Luke Pell has finally returned to the world of "The Bachelor" with the franchise's new "Winter Games" series. While the fan-favorite contestant got caught up in a bit of off-screen drama following his stint on "The Bachelorette," the Nashville singer-songwriter tells Metro that he couldn't be happier to be back for the new show. During his recent trip to Boston for a watch party at Hurricane's at the Garden, we caught up with Pell to talk about filming "Winter Games" in New England, his future with "The Bachelor" and more.
Were you excited to take a trip to snowy New England for "Winter Games?"
We showed up and started filming like the first of December. They literally hadn’t had any snow. There’s a ski resort up there, I guess it’s called Mount Snow, but there was no snow. They didn’t even have cold enough weather to blow snow. We were there for like two days and all of a sudden it just came, their first snow of the year. It was blowing sideways for the rest of the time that we were there. It turned out to be a lot of snow.
Would you have preferred a "Bachelor in Paradise"-style beach instead?
The snowy mountains and the log cabin is not a bad situation, but I’m more of a beach guy. I love the sand I love the palm trees. I’ll never complain in that situation, but you know what, we’ll see what happens. One of these days, maybe we’ll end up down there.
What did you enjoy the most about filming the show?
The coolest thing about it is that you’ve got a pretty equal number of guys and girls, so people are kind of just hanging out. The schedule’s not as strict as maybe it is for those other shows. There’s not as much pressure as "Bachelor," "Bachelorette," so it’s just kind of like you’re hanging out. You have this normal group dynamic of just making friends. It’s a big family environment. We cook our own meals and everybody’s in the kitchen, we have taco night or whatever. Everybody gets in there and hangs out. That part of it was really cool. Your relationships are able to be a lot more natural than they are in the other main two shows, so that part was the best for me.
And, of course, I’m a former college athlete and an outdoors guy, so I love the competition aspect of it too. There was nobody that was very skilled on the sports that we did, minus the couple of Canadian guys who play hockey five days a week. Everybody else, especially the U.S. folks, they were just completely amateurs, so there were a lot of trainwrecks, which makes for a great TV.
"Bachelor" fans can get pretty obsessed over contenstants' love lives, on and off screen. Were you surprised by that following your stint on "The Bachelorette?"
The cool part that’s made this successful as long as it’s been running, and keeps it going every year, is that it gives these fans somebody to vicariously live through. The audience, right wrong or indifferent of what they see on screen, they still see people and they still see a relationship and a dynamic that they want to feel a part of. They feel this intrinsic need to be responsible for how that person’s feeling or to give their opinion of how these people's feelings should be. That's what’s so interesting about it. I mean, we Americans love to gossip about who’s who, they do it every day with their neighbors or whoever’s in the next cubicle over at work, Johnny’s hooking up with Sally or whatever. This is the same thing for them, but everybody is seeing all this unfold in front of their eyes, so they all have this common thing that the can all talk about, the same storyline in the elevator or whatever. That’s what’s really cool about it, you can go to the office, you can be on a flight and be like, "Oh, you watch that show too?" and jump right into the drama. It’s funny how addicted Americans are to that drama, but they love it.
The downside of it, the other side of the sword, is that they continue to be in those people’s personal lives long after they’re on the show and outside the confines of a TV scenario. I think the cast members have to be OK with that because that’s a reality that continues, that the public stays in their life, especially with social media, and it makes it easy for people to be followed on a daily basis.
There was a lot of drama around you possibly leading a season of "Bachelor." Did all that make you hesitant at all to sign up for "Winter Games?"
I started learning after my time on the show how involved the public is in my personal life. That bridge was already crossed, and so I realized that was going to continue happening either way. I learned a little bit about just being careful about who I’m associated with, who’s in my personal life and who I can trust. But at the same time, I still wanted to be an open book and I knew that I had already opened the door to the world seeing into my life anyway. There wasn’t any way to reverse that, so I was like, you know what, I’ll just lean into it and just continue to show them whatever they want to see about my personal life. Here it is, here’s me, and just be completely transparent with the person that I am. It feels good to be OK with that and not have to fight the, "Oh, I want to keep my personal life personal," and that whole thing. It's just like, "Hey, here it is, judge me for whatever you will," and I’m good with that. I am myself.
Are you down to come back for a future "Bachelor" series?
I guess it’s like expectation management, right? You can look forward and make plans and think a year down the road and what’s your life is going to be like, where you’re going be, and you’re probably going to be wrong. For me, I learned to dial that back and just make one decision at a time and to take them as they come. I don’t know where I’ll be in a year. If a year comes down the road and there’s an opportunity at that point, I'll make that decision, but right now, I’m living everyday just where it’s at and just for that day and not trying to think too hard or plan too hard of my expectations or where I might be [with relationships] or even professionally at that point. It’s a little bit easier to process that way. We’ll see what happens.