Bachelor host Chris Harrison played a larger role than usual (larger than saying “This is the final rose tonight”) in this week’s episode, as he stepped in to confront contestant Casey S. about her feelings toward her maybe-not-really-an-ex ex-boyfriend.

In a conference call with the media Thursday, Chris explained why he confronted Casey and why her departure from the show was ultimately her decision. But it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to this season’s most controversial bachelorette, Courtney Robertson, who is still going strong in Bachelor Ben’s good graces, despite viewers’ and her fellow contestants’ potent dislike for the aggressive model. (Even though she did inspire a great autotune.)

Why is Ben so smitten while everyone else is so sickened by Courtney’s behavior? And what does Chris think of the way she’s playing the game to win Ben’s heart? Read on for highlights from the interview with Harrison:

On his decision to confront Casey S. about what he’d been hearing about her relation with her ex, Michael:
It wasn’t a [situation] where I came in as judge and jury and said, “You’re out of here.” I gave her the opportunity to plead her case and tell me, “Do you still like this guy? Are you still in love? Are you here for Ben?” And at the end of the conversation, she wasn’t and it really was up to her. If she convinced me that, “Hey, I love Ben and I want a shot at this and I don’t care about my old boyfriend.” And that’s fine. We would have moved on.

On why he and the producers were so sure that he should confront Casey about her ex:
It wasn’t just [Michael]. He was the tip of the iceberg, and then we heard from several other people as well — sources that we believed in. They all kind of painted this picture that led us to — and again, this happened over several weeks, where we had heard something and then she made a comment or two that we had heard, and then we heard from a couple of other people back in the States — think that, “Okay, then there might be something to this.”

All the information did was lead me to have a conversation with her. It wasn’t one of those situations where, “Casey, get your stuff and get out. We know what you’re up to.” All it did was give me enough pause to say, “Casey, let’s have this conversation,” and in that conversation, I could tell right away she wasn’t over this guy and that she was a mess emotionally. I know — I respect why she came on the show to get over this guy, and I understand why she did it, but it didn’t work for her and it wasn’t working. She wasn’t there for Ben, you know? As much as I would love to use this show as an emotional rehab for people to kind of move on, that wasn’t going to work and it wasn’t working for her.

On why he stepped in partially because of what happened with Bentley Williams and Ashley Hebert last season:
I thought with Bentley, and I’ve said this several times before, that I should have gone a little further and I regret not going a little bit further and telling her even more. Yes, I warned Ashley and yes, we talked to her, but I think I could have gone a little bit further in protecting her. The Casey S. situation was completely different than the Bentley. I don’t think she came on [the show] to deceive. I don’t think she had any ulterior motives. In fact, her motives were actually quite innocent. She was just trying to move on from this guy whom she didn’t want to end up with.

On what he thinks of how Ben reacted when Casey came to his room:
My guess knowing him, is he will have a little regret in how he handled that. You have to give him a little bit of leeway and that’s why — and I do, because I know. That situation was literally thrust upon him. We showed up, knocked on his door out of nowhere, and he’s hit with this information. Had he had a chance to maybe go back and watch it again and rewind, he would probably be a little bit more affectionate and a little bit more giving to her. When she started crying, put a hand on her — say you’re sorry, you know what I mean? I think he was a little offended and taken aback and kind of took it as an affront to him, and I don’t think he quite heard everything she was saying and how sincere she was. So, I think he just kind of took it as, “You have a boyfriend and you’re here?” But that wasn’t the story. And so again, I think if he had a chance to go back and really listen to it again and go through that situation, but literally, we knocked on his door and walked in. I think he kind of just did the best he could.

