“The Bachelor” is going back to the beginning. On the heels of the announcement that Chris Soules has been signed as the 19th star of the romantic reality show, comes the real reason why the 32-year-old Iowa farmer was picked over popular race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. On Wednesday, longtime host Chris Harrison told TV Guide that while the choice for the new star was “down to the wire,” in the end producers decided to go back to the basics.
"At the end of the day, Chris is everything the show is based on," Harrison said. "He's that diamond in the rough from middle America who more than ever needs the show to find his wife. It reminds me of Aaron Buerge in Missouri. He needed the show to expand his horizons. So, it takes us back to where the show began."
Missouri-born Buerge, a VP of a family owned bank chain, was the second “Bachelor” star back in 2002. He ended his stint on the show in the right way –down on one knee with a ring in his hand -- but since then, producers have gone for flashier types and have seen fewer proposals along the way. The show has starred wealthy winemakers, a doctor, and even a prince, and last season’s Venezuelan soccer pro Juan Pablo Galavis proved to be a disaster when he couldn’t even tell his final pick that he loved her. Luyendyk, the other front runner this season, campaigned heavily for the new “Bachelor” spot, but he has a bit of a reputation as a player, and he clearly proved to be too risky of a choice.
As for his starring stint on “The Bachelor,” Soules told People, “It's still very surreal. It's going to be very difficult, but I just want to be very open-minded and have fun and get to know these women." The hunky new star, who butted heads with last season’s “Bachelorette” Andi Dorfman over living in Iowa, even says he is "open to compromise" when it comes to choosing a hometown with his future mate. But first comes love, then comes marriage.
"First and foremost, I want to fall in love and find that person that is truly my soul mate," Soules said. "I'm willing to compromise, but I just have to find that person that I want to compromise for."
The new season of “The Bachelor” begins filming this fall.