More strategic than he gets credit for? The Bachelor season 21 star Nick Viall revealed to ABC News on Friday, January 13, that he didn't necessarily give the group date rose to Corinne Olympios just because she was bold enough to take her top off in the pool.
Olympios has quickly become the season's most polarizing figure, between putting Viall's hands on her bare breasts in front of the other women during the bridal photo shoot, and then pulling him aside for three separate one-on-one conversations at the cocktail party, thereby breaking the show's unwritten code of conduct.
Some of the other women questioned Viall's priorities when he rewarded the Miami-based business owner's behavior, but Viall explained to ABC News that he saw his pick for the group date rose as a way to learn more about how the women deal with undesirable outcomes.
"When you are 'the Bachelor,' you have very limited resources and time to get to know these women, and I think you try to use everything at your disposal," the two-time Bachelorette runner-up said. "As a result, I think you can give out a group date rose to accomplish a few things: You can validate someone … [but] you can also [use it to] see how other people might react."
He acknowledged that Olympios' moves might have been "rubbing some of the other women the wrong way," but said he wanted to see how they deal with these feelings. "How would they communicate that with me?" Viall, 36, said. "Would they talk about me behind my back? Would they bring it up to me directly? And if they brought it up to me directly, would they do it in a way that was effective? Could we resolve it and come to a mutual understanding of the situation, or would it blow up?"
"Seeing how people react to a situation, you can tell a lot," he continued. "You're trying to learn about these women and the possibility of how they might be in a relationship outside of that [reality show] world."
Viall spoke to Us Weekly exclusively at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour on Tuesday, January 11, where he made similar comments about his date-rose reasoning. When asked whether this could be seen as a "sadistic" test to put the ladies through, he replied to Us, "I don’t know if it was sadistic, but I think, again, every rose you give out, there’s a bunch of other people who aren’t getting a rose. So how they handle that is telling."
A source previously told Us Weekly that Olympios has "always been out of control," and that while she was growing up, she "had several boyfriends at once."
The day after this week's episode aired, Olympios wrote on Instagram that her "haters" should "keep the mean comments to yourself." She explained, "I was confident, and I was me."
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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