Luke Pell says he was ousted as ‘Bachelor’ at the last minute

Just like their bachelorette JoJo Fletcher, ABC decided to go in a different direction when it came to suitor Luke Pell.

Pell, who started his quest for love on the twelfth season of “The Bachelorette,” may not have won Fletcher’s heart, but he did win over fans of the show, making him the world’s top choice to dish out roses on “The Bachelor.”

And ABC was onboard, the aspiring country musician told E! News, but they changed their minds at the very last minute — 11 hours before he planned to fly out to film — and opted to make Nick Viall their leading man.

“Over the past few weeks leading up to the announcement, we had come to terms with a contract that everyone on both ends was happy with,” he told the magazine. “We planned out what the season would look like in detail. They even asked about my sister coming on an episode of the show. Casting was almost, if not completely finalized.”

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But the 31-year-old’s love story ended before it began when the “Bachelor” franchise’s infamous runner-up won over fans on ABC’s spin-off show “Bachelor in Paradise.”

“The decision was made apparently on Sunday, and I was supposed to fly to L.A. Monday and already had all my bags packed,” he said. “They called me Sunday night and said it wasn’t me. I didn’t know who the Bachelor was — I found out with the rest of America.”

Viall, who producers reportedly chose as last-minute as Pell suggests, appeared on seasons 10 and 11 of “The Bachelorette,” with Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe, respectively. The 35-year-old suitor has become famous for landing in the second-choice slot on both seasons.

Pell said he didn’t harbor any ill will toward the surprise Bachelor who poached his spot, but added he was less than thrilled with ABC.

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“I’m fine, I’m content. It’s the same as how I left ‘The Bachelorette,’ unexpectedly. I felt like I didn’t deserve that,” the Nashville native said. “I don’t have a problem with it if they think that they have a better candidate for the show, that’s fine.

“But it’s the way it was handled. Asking me to be genuine and authentic and open and vulnerable... and then I don’t get genuine and authentic in return from the organization.”

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