'The Bachelor' Colton Underwood Addresses Casting Backlash in Season Premiere: 'I Get It'

Colton Underwood knows he's not the most beloved Bachelor ever, and he gets it.

In Monday's 3-hour season premiere of Colton's season of The Bachelor, the philanthropist opened up to host Chris Harrison about the mixed emotions that came with the "unexpected" casting.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn't be more hopeful and excited," he explained, adding, "But then I feel really nervous."

When the 26-year-old was announced in September as the new lead of The Bachelor, there was plenty of backlash from fans of Blake Horstmann and Jason Tartick also from Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette saying that Colton was the wrong choice for the role, especially after the 2018 season of Bachelor in Paradise, where the former NFL player faced criticism for what many saw as him stringing along Bachelor alum Tia Booth.

It wasn't criticism that went unnoticed, Colton continued, telling Harrison, "I would be lying if I said I didn't look at any of the negative reactions. Some of the comments, I could see where they come from—I get it, people who say I'm not ready. It's a fine balance, because I'm not here to do it for the fans or to win people over, I'm doing this for me."

He added, "I know not everybody's gonna like me. I know I have a lot of room to grow. But I also have an idea of what I want now, and that's what's so exciting about this."

Prior to the premiere, Colton talked to Entertainment Tonight about his personal growth after Paradise and throughout his season.

"I did things my way, and I changed the game, and I think obviously you're gonna have to watch to see exactly what I mean," he told the outlet of his viral fence-jumping moment teased in the season trailer. "Because you can take that out of context, but jumping the fence [was a] very real moment... and it happens towards the end, so you're going to have to watch the thing all the way through to see how it happens, and to see how we get there."

He continued,"Of course I had expectations, especially since I was on Bachelorette and [Bachelor in Paradise], so I had some expectations, but nothing can prepare you for this. Is it normal to date 30 women at one time? No, it's not."

As for how things turn out in the end, Colton confessed, "I hope you want to see my face after this. I don't know. I hope."

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The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin