This week, Andi headed to the homes of Marcus, Josh, Nick and Chris where two of the men in particular pulled out all the stops to show her their love. But despite Marcus' openness with his feelings — and his incredible striptease — Andi let him go during what turned out to be a devastating rose ceremony following the news of Eric's death. In our weekly chat with host Chris Harrison, he shares how the tragedy will affect Andi moving forward and why the remaining men are more head over heels than anyone on the show in a long time. Plus: How did Marcus handle Bachelor in Paradise?
Nick surprised me during his date. I felt like we saw a different side to him.
Chris Harrison: I wasn't. I'll be interested to know if it changes anyone's opinions of him or if he is really just disliked by fans. This is always who he was; he just didn't play well with others. Maybe I just identified with Nick. I'm not saying I would've gone about it the same way, but I don't know how I'd act in a situation where I really like or even love this girl and she's still dating other guys. I would want what Nick wanted, which is her to myself. I guess I empathize where he was coming from and never took it for such a horrible thing. The other guys were able to deal with it by "bro-ing out" and for Nick, he doesn't get what they're doing and why they're so happy on a group date. So I think we saw the true Nick this week.
His little sister was the cutest!
Harrison: Bella was absolutely adorable, and I love that she grilled [Andi] and then like a total kid remembered nothing.
On to Chris' hometown date: What did you think of him having a plane fly a banner saying, "Chris Loves Andi"?
Harrison: I loved it; I thought it was a great move. Chris is the sentimental farmer, and I think he's the right guy to pull it off.
His overall date was pretty impressive.
Harrison: It's funny, maybe because I'm a grown man with a house and a life, but she was so impressed that he's a professional guy with an established life. But she always knew the battle with him would be if she can live in Iowa and on a farm. Maybe she's not ready for it.
I don't know if she's as "country" as she thinks she is.
Harrison: Going to the lake house and hunting and fishing every now and then is like saying I grew up in the country in Dallas, which is a pretty big city. But Chris was the person who probably impressed her the most and Chris' family impressed the most. When she got home, she couldn't stop talking about them. His mom was so awesome, and her advice to Andi was so on point and honest. Andi appreciated it, and I thought it was a really good hometown date.
What did you think of Josh's hometown date?
Harrison: This was the most interesting hometown date and really eye-opening about the life she'd be getting into. All of her fears about dating a former athlete were realized: He's consumed by sports, and his family has basically dedicated their life now to [his brother] Aaron and his pursuit of football. To sign up in that family is to sign up to travel and worship Aaron. I understand it, but that commitment and loyalty might be foreign to people who don't understand what it takes to make it into the [NFL].
I loved that he cried when he saw them at first.
Harrison: He's a big softie. I don't know if people understand how sweet he is, and the hometown went a long way in proving this guy is a family guy and his family means everything to him. It was telling when Andi was protective of Josh and kept saying, "I want to make sure this date is about him and not Aaron." She understands it, but at the same time this was a week or two before the draft and he just finished his pro day. For Josh to leave in the middle of all of this to do The Bachelorette when he knew everything would take place while he was gone if he made it this far was really tough for him.
On Marcus' hometown date, were you as uncomfortable as I was watching his striptease?
Harrison: It was just so not him. The only thing I can go from is Andi, and she absolutely loved it. She thought he was smoking hot, she can't stop talking about how hot he is. But it was awkward and it's one thing when you do it in a crowd and another when you do it alone with no one else was around.
Do you think ultimately it was too much too soon with him?
Harrison: He was the first to fall and he was easily the most open with his emotions and feelings, which is good. That's the reason we try to get everyone to open up and not be guarded because it takes everyone to go through this and be open and then her to realize, "OK, I'm not there, I can't match your feelings," which is why she ended up letting him go. So kudos to Marcus for being that guy.
But he's going on to Bachelor In Paradise! Will we see the same guy?
Harrison: You'll see the same great side to Marcus. He's a sweet, really good guy, he's got a lot to offer, he's incredibly successful and this whole thing was very cathartic to him. He had a lot of family issues. He isn't the guy who would bring a girl home or gush like he did so for him to be that guy now was a huge experience.
We already spoke in-depth about filming the cast reaction to Eric's death. (You can read that here.) Walk me through how you found out.
Harrison: I heard the night before that he probably wouldn't survive. When I went on The View [that day] he was still alive, but I found out before Act 3 he had passed away. I talked to Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie and said I didn't want to announce his passing on The View because I didn't think it was for me to do. I immediately went to the airport. We were scrambling because hometowns had just ended and the rose ceremony was the next day. We thought, "Do we have a rose ceremony? Do we tell them? Do we film it?" For logistics I said, "Have everyone meet me at my house, and we'll shoot in my living room." You saw a brief part of what happened at my house that night. After quite some time, there were no cameras rolling and we just sat around and cracked a bottle of wine, and it turned into a bit of a wake where we told stories about Eric so it was a good thing. [But] it was brutal.
How does this affect Andi going forward?
Harrison: Obviously the wound was raw and deepest this week, and we were still in the house. It affects her the rest of the way, but it eases up as time goes by. We will play it less and less now because it's less impactful and we don't want to draw it out because then you are [exploiting] it. I can't remember a final [three] where all were so head over heels and would drop everything marry her right away. So this can only go one way, and that is good for somebody and bad for two other people. I don't think she anticipated everyone being this [in love] and having three good choices left. She has a tough choice to make, and her heart is going one way and her head another so it gets really confusing from here on out.
The Bachelorette airs on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.