The Bachelor had yet another dramatic exit this week. After her romantic hometown date with Jake, 25-year-old Ali was forced to choose between him and her job. Choosing the job — after all, she only had a 25 percent chance of receiving that final rose — Ali said goodbye. And in a series first, no rose ceremony was needed. TVGuide.com spoke to host Chris Harrison about whether viewers have seen the last of the duo, his thoughts on the rest of the hometown dates and why Vienna and Ali are more alike than they'd care to admit.
TVGuide.com: Although Ali left, in next week's preview she appears to call Jake. What can you tell us about that?
Chris Harrison: You haven't seen the last of Ali and Jake and their situation is not over. Obviously you could tell when she left, on both sides, they're not done. I'm really proud of the way they handle what's to come.
TVGuide.com: Had Ali stayed, do you think she would've received the ring at the end?
Harrison: I don't know. I know that Jake was definitely falling in love with her, but I also know that she's not the only one. Usually we are more cryptic on The Bachelor by not really saying, "You're the one" or "You would get a rose." But he basically told her: Don't leave, I'm falling in love with you. He basically told her she had nothing to worry about on that night so she knew she was definitely [in the] final three at the very least. I talked to him later and said, "Would you have gone so far as to say she's the one or I love you?" and he's like, "I didn't want to do that, even if she was ... You can't make that choice for somebody, you can't say leave your job for me ... I want her to want to leave her job for me or take that chance. I just wanted to give her as much information as I could and in the end it was her choice and she left."
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised to see a more emotional Vienna this week?
Harrison: I think she's gotten a bit of a bad rap. The Vienna we've seen in the house around the other girls is very much a defense mechanism and survival instincts and being ganged-up on. Some of it was deserved, some of it was jealousy, and I think a lot of it between her and Ali was jealousy. As different as they seem, they're very much alike. They both knew they were the front-runners and were very competitive and I think Vienna got the worst of it publicly and privately. I think she's very sincere and very emotional and very much a family girl. I think the Vienna that Jake sees is more of the real Vienna.
TVGuide.com: What did you think when Vienna's dad walked in on her and Jake's make-out session?
Harrison: No matter how old you get, you still feel weird when you are with somebody's daughter. Even though I'm 38 years old and I've been married to my wife for 16 years, I still notice when her dad's around and how I'm acting. It's funny how that never goes away.
TVGuide.com: We also saw Jake ask each of Vienna's, Ali's and Tenley's dads for their hand in marriage.
Harrison: That is the most uncomfortable, horrifying moment for any man. I've seen it on both sides, and now that I have a daughter I can just imagine someone having the guts to ask for my permission, so the fact that Jake did it several times over last night was really interesting.
TVGuide.com: But he didn't ask Gia's mom for her blessing.
Harrison: I think, with Gia's mom, the relationship with her and Jake is very different. I don't think Jake felt that connection with her enough to go there yet. He's definitely there with Gia, but definitely wasn't there with her mom.
TVGuide.com: What did you think about the hometown dates in general?
Harrison: Every trip he took seemed like he was meeting the in-laws. They really welcomed this guy with open arms. It's funny, not that this is a female characteristic solely, but it definitely feels like a Bachelorette in the sincerity, and the way he's going about this like this is a great chance to find somebody and he's determined to do it. That goes to show the dynamic of the show. Whoever the bachelor is, that's how we go, that's where the show goes.
TVGuide.com: Are you surprised that this season's women have been all over the pages of Us Weekly?
Harrison: It doesn't surprise me that they have a past. I mean they're all in their 20s and 30s. Once you come on these shows you're basically running for public office. You have to be aware that that is a possibility, especially in this day and age, if it's happened it's probably going to get out. I don't think it's the most upstanding, virtuous thing for a magazine to do because ... they aren't exactly celebrities. I mean I've been in this game awhile and I know it's part of the game. I don't think these contestants fully understand that this can possibly happen so I'm sure they are a little upset; I feel kind of bad for them. It seems odd that the Us magazines of the world have taken on our show. It really started with Jillian and Ed and it seemed like they did all they could do break them up. Obviously, it didn't work.