By Brigette Flood and Sandy M. Tyler

The last few weeks have showcased plenty of cast tussles, so it’s no surprise that the season finale features a fight to the finish.  Not between Kim and NeNe, but between Cynthia and all those big issues leading up to her impending union. Finances, family and even flowers provide plenty of last minute hurdles for the bride to work out, almost literally, on her way to the altar.

But first the fun stuff. Fresh from their bus tour, Kim goes to visit Kandi so they can talk about the business side of their relationship. Kim’s latest single, The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing, is a potential hit, but if Kim wants to make money from releasing the song, she’s going to have to pay the people who created and own it – writer Kandi and producer Focus. Kim doesn’t seem to understand why an “artist” like her, who is even willing to get a boob job as a part of the song’s promotion, shouldn’t get the biggest paycheck. Is this continuing naiveté on Kim’s part or just delusion? Does she not remember that it took an all night session at Kandi’s studio with a singing coach feeding her every line just to get the song recorded? And without Auto-Tune, a background track, and an on-stage DJ to help her out, her “live” performances would never have happened? If no one’s around to look, what’s a boob job worth?

Kandi gets more appreciation from Miss Lawrence, who performs Closet Freak in front of a live audience to rave reviews (even from Shereé!). Kandi is unbelievably talented at cranking out catchy tunes, which makes us wonder why none of her own recordings seem to catch on? Does she stray too far from her pop sensibilities when it comes to her own material? Here’s hoping her tour with Fantasia will help make her own songs stand out and move up the charts.

Remember when we hated everything about Phaedra … back when the season started what feels like a year ago? That was before we met the softer, post-birth, stripper-loving Phaedra of recent episodes. She surprised us again this week, not just by bouncing back from her son’s birth in an awesome outfit when going back to work after eight short weeks, but by being a typical Mom yet again. Phaedra may be ready to go back to the office, but the idea of actually leaving Ayden is as hard for her as for any new mother and the tears flow. Luckily, Phaedra has her friend Melanie to help out with Ayden while she’s at work. Maybe Melanie can also teach Phaedra how to hold Ayden’s head when she carries him around!

Shereé goes to her first movie audition for an independent feature film called If These Hips Could Talk. It’s hard to actually tell how Shereé’s part of the audition went because casting agent Terri Vaughn spent most of the time auditioning to be the next Simon Cowell. (Or maybe to become a housewife herself.) We have some experience casting talent, and auditions are pretty cut and dry – you either like the actor or you don’t. Providing some direction is standard, but attacking the actor during their audition is not. Maybe this is Shereé’s Karmic payback for parking in a handicap space when she arrived to the audition?

NeNe continued her vitriolic ramblings this week, with trash talk aimed at just about everyone. At least she kept it more peaceful on the home front, continuing to try to keep son Bryson on the straight and narrow with some constructive nagging (We agree, Brice. Keep working that new haircut!). Gregg and NeNe also had a somewhat friendlier sit-down. It may be too late to save their fractured marriage, but at least they come to some kind of agreement about their behavior with each other from now on, especially when it comes to raising their son Brentt.

Cutting to the major storyline and cliffhanger, Cynthia finally walks down the aisle to marry Peter Thomas, though we have to ask the same question as her family – was this such a good idea? If both bride and groom need copious amounts of alcohol before the ceremony, the bride’s family can’t stop crying (not from joy), the groom never bought the wedding bands, and the bride’s sister is hiding the marriage license, maybe the suggestion of running off to Savannah is a better idea than the lavish affair the couple is too broke to enjoy.

The wedding should have been a lovely, romantic affair but the hours leading up to the ceremony seem to feature a little too much reality, even for reality TV.  Are all the red flags flaring omens for Cynthia and Peter? Despite the drama, the other housewives arrive for the ceremony in their blinged-out best in some of the most amazing cars and fabulous shoes we’ve seen all season, not to mention with some of their best and best-dressed gays. Kim and her new, gigantic rack are the exception. The woman needs Dolly Parton to give her some lessons in toning things down, or at least how to keep her boobs in her dress. Many of the ladies brought their usual mean-girl commentary to the wedding as well. It’s the “gift” that always keeps on “giving.” After witnessing Cynthia’s stress the week before in Miami, we expected some compassion from the ladies, but being a Real Housewife rarely means being real supportive.

At the ceremony, Cynthia is more than gorgeous in her gown, and Peter looks genuinely touched when she joins him in front of the waiting crowd to exchange vows. They even manage to get married sans excessive flower arrangements, but not without snarky notice by the other Housewives (And please note: Cynthia is now the only Atlanta cast member other than Phaedra to be married … or at least married and not on the way to divorce). The new family makes for a beautiful picture; let’s hope there’s more to the union than a great wedding album.

It’s been quite a season, and we’re looking forward to the reunion shows starting on Sunday, Feb. 13. There’s a break in the action because of some other big, sports-related show next Sunday that already has plenty of bloggers on deck, so we’ll tide you over with our Atlanta Housewives’ Golden Rules from Season Three:

1) Beware of Love Doctors with Internet doctorates.

2) If you choose your baby’s due date, you can choose your conception date as well.

3) Boughetto is as boughetto does.

4) Side-boob is the new butt-crack.

5) Why learn to sing when there’s Auto-Tune?

6) Frenemies are not friends (But you can ask them to sign your friendship contract anyway.).

7) Dating a married man is different than cheating.

8 ) Pizza eating and laser treatments is the new diet and exercise.

9) Unhappy marriages make unhappy people. And unhappy people make unhappy marriages.

10) Business and friends don’t mix as well as lawyers and managers do.

11) Rules are made to be broken, especially by the people who make them.

12) It’s not all about you. Wait, yes it is!

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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