Chris Harrison blogs 'The Bachelorette': 'The Final Rose' and 'After the Final Rose'
I knew everything was going to be alright when the bird crapped on my shoulder the day before the proposal. But let’s back up a bit. We flew from Maui to Kona for the final leg of this journey. Jillian had narrowed it down to her final two, Ed and Kiptyn. Despite the emotional breakup with Reid, Jillian was feeling pretty good about the situation. Now I don’t want to bore you by going back over all the details of this episode, so I’m going to give you my opinion of what went down and why. I know it might sound weird but Jillian had love for each of these guys. If life and love was purely about a physical attraction Kiptyn would’ve easily been the one. That’s not to say they didn’t have an emotional connection too, but Jillian didn’t see growing old with him and that was big for her. While Ed was dancing around Hawaii in shorts that wouldn’t fit my 7-year-old and Kiptyn was flexing his abs, Reid was desperately trying to get a hold of producers. As you heard him say on the Final Rose special, he felt there was something still there between he and Jillian, and he was willing to go all the way to prove it. I have to give the guy credit — this was a bold, brave move. As you could clearly see by the look on her face, Jill had absolutely no idea Reid was coming back.
Allowing Reid to come back was a very tough decision for us to make. This final day is always an emotional roller coaster for all of us. After a long haul, Jillian had mentally prepared herself to break up with Kiptyn and choose Ed. Throwing Reid back into the equation was very risky. We had no idea how Jillian would react and what this would do to her final decision. We were all really flying by the seat of our pants on this one. We knew that both Kiptyn and Ed had rings and were prepared to get down on one knee, and as far as TV goes that was more than enough to successfully wrap up this season. But just like you saw, we also felt there was just something there between Jill and Reid, and had time not been a factor there’s no way she would have let him go in Maui. When I saw Jillian’s reaction when Reid walked out on that platform, our suspicions were confirmed. She still had serious feelings for this guy. What followed was about an hour of emotion and confusion. Hard to believe after this many seasons we could possibly run into a situation we’ve never dealt with before, but that’s the beauty of this show: we always do.
If you ask Jillian about that final day and Reid coming back she’ll tell you it was always Ed all the way. I understand her position and if I was engaged to somebody else I would probably paint the same picture. I don’t doubt for a second that Jillian loves Ed and I know that was what she wanted the moment she woke up that morning. But I also know that there was serious temptation when Reid came back and that temptation did lead to a moment of doubt. Luckily Jillian had the poise to walk away and try and collect her thoughts. That’s when I asked the producers if I could go talk to her. Jillian and I have become very good friends over the last year and at that moment she needed a friend to talk to, somebody that wasn’t going to manipulate or lead her in a certain direction, just somebody that would listen and let her lead herself back where she always wanted to be and that was with Ed.
I received more than a few Twitters asking why I was in the Ed camp — insinuating that I pushed Jillian in that direction. First of all, let me say I wasn’t in anybody’s camp. I told Jillian once she narrowed it down to the final three she really couldn’t go wrong. All three guys were good men and a good fit for her in their own way. That’s what made this one of the toughest decisions I’ve seen a Bachelorette ever have to make. Obviously my talk with Jillian was much longer and more involved than what we were able to show you on TV. I talked with her for probably ten minutes before she arrived at the decision to let Reid go again. Something you didn’t see that made me laugh, and feel old, was when we were done Jillian said I reminded her of her dad. I told her her dad must be a smart man and I would take that as a compliment. Jillian knew in her heart what she wanted to do. She just needed a friend there to help her work through her emotions and figure it out. I was happy to be that friend. If she had sat down and told me that Reid was the man she loved and wanted to be with, that would have been fine by me as well, but that’s not what she wanted. If you ask me to be honest about it, I have to admit for a moment there I really thought she was going to take Reid back. I’ll be interested to hear your opinion of what Reid pulled.
Because Reid coming back took so long, by the time he left the sun was setting over the ocean and it was getting dark. We really didn’t think we were going to be able to make it. Once Ed showed up everything was perfect. The sun was setting and you could tell it was right. When you see them together, and I have several times, they are really perfect together. I had many people say they couldn’t believe she dumped Kiptyn or Reid and they actually seemed mad about it. This I truly understand. If you think she was going to pick somebody else that’s one thing. If you personally would’ve picked somebody else, I get that too. But what I don’t understand is how you could possibly question what’s in Jillian’s heart. How you could possibly question a woman who’s happily in love with a man? Ultimately, this is her life, her heart, and she’s the one that made a decision that will affect her life forever. I think she and Ed are great together and I couldn’t be happier for the both of them. In the following days I know I’ll be asked if I think this will last. If I could tell you that I’d put a future bet on who’s going to win next year’s Super Bowl. All I can tell you is what I see and that is two people who love each other very much and really want to make this work. Two people who are willing to put in the time and effort to make this work. That’s all you can ask for and expect at this point.
As I said, I knew there was going to be a beautiful ending the day before the proposal. The afternoon before, I was at lunch with some folks from the show. We were talking about how the next day was going to play out when Bam! A bird crapped all over my shirt. The first thing people started telling me was that’s great, that’s very good luck. Funny how when bad things happen like rain on your wedding day we tell people it’s good luck. I gotta be honest. I didn’t see the luck in getting pooped on. I just felt like I needed to go shower and change my shirt. But if that’s what it took for Jillian to find true love, I was happy to do my part. The bird certainly seemed happy to do its part.
Shooting on the islands of Hawaii was a privilege, and the resort we stayed at and shot at was the Fairmont Orchid in Kona. This is one of my new favorite places in the world. I would like to thank them for their hospitality. It was funny, the day of the proposal my wife and I walked over to Jillian’s suite, which was next door to ours. We walked in to find three people trying to help Jill zip up her dress. My wife quickly jumped in. So now there’s four people all around Jillian, who’s now laughing, trying to get her in her dress. Kind of sums up Jill and her attitude. She has such a great personality. It made it a real joy to work with her this season.
We have still not picked our next bachelor. Tell me who you think it should be. Is there someone from this show you love or should we pick a new face all together? Overall I thought this was a very good season. I’m proud of Jillian and happy the way it all turned out. In the end, this was a Bilbro lovin’, mango mango lookin’, bad country croonin’ season of the Bachelorette. I’d like to truly thank you for watching and supporting us and once again making this show tops on TV. For everyone who’s been a part of this one…I’m Chris Harrison… Good Night!