Last season of “The Bachelor” was Jesse Palmer’s first as host. Now, as he gets ready to step into his first season of “The Bachelorette,” he’s gearing up for a heavy dose of drama as the franchise makes history with two stars for the very first time.
“The Bachelorette” Season 19 premieres this upcoming Monday with two female leads, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. If their names don’t ring a bell (yet), it’s probably because their two storylines on last season of “The Bachelor” were overshadowed by the common theme of one bad breakup.
Windey and Recchia were both broken up with on national TV at the same time by former “Bachelor” Clayton Echard, who conducted the franchise’s first and only double breakup. The result? A double dose of searching for love.
Ever since ABC announced they had cast two “Bachelorettes,” Bachelor Nation has been swarming with questions about how this is possibly going to work. Here, Palmer does his best to explain — without any spoilers! — what exactly “The Bachelorette” will look like with two leading ladies.
There are two Bachelorettes dating the same 32 men. How exactly is this going to work?
This is history in the making. We’ve never had two Bachelorettes go the entire run of the season, so we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Rachel and Gabby deserve a ton of credit because they really took control and were able to rely on each other in their own friendship and their own relationships.
There is some concern out there that the season could pit women against each other. It sounds like it was the opposite though, and the women helped each other navigate the process and supported each other.
This is not Gabby and Rachel competing against each other for the men. That’s not the design. It really is these two women helping each other, being there for each other and empowering each other to hopefully find love. They helped navigate and support each other throughout everything. I’m really excited for the season to start so everyone can see how this unfolds.
There is a format that “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” follows – there are group dates, one-on-ones, hometowns, rose ceremonies. Now that there are two Bachelorettes, how will the format change?
Everything was really on the table. Whether it’s one-on-one dates, whether it’s group dates, overnights, hometowns, travel, there are just so many different scenarios at play. Do Gabby and Rachel fall in love with the same guy? Could the same guys fall in love with Gabby and Rachel? And then what happens? These are all things that everyone tried to anticipate and could potentially happen, but we weren’t sure what would happen and we were shocked with what happened. To indirectly answer your question, yes, oftentimes the season seem very formulaic, and I think there’s a bit of a departure from that this season, simply because we’ve never had this kind of format before. There are going to be a lot of things viewers see for the first time.
How will the rose ceremonies work?
The rose ceremony is another thing that’s interesting. I think viewers at home in Bachelor Nation are accustomed to the rose ceremonies happening a certain way. There are parts that will remain very familiar, and then there are going to be some new twists.
Do Rachel and Gabby go on dates together? Do they do everything separately? As things get more serious, is there a point in the season where they are solely on their own separate journeys?
It’s a constant ebb and flow, to be honest. There are times throughout the season that their journeys are sort of intertwined and they’re doing things together. And then there are times where they both separate and go on their own. But they are constantly always there for each other, and I think a big thing that people are going to see is that support for each other, and how they’re able to help each other throughout this whole thing.
Viewers really loved Gabby and Rachel’s support for each other throughout the craziness of Clayton’s season. I’d guess that’s probably why they were both chosen to be “The Bachelorette.” Will we continue to see that support in their own journeys?
When I think back to the rose ceremony from hell in Iceland, we saw their unwavering support for one another. I was obviously there in-person, and I remember witnessing that and experiencing their pain and the heartbreak during the double breakup. I think that experience, for myself personally, and for a lot of Bachelor Nation, spawned our desire to really pull for these two. We really want to see them find happiness and find love and find their person.
But you did mention that there is a possibility that Gabby and Rachel fall in love with the same man, or that the same man could fall in love with them. Will things get messy?
In the moment in Iceland, they supported each other, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s going to keep happening moving forward. But what I can say is that they were both unbelievable throughout the season with respect to being there for one another and really helping each other out. They both have to navigate this and there are a lot of highs, but both of them experience some lows, as well. Their friendship, I think, ultimately is what helped them try to prevail through because there are so many challenges that they were faced with.
So what you’re saying is that if things get messy, it’s not because a catfight breaks out between Rachel and Gabby?
There are no royal rumbles out by the pool at the mansion [laughing].
Glad to hear it. But do the men fight over them?
It’s “The Bachelorette!” It’s a bunch of dudes. There’s a lot of testosterone.
So, it’s safe to say there is drama at the mansion?
Gabby and Rachel are both amazing, and I think the men realized how special and unique of an opportunity this is to hopefully find love with one of them. So yes, that is all to say that there could be some drama on the horizon.
I always have thought “The Bachelorette” is a bit more fun to watch because there is just something so entertaining about watching all of these men fight over women.
[Laughing] From that perspective — just so you know — the drama gets spread out evenly. It doesn’t discriminate.
That’s very true. But back to Rachel and Gabby, can you tease how each of their journeys wrap up this season? Is there heart break or happy endings?
Oh man. There are so many possibilities. I don’t want to speak on behalf of Gabby and Rachel. But what I can say is that both of their love stories are completely different journeys because they’re different people. It’s unscripted and totally unplanned, so there were multiple moments throughout the course of the season where Gabby, Rachel, myself and all of the producers encountered a situation that we’ve never seen before. There was a moment of like, “What do we do next? What is going to happen next?”
Now that you’ve been through a couple of seasons, do you think that this new format with two leads could work again in the future?
That’s a great question. This franchise is always trying to find ways to reinvent itself and keep things fresh. Because it hasn’t aired yet, I am really curious myself to see what fans are going to think of this. Depending on the response, I do wonder moving forward if we’re going to start to see some more tweaks — maybe two Bachelors one day, or maybe more. I don’t know. I would like to think that two Bachelorettes means double the drama and double the fun.
Anything else you can tease for Bachelor Nation?
I want to warn people at home — you need like, a wall in your room that you could put pictures up on and connect everything with string, like you’re trying to solve something because there’s a lot of storyline and a lot of relationships that [you] have to keep track of to keep up with two Bachelorettes.