On Monday's three-hour premiere, Chris met a whopping 30 women. While some of the ladies caught him off guard with their introductions and others had a little too much to drink, Britt, the very first person to exit the limos, certainly got his attention, getting the first impression rose and the season's first kiss.
But are her free hugs and bubbly personality for real? And will she continue to catch Chris' eye? Plus: Should Chris have sent Tara or Ashley home? Host Chris Harrison is back for our weekly post-episode chat!
Going into the season, were you hoping Chris would be a good remedy to last season and Juan Pablo? Chris Harrison: I know everyone is gravitating towards the anti-Juan Pablo stuff, but honestly I didn't give him a second thought after the final rose ceremony. We were done with him, and he was done with us and going another away and he wasn't going to be a part of The Bachelor family — and that's fine. We were more than happy to move on.
Overall, how do you think he handled the first night? Harrison: I was impressed with him. He did a really good job getting to know people and he recalled a lot of tidbits they said and impressed the women because he was paying attention and is serious. They sensed the sincerity very quickly.
Did Chris, who's 33, mind having women in their early twenties who probably aren't on the same maturity level? Harrison: He didn't care at first and the longer it goes, the more you'll see it's based on lifestyle and similarities. He was really good about giving everybody a fair shake and embracing the whole thing, but he was overwhelmed early on, but also blown away, and he really opened his heart and didn't hold back, which is evident in the first episode when he gave Britt the first rose — and made out with her. One of the things I learned about Chris is that he has no regrets. He would struggle with the rose ceremony and those decisions, but being older, as soon as he made those decisions, he moved on. He would make decisions and not have regrets — not that he didn't make mistakes, but you live with it and move on.
Speaking of Britt, is her free spirit nature for real or an act? Harrison: That's the million dollar question with Britt and will continue to be with her in the coming weeks. How legit is this girl? Is she really sincere? Is there more to this girl he needs to get to the bottom of? You look at her and him, and you see the chemistry and passion, but is there more with her?
Kaitlyn was another one who stood out with her opening line. What did you think of her? Harrison: You definitely want to keep your eye on Kaitlyn. It really threw Chris, but he really liked her and her sense of humor and that she was a little aggressive. I think some people would've been thrown by that and I even was, but the more you get to know her, you'll see they have something.
Who else stood out to you? Harrison: Tara stood out. People will give Chris a hard time for keeping her, but early on she wasn't that wasted and she was fun and then she got a little tired and sloppy. Chris was very turned off by it and disappointed, and we had a very long talk — he was close to getting rid of her — but I said, "Look, Night 1 is tough, you've been there, it can give the best of you. If you had a good first impression, maybe go with that. If she does it again or next week is a disaster, you can still say goodbye, but maybe give her a pass on the back half of the night."
We found out that Kelsey is a widow. Was it too soon to tell Chris? Harrison: It's so difficult in this situation to know when the is right time to say something. Your time is of the essence and you don't know when you'll get that time with him and you don't want to leave and think, "I wish I had said this or done this." So it's a very fine line to walk, especially as something dramatic and heart-wrenching. But the reason she said it Night 1 was because that's why she's there. It brought her full circle, like this is meant to be, so I didn't think it felt out of place. But for Chris, it's tough. How you take that story and respond to it is not an easy situation.
So, what can you tease about the upcoming season? Harrison: I think it's a great season. We have a good Bachelor and there's a lot on the line, but he's worth it. [There is still] the drama and backstabbing and then there are some [like Ashley S.] that will entertain along the way. Chris is emotional, he's a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, so we had to deal with that as well.
What did you think of the premiere?
The Bachelor airs on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
Check out Harrison's Watchlist below: