On Sunday night's Bachelorette finale, viewers watched Emily say goodbye to Arie, with whom she had an intensely strong connection from the beginning, and hand out her final rose to Jef. And although host Chris Harrison was sure Emily would not get engaged just yet, she surprised him by saying yes.
Keep reading for more of Harrison's insight on the finale, including why he says Arie handled the breakup well and whether or not Arie (or Sean) will be the next Bachelor.
You set the bar high with the live finale. Will this continue from now on?
Chris Harrison: I think we have to now! I think it added a completely different feel.Viewers felt like they were a part of something bigger, and we were able to surprise people more. And it was really fun!
If Arie had his final date with Emily before Jef, would it have made a difference?
Harrison: I don't think so, but honestly I think going into that last week she was really leaning towards Jef. Arie was hard to say goodbye to because he was such a No. 1 for so long. [But] when Jef started moving in heavily from London on, from that point he was growing leaps and bounds. But there was a part of her that just couldn't let Arie go.
What went through your head when you found out Emily needed to talk to you?
Harrison: I had heard things went well with Jef and he had met Ricki, so my immediate thought was that he's the one. I kind of thought he was anyway at this point, but I wasn't sure exactly what she wanted to do and I don't think she was. If you missed anything in that talk [I had with Emily], it was her working her way towards that conclusion of what she wanted to do and how she would handle it. I had to let her figure it out, but she needed a swift kick in the butt to get her off the edge and do it. On the other hand, even though I knew Jef was the one, I really didn't think she'd get engaged. She was against it. I thought she'd make sure Jef didn't propose, and I thought if he did, she wouldn't accept it. She copped to it a little last night, but I think it was an in-the-moment choice.
How do you think Arie handled the breakup?
Harrison: He was pissed, and I don't understand people who break up and are like, "Ok, thanks!" He was on the edge, but is such a gentleman that he fought just hard enough to give her a hug wish her well and sent her on her way. But you could tell he was mad and hurt, and I think he walked that line perfectly as a real man, but also as a gentleman.
Does Ricki understand what's going on?
Harrison: Yes and no. She knows Jef is a big part of their life. She'll know that he's now moving to town, but they're being very smart, and I'd expect nothing less from both. And good on Jef, who could've said he'd fly in and see them. He said, "If I'm going to do this, I'll be there." For not only religious reasons, but parenting reasons, they're going to take it slow and live separately until they're married. I think it's just a huge, good start for them.
That said, do you think they'll make it?
Harrison: After 10 years and going through what I've gone through, I know this: What I saw this season and on the couch last night is incredibly sincere. They are two very good people very much in love and it's the beginning of something wonderful. But that's just it. It's the start of something wonderful. Where it goes from here is real world problems and obstacles and things they'll have to figure out. But it's a beautiful start, and I believe in it. I know they do too and that's as good as you can do at this point.
So, Arie for Bachelor?
Harrison: I knew Arie was a great guy and would be in the mix. So the report that Roberto is signed — are you kidding? We would never [choose the Bachelor] before the end of a season, especially a season like this. There's a great debate going on [about] who the next Bachelor is going to be, and I think it went from "Is it Arie or Jef?" to "Is it Arie or Sean for the Bachelor?"