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Wadena grad wins TV reality show

Jo De La Rosa said "I think that we should be more than friends" to Lucas James Joyce, formerly of Wadena, when she picked him to win the season finale of "Date My Ex: Jo and Slade" Monday night.

De La Rosa said she followed her heart and it led her to Joyce.

"I was just really happy about that moment," Joyce, 27, said about winning the Bravo channel reality series.

Joyce was confident through the whole filming of the show that De La Rosa was going to pick him, he said. As the winner of the show he has the opportunity to go on further dates with De La Rosa, an aspiring singer and a former star of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

That opportunity hasn't happened yet, however, De La Rosa and Joyce were not allowed to appear in public during the airing of the show this summer, he said. They have been in contact through a few phone calls and e-mails.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen next, to say the least," Joyce said.

De La Rosa is a busy woman with the release of her album "Unscripted" this fall, he said. He has been dating someone else this summer.

Joyce spent a month last spring taping the reality dating TV series, he said. It ended mid-June and the series premiered July 21.

He's received a lot of e-mails from the Wadena community during the series, he said. But it's his parents in Wadena who are his biggest fans.

"Oh my gosh, I just about busted a gut," said his father, Greg Anderson, about watching the final episode.

The phone rang off the hook Monday night as family and friends called, said Joyce's mother, Nancy Anderson.

The Andersons had a bunch of friends over for the beginning of the series, but she and Greg wanted to savor the finale alone, she said. It was unbelievable when Joyce won.

"I didn't know how it was going to go," Nancy said.

Joyce was not allowed to reveal the outcome of the show.

Nancy thought Chris, another finalist, or even Slade Smiley, De La Rosa's ex-fiance, might win because of the way the show was edited. She won't miss the drama and the cliffhangers in the show, she said, but she will miss seeing her son on television.

"The part I loved was being able to see Luke every Monday night," she said.

The family misses him since he moved to Arizona after college, Nancy said. He's a very important part of the family.

"We're just very, very proud of Lucas," she said.

Her son stayed true to himself and to the values he was raised with on the show, Nancy said. She liked that the dates with the guys and De La Rosa didn't have a lot of drinking and weren't set in a party environment.

Nancy liked De La Rosa, she said. The more she saw the show the more substance she saw in her. She liked Smiley as well and thought he cared about De La Rosa.

"It was really a fun show," Nancy said.

Joyce enjoyed being on the show as well, he said. He got to meet some great guys and hang out with De La Rosa.

Joyce is still keeping in contact with some of his fellow suitors on the show. He met up with Chris, Zack and Chuck in Chicago a few weeks ago, he said. Some people in the airport recognized them from the show.

He appreciates the local people who watched the show, he said.

"I hope I represented the Wadena community in a good light," Joyce said.

Joyce graduated from Wadena-Deer Creek High School in 2000 and now lives in Arizona.