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Ever since Colton Underwood and Chris Harrison started teasing Underwood’s season of The Bachelor, the star and host have promised an ending that is “different” and “unexpected,” respectively. As viewers saw on Monday night’s episode — week three of the ABC dating competition — The Bachelor broke protocol to follow Underwood into the production bay in order to capture his current plight.
In the pool scene ahead of the rose ceremony, Underwood is torn between the conflicting stories of two contestants who also happen to be former Miss USA foes: Hannah B. and Caelynn. “I like both of them. It’s just two different stories that I keep hearing. I was hoping to have some sort of clarity. I still don’t,” Underwood confesses to Harrison. “A statement like Hannah said is, ‘If you pick her, you’re not going to see the full her’ — that is a fear of mine coming into this: Can somebody take advantage of me?”
The Hollywood Reporter was on set for the date that aired earlier in the episode, when a group of women including Hannah B. and Caelynn competed for Underwood’s rose during a pirate-themed adventure. At that time in the competition, when Underwood was just starting out on the journey, the star made it clear that he was there to find love and to find a wife. But he also said he was not putting pressure on himself to propose in the end if the relationship still needed some time.
“Love is a two-way street, and you have to be on the same page. I found that out in my last relationships,” Underwood told THR after the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure challenge. “So it just depends on where the relationship’s at and where the feelings are down the road. I can’t project what’s going to happen in the future, but I can tell you how hopeful I am. I know this is working already, [because] I have some great connections already. It gets me very excited even talking about this, because the possibility of this ending in an engagement is so real.”
After the last controversial season of The Bachelor with Arie Luyendyk Jr., the question arose about whether or not there needs to be such an emphasis on having a proposal in the end. If Luyendyk Jr. hadn’t forced himself to get down on one knee and propose to Becca Kufrin in the finale, would he have had more time to realize that runner-up Lauren Burnham — whom he married last week — was actually the right choice?
Flash-forward to after filming has wrapped, and Underwood says he realized that being “ready” to find a wife is more than just making that declaration. “Coming into it, I said, ‘Yes of course, I’m ready.’ Four weeks in, I was more ready. I was going through it the entire time. I was always growing and continuing to get more ready, continuing to work on developing the feelings and where the relationship was,” he told THR ahead of the premiere airing. “I don’t know if I have an answer to that question. You’re always growing as a person and becoming more ready.”
As he went along with the process, he began to open up about his emotions and push the producers to capture some of those raw moments. As the season trailer shows, Underwood at one point in the season is reduced to tears and embraces a producer behind the scenes to say, “I’m scared.” At another point — the infamous fence jump — Underwood can be heard saying, “I’m done.” That moment, in fact, is when Underwood leaves the show — in what he has called the “most pivotal moment” — in a fit of emotions after Fantasy Suites week.
“I was wanting to feel all of the emotions; I was very raw with it. And I will say, I did do things differently. I think that’s what Chris was alluding to, like, ‘Colton pushed us as much as we pushed him.’ I challenged the production of the show, my relationships and myself throughout this entire journey,” Underwood added. “Just more owning and coming into who I am and continuing to have the realization that I’m not perfect, my life isn’t always going to be perfect. It’s sort of how you embrace and handle certain situations. The challenges of being the Bachelor and navigating these relationships and how I went about it.”
The franchise’s first virgin star, unlike the recent stars before him, has not revealed whether or not he’s currently engaged. Perhaps that element of surprise will land in his favor come the finale. “There has been a format to the show and there have been successes had for a reason, but everybody loves differently,” he has said. “Everybody goes through this process differently. I’m included in that.”
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Lexy Perez contributed to this story.
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