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'The Bachelor' host: Juan Pablo Galavis' finale road is very rocky, he never fully embraced the process


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/19/2014 

The Bachelor's eighteenth season is winding down with hometown and overnight dates coming up and only four women left in the running to win Juan Pablo Galavis' heart.

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Juan Pablo has kept around Nikki Ferrell, the beautiful blonde who's criticized by her fellow bachelorettes for being "negative" and "mean;" Clare Crawley, who's captured the Bachelor's attention but has been made fun of for being possessive and exaggerative; Andi Dorfman, the "dark horse" who's experienced many ups and downs; and Renee Oteri, the kind-hearted single mother with an eight-year-old son at home.

During a Wednesday conference call with reporters, The Bachelor host Chris Harrison teased what's to come next week and talked to Reality TV World about Juan Pablo's motives, his personality and desires, and how he's been as a Bachelor.

Reality TV World: You wrote in your blog this week the hometown dates will be unlike any the show's had before and the overnight dates will make for the most intense and exotic episode ever. Could you elaborate a little more on those statements? Can you tease at all why these hometown and overnight dates will be so different from seasons past?

Chris Harrison: Yes, well I think as far as the hometown dates go, you see like a [Sean Lowe] or any of these guys kind of roll in and it's really smooth sailing. And this season isn't such smooth sailing for [Juan Pablo] when he goes into these homes. He's really vying for the approval and permission from these parents to possibly marry their daughter.

And, you know, the exotic dates is probably the most pivotal episode that we've had this season. It really is a shakeup of kind of the foundation of everything that's going on. And again, it's usually kind of the Bachelor figuring things out, but this season, it's really been -- it seems like it's been the ladies questioning and figuring things out as of late. And that will continue through the exotic and the overnight dates.

Reality TV World: You said late last month Juan Pablo sends mixed messages to the girls and often changes up the rules, which was confusing for his bachelorettes. You also said that "wasn't a language barrier" but rather a "Juan Pablo barrier." Could you talk about what you meant by that and what do you think Juan Pablo's deal was? Why did he find it so difficult to stay consistent in his decisions and actions?

Chris Harrison: Well because I think it's a confusing, tough thing. I mean, I can imagine stuff in that situation -- being a single dad myself now and trying to do the right thing with your family's eyes and your children's eyes watching and all that. And then at the other end of the spectrum, you're also trying to date and you want to be yourself, you want to let go.

Because that's how you have to do this show, you have to really embrace it and really kind of let go and take your hands off the wheel for it to work. And so, he's trying to do both, and I think in him trying to serve both factors, he is having trouble, you know, kind of justifying and living with it.

And so, what he does is try to move the goal post in the middle of the game from time to time whether it was the situation with Clare or any of the other women that he'll kiss and regret or whatever it is.

And it's just tough for these women to try and figure out, "Where does he stand, what are his goals?" And it puts a little guilt on them and it's not necessarily fair. It's not like he's doing this to be mean. There's no malice. I actually have genuine respect for him trying to serve everybody. It's just a tough thing to do, and again, I could see why that would be a problem myself trying to do this.

Reality TV World: Juan Pablo keeps talking a lot about how he's in the entertainment and music business and he's been getting photographed out in public with other women recently. So a lot of viewers are skeptical he's not going to end up staying with the woman who receives his final rose and maybe he wasn't sincere about wanting to get married -- as much as say a Sean Lowe -- when he did the show. Some people are saying he did The Bachelor for the publicity and money, so what are your thoughts on that?

Chris Harrison: Well first of all, I don't think you can really do it for making money because we're never like making people rich off this show, but you know, if and when you end up with somebody at the end of the show, you can't be with that person.

Like Sean can't go out and take pictures with [Catherine Giudici]. You go out with your friends, you go out and kind of continue living your life and working until, you know, you can be with that person that you chose if you do, indeed, end up with somebody.

So, no, I think he's doing typically what everybody else does on the show. In this day and age with social media, you're going to be out, people are going to be taking pictures with you, and you know, women are going to come up [to him] because they love the guy! I mean, he's really popular.

When you go out with this guy, you can quickly see why he was the Bachelor. Everybody wants to take pictures and talk to him, so people are going to derive whatever they want from that and make stories up from a couple pictures. I honestly haven't seen any but that typically happens every season.

Reality TV World: You said earlier this month, "[Renee] is a normal woman, a mom; she has perspective. At the end of the day that's what Juan Pablo says he wants, but is that something Juan Pablo really wants?" Although Juan Pablo's been insisting those qualities are things he wants in a woman, what makes you question he might be looking for other things?

Chris Harrison: Well, you know, I think when you go through this as the host -- and I've been through this 27 times and I watch -- a great example was like, Sean. And I can use that as an example because of how -- what he was looking for and then what he ended up with.

And looking at a guy like Sean who used his parents as a role model and idols, and rightfully so -- they're amazing people -- and so, he thought, "I want this kind of maternal, strong-willed, maybe even a little older," but you look at maybe a [Selma Alameri] or an [Ashley Frazier] from the show, but that's not what Sean needed and wanted at the time.

