Before we jump into the finale of Bachelor Pad I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to honor the anniversary our country recognized this weekend. I hope every one of you took an extra moment to hug and say I love you to those closest to you as we marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11. It is my hope that we will always remember and let this moment in our history always let us keep perspective on what’s truly important in our lives.

Once again, like our premiere, the finale took up all three hours of prime time on ABC. The first hour took the final four couples to Las Vegas. One thing we really made an effort to do this season is step up the challenges, especially towards the end of the show when they become so important. In my opinion this challenge was more than worthy of being our final competition. The contestants were extremely excited when I told them we were off to Vegas for our final challenge, but they had no idea what was in store for them.

I have to give major props to the folks at the MGM and in particular the cast and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka for helping us pull off this massive final challenge. After I sent the contestants inside the theater, I hustled backstage so I could rise up through the fog to introduce the competition. I’ve done some pretty cool host intros, but I have to say rising up through the fog on a Vegas stage is right up there with the best of them. The contestants’ excitement quickly turned to nerves as I explained they would be performing while suspended about one hundred feet above the ground on a seventy-five foot wall. All the contestants had about a day and a half to work with professionals from the Ka show; while this seems helpful, the professional performers take months to prepare for a show! The contestants all embraced it and really went for it during the challenge, but Michael was really in his element. Once everybody saw the move and hold he and Holly pulled at the end of their performance I think we all realized it was over.

It was really tough to see Ella go. She and Kirk have been living on borrowed time anyway, but knowing what that money meant to her made it an emotional exit. Because of the way the final rose ceremony goes, Michael and Holly now got to decide who would be joining them in the final four. Even though Michael, Graham and Michelle had a strong alliance, I was a bit surprised they chose to keep them and get rid Vienna and Kasey. Michael even admitted himself that he and Holly definitely had a better chance of winning against Kasey and Vienna. In the long run, it obviously didn’t matter. After that final rose ceremony, we shut down production until last week when we shot the finale in front of a live studio audience. This was a fun show to host. I know these people so well it makes it easier on all of us to be open and honest. Vienna did a 180 and acted like she’s been best friends with Jake all along and that everything is behind them, and then Jake got up to give Kasey a hug — I thought I was going to pass out. In all seriousness, it was good to see Kasey open up and admit he didn’t like what he saw in himself while watching the show. Once the three of them finally made peace, I wanted to end the show and head to the Middle East to see what I could do over there.

But we then moved on to the love triangle that is Michael, Holly and Blake — or at least it was a love triangle. Blake and Holly have been dating since the show wrapped production months ago. Apparently things have gotten very serious very quickly because not only are they moving to South Carolina together, they are engaged to be married. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this engagement. I know it’s hard on Michael, and once again it was tough to see him hurt by all this, but I know he and Holly have talked and all parties involved understood it was very much over between them. I do want to wish Holly and Blake the very best in their future together.

After all that, Holly and Michael and Graham and Michelle then had to compete for the ultimate Bachelor Pad prize of $250,000. After all the controversy, I really thought Graham and Michelle would easily win the cast vote and be our final couple, but you never know what’s going to happen at Bachelor Pad. Michael and Holly ended up winning the vote in a landslide. I think people really respected Michael and how he played the game. Once Holly voted to share the money, you knew they would split the cash. Michael may be hurt, but one thing that man is not is vengeful. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind he was going to do what he considered the right thing and share the cash. So in an ending that could only come from one of our shows, a former engaged couple walked away from each other but stayed together long enough to walk away with $125,000 each. Congrats to Michael and Holly, the champs of Bachelor Pad 2!

That’s it for Bachelor Pad — now it’s time to look forward to The Bachelor. In one of the best-kept secrets since the announcement of the new judges on American Idol, we made it official and introduced Ben as our new Bachelor. We have not started production, but the cast is set and we’re ready to go. I got to know Ben very well last season and really like the guy. He’s going to make a fantastic Bachelor and any one of the women on the show will be lucky to win his heart. The show will premiere Monday, January 2nd so set your DVRs now. I can already promise you it will be a season unlike any we have ever had before. Thank you once again for showing up in incredible numbers each and every Monday night this summer to support Bachelor Pad. I will miss you as much as I know you will miss your Monday night appointments until January. In the meantime, follow me on twitter @chrisbharrison as I will keep you up to date on what’s going on with our production, and I’ll even give you some inside tweets on where we are in the world. Finally I want to thank all of you who offered your congratulations this week on news of my new hosting duties — none of which will interfere with my “rose” duties. I’m honored be signed on to host the next two years of the Miss America pageant on ABC. I am also unbelievably excited to share with you my new game show You Deserve It. This is a show that I’m very proud of and I think you will love it as well when it airs this winter on ABC. For now, please take a moment and say your goodbyes… until 2012.

More Bachelor Pad from EW:

Episode Recaps

Bachelor Pad
Chris Harrison reassembles former rose-contenders for a second chance at reality fame, love, and televised skankiness
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