Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette has been full of surprises, and one of the biggest occurred on Oct. 27, when the show's host eliminated a contestant for the first time ever. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chris Harrison revealed the reason he personally sent Zach J. home, explaining that it was his idea to step in for Clare after their uncomfortable one-on-one date.
According to the host, it was clear that Zach wouldn't be getting a rose after he tried to Kiss Clare following a moment of hesitation from the Bachelorette. "There was no coming back from that," Harrison told ET, explaining that Clare had made up her mind about him during that upsetting interaction. "Clare clearly saw Zach was not the man for her, that was not gonna happen. He was not gonna go further than that."
During a confessional, Clare admitted that Zach had made her "really uncomfortable" in that moment, and that she "didn't want to be near him" or discuss the incident further. Zach, meanwhile, told cameras that he never intended to upset Clare, saying, "It's just the worst possible thing, and I don't know what else I could have done."
As a result, Harrison explained that he didn't think it would be right to force the pair to endure the evening portion of their date, especially since Clare was already planning to send Zach home. "There was no reason to go through with that dinner, there's no reason to put anybody through that dinner," he explained. "For her to go and fake it, and just not give him a rose, and for Zach to try and put himself out there and try and fix it -- the damage had been done at that point."
The host and producer then decided to step in and send Zach home on Clare's behalf, in order to avoid upsetting them further. "He wasn't getting that rose, so we thought, 'Why do this? Why take advantage of this scene and drag it all out when this guy's just going home?'" Harrison said. "So I just stepped in and said, let's just be done with this and go on our separate ways." In other words, Harrison's first-ever Bachelorette elimination was actually done to avoid piling on more drama to an already shocking season.
Despite stepping in to send Zach home, Harrison told ET that Clare was fully in control during her time as Bachelorette, and that her decisions were hers alone. "I would just say she has complete control," the host explained when asked about Clare's hints that she was "forced out" as Bachelorette in favor of Tayshia Adams. "This season of The Bachelorette was completely about Clare. It's all about Clare, and she will decide where we go from here. It's totally, completely up to her."
Harrison added that the Bachelorette producers didn't go into filming with Tayshia in mind as a Plan B, as they weren't expecting Clare to fall "that hard [and] that heavy" for contestant Dale Moss the moment he stepped out of the limo. "I really put it in her court, [everything] is completely up to her," he explained. "I like for you to see everything and then you can judge, but in my humble opinion, I really feel like you'll see next week, it's her call where we go from here."