I remember it like it was yesterday. Back in March, when life still had meaning and we all still had plans, ABC gave us the first sneak peek of Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette contestants. That day (which happened to be my first day of coronavirus WFH), I roasted these men for their ages, their outfits, and in Matt James’ case, for being Bachelor Nation’s equivalent of a nepotism hire. I eagerly anticipated the start of filming and the spoilers that would inevitably begin rolling in before long.
I don’t think I need to explain what happened to the world after that, but obviously Clare’s season did not start filming in March. But
84 years four months later, even as the universe continues to crumble around us, it’s finally Clare’s time. Filming will commence this month, with the entirety of production happening in a bubble at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs. The resort, which is still closed to the public, boasts a confusingly large number of swimming pools (41), so they could literally have every single date by a different pool. Worry not, this season will be fine.
Today, we got our long-awaited first (second?) look at Clare’s actual, final batch of contestants, and so once again, we must unpack. First of all, there are a lot of dudes—42, to be exact. This is obviously way too many (they can’t even all have their own swimming pool!), but production actually cast extra guys for the season in case anyone tests positive for coronavirus before filming starts. Usually, prospective cast members just have to worry about testing positive for STDs. So many fun things to think about in 2020. Also, I imagine at least one of these guys will get cut before night one when his shady past resurfaces.
Some of the guys have stuck around since the first round of casting, which must mean they really like Clare, or they REALLY want more Instagram followers. Either way, I appreciate the dedication. But obviously, a lot has changed in the last four months, and there are many new faces competing for Clare’s heart. Most importantly, it looks like ABC actually tried to fix the age issue. In Clare’s OG group of contestants, more than 70 percent of the men were in their 20s, which seemed like an odd strategy for a 39-year-old Bachelorette. In the new group, only 16 out of 42 guys are in their 20s, which is less than 40 percent. Clare can still go for a younger guy if she wants to, but she won’t have to default to guys she could have babysat growing up.
The age shift means that our previous youngest contestant, 23-year-old finance bro in training James C, is no longer in the mix. Too bad, maybe he can try again in a year (or five). Now, Clare’s youngest option is 25-year-old Noah from Tulsa. While Noah is perhaps a bit young, and his watch is perhaps a bit big, he is VERY cute. I could see him doing well, but it all depends if Clare likes her guys on the younger side.
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Clare’s oldest contestant is 40-year-old Jeremy. He’s the only contestant in his 40s, which still seems like a weird choice, but whatever. Jeremy is from Virginia Beach, so I’m curious if he’s had any encounters with the infamous Virginia Beach Husband Stealer, Victoria F. If there’s any hope left for 2020, I really need Jeremy to address this on night one. Also, does he sort of look like Arie, or do I need to get outside more?
My favorite thing about this cast announcement is that, likely due to quarantine, the DMV photo vibe is GONE. Instead, we have gorg headshots, most of which were taken outside or in front of actual walls that don’t look like Walmart photo studio backdrops. Sure, some of them should’ve found better lighting (Karl and Chris, looking at you), but overall these pictures are soooo much better.
Still, I have to give an award for Worst Photo, and it’s really not even close. Kenny from Illinois, this one is all you.
Kenny, what is this photo?? It looks like he just got done with an at-home CrossFit class and remembered he had to send the Bachelorette producers a headshot, and then he took that headshot at his local dive bar. The tank top, the shiny face, the wood paneling in the background… nothing about this is good.
My award for Boldest Name goes to none other than… Tyler C.
Yes, that’s really what he’s going with. Like, yes, I know this is his real name, but if I were him, I might have chosen to go with a middle name or something. No matter how hard this poor guy tries, he will always be Tyler C number two in the Bachelor universe. He’s doing himself a disservice!
In terms of my current frontrunner, I have to go with Dale, a holdover from the initial round of contestants. This is SUCH a good photo, if Clare doesn’t want him, I will gladly accept any DMs from him.
Who knows how this season will turn out, but at least it’s actually happening. The season will most likely start airing in September, but I’ll be interested to see if we still get the usual spoilers with production happening in a closed bubble. I hope so, because I desperately need something to get me through the rest of the summer. Best of luck Clare, hope all your dreams come true!
Images: ABC/John Fleenor; The Bachelorette / Facebook