Ashley Cooke on ‘Bachelorette’ Performance, Rachel and Jordan V.

Week two The Bachelorette was full of surprises — including Rachel RecchiaSending Jordan V.Home before Ashley Cooke Brett Young could perform their duet, “Never Til Now,” for the Bachelorette and her first one-on-one date recipient.

The 26-year-old flight instructor broke up with the 27-year-old drag racer during the night portion of their date after realizing there wasn’t a strong enough connection. As a result, the musicians sang to just Rachel — a first for the franchise.

“It was really cool. I will say, I didn’t expect it to be so real,” Ashley, 25, said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast on Tuesday, July 19. “So much of the show — and everything that happens, the drama that unfolds — it’s very organic and real. Real people, you know, finding real love. It was amazing and eye-opening. It was also really fascinating to see the behind-the scenes. And even yesterday on the episode when Rachel said, ‘I just want to be Rachel, [not] Rachel: the Bachelorette.’ It really humanized it for me to see her and to see them in this light.”

Ashley Cooke, Rachel Recchia, and Brett Young on ‘The Bachelorette.’
ABC/Craig Sjodin

While “Never Til Now” is indeed a love song, the songwriter believes the track worked for Rachel’s solo moment of reflection after sending Jordan V. home too.

“It kind of ended up a full circle moment — because when I had written ‘Never Til Now,’ obviously, it’s a love song. But I was very single, I’m still single. And I was at a place of, you know, trying to kind of manifest my future person of who I wanted to meet down the road and the kind of love that I wanted,” she explained, confirming that she didn’t meet Jordan V. or co-Bachelorette Gabby WindeyDuring her appearance. “And it was a weird full circle moment that wasn’t expected, but it turned out to be the same story for Rachel. And that’s really cool because I feel like it just kind of all intertwines, and it shows that love songs, and [this] song especially, an kind of relate to people at all different phases of love whether you found it or not.”

Never Til Now Singer Ashley Cooke Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Bachelorette Performance Talks Upcoming Tour

Ashley Cooke
Amy Harris/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The “Sunday Morning Kinda Saturday Night” songstress added that Rachel was the “sweetest woman on the planet,” who messaged her after the episode aired. “She DMed me last night being like, ‘Oh, my gosh, so good to meet you,’” she said. “I really hope that Rachel was able to find that person because she seemed like she had such a good kind of, like, compass of where she wanted to go and how she wanted to find that love.”

Ashley is now focusing on her debut album, and going on the road with Cole SwindellSeptember: 20 dates

“I’m so pumped,” she told Use, noting that she toured with the “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” crooner in 2021 as his “first of three” (a.k.a she performed ahead of his opener) and he invited her to be his “direct support” on his 2022 tour. “It was really cool how it progressed so quickly; we became such good friends. He believed in me from the beginning. … We’re playing the Ryman Auditorium, which I’m so over the moon about — I’ve never played it before. Huge, legendary, national venue, and we’re playing my hometown for the very last show. … I’m so excited. So it’s gonna be really, really special.”

For a complete recap of Monday’s episode with Love To See It’s Emma Gray, listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.