He was a younger guy, he's young at heart, kind of carefree. That's where he is in his life right now. And then, he smartly chose Catherine and [Lindsay Yenter], girls that are kind of more where he is right now. And he ended up obviously with Catherine, which is a great choice, because they are very much alike and very much at the same station in life.

And Juan Pablo's kind of the same way, you know, you look at a Renee and she does have all the attributes and all the qualities that he eventually wants. But is that what he wants right now?

And so, that's again, it gets down to not whether she's a great woman, not whether she's beautiful -- it's a lifestyle, and, "Is this the person that will fit into my life and me into her life right now?" And that's kind of the beautiful thing about this show and the process, is you're going to get quality. Now, it's a matter of, "Who is a better fit for you?"

Also during the call, Chris Harrison told reporters how difficult the end of Juan Pablo's journey was, why the Bachelor never seemed to fully embrace the process, what his thoughts are on Nikki and Clare, and whether Sharleen would've ended up in Juan Pablo's Final 2 bachelorettes had she never left the show.

How difficult was it for Juan Pablo to make his final decision?

Chris Harrison: The last three weeks were as difficult as we've ever had on this show -- maybe the most difficult. And I don't just mean his final choice or how it ends up. I just mean the way we kind of sailed into this final episode.

At this point, it's really the Bachelor or the Bachelorette narrowing it down to two or three amazing people and then it's, "Okay, who fits best in my lifestyle? What direction do I want to take my life?" This was a rockier road to that final episode for Juan Pablo than I think we've ever had.

Do you think Juan Pablo basically has two sides to him? This show is taking a pretty serious approach to dating whereas he used to pick up girls dancing in clubs and what not.

Chris Harrison: I think he has a tough letting go and really opening up and giving himself to this process. One thing, if you go back and ask any of our Bachelors or Bachelorettes, especially the successful ones -- whether it's Sean or [Ashley Hebert] -- [they say] you really have to let go.

It doesn't mean you're going to go one the show and say, "I'm finding a wife; I'm finding a husband." Because that's not real. That's not realistic.

But you can realistically say, "I am honestly open to this and I am going to give myself up to what you guys do because this works." And that's why Sean came back. That's why [Emily Maynard] came back. That's why a lot of people do come back, because it is a television show -- we're creating an entertainment show -- but it works!

But you really do have to believe and give up to the process, and I think Juan Pablo has had a really tough time with that. And I don't know exactly what that is, if it's a cultural difference, if there is a language barrier -- and I know a little bit has been made of that -- but there really was a language and cultural barrier because he didn't know the show as well as people who have been watching it for 10 or 12 years, who just kind of slide into that role.

He had a tough time fitting into it and really giving it up to the process, and I think the women have seen a little bit of that. They felt it. And I think it's made some of them question, you know, his motives, his real sincerity of, "Is he here for true love?" Because they're not hearing it and seeing it as much as they've seen it in the past.

A lot of women on the show have been saying Nikki is not ready to become a wife and stepmom and she's "mean," "b-tchy," "negative," etc. Likewise some of the bachelorettes have said Clare's insane. Do you think any of those opinions are valid and therefore that might mean he's making a mistake in keeping one of them?

Chris Harrison: It's funny because obviously it just so happens that those two women are the frontrunners and have been and they're getting the most attention from Juan Pablo and the most affection from Juan Pablo.

So, you know, it's only human nature to go after those two and find something wrong and, "Why does he like her?" And again, you can add in the adjectives like, "She's a jerk, she's a b-tch," or, "She's not mother-material." But the funny thing is, knowing Nikki and Clare, they're actually more similar than they would ever care to admit to.

Because what those girls don't see is when Nikki talks to him about being a pediatric nurse and how she feels about kids and how she's given her life to be with children and [she's] caring -- those girls don't get to see that side that [Juan Pablo] has. And then the other girls haven't seen that side of Clare either, that kind of maternal instinct and how sweet she is and how caring she is for Juan Pablo.

And so it's interesting. If they got to see that side of each other, which they will when they watch the show back. They'll probably come to the After the Final Rose show and say, "You know what? We were probably more similar than we thought."

If Sharleen didn't quit the show, do you think she had a good shot to end up in Juan Pablo's Final 2?

Chris Harrison: Wow, good question. I mean, you'd have to ask Juan Pablo, but I think she was heading in that direction from my perspective, but a lot had to happen. She would've gone on to the hometown dates -- who knows what would've happened -- and then the overnight date.

So there were a lot of variables and a lot of hurdles to clear, but she was easily on the top of the list and she was always on the top of his favorites since the night she got out of the limo. So, you know, it's interesting what would've happened and how fate and things would've changed, but I can't imagine that it wouldn't have happened that way. But again, a lot had to occur before we got to the Final 2.

Check back with Reality TV World on Thursday for more from Chris Harrison's interview.

(Photo credit ABC)


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