Despite bachelor Jake Pavelka’s marriage-mindedness, this season of the ABC reality romance has courted more than its share of controversy. First, model Rozlyn Papa got the boot early on for having an ”inappropriate relationship” with a behind-the-scenes staffer (which she denied). Then polarizing contestant Vienna Girardi — who’s now in the final two — became a tabloid rumor magnet, fueling stories about alleged breast implants and a ”secret” celebrity fling. Meanwhile, some are speculating that Ali Fedotowsky, who left the show to avoid losing her job, may be the next Bachelorette. (ABC had no comment.) Naturally, EW.com readers have lots of questions about this much-talked-about season (which is currently averaging 11.1 million viewers), so we asked host Chris Harrison for his behind-the-scenes insights.
How does ABC handle it when the Bachelor changes the number of shows needed to finish the season by sending extra women home one week, the way Jake did? —Laura
The show is very fluid, it’s ever-changing — it has to be. We have a grand scheme of how things are probably gonna go, but that can change on a dime and it usually does. So if Jake comes in and cleans house and cuts four women in one week, then what happens is, the next episode will just be completely different than we thought. And instead of, say, a one-on-one date and a big group date, you notice that next week there are three one-on-ones and a two-on-one date.
If Vienna’s so great…why aren’t we seeing it? —Kerri
I don’t think we ever say anybody’s great or not great on the show. We just show you who they are. But I will say this for Vienna: I think she’s gotten a very bad rap. I think what we saw in the house is more of a defense mechanism. I think the girl we saw on the hometown date — the emotional, open, loving woman?is more of the Vienna that Jake saw.
Why have we not seen footage of Vienna’s behavior with the other women that got them so fired up about her? ?—ennisfan I don’t think there was one thing. It was more of a culmination of events. I think Vienna just wasn’t the warm, welcoming, let’s-get-along-and-enjoy-the-pool-party type, and some of the girls took offense to it. And I think with her being a front-runner from the beginning, she had a target on her back.
Why are so many details of the show leaked now? —Elle
I learned a long time ago that you can’t fight that. I’m done beating my head against the wall. It definitely doesn’t hurt our ratings. I also think that telling someone, for instance, that Ali leaves didn’t do justice to seeing that moment play out.
The question I ask every time I see a rose ceremony is this: Why do you always come out and say ”Jake, ladies, this is the final rose tonight”? Do you really have to announce that? —Musicme
Because without me, you would have no idea. You would be lost. [Pause] They have to justify this ridiculous salary.
I’d love to know why we keep seeing promos with scenes that don’t wind up in the episodes. What’s up with that? —Susanna
I know, like with Tenley’s joke about being pregnant. What happens is, we send the raw, uncut episode to ABC, and it’s a lot longer than we’ll ever use. But the promo department uses that to create their ads. And usually the biggest moments they’re going to promote are definitely going to stay in the show. With Tenley’s joke, the promo department pulled it out of that raw version, but we ended up cutting it from the episode, and one person didn’t tell the other. With situations like that, to make it up to people, in The Women Tell All or After the Final Rose specials we’ll go back and show viewers what happened.
What is the policy on contestants’ jobs? Ali left on the Feb. 8 episode because she said she’d lose her job if she didn’t go back. Shouldn’t it be a requirement to get approval from work prior to taping? —Meg
We don’t stop life from happening. And one of the things we’ve always done is embraced it and rolled with it. I think with Ali, she thought she was okay — and it just turned out she wasn’t. She was new at this job, loved it, and they wanted her back by Monday morning. So she came to a real-life decision. We’re not going to bar anyone from choosing to leave.
I can’t help but notice that Jake is not climbing into any hot tubs with these women. Isn’t hot-tub macking a part of the Bachelor contract? —Carrie
You know, that’s a good point. I did not notice until you just said that. This has been a very hot-tub-deprived season. I guess he had a really good attorney and he got the hot-tub clause taken out of the contract. I think what we did is, we conceded to the hot-tub portion, but we put 10 more shirtless shots in the show. I apologize: I promise it’ll be back next season.