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You could almost hear the collective “awwwwww” when Ben Higgins admitted to Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe last July that he feared he was unlovable. There was a second national expelling of breath when he of the shawl-collared sweater was sent packing a few days later, despite her assurances that she was falling in love with him.
“People really responded to him and felt for him because most of us have been, no pun intended, him. We’ve all been hurt, dumped, led on, and made to believe there was something there when there wasn’t,” host Chris Harrison told Yahoo TV in an exclusive phone interview last week about The Bachelor’s 20th season, which premieres Jan. 4.
“There is a very real fragility and vulnerability in Ben,” Harrison says. ”He is very open about the fact that he feels unlovable and that he hasn’t been very lucky in love. He is always the nice guy who finishes last. He’s been burned. He was even burned by Kaitlyn. It is something we deal with throughout the season, and to hear this good-looking successful guy saying the same things you say when you are sitting around with girlfriends drinking a box of wine is refreshing and relatable. People are absolutely going to fall head over heels in love with this guy.”
People, in this case, include the 25 women handpicked to vie for the 27-year-old, Denver-based software saleman’s attention and weekly roses. Harrison adds, “Like with Sean, you get an immediate sense that Ben is sincere and genuinely looking for love. He dove in headfirst and completely gives himself up to this process, and the ladies are into that, of course.”
And we’re into finding out more about these single ladies, so Yahoo TV once again asked Harrison to choose five women who make watching the show worthwhile. In honor of the series reaching the 20th-season milestone, Harrison did one better and detailed six — including the first-ever set of twins.
The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC.