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There’s a first for everything, even on a franchise that has pumped out 31 seasons of televised matchmaking. Unfortunately for JoJo Fletcher, she got to be a part of history when Ben Higgins broke from the usual Bachelor protocol and told her he loved her before the final rose ceremony. Of course, he also told her competition, Lauren, the same thing — and she ended up getting that ring.
“It was certainly not your average Bachelor breakup. It had never happened like that before,” says Bachelor host (and Yahoo TV blogger) Chris Harrison. “He told her he loved her and she was so confident going into the finale. It was heartbreaking, but that ending also made JoJo such an easy choice for the next Bachelorette.”
But after such a brutal, televised breakup, was JoJo Fletcher truly ready to find love again? “That was a concern,” admits Harrison. “We made sure she wasn’t just giving us lip service and saying yes. Having gone through three quarters of a season with her, I can assure you that she was definitely ready to move on and she was excited. For fans, it might have seemed more questionable because for them it had been only a commercial break. But it had been months for JoJo.”
Harrison also wants to emphasize that the Dallas-based real estate developer didn’t walk away mad. “She has never said a cross word behind the scenes about Ben. It would be so easy for her to be pissed off and no one would blame her,” he says. “There is no anger or animosity toward Ben. The thing I like most about her was that she took that whole thing with Ben as a positive. I was kind of surprised how honest she has been about how much she loved Ben, how much she appreciates him, how good of a guy he was, and how she now knows what a good man looks like. She consistently throughout the season compares these guys to him and says how they need to step up.”
As always, the guys competing for JoJo will get to woo her all over the world. “We’ll start with a domestic trip and then we head to South America with stops in Uruguay and in Argentina,” says Harrison. “The finale will be in an international exotic location as well.”
But first the men have to get through the night one meet-and-greet. Harrison says there weren’t many who tried over-the-top introductions, but those who did “did not fall flat. One that played off JoJo’s unicorn [mask] in a very clever way, and we have one of my favorite, if not my favorite, entrances in the history of the show. It has to do with the holidays. Everyone will be laughing.”
What isn’t a joke? The men who assembled to look for love. “For me, sometimes The Bachelorette is a bunch of dudes who look alike and start to blend together,” Harrison says. “But this is a very dynamic group.”
Click through to see the five men Harrison thinks will become the ones to keep an eye on during the days of wine and roses.
The Bachelorette premieres Monday, May 23 at 9:01 p.m. on ABC.