Colton Underwood gave "Bachelor" fans a peek into the show's inner workings earlier this month, revealing just how much producers tried to control his romantic life.
In a recent interview with "This American Life," the 27-year-old revealed that the show's producers asked him to rank his favorite women each week — rankings that apparently didn't always result in the dates he wanted.
It might have been a tough pill to swallow for some "Bachelor" fans, but it's something Underwood felt was important to share. AOL chatted with Underwood at an event in support of his partnership with MorningStar Farms, where he told us why he "wasn't scared" to lift back the curtain.
"No, it wasn’t something I was scared to talk about," he told AOL. "And I think the reason why is just where we’re at right now with all of the shows. Breaking down the fourth wall is important."
Underwood went on to compare his season — which was full of meta moments like escaping producers in a now-famous fence jump — to an ongoing trend of transparency in "Bachelor" nation.
He also referenced last week's episode of "Bachelor in Paradise," when producers brought Demi Burnett's real-life girlfriend, Kristian Haggerty, onto the show. Underwood added these decisions are more in line with what modern viewers expect from reality TV.
"We are in 2019 now, people are sort of catching on, like: You’re not alone in all the moments, you have producers and cameras around you," Underwood told AOL.
The interview with "This American Life" was full of revelations about Underwood's season, including that he intentionally lied to the producers about his preferences once he realized he wasn't getting dates with his top-ranked women.
"I was like, 'All right, if you're going to do that to my top girls, I’m not really going to tell you who my top girls are. Because I don't want you messing with them,'" Underwood told "This American Life." "So in a weird way, I tried to defend myself and defend the girls by not being truthful to them who my top [choice] was."
He also told the show about how that decision backfired on him. The show's producers, wrongly believing Colton's top choice to be Hannah Goodwin, sabotaged his relationship with his real favorite, Cassie Randolph, by flying her father to Portugal so he could convince her to leave the show.
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"I was thinking, 'I just got screwed,'" Underwood told "This American Life." "For me, hearing, 'By the way my dad came back,' really sparked something in me... I don't have the control I thought I had."
Things worked out in the end though. Underwood managed to salvage his relationship with Randolph and — in another meta moment — subvert the show's traditions by ending his season without a proposal. Underwood and Randolph are still dating, and he credits the show's producers for adapting to their romance, which he called a "slow burn."
"[Cassie and I] love each other dearly, but we’re not ready for that next step yet," Underwood told AOL. "And I was excited that the producers were on board for doing what was best and what was right for our relationship."
Underwood added that while he doesn't believe the show will move away from its marriage-focused format, he does believe the producers keep adapting to the needs of its contestants.
"As long as they continue to do that, they’re gonna have a successful franchise," Underwood told AOL.