Chris Harrison tells Us Weekly that viewers of Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor are in for a wild ride. The hotly anticipated season, which stars James as the franchise’s first Black Bachelor, will include the usual ups and downs, plus an extra layer of personal evolution, the host tells Us Weekly.

The 49-year-old Harrison said: “It’s not that he hasn’t said ‘I love you’ before. I think the problem with him is he realized being the Bachelor, he had never fully understood what it means. He didn’t understand the weight of it.”

Harrison continued: “He is a different man than when he came to us in and he got really a crash course because he didn’t get the few steps of being on the show. He really just ripped the Band-Aid off and sometimes that hurts a little bit. So, I think he had a bit of a rude awakening of the man he is, the way he loves and what love means to him. It really is an amazing journey you’re going to take with Matt, not just as the Bachelor but also as this man who realizes, ‘Wow, OK, this is love and this is what it means and I’m really here to find this."”

Having a total Bachelor newbie on-set was interesting too. “There are some wonderful things to the naïveté and innocence to just coming in. But then there are little things that we had to really stop, and you know, it’s night one and he doesn’t know what to do,” he explained. “Because he never came up to the mansion before, he never went to a rose ceremony. He doesn’t even know how to get a rose or give a rose. So he doesn’t know the vernacular, he doesn’t know what I’m going to do. We really had to walk him through and teach him; it was Bachelor 101. And it was trial by fire.”

His journey begins January 4th.