After competing on Clayton Echard's season, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia will now have 32 men vying for their attention during their joint journey for love. And for Palmer, two bachelorettes means twice the daily grind for him.
"More work," he told TooFab when asked what makes hosting this season different from Clayton's. "Got a lot more you gotta keep track of. Who's dating who? It's like when you're in your living room and there's a crime scene and you're putting pictures and names and attaching everything by string in this massive web, that's basically what it's like. It's like the Love Wall between Rachel and Gabby."
"What made this unique for me was I already had a personal experience, relationship, with both Rachel and Gabby having hosted Clayton's season," he continued. "So I was there for their journey there. I was in Iceland at the Rose Ceremony from Hell, the double breakup, it was incredibly emotional and it was amazing to see how they supported each other through that. So for me, I think on this one, right out of the gate just being a huge cheerleader for Rachel and Gabby, knowing them personally and knowing how much they deserve this opportunity and really just hoping that they find what they're looking for at the end of it."
And while that "Rose Ceremony from Hell" was a mess for everyone involved, Palmer said hosting Clayton's definitely taught him to "expect the unexpected" going forward.
"As much as you think you know where things are gonna go or what's gonna happen or who's gonna end up with who, even as the host, you ultimately don't know anything," he told TooFab. "It's not just being there for one person, but it's being there for two people, two different people, two people that are going through different relationships and are having their own experiences and are looking for different things. Never making it about myself, making it about them and being there for them if needed and if I can help them at all -- from drawing on my previous experience having been The Bachelor -- then I'm always trying to be there to help guide them as best I can."
The very premise of the new season -- two women dating the same pool of men -- also brought Palmer into uncharted territory, as the show introduced a format that's never been seen before on the series. When the idea was first announced, many in Bachelor Nation wondered how it would all work out; curious what would happened if they fell for the same person, if they didn't agree on who to send home or other intricacies that come with having two leads.
"We just did not know what to expect and we just rode the lightning all the way through it," said Palmer, saying nobody really knew going into it how it would all start to play out when they started filming.
"That's something we talked about internally, what happens if there's a big group of guys, what are the chances both of them could start falling in love with the same person? What if one guy falls in love with both of them? These are things we didn't know could happen, would happen and it's all possible, it's all out there," he teased. But while some of those scenarios may arise, Palmer said the bond between the two women overcomes them -- as they're able to "have real," and sometimes "tough," conversations with each other "to try and navigate their own journeys throughout this."
Of course, it's not all calm conversations, as Palmer answered affirmatively when asked if viewers may have a "most dramatic rose ceremony ever" contender this season.
"Yes, yes you will. I'm sure it's gonna get promo-d. There are several," he warned. "There's one in particular that I know is going to light up social media in Bachelor Nation, I guarantee it."
Also sure to be explosive: the "Men Tell All" and "After the Final Rose" reunions, which have not yet filmed.
"I'm not ready for it. I'm gonna take some time and get myself mentally ready, but there's gonna be a lot to have to digest, go back over and clarify and get closure," said Palmer. "I think that's one of the great things about these live specials is there's a lot of questions left unanswered, a lot of closure that the cast needs to get together. Rachel and Gabby's season is not short on drama. That is for sure."
"And it's not just between them and cast, but as you know, 'Men Tell All,' that's going to be an absolute circus," he teased. "We'll have to get through that as well. There's gonna be a lot to discuss. A lot of very difficult conversations, but a lot of conversations that need to be had. I'll say that."
The show has clearly changed a lot since Palmer first appeared as "The Bachelor" back on Season 5 in 2004. While he noted the presence of social media as a major difference between then and now, as well as the size of Bachelor Nation, Palmer said he's also noticed a shift in some of the people who audition for the show as well -- many of whom grew up watching reality TV. All that homework, however, may not help too much in the long run.
"A lot of people that come on the show watch the show and have watched reality TV for a very long time. I think sometimes people try to be calculated. They think they know the formula and what I've learned -- being on it and watching it for years and now hosting it -- is if you think you know the answers to the test when you get here, you're in for a rude awakening," he said. "Reality TV has a way of going in directions, there's things that are going to happen here that you just never expect or anticipate."
"So, to me the people that generally have the best experiences on shows like this are the ones that are real and the ones that are vulnerable and are okay with showing themselves and all of themselves -- not just to the people they're on camera with, but to the millions and millions of people at home watching, which is not always an easy thing to want to do or to do in the moment," he said.
Going from star to host has also opened his eyes to all the legwork that goes on behind the scenes that he just simply didn't notice when he was the show's lead back in the day.
"Being on the other side of the lens now and just seeing what goes down, I think you just realize there's so many moving parts, this thing is an absolute machine," he said. "But my experience, at least hosing two shows up to this point -- I'm in the middle of hosting my third -- the special moments, the special bonding between people and finding each other is really the magic of all this."
"There's so much that goes into this, so much that's going on and the fact you can have so many cast members, people -- it's actually amazing that it does work," he added. "All the different hoops everyone has to jump through, all the drama and chaos. It actually makes me appreciate it more when there is a love story at the end and two people come out of it happy, it's incredible."
"The Bachelorette" Season 19 premieres July 11, 2022 on ABC.