Longtime Bachelor host Chis Harrison announced his official retirement, leaving this season of The Bachelorette in the hands of two of its former stars, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe. If Monday’s episode is any indicator for the rest of the season, the change might just be for the best.
What It’s Like Without Harrison
At the beginning of the episode, it’s clear that the Bachelorette, Katie Thurston, thinks she’s doing this season sans host. We watch as she stands, waiting nervously for the first limo to arrive. She’s clearing her throat and anxiously shifting back and forth, clearly not her usual confident self. Behind her, Adams and Bristowe creep up, giggling. When they yell her name, she turns, and the relief on her face is evident.
They hug like long lost sisters, and for the rest of the episode, they act like it. The new Bachelorette hosts sit her down and give her some advice. They’re well qualified, too: Adams was last year’s Bachelorette and Bristowe was 2015’s. “Don’t rule any of them out,” Adams tells Thurston.
Thurston seems rejuvenated and walks back to greet the limos with a new confidence. The co-hosts cheer her on, then they watch from the resort’s window as the men arrive, eating popcorn and giving thumbs-ups.
Harrison’s departure is obvious when Bristowe says, “Katie, gentlemen, this is the final rose tonight.” After 20 years, it’s a little weird to hear someone else say that familiar line. But the new hosts bring the show a fresh, almost giddy energy that Harrison lost somewhere along the way.
Why Harrison Left
Harrison stepping down wasn’t a big surprise. He took a break from hosting in February after he defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racially insensitive actions.
In an interview, he called viewers who were upset at Kirkconnell, who went to an antebellum party that celebrated the “Old South” in 2018 “the woke police.” Kirkconnell won the season and was dating Matt James, the first black Bachelor, at the time. Shortly after his comments, Harrison apologized on Instagram twice.
But it wasn’t enough. Harrison announced his break and Emmanuel Acho, an ex-NFL player, replaced him in The Bachelor‘s live reunion episode. Some fans thought Harrison would host The Bachelorette after he told Good Morning America he hoped to come back, but yesterday, he announced his break was permanent on Instagram.
“While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime,” he said.
Who’s Hosting the Next Bachelor Season?
At The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, Acho announced that Adams and Bristowe would host both Thurston’s Bachelorette season and another right after it featuring Michelle Young. Young, who, like Thurston, was a contestant on James’ season, will have her season aired in the fall.
The Bachelor in Paradise will feature guest hosts Lil Jon, Tituss Burgess, David Spade and Lance Bass, according to NBC News. It’s still unclear who will host The Bachelor‘s next season, though.