[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season 27 premiere of The Bachelor.]
Zach Shallcross’ Season of ABC’s The Bachelor started with the usual limo meet-and-greets, an abrupt exit and no shortage of kisses.
Shallcross, who had his heart broken by Rachel Recchia during the previous season The Bachelorette, had his own drama to deal with during the season 27 premiere on Monday. The episode featured Shallcross sharing a lengthy and public kiss with Greer Blitzer before giving her the first impression rose, along with saying goodbye to Madison Johnson after she initiated a kiss that was not well received.
During an interview with The Hollywood ReporterShallcross discussed how he felt about some of the less flattering reactions to the news that he was the show’s protagonist, why Blitzer earned the coveted rose, whether it’s important to know his partners’ politics, and how his uncle Patrick Warburton helped prepare him on TV research.
Was it a strange process to see the show’s fans react to the news that you had been cast as the newly bachelor?
Certainly. Where should I start with that? It was already shocking to learn I was the Bachelor. It never really settled down. It took me a while to think, “Wow, like this is actually happening to me.” And then you see the reactions of viewers and fans; there are the supportive ones, and then there are the not-so-supportive ones. Of course that took some getting used to. But it’s crazy for me because I just went through this experience and am very happy. The often visceral response from the fans is a bit intense. It was pretty unique just seeing the whole range of different reactions, for me or against me.
You left Rachel’s season after an off-camera conversation from the fantasy suite, and apparently religion and politics were discussed. Did that situation influence how you approached your own relationships to make those conversations happen sooner?
That is a good question. All of that really plays an important role in a healthy relationship, and having the chance to be on the same level with it is important. Does it ever have to be the same? No. But that open communication is so important, and what fans saw last season was that there was no real communication. It spills over into this really important night, and it’s not like you might have expected, and it was a shock. It might be a good idea to have an idea of the politics your partner has. I’m not a big boy in politics at all. I literally care twice – sorry for the swearing. Of course it plays a role, but communicating it is the most important part.
Viewers see a lot of kissing in your first episode. Did you know this would be part of your process, or were you just caught up in the moment?
To be perfectly honest with you, you just get sucked into it. It’s this overwhelming night, and it’s so exciting. You often ask yourself, “Wow, am I really in this position?” I meet 30 really incredible women, and I had no game plan or anything of how the night was really going to go. My main concern was that I just wanted to speak and meet as many women as possible. And as viewers saw, there were a lot of fast connections where the physical connection was there right away. I am not one to hide my emotion or what I feel.
We are learning that. (laughs.) A public display was with Greer, when some women noticed you kissing her, and that’s when she got the first impression of dandruff. What went into your decision to give her the rose?
What I’ve been looking for is where I can find some peace – someone who just puts me at ease. You go on and on constantly, and it’s another conversation here and there, and you go all over the mansion. With Greer that night, she was able to make me feel comfortable and not make me feel like I was just being pulled in a million different directions, and it’s overwhelming. It wasn’t so much with her. When I think back to giving a first impression of a rose, it was a really good first impression of, ‘Okay, I can relax. I can be calm with her,’ which I really appreciated.
On the other side of the kissing situation, we saw the Madison relationship play out. It seemed that her insistence on that kiss may have accelerated your sense that you two weren’t the right match. What went wrong there?
In that case, I don’t blame anyone. If you have to force something, it shouldn’t be. We’re all here hopefully to find love and be open to the opportunity, but you can’t force that feeling, and it’s either there or it isn’t. With a forced kiss, I wasn’t a fan of that. That was more than saying, “OK, I just don’t think it’s going to be us, and forcing a kiss isn’t going to help us.” But it’s so overwhelming in that house. You have a million things going on at once that sometimes you do silly, crazy things.
What are you most looking forward to for fans to see as your season winds down?
Fans will be pleasantly surprised, because right now the #1 concern is probably “OK, it’s this boring Bachelorette, and there won’t be any drama.” The reality is if you’re someone who loves the show because you want people to find true love and an actual focus on what it’s supposed to be about — not acting, not this and that — then I think fans would love it will find . If you like unnecessary drama and things that are just as ridiculous and make no sense, then yes, maybe I’m not the guy for you. But I think what I’m really excited about is everyone seeing the personalities of everyone involved, because that wasn’t necessarily something that was in The Bachelorette. People don’t necessarily know who I am, and this season you’re all going to see me. It’s the good, the bad, the crazy – the side that hasn’t been shown before. That’s what I’m excited for people to see.
Did you get any advice from Uncle Patrick? [Warburton]?
Uncle Pat gave me some advice. The most important thing is that he is always supported [me] because he knows how overwhelming it can be to be on TV. But he just always said, ‘Hey, keep calm. Don’t let what people say about you determine how you feel about yourself.” So that’s been the main thing.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.