Nick Viall and Ben Higgins Call Out The Bachelorette's "Messy" Joint Lead Format

Former Bachelors Nick Viall and Ben Higgins called Gabby and Rachel's The Bachelorette season "icky and unfair" and explained exclusively to E! News why the two-lead format isn't working.

By Brett Malec Aug 08, 2022 10:00 PMTags
Watch: Why Ben Higgins Calls Current Bachelorette Season "Messy"

It seems everyone in Bachelor Nation has an opinion about the unprecedented current season of The Bachelorette, and Ben Higgins and Nick Viall are no exception.

The former Bachelor leads, who starred on seasons 20 and 21 respectively, are weighing in on the ABC series' first-ever two-lead season starring Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia.

"I don't think a lot of people are fans of it," Nick told E! News exclusively while promoting their Aug. 9 appearance on E!'s Celebrity Beef hosted by Joel McHale. "I think only because we've seen the women in previous seasons be pitted against each other. We all watched Gabby and Rachel kind of go through that experience that they went through on Clayton [Echard]'s season. I get why they were both picked to be the Bachelorettes, because how could you really pick Gabby over Rachel or Rachel over Gabby?"

He continued, "I get the spirit of the choice so to speak but this show is unfortunately set up where it's just impossible to not have them compete against themselves just by default. I think it certainly makes for drama but I think for a lot of people watching it it just feels a little icky and unfair to both Gabby and Rachel. I think they're kind of taking away from some of the enjoyment."

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While Nick called the beginning on the season "not so great"—especially after that epic rose ceremony fail where several suitors rejected Rachel's roses—the reality star says he remains "optimistic that things will change for the better." He hopes Gabby and Rachel will get to "focus on their individual love stories" more as the episodes progress.

Ben echoed his Bachelor BFF, telling E!, "The reason it's working at all is because of the two leads. I think they're doing a really good job navigating this."

Instagram; ABC/Craig Sjodin

Ben continued, "I think it's messy. Up until maybe this week I was just confused a lot."

Ben felt particularly bad for Rachel after she was rejected by three men who preferred Gabby during the July 25 episode.

"She probably felt more [overwhelmed] than most have ever felt on the show and that would break you," he added. "It would be really hard, then to try to navigate it and feel confident in your dating relationships. As Nick said, I'm optimistic that she will find her confidence and that she will walk forward and have a couple relationships that really push her forward, and I think Gabby will do the same. But right now I still just watch it and I'm like, ‘I don't know. It's not hitting me like some seasons were hitting in the past.'"

Don't miss Nick and Ben's Celebrity Beef showdown tomorrow, Aug. 9, at 10 p.m. on E!.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.