Coming off of Juan Pablo's turbulent season of The Bachelor, it seemed that The Bachelorette could only go up. But Chris Harrison says his experience with Andi and the newest batch of hopefuls far surpassed his expectations.
"I don't know if it's because we had such a rough go on Juan Pablo's season ... but when you're with someone who's a delight and also really nice and kind and grateful it makes a huge difference," Harrison tells TVGuide.com. "Everything really permeates from the [star], and it's a ripple effect to the camera guys, producers, etc. When you're going to work for 24 hours straight and haven't showered and are in a jungle like these people do for this show, if you're doing it for someone really grateful it makes a big difference and makes the whole season better and it really comes through on air. It felt so much easier with her."
On the Season 10 premiere Monday, Andi made her trek from Atlanta to Los Angeles where she met the 25 guys waiting to vie for her heart. Also, there was one surprise guy who dropped in to cause trouble. Viewers were treated to a familiar face when Chris Bukowski, an alum of both Season 8 and Bachelor Pad, showed up at the mansion unannounced. Unfortunately host Harrison had to let him down gently when our new Bachelorette turned him away. But was it all a stunt? And which other guys left a lasting impression? Harrison dissects Night 1.
We're back again! How are you feeling about the season?
I don't care how long we've been on and how many seasons we've done, but every Monday, especially the first one, I'm nervous. And every Tuesday I wake up praying somebody chose to watch the show. Every season you have to earn it again and you never know. But Andi is really good. She's stunningly smart and a great conversationalist and so good at paying attention. When she's talking to the guys she recalls everything and the guys notice. It lead to many of the guys quickly falling for her.
What did you learn about her this time around that you or the viewers didn't see on The Bachelor?
It's a little like Sean [Lowe] in that you didn't get to see fully who he was on Emily's season. With Andi it was more about how strong she was and figuring out she didn't know [Juan Pablo] and standing up for herself, but there is so much more to her. She's a delight to be around and has a great sense of humor she doesn't take herself seriously. She kind of reminds me of Jillian [Harris] where they take the process seriously without taking themselves too seriously. That is a great combination.
Andi told me she didn't think this season was high on the sexy scale. Do you agree?
I think it's her being self-deprecating. She doesn't see herself as sexy, which is sexy. The people with the selfies and instagram who are constantly in that weird pose with the pucker lips -- that's not her. So it is a sexy season, and she would never in a million years see that or say that.
OK, who stood out to you on Night 1?
Obviously Emil [who said it was pronounced like "anal" but with an "m"]. I just don't even know what to say about that. It's unbelievable if that's your lead off. Jason swung and missed with the doctor and fever comment. Brett, again, the idea was there but didn't deliver. These guys get so nervous. One of the sweetest arrivals wasDylan. He didn't even know where to stand. He was beside himself, but Andi really found that endearing because he wasn't trying to do anything except stand up and not pass out. That was genuine.
So Chris Bukowski showing up. That really wasn't staged?
Harrison: I was literally sitting in the control room when I hear, "Chris Bukowski is downstairs" and I'm like, "Wait, what?" They were like, "He's with security at craft service." Most people will assume we produced this and put this together, but you see how awfully produced it was and rough it was. If we had produced this it would've looked a lot better. We had a security guard there cracking jokes!
Was he just there for five more minutes of fame?
Harrison: I don't know because I know Chris enough that I think he was sincere and he's not a glory hound and even if he is, this wouldn't be the move to do it. He kind of showed up with his hat in hand, and that's why I was trying to be nice and gave him a hug. I honestly felt terrible. He took a shot, and I think he did want to meet Andi and I respect that he did and I felt horrible I was the one to go down and say this isn't going to happen. I think he assumed he'd at least get a chance to talk to her. When I told him no I thought he was going to bolt up the driveway. I was praying he wouldn't. Otherwise it's like we'll have to call in help.
Nick got the first impression rose. Did that surprise you?
Harrison: He didn't stand out to me at all, but man, he stood out to Andi. During the intro she just started staring at the guy and basically visually undressing him. There was something right away she was really attracted to, and I didn't get that.
Looking ahead, who do you predict to be fan favorites?
Harrison: Chris. He's what this country is all about. He's a farmer, a man of the land, extremely successful, but New Age and well put together, articulate, educated, a business man. Marquel is a standout, funny; you can't help but like him. And Eric. I hope people will understand now why we felt like we should and had to show a lot of his moments. When you see what an impressive bright light he is, not showing that in some of the last moments caught in his life is an injustice.
Finally, what are you most excited about with this season?
Harrison: To me, it's as impressive of a Bachelorette and impressive group of bachelors as we've ever had. From doctors to world travelers, multi-million dollar farmer ... it's a really accomplished and impressive group of people. I'm excited.
What did you think of the Bachelorette premiere?
TVGuide.com tests Chris Harrison's Bachelor knowledge: