When Elena Deighton and Annalee Ross applied to be contestants on local YouTube dating show “The Bachelor of Provo,” now “Provo’s Most Eligible,” they had no idea the series would become as popular as it did.

“Initially, I applied to the show to meet new people and I figured it would be funny to tell friends one day that I made a feature on a small dating show,” Deighton said in an email. “I don’t think any of us ever expected it to blow up this big.”

Deighton and Annalee Ross, both 19, are now the top two contestants on the viral series, narrowed down from the original 22 contestants over the course of four episodes released in the past two and a half months. The first season of “Provo’s Most Eligible” will come to a close next week, with the finale set to roll out Monday at 8 p.m. on YouTube.

“I remember going into the first night being really nervous and not expecting to stay, so making it this far feels insane,” Deighton said. “It’s been hard keeping everything a secret from my friends and family, but I know they’re proud and just want the best for me.”

Both Deighton and Annalee Ross said it feels “surreal” to be in the top two on “Provo’s Most Eligible.”

“I (had) my expectations set low, so I (wouldn’t) get my hopes up about making it very far,” Annalee Ross said in an email. “But I’m happy to be here. Elena is so sweet and Colin is so great, I’m so happy I get to spend time with them.”

Star Colin Ross said he chose Deighton and Annalee Ross to be in the top two “because they are two very unique girls with lots of qualities that I look for in someone I want to date.”

“They are people that I like to be around, and I admire lots of their characteristics,” Colin Ross said in an email. “They are two super special girls and these are two of the girls that I could actually see myself dating because of the show.”

Colin Ross said he knew Deighton and Annalee Ross would go far on the show “from the very first moment” he met them because he “felt something different about them.”

“I even gave Elena the ‘first impression rose,’ which is comforting to know that my original instinct about Elena was correct, and it’s been special to see her make it to the last two girls,” Colin Ross said.

Throughout the series, several contestants dropped out due to boyfriends, mission calls and other interests.

“Going into this process, I never really thought that the girls getting other boyfriends would’ve been this big of an issue, but I really can’t blame them for dating other guys,” Colin Ross said. “I realize that they have lives outside of the show, and I recognize that out of the 22 original girls, only one would win. Their chances weren’t optimal.”

The star also said the filming process wasn’t supposed to last as long as it did.

“Due to planning issues, things have dragged on, making it last roughly five months, which in Provo is a long time to not really be dating other people,” Colin Ross said. “I’m actually really happy to see that some of the girls have received mission calls since the show started and I wish them luck. I just wish that more of the girls had been honest about having … boyfriends because most of the times, I found out either on social media or by other people.”

Colin Ross said going into the last episode of the season is “bittersweet.”

“It’s been so much fun and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to do something that’s gotten so big here in Provo,” Colin Ross said. “However, I’m going to miss all the fun on set with the other girls and the crew. Overall, I’d say I’m happy with the way things have turned out and I’m excited to see where things go with me and the girls as well as what will happen to the show in the future.”

The star said his next goal is to help out behind the scenes with casting new contestants and working on creating social media content for future seasons of “Provo’s Most Eligible.”

“I think our next season will be a lot better than our current season because by now we know more or less what we are doing and how we want to do it,” Colin Ross said.

The process of creating “Provo’s Most Eligible” has been “amazing and humbling,” according to Colin Ross.

“It’s been surreal to see just how big of an impact we have made here in the Utah community and it’s been so much fun to make lasting relationships with everyone involved as well,” he said. “I’ve grown so much by putting myself out of my comfort zone and I’ve really learned a lot about a variety of things ranging from good questions to ask on a date to what makes a good relationship last. I’m just so grateful and blessed to have been a part of this whole project.”

Annalee Ross said she applied for the series “for kicks and giggles thinking it would be fun to meet new people” and “try a new dating scene.” She said she is grateful for her experience on the show and hopes to keep in touch with the people she has made connections with in the future.

“I did it for the (memories),” Annalee Ross said. “I’ve met so many amazing people through it and have made so many friendships. Glad I did it.”

Deighton said looking back on her “Provo’s Most Eligible” experience, she feels grateful for the opportunity and has “made some great friends” and “met some incredible people because of this show.”

“In (the) future, I hope to stay friends with all the girls from the show and maintain our relationship. They’re all so great and they deserve the best,” Deighton said. “I hope that Colin and I will stay friends with whatever happens and that he is truly happy at the end of all this. Regardless of what happens, I know I’ll reflect on this experience later and still feel so thankful for the opportunity.”