Luke Pell Speaks Out on Losing 'The Bachelor' to Nick Viall: 'It Was a Huge Surprise'
By Jennifer Drysdale
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After a whirlwind few days, Luke Pell says he's ready to start "taking control of my own destiny."
The 31-year-old war veteran that captured the hearts of viewers on JoJo Fletcher's season of The Bachelorette was all set to become the next Bachelor, until a last-minute switch-up revealed producers had chosen Nick Viall for the job.
According to Pell, they were already well into planning for his season of The Bachelor.
"We were all satisfied, had agreed to the contracts and everything was moving forward. I was checked in to my flight to come to L.A.," Pell toldUs Weekly on Thursday. "I got a call from producers Sunday night at about 10 p.m. They said ABC had decided to quote-unquote go in a different direction."
"I was supposed to fly out Monday morning at 9 a.m. I had my bags packed and everything," he explained, describing the day as the "most dramatic Monday ever."
"We had planned for intro filming and had planned to have my sister come on for a date and give advice as part of the show,"he said. "I met with the wardrobe guys. Everything was moving forward. Everyone on the production level was expecting it to be me, as well."
Pell's story echoes what a source close to the show told ET on Wednesday.
"Luke was all set to be the Bachelor. He had signed a contract and was getting ready to leave," the source revealed, adding that in recent years, Bachelor producers have made multiple people sign contracts before choosing the show's lead. "Producers have made their top two favorites both sign contracts to lock them in for the gig, and then will pull one contract when they make up their minds as to who they want."
While the decision was certainly shocking for Pell, he says he understands that the show "thrives off" the element of surprise. "From all my years in the military, I've learned that some things are out of my control. I put it in the past, and I'm moving forward. It was a huge surprise, but the element of surprise and unexpected decisions is what the show thrives off of."
"I was emotionally and mentally all prepared. My family was happy about it. So I'm recalculating what I'm going to be doing," said Pell, who was supposed to be filming The Bachelor through November. "I'm just happy to get back to my life in Nashville as an entrepreneur and songwriter. Those are two passions of mine. I put them on hold for the TV show, and now I can return to that."
As for whether the aspiring musician would take on the role if producers changed their mind in the future, he says "probably" not: "I don't want to wait in the wings for what decisions they can make for my life. I want to head back into taking control of my own destiny."
Pell's recent statements reflect his first reaction to the big Bachelor news -- "Sometimes in life we are faced with unexpected changes," he posted to Instagram on Tuesday -- but he's not he only one still dealing with decision. A source revealed to ET that Viall had "no idea" he was even being considered for the role.
"It wasn't even a thought on the table that Nick would be the next Bachelor. He had no idea they were considering him … ABC called Nick very last minute -- just a couple of days before the announcement -- and made him an offer."