Chris Harrison on Where Blake Horstmann Went Wrong on 'Bachelor in Paradise' (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
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Blake Horstmann's first days in Paradise weren't a walk on the beach.
During the first episode of Bachelor in Paradise's two-night season premiere, the 30-year-old was at the center of all the drama after his pre-show hookups were exposed. According to Caelynn Miller-Keyes, she and Horstmann briefly dated before reconnecting at Stagecoach, which ended in them spending the night together.
When she woke up the next morning, Miller-Keyes claimed that Horstmann was DMing Hannah Godwin and gushing over Tayshia Adams, before revealing that he had hooked up with Kristina Schulman the night before his rendezvous with Miller-Keyes. All the women involved in Horstmann's twisted tale were in the Paradise premiere, making for a highly dramatic environment.
"Blake's just a young man who got his hand caught in the cookie jar a few times," Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison told ET's Lauren Zima ahead of the season premiere, adding that "things get about as bad as they can" for Horstmann in future episodes.
"There's nothing good about... the disaster that was Stagecoach, where he was with Kristina, the next night was with Caelynn. Not a good look. Not a great move. Not smart at all," Harrison said. "Thinking he was somehow gonna get away with that and just stroll into Paradise and it was gonna be just this great time, he would move on, that is what is beyond me. That's what I don't understand. What was he thinking was going to happen?"
While Harrison said that Horstmann may have thought he and Miller-Keyes "had some sort of understanding" and that he could come on Paradise and"still look like a great guy," the TV host lamented Horstmann's many "bad moves."
"I think the understanding was in his head, that she was just gonna quietly go into the night and [say], 'Hey I'm just gonna come in and do my thing and still look like a great guy," Harrison said. "Surprisingly, Caelynn didn't go along with that. Then I liked how he kind of then put it on her. So again, there's a lot of bad moves, compounded by really bad decisions, compounded by Stagecoach."
"... It's only arrogance, I guess, to think that you were gonna stroll into Paradise and that we wouldn't know as producers, that the girls weren't gonna talk, that everything would just magically go away 'cause you're some great guy," Harrison added. "Maybe he was believing the hype, drinking his own Kool-Aid, thinking that all the people that tell him out in public that he's the greatest guy ever, maybe he thought he was the greatest guy ever. Maybe this is exactly what he needed, a swift kick in the a**."
Even through his trouble in Paradise, Horstmann continued to pursue the likes of Godwin and Adams, something that greatly surprised Harrison.
"The fact that Blake thought, 'This has been the worst three days of my life. I have been outed in the worse possible way. I'm not gonna leave. I'm gonna triple down. I'm going to, after making out with Tayshia, I'm gonna go for Hannah,'" Harrison said. "... I mean I just would have jumped into the ocean and swam. I just would have left... I don't know what kept him there."
"That is the amazing thing about Paradise and about The Bachelor and Bachelorette, like he still thinks somehow he's gonna maneuver this," Harrison continued, before adding that he doesn't "see how" things could end well for Horstmann.
"No more music festivals this year, buddy," Harrison added with a wink.
As for how it became clear that Horstmann had crossed some lines prior to and during Paradise, Harrison pointed to Dean Unglert's reaction following his own controversial Paradise run last season.
"When Dean looks at you and says, 'Wow, you've really gone a little overboard in that department,' that's saying a lot," Harrison quipped. "I mean, 'cause Dean is the gold standard, but when Dean and his mustache both judge you, you know you've done wrong."
Above all, Harrison said he hopes that Horstmann was able to "grow and learn" throughout the whole torrid experience.
"He's not a bad guy. You know, he didn't rob a bank. He's not a terrible human being. He didn't do anything illegal, yet, he is single. That part he got right," Harrison said. "... He also needs to realize just because you're a single guy doesn't mean you can do what you did. That's still not OK, but, in the end, yes, he is single."
"So, you know, he is not the devil, so I am going to give him a little bit of a break there," he continued. "But hopefully he just learns from this and comes out of this a better gentleman."
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Join ET's Bachelor Nation Facebook group here.