Bachelor Nation fans, rejoice! The Bachelor host Chris Harrison says Luke Pell still has a chance at leading a season of the ABC reality show

By Dave Quinn
Updated October 05, 2016 06:19 PM

When Nick Viall was announced as the next leading man of The Bachelor, fans were a bit polarized.

Many in Bachelor Nation wanted Luke Pell, who is still coming off his heartbreak with JoJo Fletcher on last season of The Bachelorette, to lead the show’s upcoming 21st season.

But those spreading the #LukeforBachelor hashtag love are in luck. Bachelor host Chris Harrison says the 31-year-old veteran–turned–singer-songwriter still has a chance at finding love on the small screen.

“Luke would be a great Bachelor,” Harrison, 45, told E! News. “You never know who could come back. He’s a great guy – a super nice guy. We may see him next summer in Paradise [or] we may see him as the next Bachelor. Who knows?”

The fact that Viall, 35, got the gig this time around isn’t anything against Pell (was in consideration), said Harrison.

“Luke was great, and I think people need to understand this isn’t an indictment on Luke,” he said. “We always have multiple candidates. We always keep our doors open because at the end of the day, the most important thing for us is that someone is sincere and that they are honest about coming on The Bachelor to find love.”

So why wasn’t Pell given the top spot this time? As Harrison previously told PEOPLE, it was a decision that “makes so much sense.”

“Nick has just become that perennial, second place guy who wants to find love and is as sincere, if not more sincere, than anybody about finding it,” Harrison said. “It’s about giving him his chance to find love. Who deserves it more than him?”

Harrison added, “So many names get thrown around and at the end of the day, as producers, we have to try and think and decide what’s best for the franchise and who is the most deserving and sincere person. At the end of the day, we all looked around the table and nobody could say it wasn’t Nick. You can’t shoot holes at the fact that he is just the most deserving and sincere person.”

After three failed previous attempts, Harrison is confident Viall will find the one this time around. Especially since nemesis Josh Murray won’t be in his way.

“The main reason it’ll work this time is Josh won’t be there,” Harrison quipped of Murray – who won the hearts of both Andi Dorfman on her season of The Bachelorette and, most recently, Bachelor in Paradise‘s Amanda Stanton ahead of Viall. “There are plenty of women out there that find [Nick] adorable and lovable and irresistible. I have no doubt that he will find the woman of his dreams.”

RELATED VIDEO: Everything Nick Viall Has Said About Finding – and Keeping – Love in the Spotlight

And as for any Bachelor Nation members who question Viall’s intentions in appearing on yet another season, Harrison cites Viall’s sincerity and says that ABC knows what audiences need.

“We have made a very, very good living – and have been extremely successful – out of leading the landscape and trying to please Bachelor Nation and give them what they want, but at the same time knowing well enough to know that we’re actually giving them what they need,” he confessed. “At the end of the day, we had some really good, viable candidates, but Nick’s sincere.”

Season 21 of The Bachelor returns in January on ABC.