The beloved Bachelor Nation franchise, Bachelor in Paradise, is back for Season 9, and it will be steamy. While a slew of new singles are looking for love on the beach, fans can delight in the return of franchise host Jesse Palmer and resident bartender Wells Adams. In addition to these familiar faces and a few others, several men from the recent Charity Lawson-led season of The Bachelorette will be looking for love on the beaches of Mexico. 

Ahead of this season’s debut, Shadow and Act headed down to the beaches of Mexico to catch up with Palmer and Wells for any advice or insight they may have to offer the singles and fans on their own quests to find love. 

Palmer knows all too well what it means to put your heart on your sleeve in front of the world. Before becoming the Bachelor Nation host in 2021, he was The Bachelor in 2004 on the series’ 5th season. A lot has changed with the franchise and the fandom since then. 

“Bachelor Nation’s grown by leaps and bounds,” he reflected. “That to me has been the biggest thing is this show just has an army and a legion of fans, unlike, I think, any other show. That, to me, is really what makes this franchise so unique and special – our fans. And just over [the] years, with the advent of social media and the extension shows like Bachelor in Paradise and some other things that they’ve done as well, it’s just grown so, so much from when I did it a long, long time ago.”

For his part, Adams has settled into his role as the heart and soul of Bachelor in Paradise. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” he explained. “This is my seventh season, so I think people are kind of used to me being around, I’m part of the furniture at this point, but I do love doing the show. It’s so much fun, and it’s been really successful. We’ve had some amazing relationships come out of it, which I’m weirdly very proud of. I get to be a part of some really fun, beautiful marriages with kids and all that kind of stuff.”

Bachelor Nation fans know there is a much more relaxed, carefree approach with Bachelor in Paradise than on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Therefore, Palmer’s approach as a host is also very different. “For me, it’s always exciting on this show because I really don’t have any idea what’s going to happen,” he says. “What’s fun is that because I’ve developed a relationship with a lot of the cast from The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, it’s interesting always for me to see them all come together here at the beach and then to see who hopefully finds love with one another and ends up with one another. I think one of the biggest hats I wear on all the shows is sort of like a cheerleader. It’s someone that really wants the best for them. But here, there’s just so much up in the air, and you really never know what to expect. And so, for me, it’s always interesting to sit back and watch, and you can’t just hone in on one person going on a date repetitively over and over and over again. Here, there are multiple dates happening at the same time. There’s love triangles forming everywhere, and there’s drama, but there’s love, and it’s developing, and it’s really interesting to sort of watch it all from a bird’s eye view on this show.”

Palmer may have already built a particular trust with cast members. However, bartender and pseudo-therapist Adams is often doling out much-needed advice. “I’m unique in the fact that I was in their shoes,” he says. “At one point, I was on BIP as just a regular cast member and person on the beach. And I did not find love. So I know how they feel. I know the trepidation that they’re feeling, the nerves, the being just freaked out by the whole scenario. And so I can relate to that. And I’ve also been here for so long that I know what all the pitfalls are. And it’s funny every season, there’ll be three or four people who will listen to what I have to say, and it’ll work out for them. And then there’ll be like three or four people that do not listen, and then it doesn’t work out for them. And I wish everyone would listen to me because I’ve seen it all at this point.”

Though Palmer had his own experiences on The Bachelor, he thinks it’s most important to be a listening ear to the cast, especially during their most vulnerable moments. “What I try to do is never make it about me. If the cast ever asked for advice based on my own experiences having been on the show, I’m there to help. I try to be as empathetic and sympathetic as I can. I hope I’m a good listener because the thing I do know about this experience is that everybody’s experience is unique and is their own. Just because this show has happened several times before and situations can be similar, and dates can be similar, everybody is their own person, and they have their own feelings. Those feelings are all valid, so I just try to help them be as true and authentic to themselves, to make the best decision for themselves and try to be a great listener.”

Of course, as Bachelor Nation staples, Adams and Palmer have also built their own rapport. “I’ve known about Wells for years, having watched him on the show. He’s such a fan favorite for a great reason, such a great dude, and is legitimately like that in real life as well. I think a lot of people are like, “Is he really that cool? Is he that fun?” He really is,” Palmer says. “And coming here and getting a chance to be here with him where he’s like the mayor of this place. He’s been doing this so, so long he’s part of the fabric of Bachelor in Paradise. For me, it’s really, really cool and unique to sort of watch him and get to hang out with him and be around the greatness, the aura that is Wells Adams.”

Speaking of their bromance, Adams also couldn’t help but gush over Palmer. “Jesse Palmer. He’s beautiful. Look at him. Have you seen that smile?” he laughed. “He’s very tall. He’s very handsome. Weirdly enough, this is not the answer that you want, but this is the answer. This is the truth. I love the crew. I have now made this show with all these people for a very long time, and I have really strong bonds with the people who are behind the camera and the people who are mic-ing us up and people who are lighting it and who are doing all the decorations and the art. A lot goes into making this show what it looks like on TV. And so I love just coming and seeing my friends every summer. And also, the sunsets don’t suck.”

Bachelor in Paradise Season 9 debuts Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. on ABC