The worst kept secret on television has finally become a controversial reality.
Clayton Echard to lead The Bachelor season 26.
On Monday night, ABC finally confirmed that Echard – who was eliminated last week by Michelle Young on The Bachelorette – will anchor the franchise when it returns with new episodes on January 3rd.
“I’m just a Midwest guy from Missouri who just wants to find love,” says Echard in the first teaser for his season, which we’ve posted below.
“And I believe more than anything that my future wife is here.”
Through verifiable The Bachelor spoilers, we first heard in September that Echard had been given this role.
Heck, Clayton even admitted to being nervous about it in an interview a few days later.
And yet: ABC executives had not uttered a word about Echard until now.
Many fans, meanwhile, are appalled by the selection.
Clayton will be the first bachelor to become famous as a bachelorette participant … and yet NOT go on to the last four on his season of The Bachelorette.
Did the producers think far out of the box because Echard is white? Did they not follow their typical pattern and go with one of Young’s finalists because she chose all colored?
This is the controversy.
Echard and Young became attached to his mother, who worked as a special education teacher.
“It really speaks to the type of person you are,” he told Young, who works as a primary school teacher, at his season premiere.
“Because they are … teachers are some of the most passionate, caring, driven people I have met and who have had such a positive impact on my life.”
However, it was not meant to be between the couple.
“You’ve kept showing me how much you want to be the best for your future family.
“You completely checked every single box of all the qualities I’m looking for in someone,” Young told Echard at the end of their date last Monday.
“But I know giving this rose out means I’m ready to meet your family, and I do not feel I am able to get there with you in time.
“it’s incredibly hard for me, not being able to give you this rose does not mean you are not enough. For me, it’s about following my heart.”
After receiving packing, Echard broke down.
“I just so want to find love and have a family. And start that chapter in my life,” he told cameras during his final Bachelorette episode.
“I want it more than anything.
“I will do what it takes to get it. Whatever it takes.”
Echard is a former NFL player and his season will host a former NFL player, Jesse Palmer.
The latter recently referred to the medical salesman as his “bigger, prettier brother from another mother.”
And Young had only sweet things to say about the man she rejected.
“He’s a person who constantly wants to grow, constantly wants to learn, and I felt like he really brought me on that journey of learning about yourself and talking about that process,” she told People Magazine this fall. .
“It was the first time a man really just kept me updated with that journey, and it gave me a new perspective on some things.”
Watch the first trailer for The Bachelor Season 26 here.
Are you excited?!?