Shawntel Newton, The Bachelor Shawntel Newton, The Bachelor

When Shawntel Newton asked to return to The Bachelor, no one had any idea just how upset — and brutal — the women would be. Host Chris Harrison tells us why he still backs up the funeral director's decision to come back, how he's still not sure why Brittney decided to leave and that next week's episode gets ugly for two front-runners.

Were you surprised by the women's reaction to Shawntel?
I thought it was horrible. I knew they weren't going to be happy, but they got mean. It was like a bad high school bullying session where they ganged up on her. I still think that Shawntel had every right to do what she did, she had just as much right to go say hi to Ben as everybody else did; and if he wants to keep her, that's his prerogative. ... I talked to Shawntel the next day because I felt very bad for her. Whether he kept her or not, she was prepared for that, but she wasn't prepared to be attacked the way she was.

Had the girls reacted different, do you think he would've kept her?
Harrison: I think he was on the fence. There was a chance he would've kept her if not for the long haul, at least for the next week. But once he saw the reaction from the girls, and the meltdown going on, that had a lot to do with it. Ben was smart and the chance of maybe hitting it off with Shawntel is not worth losing the entire house. It would've been a disaster [to keep her] and it went a long way in changing the entire season. Although the women's reactions were mean, childish and a bit immature, the point was taken of what they were really feeling.

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Why didn't Brittney at least give the one-on-one date a shot before deciding to leave?
Honestly I didn't get it then and I didn't get it when I watched it back last night. It's almost like she couldn't handle the jealousy and competition and felt like she wasn't worthy. She wasn't so repulsed or upset that a date wouldn't maybe change things. She took the noble high road of saying I don't want to take someone else's time, but that's her time too. It didn't make sense and I think there's more to it.

Emily's date climbing up the Bay Bridge was insane!
We've done some crazy stuff from zip-lining to bungee-jumping, but this bar none was the scariest thing we've ever done. That expanse was not that wide and it's rounded and slick and once you get going you're not really allowed to go back. That was unbelievable that she was able to pull that off.

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Skiing in bikinis for the group date was definitely a first.
The girls were game, they thought it was fun. I don't know if once they all got in bikinis they thought it was cool, but all those girls have ridiculous bodies and if I looked like any of them I'd be walking around in a bikini all the time. And I love our public dates where we let people take pictures and come watch. For so long the unrealistic part of the dates was that no one was around and everything was so secluded. We still do that to a certain degree, but it feels so much more natural.

What can you say about next week when the group is headed to Park City, Utah?
Everything is about to unfold with this rivalry between Courtney and Emily.  Emily is about to be taken far out of her element because I don't think [she's confrontational]. I don't know if Courtney is just smart or good at this, but she pinpoints Emily, goes after her and it almost gets to the point where Ben is forced to pick a side. It gets ugly.

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