The Bacheloretteis back, but with a major twist: Two women vying for the lead spot on Night 1!
Britt, an early front-runner who was blind-sided by Chris Soules' rejection on The Bachelor, and Kaitlyn, the fun-loving jokester who also fell hard for Chris, will both meet the 25 men looking for love on the Season 11 premiere Monday. Viewers will get to see how both women handle the competition — you might be surprised! — and who is ultimately chosen to continue her journey to find The One.
"It was definitely unexpected and I was shocked," Kaitlyn recently told reporters about learning of the season's dueling setup. "I was kind of just beside myself because I didn't know what to think. I wasn't excited about it, but I just really had to take a step back and think of the light at the end of the tunnel."
Added Britt: "I did take time to think about [whether or not to do] it. But overwhelmingly, I just felt like it was the right decision ... and I felt like it was an amazing opportunity."
So how exactly will this all work? Host Chris Harrison breaks down the two-night premiere, including how the entrances will go down, why the women actually liked sharing the first night and when we'll officially have our Bachelorette. Plus: How did Harrison feel about the concept's backlash?
1. This isn't a sexist twist.
People might have been up in arms over "pitting two women against each other," but Britt, Kailtyn and Harrison all say that never crossed their minds. "I'm a bit surprised whenever there's a visceral reaction to anything we do... but with that particular reaction, there was a snowball [effect] and an easy thing to jump on board with," Harrison tells TVGuide.com. Added Britt, "I didn't see it as sexist or degrading at all. I honestly kind of thought [of it] as a compliment, like we're both so great."
2. The girls actually have fun with Night 1.
Echoing that friendly sentiment, even Harrison admitted he was surprised by just how much the girls enjoyed being in it together that first night. "These two women who weren't the best of friends by any means and you'd think it would be contentious and adversarial," he says. "But they actually empowered each other and came together and owned the moment and made it the best of what it could've been. It was almost a bit of a safety blanket for each other instead of a huge negative. They were giggling like a bunch of girls on a double date. A very awkward, bizarre, double date."
3. The men make a gut-reaction choice as to who to meet first.
Like in seasons past, each guy will arrive in a limo, but with both women standing on that wet pavement, they'll have to quickly decide who to go to first. This also meant more traditional entrances. "It definitely changed things [because] when you're making a scene or a moment for one person, it's a little easier than trying to make something grand for two people. So we played it down a little bit because it was less about the entrances and more about the two girls," Harrison says. But there was one crazy intro when Shawn E arrived in a car that doubled as a hot tub! "It may be one of the coolest things I've seen in my life. It is unbelievable how this thing works," Harrison says. "I still don't quite possibly understand how it runs."
4. There's one guy who's clearly not there for the right reasons.
There's always that guy on Night 1, but this suitor takes things too far with both his drinking and his inappropriate behavior. "It was worse than what you'll see," Harrison says. "He went way beyond the line of decency. We've had this before where someone has a few too many... but crossing that line of how he was speaking was not OK."
5. By the first act of Tuesday's episode, a Bachelorette will be named.
Of course Part 1 will leave viewers hanging, but you can expect resolution to the guys' vote by the beginning of Episode 2. "On Tuesday's episode, immediately I tell both the girls how the vote went and send one home," Harrison says. "That was tough because I really like both Britt and Kaitlyn and they were very careful to guard themselves, but after the night, halfway through I think both thought, 'I really want this.'"
The Bachelorette premieres on Monday at 9/8c, followed by Part 2 on Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC.
Harrison's debut novel is The Perfect Letter is out on Tuesday. Order a copy here!
Check out a sneak peek from the premiere: