"Even if you hate him now, I guarantee you, you'll start to pull for him once you start watching his season," Lowe told PEOPLE exclusively

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Nick Viall is the next Bachelor – and the choice was probably one of the most controversial ones the franchise has made in years.

That being said, Bachelor Nation is eager to reassure fans that Viall’s intentions are pure – and that he’s definitely learned from his past mistakes.

“I think it’s a wonderful choice because Nick has this cool story of not being the most liked guy on TV the first couple of go-arounds,” former Bachelor Sean Lowe told PEOPLE exclusively of the decision.

Indeed, two-time runner-up Viall earned himself quite the villainous reputation on The Bachelorette, most notably for calling out Andi Dorfman on live television in what many fans considered a flagrant example of slut-shaming (“If you weren’t in love with me, I’m not sure why you made love with me,”) and then swooping in to join Kaitlyn Bristowe‘s group of men halfway through the season – followed by the former couple’s much-talked about decision to have sex before the Fantasy Suite Dates.

That being said, Viall’s current stint on Bachelor in Paradise has certainly painted the star in a new, more positive light, “and now he’s got everybody on his side,” Lowe said.

“People are rooting for him,” Lowe added, promising: “He’s turned over a new leaf.”

“I think what they’ll find when his season of The Bachelor starts is that he’s genuinely sincere and he really wants this to work out,” Lowe continued. “He’s a great-looking guy and you kind of expect him to have this air, this ego – but he doesn’t. He’s very humble.”

In fact, Lowe goes so far as to say Viall is “actually very nervous going into this all.”

“People will relate to him a lot more this go-around,” Lowe said. “I just think this is a great redemption story. He’s someone that we can all get behind. Even if you hate him now, I guarantee you, you’ll start to pull for him once you start watching his season.”

Lowe even admits he himself experienced a change of heart when it came to Viall.

“Obviously he’s got a lot of haters out there now and for good reason – I used to make fun of Nick relentlessly on Twitter,” Lowe said. “He’s changed my opinion, and I think he’ll change a lot of other people’s, so it’s going to be an exciting and fun season.”

Viall’s season of The Bachelor will premiere early next year on ABC.