time with her and that she’s serious about a future with him.
"She said, 'Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet my family – they’re so funny,'" he gushes to NW. "There have definitely been signs of affection from her, putting her hand around me..."
The blokes weren’t happy to learn Stu Laundy and Soph had history, but this contender reckons he’s on the back pedal with the Queen Of Roses but he isn’t giving up just yet.
"I was nervous that one of the other guys had a connection that I couldn’t catch up with," he says. "She makes me happy that I chose such an outrageous path – it feels like it might all be worth it. There’s a slim chance we might have been born to be."
For more exclusive intell on what the Top 9 Bachelorette boys have to say about Soph – plus more adorable puppy pics! - pick up this week’s issue of NW, on stands now!