"Money is ugly."
On the penultimate episode of the ABC reality series, Nick and Rachel dominated the final challenge and got to choose whether Chris and Sarah or Ed and Jaclyn would join them in the finale. Shockingly, Rachel went along with her partner's wishes and ousted her bestie. Below, host Chris Harrison shares why he feels sorry for Rachel and previews next week's "wild" finale. Plus: What was it like rocking out with '80s band Night Ranger?
Did Blakeley and Tony ever have a shot once Chris and Sarah won the first challenge?
Chris Harrison: No, that was the most forgone conclusion. [Blakeley and Chris] really just disliked each other and you'll see at next week's finale they still dislike each other. It was really a no-brainer.
I actually think Blakeley and Tony make a great couple.
Harrison: He really fulfills everything she needs. I even say it next week that, with all the tattoos and tough talk, she's really just vulnerable and wants someone honest, protective, and who will take care of her. That's what he is, and they're really perfect together. It's weird how it happened, but it really makes sense.
How much did you love the karaoke challenge with Night Ranger?
Harrison: I'm a kid of the '80s, so I love cheesy '80s anthems and "Sister Christian" is up there for me. So, I was geeking out. We got to hang out for a few hours. They started playing, and one of our studio executives got on stage and was jamming with them. It was just a blast. They really got into it and didn't act like rock stars.
The actual challenge was kind of scary though.
Harrison: It was pretty intimidating and there were probably 600 to 700 people in [the audience]. You're singing n front of the band, so it was a tall order. I told them, "Look, you're all going to suck. None of you are going to go on stage and rock, so just learn the song, have fun, and go for it." And in their own sad way, they did.
How did you think each team did?
Harrison: It didn't really come off as well, but Nick came out of nowhere and just jammed. They did a phenomenal job, and I knew they'd be tough to beat. I thought Ed and Jaclyn would be the best because Ed's a clown and Jaclyn is decent. But when they got up there and she forgot the lyrics, it went from bad to worse. It was uncomfortable to watch. I wanted to hide my eyes. It's really too bad because they should've easily won that challenge.
Did you think Chris and Sarah had a shot?
Harrison: There was no way Nick and Rachel weren't going to win. They were hands down the best; it wasn't close. I don't think the show did it justice how good they were. Everyone was blown away.
Were you shocked that Nick and Rachel chose Chris and Sarah to join them in the finale?
Harrison: The most pivotal point in the game came down to Nick, who hadn't spoken until last week! It's so stunning that he had control and completely made Rachel do something she had no intention of doing. She 100 percent changed her mind and it absolutely changed the game. Say what you will about Nick — he has somehow, without winning a challenge, made his way into the finals and he's there for the money. No one has given him any respect or paid attention to him. He's closer to Chris and has a better chance to win against Chris and Sarah.
Was the decision tougher for Rachel to make than we saw in the episode?
Harrison: It also took a lot longer — hours — because she would not budge. I don't know if she got tired or was emotionally drained, but she changed her mind. Standing there, she didn't know what hit her. I feel sorry for her a bit, but I couldn't believe Nick was able to come in and completely take over the game.
Does that decision come back up next week?
Harrison: Jaclyn definitely had it out with Rachel. She's still pissed she got screwed over.
What else can you say about the finale?
Harrison: Next week, Chris deals with facing the women, [and] there's still animosity there. The Michael and Rachel [fallout] is huge. There are five or six big bombs this time. It's the wildest two hours we've probably ever produced on this show.