Chris Harrison On the ‘Bachelor’ Finale: ‘More Juan Pablo Spoke, Worse He Looked’

Chris Harrison and Juan Pablo Galavis had a heated exchange on last night’s “After the Final Rose” — and readers were split on who came out the hero and the villian.

Though he repeatedly asked Juan Pablo about his future plans with Nikki Ferrell, the former soccer player demurred and refused to give any sort of indication of what we could expect for them.

“The more he spoke, the worse he looked,” Harrison told ABC News today. “I felt bad for both of them.”

But he didn’t stop there. For the complete Q&A with the “Bachelor” host, see below.

Last night’s episode was intense. Could you have predicted all that drama?

No. That was the weird part. Usually as the host and as a producer on the show we know exactly for the most part what we’re going to get. The show has its beats: Sean sits down, and it’ll be difficult with Lindsay but it’s not a huge deal; and there’s the coronation of he and Catherine. Last night, going into the show, I had no idea how it was going to go from start to finish. I really had no clue what I was going to get and it really started with the audience… not knowing what their reaction was going to be. It made for an exciting, fun night for me.

Let’s start with Clare. For the most part, our readers applauded her for standing up for herself. Did you think she came across well?

I really liked Clare on the show and I found it surprising that she got such a negative rap during the show. That’s something I didn’t anticipate from our fans, so I was a little taken aback by that. But then last night she redeemed herself. I didn’t think she needed to! People saw the real Clare — a strong, confident, beautiful woman. She did a 180 with the audience. She definitely won everybody back and she stood up for herself and she felt like she did it too late, but I told her, “It’s never too late. You did it when you needed to.”

‘Bachelor’ Winner Nikki Ferrell to Haters: ‘Be Ashamed of Yourselves’

There’s really no other way to put this: Your conversation with Nikki and Juan Pablo was painful to watch. How awkward was it in person?

I wasn’t harping on him so much to make him say “I love you,” that’s kind of irrelevant to me. It was just, things weren’t adding up and it was just bizarre. Their body language was telling me one thing and his words were telling me another. It was him. She wasn’t allowed or able to speak her mind. I almost felt sorry for her. She was uncomfortable. He was making her uncomfortable, and I assume, I’m hoping at least, it was just an orchestrated event by him to somehow and in some way, get back at me or the show, I don’t know what his motivation was for what he pulled last night. That was the most puzzling thing. I really felt like I was sitting here, like Jerry Maguire, saying, “Help me help you. I’m trying to make you look better. Come up with an articulate thought about this woman next to you who has pledged her devotion to you.” The more he spoke, the worse he looked. I felt bad for both of them.

Did you expect him to be that antagonistic toward you?

Sadly, I got exactly what I thought I was going to get last night. Some you saw and some you haven’t seen [during the show. Things] were a little contentious but I never felt like I was at odds with him. I don’t dislike him whatsoever. I wasn’t mad at him last night. I was just trying to think, “How can I make this guy articulate his feelings and show his emotions?” … This guy is not looking good and all he had to do was simply explain that even if he didn’t want to say I love you, that’s totally fine, but say something. Everybody’s invested in this and you came into this with the understanding of what “The Bachelor” is. You can’t get away with, “I’ve never seen the show.” He knew exactly what he was getting into. He had trouble embracing being the Bachelor. People take that as an indictment on you and it’s not. It doesn’t make you a bad person. He had trouble getting into the process.

Do you think Nikki really loves him?

I think she loves him because only a woman who loves a man would’ve sat there and endured that last night for him. She wanted to speak her mind. She wanted to say more. She was not comfortable and she sat by his side! Only a woman who loves a man would’ve done what she did. She was a trouper.

Do you think he really loves her?

Yes. I think he’s told her but I don’t think he wanted to say it [last night].

Your critics are accusing you of being a bully last night. What do you say to those people?

I can’t disagree and I can only respect their opinions. That goes to show how great the show is and this is why I love it: I had people telling me how great I was last night and I handled him and he was a bad guy and then I had people telling me I was the worst person in the world and he’s great. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. I love that it evokes that kind of emotion and that kind of debate. I totally respect that opinion and maybe I was! I have to go back and watch it to see. Maybe I was hard on him. I don’t know. I went into that with the intention of being fair and letting him speak his mind, but after what Nikki said, I thought I was being fair in getting him to reciprocate some emotion.

Some people noted that you walked away from him as the show went to commercial. What was that about?

Honestly, I had a short break and I was so parched, I ran over to get some water. I just walked five feet to get my water bottle and then I ran right back on stage.

What are the odds that Juan Pablo and Nikki make it down the aisle or even get engaged?

Stranger things have happened, right? That’s the beauty of the show and what it’s about. Who can predict? The silliest thing you can do is bet against them. Maybe they will last forever and honestly, I hope they do. I wish them nothing but the best. People took last night as I’m angry, but I’m not. I just wish he’d embraced us a little more.

C’mon. Seriously?

I was the guy that would’ve bet a million dollars that Ali and Roberto would get married and then they broke up. Who knows? It’s a crazy world out there!

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