‘The Bachelorette’: How ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Changed the Rules on Who Can Become a Star

The lead for the next season of The Bachelorette has been announced and in case you missed it, our newest Bachelorette will be Hannah Brown, also known as “Alabama Hannah.” But the former beauty queen wasn’t the only one in the running for the role.

No, the show’s casting team met with four other Bachelorette potentials. As per usual, they interviewed the final three women to be eliminated, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, Tayshia Adams, and Hannah Godwin.

But they also met with the season’s villain, Demi Burnett. This was surprising news because as hardcore Bachelor and Bachelorette fans know, anyone who is polarizing on the show almost never ends up in the lead role.

So, what changed the selection process?

‘Bachelor in Paradise’

Before Bachelor in Paradise, contestants had one shot to show their personalities to the audience, one chance to get a good edit. If they didn’t show enough of who they were or riffled too many feathers, fans wouldn’t want to come back and watch a whole season of them.

But with the introduction of Bachelor in Paradise, the contestants got another shot at both love and winning America over.

“You saw the villains get redemption and those are sometimes the best stories that we tell,” Robert Mills ABC’s Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming told ET of past seasons of BIP. “I think that’s when we started to say nobody can ever be discounted.”

Before BIP, someone like Burnett would have never been in the running to be the lead.

“We would say we reject it out of hand,” he said of the idea of having Burnett as the lead. “We’d say, no, they can’t.”

But after Nick Viall went from hated Bachelor contestant on not one, but two, seasons of The Bachelorette to lovable favorite on Bachelor in Paradise, it became clear that no one could be ruled out.

“We’re starting to learn from that, so that’s why we were like, ‘We should at least meet with Demi,'” Mills told the outlet. “Let’s just embrace something we’ve never done before. We’re so far in now. You’ve got to try something different.”

Though Burnett didn’t ultimately end up becoming the Bachelorette, host Chris Harrison pretty much spelled out that she would be headed to Paradise.

On the Women Tell All special, he casually said that we would probably be seeing Burnett soon, which any BIP fan knows means she’ll be on her way to drinking cocktails out of coconuts and kissing on the beach in no time.

Other ‘Bachelor’ villain redemptions

Viall wasn’t the only villain who was redeemed in the eyes of the public after going on BIP.

Krystal Nielson and Chris Randone were each villains before they stepped onto the beach. But through falling in love with each other and showing audiences a softer side of themselves, their villainous pasts were put to rest.

The two are now engaged and are constantly invited back to Bachelor franchise events and tapings to give their two cents on what’s going on in The Bachelor world.

All of this just goes to show that in Bachelor Nation, anyone can make a comeback.

Read more: ‘The Bachelor’: Which Girls Can We Expect to See on ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’

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