Hi, I’m Chris Harrison, and welcome to a new season of The Bachelorette. Every time I walk out of that mansion and onto that famous driveway, I still get excited. It’s not only exciting to be back with my Bachelor family, I’m excited for the unknown. You just never know what’s going to happen when you’re standing out there on night one, and this season was more bizarre, more controversial, and more awkward than any we’ve ever had before. The “two Bachelorettes” concept was one that was met with a lot of talk. Whether you loved the idea or hated it, the bottom line is this: The guys were truly torn when we were casting the show, and that first night could’ve gone either way.
Several years ago, we had two Bachelors, so I had that experience to draw on, but this night was different. Those guys didn’t know each other at all, so it wasn’t personal. Kaitlyn and Britt not only know each other, they just shared a pretty remarkable experience together and now here they are on the same driveway hoping to become the next Bachelorette. My first impression of Britt was that she was confident, which isn’t surprising, because that’s just her. She’s a supremely confident woman. I think going into that first night Britt really felt like she had a slight edge over Kaitlyn.
Britt and Jonathan
And Kaitlyn was nervous. She didn’t seem comfortable at all with the situation. She put on a brave face but you could tell she was having a tough time. The most impressive and maybe surprising thing that first night was how they decided to act. Instead of being competitive and catty the two of them really got along well, and decided to unite and conquer. They found power and strength in each other and ended up having a great time together. It still wasn’t the ideal situation and neither one of them wanted the other to be there, but they made the best of it — and for that I’m very proud of them both.
Kaitlyn and Joe
So after all the build-up, it was time to get underway. The arrivals were incredibly compelling. The guys knew there were going to be two Bachelorettes, but they didn’t know what the set up was going to be. The ladies were only about ten feet apart, and I was interested to see how the guys handled this awkwardness. There were a few arrivals that will obviously be talked about: First and creepiest is Josh S., our “dancer.” Look, I don’t care about the fact that he’s a “dancer” and it didn’t bother me that he goofed around and made reference to it. But going so far as to grab the women’s hands to run them over his body was a bit much. If he was looking to turn these ladies on, this stripping fireman definitely put out the flames.
Shawn E. pulled up in the coolest, most amazing bit of technology I’ve ever seen. I love this country for many reasons, but the fact that somebody in this great land invented a hot tub car makes me love the U-S-of-A that much more. Speaking of cool cars, you have to appreciate the cupcake car. Even if you don’t, the ladies definitely loved Chris’s entrance in the giant cupcake. I have a feeling a nickname has been born.
Once the ladies got inside, things actually seemed pretty normal again. Kaitlyn and Britt found their own space so for the most part it seemed like a regular cocktail party. The only difference was that instead of the ladies trying to gather all the information they can about the guys before they make a difficult decision, they were the ones trying to make the good first impression.
Speaking of first impressions, we have to talk about Ryan. I can’t really add much about Ryan that you didn’t see for yourself. He was a sloppy mess and he needed to go home. Like I said, I sent Ryan home for a myriad of reasons. When we made the decision to send the guy home and I had Pauly bring him outside, I wasn’t sure how he was going to react. I was half expecting him to be aggressive with me and for things to get tense. Instead, when I confronted him, he just melted — that’s the best way I can describe the change I saw in his demeanor. It’s like all at once he realized he’d stepped way out of bounds and made a massive mistake. I instantly felt sorry for the guy, especially since he even got a little emotional. He didn’t say much to me as he was leaving, he just accepted his fate and headed home.
After Ryan left, it was like a dark cloud was lifted and everybody could concentrate on what was really important: the vote. It definitely made the dynamic that first night different from any I’d ever seen before. They guys were not only taking this seriously, they ended up trying to sway each other into keeping the woman they wanted. The truth is some of these guys were going to be a little disappointed if the woman they voted for didn’t win the vote. When all the roses were in, my man Pauly and I went in to tabulate the votes and see who the guys had ended up choosing. Just so you know, Ryan never voted. He went in the room knocked pictures off the wall, threw roses around but he never cast a vote, and we were just fine with that. Once I counted the votes, I set out to tell the ladies one at a time if they would be going home heartbroken or if they were going to be the new Bachelorette. Both of these ladies are sweet and I like and respect them both. I wasn’t looking forward to breaking either of their hearts.
Voting room or Italian funeral home? (Photo by Chris Harrison)
On another note, I’m also excited for another venture in my life. My book, The Perfect Letter, comes out today. It’s a romance novel that I think Bachelor Nation will truly love and appreciate. I’m on the road this week in six different cities on a book tour. I’d love to see Bachelor fans come out so we can discuss the show and my new book. For a list of cities and details go to ThePerfectLetterbook.com.
And then this week on a very special Tuesday episode, you’ll see who the guys have chosen to be our new Bachelorette. The tables will turn and the men will have to try to win the affection of their official Bachelorette. Welcome to a new season, one that is sure to be the most dramatic season yet…
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.