On why he hasn’t stepped in to warn Ben that Courtney is “manipulating” him:
What he’s going through with Courtney is dating, and if he chooses to date this girl, then that’s up to him. I think it’s a completely different situation, and I know the way you phrased it is that she’s “playing him,” but you know, that’s kind of in the eye of the beholder if she’s playing him or not and we’ll see. And again, that’s one of the beauties of this show — is this guy has to choose, “Okay, this model is beautiful. Is she here for me or is she here just playing the game?” And is he going to get sucked in to just going for this beautiful model or is he going to try to go deeper and find if she’s real? So again, that’s part of the beauty of the show — is they have to figure that out, just like you do in real life.

On whether he thinks Courtney has genuine feelings for Ben:
I think it’s because I’ve been doing this for ten years — I think it’s just so easy for people to look at something and making things black or white. Nothing is that simple when it comes to anything, especially relationships. And the fact that Courtney is playing this game — and the thing is, love is a game. What you do at a bar on a Friday night or at church on Sunday or wherever you go to find love or meet somebody, there’s a certain game element to it. If you don’t think so, then you’re probably not in the right game. This is the way that Courtney plays. This is the way — and again, it’s not just to win, and I don’t think it’s just to play a game to her.

I think she does have feelings for Ben. I think she very, very much cares for him. But I also think that from her experience in her life, this is the way she goes about it. Does it rub us the wrong way? Apparently. It’s not popular. But is it working? Yeah. And so apparently, she’s had success with this type of actions — this type of game — her whole life and it’s working. She’s gotten Ben’s attention. She is affectionate. I’m guessing she’s gotten attention and affection from guys for quite some time using this method. And so, it’s hard to fault her in many ways, because it’s working like a charm, but man, it’s unpopular and she’s not exactly going out of her way to ingratiate herself to the other women.

On how he thinks Courtney is feeling right now:
I bet she regrets some of the things she’s done or said. I think she’s gotten caught up in the moment a few times and I think that the apology that Emily gave and the way she reacted to that is a great example. I mean last week, that was just uncalled for — the way she acted when Emily kind of extended the olive branch. I’m guessing that she’s home and regrets a lot of this. I haven’t talked to her, but I’m guessing that’ll be the case.

On whether Courtney owes Ben an apology for her behavior:
This show does strange things. It puts you in a very, very strange atmosphere and situation and environment that it’s hard for people to understand. I do very much understand it, and so, the things Courtney has done to get attention from Ben, some of it I actually respect. I think she’s done a good job of fighting for this guy, but I also think that she would admit — and hopefully admit — that she went a little too far and some of the things she said weren’t appropriate and were rude. So, I don’t think she owes him an apology, but I hope she would come up with a little bit of an apology to several people on the show.

On whether he thought Courtney would make it this far with Ben:
Yeah, I mean, he was infatuated with her from the moment she stepped out of the limo. You can tell that he was taken by her and she for one reason or another definitely has his number. She knows how to excite him and draw him in and kind of play hard to get at times and he loves it. He loves the way she — again, you have to understand the audience and who you’re playing to. Would this work on Brad Womack or Jake Pavelka? Maybe not, but Ben is a different kind of animal. He has his own baggage and his own way of thinking, and this appeals to him.

On what viewers can expect for the rest of the season:
Wow. Well first and foremost, this week coming up is more of the fall out with Courtney. And after this week, we go to hometowns and so things are getting very, very serious. Ben is definitely starting to question — now that more people are speaking up about Courtney — and that definitely comes to a head. Really, from here on out, things are — it kind of goes to a different level. When you get to hometown dates and you start bringing the families into it, that changes everything. You will see frontrunners all of a sudden fall out of favor and then you’ll see some of these dark horses start to emerge. This is the time when things really start to shake up, because at this point, those first impressions have gone a long way. But now, there has to be something else there and/or that relationship is going to fall by the wayside. So things definitely either start to heat up with these girls or you’ll definitely see a drastic fall off.

Watch deleted scenes from this week’s Bachelor episode, plus a sneak peek at next week’s, which takes Ben and his final six to Belize to swim with sharks, among other romantic encounters.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.