Like almost any news that comes from Bachelor Nation, the decision to make Colton Underwood the Bachelor created polarized reactions from fans. While some viewers were excited about the news of the familiar face returning to the franchise, other fans were up in arms that contenders, like Jason Tartick, didn't make the cut. And if audiences are still scratching their heads over the leading man they'll be watching come Jan. 7, Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss explained why Colton was the obvious choice for the job in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly.
By now, it's clear that Colton's virginity plays a major role in the upcoming season. Fans have been beaten over the head with marketing playing up his virginity including the poster tagline, "What does he have to lose?" And in his interview with EW, Fleiss doesn't shy away from the fact that his virginity is what made Colton stand apart.
"The virginity thing is interesting. And we think that just the potential of [Colton losing his virginity] creates added stakes for this season," he said. The creator further revealed how The Bachelor team saw even more potential in Colton. "We like this guy. He's interesting, he's certainly hunky, he looks the part, he's an all-American kid, a football player," Fleiss explained. "Colton just seemed like a star. When you're in the room with him, you're like, that's a big personality, a big presence. He just won us over."
Still, the fact that the network continues to put Colton's virginity front and center of his journey is stirring up controversy. Another promotional poster was a recreation of The 40-Year-Old Virgin poster, which director Judd Apatow even called out. This all may seem a bit familiar to Bachelor fans, given the success of former contestant Sean Lowe, who was a born-again virgin. Like Colton, who's appeared on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, fans were invested in Sean after he appeared on Bachelorette. Fleiss admitted that the appeal of Sean "played a role" in choosing Colton.
"We all loved Sean, and that was a great season... and Colton does have very strong similarities to Sean," Fleiss told EW. "But he's a real virgin, not just a born-again virgin... And he has grown from the time he was on Bachelorette. I think the experience did add to his maturity."
In addition to the virginity controversy (should that really be the focus?), fans are still pining over alums Blake Horstmann and Jason, who Fleiss admittedly met with. The creator, however, suggested that perhaps the two were a bit too eager to be the Bachelor, saying their enthusiasm wasn't "necessarily a good thing."
Further, Fleiss explained: "The Jason people are pissed, the Blake people are pissed — if we had chosen Blake, the Jason people still would have been pissed. Really, you can't look for 100 percent approval."
Overall, the powers that be saw Colton's search for love as the most promising. "You’ve gotta make your best decision in terms of story potential," Fleiss said. "I think Colton represents the biggest potential for that story to create a lot of drama and romance." Colton, meanwhile, seems ready and eager to get the show on the road. After all, what does he have to lose?