From left: Arie, Emily and Jef
07/22/2012 at 04:00 PM EDT
All The Bachelorette
finales are emotional and dramatic, but host Chris Harrison promises that Sunday's Emily Maynard season closer
is the only one he'd describe as "unpredictable and combustible."
"We've never had a horse race like this where any of the final three could have ended up with her and the decision was so down to the wire. It made her an emotional wreck," Harrison tells PEOPLE exclusively.
"Emily was more conflicted about the final two than any bachelor or bachelorette we've ever had. The guys were head over heels for her and she felt so strongly for both of them and that combination made for a very intense final week that could go either way."
Including ending without a proposal? "I'll be honest, she came into the finale dead set on not letting anybody meet Ricki and probably not accepting a proposal because she was so unsure about what to do. She didn't know how to pick one and that was almost too much for her to handle."
Part of the issue was "there were positives and negatives to both and holes in each relationship. Arie [Luyendyk] and Jef [Holm] have gotten to the same place but from completely different routes. "At first, Harrison says she was intrigued by Jef's aloofness toward her. "She was curious why the guy was playing hard to get. They had a very slow burn, but it was deep and grew leaps and bounds every week eventually passing others. He makes her laugh and she's at ease around him, but he's also young and playful and she is looking for a man and a father for Ricki."
Ari, on the other hand, had the immediate physical connection. "They couldn't keep their hands off each other. I know women across America are saying he needs to get kissing lessons, but it apparently worked for her. Then they started to get to know each other, realized they liked each other and it grew on the emotional plain. They've had this great romance, but is there more to them than making out? Can he offer the deep soulful love that Jef does? And are either of them truly ready to step into her daily life with Ricki and be a dad?"
Harrison explained this was a unique situation for him and the crew. "Usually by this point, we pretty much know what's going to happen. Even the audience has a pretty good feeling by the finale but when she let Chris go was the last rose ceremony where I could see the writing on the wall. I thought, ‘We've done our job too well, found three great good-looking successful guys who fell in love with her and would be a good fit and now she might not settle on either.' I thought it could be a disaster."
And while he won't say whether she eventually came to a decision or let someone put a ring on it, he does claim that she's happy and doesn't regret doing the show a second time
. (Which, for the record, she confirmed herself backstage at the Men Tell All
taping.) He also teased that yesterday he found out some juicy things that occurred since he last saw the sexy single mom and assured that he'll bring them up on After the Final Rose
, which airs live for the first time Sunday. "I've been begging them to do it live for years to give it that Superbowl feel and because they finally gave in, I'll get to give the fans the most up-to-date information on what's happening with her and the guys. Things will happen that I have no idea how they will turn out. It's an emotional and combustible finale that will lead into an unpredictable, emotional and shocking Final Rose