‘The Bachelor’ Joey Graziadei Talks Rewatching Maria Drama: ‘There’s Much More Than Is Shown’

The leading man tells TheWrap why last week’s abrupt elimination “felt right” and teases a “heavy” conclusion to the season

Joey Graziadei and Maria on "The Bachelor" (Credit: Disney/Jan Thijs)

As fans of “The Bachelor” engross themselves in this season’s drama — much of which involves contestant Maria Georgas — Joey Graziadei reminds audiences that only some conversations made the final cut.

“It’s definitely interesting to be able to watch back these interviews and the discussions that are going on between the women,” Graziadei told TheWrap. “But I know there’s so much more than is always shown.”

Georgas has been at the center of several drama-filled interactions, including a back-and-forth with Madina Alam about being one of the oldest contestants dating the season’s leading man — which spiraled a tense 2-on-1 date between Georgas, Graziadei and Alam’s friend, Sydney Gordon — and most recently tense moments with Jess Edwards and Lea Cayanan.

As Graziadei watches the drama back, he said “all the women that were involved in it probably wish it didn’t get to the point that it did,” but that they don’t dwell too much on it.

“I didn’t see everything, nor did I really try to go searching for the drama, [but] I always was willing to have conversations when the women brought it up,” Graziadei said. “I was always focusing on my connections.”

Last week’s installment featured a lighthearted one-on-one date with Georgas, which stood as a steep departure from the otherwise emotional and heavy conversations between Graziadei and the women that dominated the episode.

“I think the parts that people can see is I feed off the energy of the person I’m with, and that was a date that she was really enjoying, we just had a good time,” Graziadei said. “With Maria, that’s what happens. We tend to have a good time, and sometimes it’s not as heavy.”

Below, Graziadei detailed the two abrupt departures from last week’s episodes, and how he narrowed down his dating pool ahead of hometown dates.

This past episode we saw a lot of vulnerability from you. Looking back now, why do you think the emotional component of all of this hit you especially hard at this point?
It was that part of the season where feelings started to develop on my end and on the women’s end, and insecurity started coming out. I came into this 28 and single and I had issues with relationships in the past where I felt like I wasn’t enough or wasn’t the right person for someone, and you start to question if there’s something wrong with you, and I think people saw that. It’s hard to get into the specifics of it, but truthfully, I think you just saw a vulnerability of someone that was worried of being chosen at the end of the day.

This past episode we saw you say goodbye to Jess during a group date, which is not typically when those goodbyes happen. Why did it feel right to send her home right then and there instead of waiting till the rose ceremony?
I think it was just one of those things that was very difficult, but it also felt like the right thing to do. You wait for the rose ceremony when you feel like you need time to understand your feelings, and, as amazing as Jess was and as much as I thought we were starting to build a connection, I could tell that she was in a different place than I was. It would feel wrong to keep her longer or to keep her having hope if I didn’t think I was going to change my mind with time, and that was the first time I really felt that way. Usually, you do take time that last day before the rose ceremony to think things through, but for that day, the most real and strong thing I could do was just be honest with her in that moment.

Lexi also made the difficult choice to leave during the episode after reflecting on her desired timeline to start a family. Did her leaving come as a shock to you?
I definitely didn’t expect it because Lexi and I were coming off, not that long ago, the one-on-one, things were starting to build and we were having the serious conversations that we should start to have. But I understood it as much as I wasn’t expecting it. I understood where she was coming from, and as much as I explained that a timeline could change — that was just my thoughts coming into this — I could understand that she didn’t feel like we were going to be on the same page. What’s most important is for her to feel comfortable and feel like it’s the right thing, and I’m happy she was able to leave on her terms and do it her way. I think that’s something that she probably appreciates as well.

At this point in the journey, you’re nearing home towns but you still have to narrow it down a bit. What was your strategy in feeling out who you wanted to pursue a hometown date with?
It’s looking at those connections, which one feels the strongest. I was lucky that with my top six going into next week, I’ve had a one-on-one with all of them, so there wasn’t a question of if there was a connection — it was who had the strongest one, which one felt the most right, who could I sit in front of their family and have a conversation with and feel like I could actually express I could see a future?

There wasn’t anything wrong with them. There’s nothing that was bad. It was just the answer of what felt the most right to me and that’s what makes it hard, and that’s what’s going to make it hard to the rest of the process. These are all amazing women that deserve nothing but the best, and it’s a tough position to be in to make those decisions each week.

What else can you tease for the rest of the season?
The emotions are probably still going to be there — you’re going to see plenty of vulnerability, you’re going to see tears, you’re going to see difficult decisions being made. It’s just going to become probably more heavy through the rest of the time, which it should be because this is real. This is a serious decision that might be made at the end, and I think people just need to understand that.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.


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