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Bachelor in Paradise is causing a stir in its sixth season for many reasons, but one of them is certainly the love triangle that formed between Demi Burnett, her beach love Derek Peth and the woman she had been dating back home before coming to Paradise, Kristian Haggerty. The Bachelor franchise, and the fans who watch it, make a pretty big deal out of contestants coming on the shows when they are already attached to someone off screen, and many have been kicked off if they get found out while their season is still filming.
But, Demi, who admitted early in the season that she had been seeing someone and had not broken up with that person before coming on Bachelor in Paradise, was not only allowed to stay on the show and romance Derek, but her hometown love, Kristian, was brought onto the show just this week. This marks only the second time that someone from outside the Bachelor franchise has been cast on Paradise, and a lot of fans and former cast members are questioning both moves.
Well, franchise host Chris Harrison has now come out and explained why those behind the show felt it was OK to break the rules for Bachelor in Paradise this year, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that those so-called rules are only perceived. Here's what he had to say:
We could have easily said that because Demi is in somewhat of a relationship back home that she won't find love here and we should send her home and go on our way. Instead, we all made the decision to break or bend the rules a little bit. And the good news is, there is no rulebook. I always say that to contestants and producers. We have no rules and can essentially do what we want with the show as long as we’re treating everybody fairly and with respect. It was a pretty easy but big decision to go down that path with Demi, especially since it’s with someone who is outside of our franchise and our family.
OK, so, according to what Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter, even though it certainly seems to fans that the show has rules surrounding who they let on the show and how they expect things to proceed at a very basic level, apparently, that's not the reality. What we've seen in the past, from Bachelor in Paradise in particular, has simply been the way things shook out naturally, instead of the show following a set of regulations that the producers make sure the cast members are on board with at the beginning.
The Bachelor franchise has come under fire in recent years for not being inclusive enough, so it's pretty easy to see why the producers would take this opportunity to watch Demi's journey to fully accepting herself and her relationship with Kristian. Chris Harrison makes it sound like the only real "rule" they have is making sure that the show can morph in whatever way necessary, as long as they respect all the people involved and treat them fairly.
While some fans would probably say that bringing in Demi's girlfriend wasn't really fair or respectful of Derek, at least it did finally allow all the back and forth between the two to end, so that now at least Derek knows where they stand (broken up) and he's free to move on when he's ready.
Chris Harrison also mentioned that he thinks their decision was actually helped along by the fact that Kristian wasn't previously a member of the franchise, which sounds counter-intuitive, but the way he tells it, it makes the whole storyline even more compelling and fun to watch:
The reason why it works so well — and in my opinion it does work — is because [Haggerty] is so innocent and naïve about the world she’s about to come into, that you can tell it's 100 percent genuine.
I think Chris Harrison's point is that because Kristian was so out of her depth when deciding to head to Bachelor in Paradise, it means that she has real feelings for Demi, and the audience will be able to watch a real love story develop between them this season. Which, of course, is one of the main reasons people watch in the first place. So, good on Bachelor in Paradise for finding out a way to give fans what they want, even if it did mean flouting expectations.
Bachelor in Paradise is still airing Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m. EST, so you can tune in for yourself to see if Demi and Kristian's relationship survives this hot, sexy beach.