The Bachelor had a casting shakeup like no other when it added five new women to vie for Matt James' heart on the latest episode of the hit reality series — and ABC executive Rob Mills is elaborating on the network's unprecedented decision to do so.
"We got a record number of submissions. We couldn't fit everyone in night one, and we had some really interesting girls," Mills told Variety in a new interview. "These were women that we had already met with. It was decided pretty much before filming began [that they would join later]."
"It was good to throw them in the mix," he added. "It wasn't just to shake things up."
The five new women — Brittany Galvin, Michelle Young, Catalina Morales, Ryan Claytor and Kim Li — arrived at Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania during Monday's episode just before the next rose ceremony, which sent the 18 original women into a tailspin.
Matt, 29, learned of the incoming arrivals from host Chris Harrison, who told the Bachelor, "We had a record response from women who wanted to be on this show" before the new batch of ladies stepped out of the limo.
After the new group of ladies' memorable limo entrances, Matt took a deep breath and acknowledged that the late additions would likely add to the drama already ensuing in the house. "There is a 100 percent chance there will be hostility," he said in a confessional shot. "There is a 100 percent chance there's going to be drama and I'm in trouble."
Following the cocktail party for all 23 women, during which Matt got to know more about his new contestants, he handed out roses to everyone except one newcomer, Kim, and two "OGs," Khaylah Epps and Kaili Anderson.
Many of the original women did not take kindly to the casting shakeup. Victoria Larson, the self-proclaimed "Queen," called the newcomers "random a– hoes" and swiped Catalina's crown off her head, while Anna Redman later alleged that Brittany was an "escort" in Chicago.
But the drama did not stop Matt from pursuing relationships with the new women. Michelle, a 27-year-old teacher from Minnesota, earned a one-on-one date with the Bachelor. The pair formed an instant connection, and Matt gave Michelle the rose.
As the episode went on, the bashing of the new women only continued, which led Katie Thurston to confront Matt about "the bullying that's kind of been happening in the house," likening it to "mob mentality."
And Matt was not happy to hear about it. "The fact that somebody in the house thinks that they're going to be able to bully their way to my heart — that's not how it works," he told the cameras. "It's not something that I want to be part of this journey, and I need to get to the bottom of it."
The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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