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Former Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. claims leads are ultimately set up to fail.

Well, it’s safe to say Arie Luyendyk Jr. isn’t vying for Ben Higgins’ role as the future Chris Harrison. In an exclusive with Us Weekly, Arie Luyendyk Jr. defends the backlash against Peter Weber for his…well, more than questionable decisions on season 24 of The Bachelor.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. is the Bachelor poster boy for questionable actions.

In all fairness, of all past Bachelor leads, Arie Luyendyk Jr. certainly can speak to the criticism leads incur for their less than palatable actions. Luyendyk Jr. famously pulled a Mesnick and changed his mind post-season on his final lady; after picking Becca Kufrin in the finale, Luyendyk Jr. thought it would be pragmatic and respectful to dump Kufrin in an uncomfortably long filmed segment and subsequently chased after his now-wife, Lauren Burnham.

It’s safe to say Luyendyk Jr. went through the wringer and was absolutely roasted by fans for his decision-making skills, or lack thereof. Similarly, Weber was exceptionally chastised by Bachelor Nation for his wishy-washy choices that led to him going through three women at the season’s close.

After Weber and Hannah Ann Sluss, his final rose recipient broke off their engagement, Weber “reconnected” with Madison Prewett on ‘ATFR’ – for about as long as a Bachelor commercial break. In the end, Weber ended things with Prewett and is now dating his fifth runner up, Kelley Flanagan. And the fan reaction has been…well, quite unpalatable.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. came to Weber’s defense and spoke to the inherent difficulties of the lead role and the inevitable backlash for whatever transpires during the season – well unless you’re a gold star pupil à la Sean Lowe.

It’s hard to comment on it because people commented on our season, but if you’re not there and not in the situation, it’s really hard to place blame or to cast judgment, I would say.

Burnham echoed his sentiments, adding, “there’s so much that you don’t see that goes into it. So even if [Peter] looks like the worst Bachelor, he probably wasn’t as bad as he seems. There are probably things that happened that caused him to do those things.”

I can attest to the general consensus of past leads’ experience on the show and the deliberate isolation the role entails. I interviewed former lead, Ben Higgins, a few months ago about the (unfortunately canceled) Bachelor: Live on Stage Tour, where I asked him about the audience component of the tour – the audience was to have a say in who stays and who goes – and whether that would enhance the lead’s experience on the actual franchise show. Here’s what Higgins admitted about his time as the lead:

One of the hardest parts about [being in this experience] is people don’t realize how isolated it is, and how much, as you’re on the show, that show becomes your world. It becomes your environment that you move and breathe in, and so your friends are the producers. While offering them exuberant praise, “they also have a job to do, and you know that when you talk to them there’s things they choose not to give you advice on, because they don’t want to sway you in any direction, so you end up on your own little island.

It’s fair to say there are grounds for a former lead support group with the consensus that’s been echoed now by multiple past Bachelors. Arie Luyendyk Jr. continued in the interview to admit that he ultimately feels leads are set up to fail.

I’ve got to say as a Bachelor, I feel like you’re almost set up to fail. It’s, like, a recipe for disaster. So, if there is a normal happy ending, like a Sean Lowe, Catherine [Giudici] ending, you’re almost surprised.

It’s almost as if the show’s formula….has an inherent fatal flaw? The fact that this is a common sentiment co-signed now by multiple past leads is a glaring red flag. Further, it should signal to irate fans who still feel bamboozled by Weber’s season-ending to lend a bit of understanding – take it from the authority of those who actually walked in those apparently undesirable shoes.

Next: Listen to Your Heart: Are Matt and Rudi the new Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon?

Are you surprised at the number of former leads who’ve expressed discontent with the responsibilities the Bachelor lead shoulders and the subsequent massive backlash for poor decisions? Does it lend you a bit of understanding, or is it more – too bad, you know what you signed up for? Let us know your thoughts!

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