It was tough enough being in the Bachelor Pad house with your ex-fiance, but on the taped finale Michael Stagliano learned that Holly Durst and fellow contestant Blake Julian were recently engaged. While host Chris Harrison says that they did their best to be delicate with how Michael — and America — would find out, he's surprised with how Holly handled the situation. Read on for more about what went down, what viewers didn't see and why Harrison "isn't buying what Vienna is selling."
What did you think when Holly and Michael chose Graham and Michelle to join them in the finale?
Chris Harrison: I thought it was another one of the dumbest decisions. When keeping Kasey and Vienna was finally smart, they got rid of them. As soon as they did that, I was like, "Well, you just lost the money. No one is going to vote for Michael and Holly over Graham and Michelle." But it ended up [working out for them].
Did you think Michael won it for the two of them?
Harrison: Michael is the one who did the heavy lifting. What Holly did was not lose it for them, which it's pretty easy to do in that house. They were a good team and played it well, although I thought Holly and Blake would have more backlash.
So are you shocked that Holly and Blake are engaged?
Harrison: I was surprised it happened so fast, but those two are just on this meteoric ride to the stars. Everybody is taking Michael's side and everyone can feel for him; so that's why I don't go out of my way to stick up for Michael — you don't need to. But Holly, I feel, is a little bit misunderstood. Was it handled perfectly? Absolutely not.
Talk about the decision to tell Michael during the taping.
Harrison: As soon as I heard I said, "I'm not surprising him on stage. We're not going ambush him." Our thought was how do we do this in the most delicate way and if you think about it, we did. Michael was off stage and he didn't have to see it. It could've been a lot worse, I know it wasn't great, but there was no easy way to do it. They were engaged so there's no way we would've not shown it. ... Michael can't be out of it because he's part of the love triangle. So we came to this crossroads of let's do it with him off stage, but when I got there production said she hadn't told Michael.
Holly says she couldn't talk to Michael before — is that true?
Harrison: The phones were taken away the night before, but the proposal happened three days prior. There was plenty of time. And, honestly, she could demand, "I'm not going on the show until I talk to Michael" — and she chose not to do it. I don't want to bury Holly, but in that respect I was surprised and I think part of it was that she was scared. If you notice my awkwardness when I was telling Michael it was because I kept waiting for Holly to jump in. It was not my place to tell Michael what was going on.
He seemed to handle it well, though.
Harrison: People need to understand that Michael and Holly had talked many times and it was very much over. Michael did not come into this show thinking they had a possibility they were getting back together. He knew that not only were they broken up, but that Holly and Blake were in love and moving to South Carolina. He's a big boy and he knew what was going on ... The only thing he didn't know was that she had a ring on her finger.
What did you think of Kasey's emotional hot-seat conversation?
Harrison: I'm glad we got to see the old Kasey and not the rage-infused Kasey. I think the show got the better of him. I think Vienna put pressure on him to step up and be the man and protect her, so I think he was fueling her fire and trying to do what he thought was right and he looked back and realized I'm not that guy, I'm not a jerk. I really appreciate him seeing that and apologizing to Jake right off the back.
Vienna had a much more jovial reaction to the situation among the three of them.
Harrison: I call it like I see it and I'm not buying what Vienna is selling. The way Kasey buried the hatchet was by owning up to his mistakes, how he treated Jake and said it was wrong and recognized it and admitted it. Vienna acting like it was all tea and crumpets and charades in the house ... That's not the case. She was just as mean as Kasey was. She tried to do a mea culpa, but not the same way Kasey did. She didn't own up to anything she did.
And Jake, meanwhile, came off pretty well.
Harrison: He came on for one reason and that was to rehab his public image. He accomplished exactly what he set out to do.
Watch a deleted clip of Holly and Michael from the finale: