After months of speculation, the new Bachelor was revealed by ABC on Tuesday, August 30 — and the announcement was totally unexpected!
Two-time Bachelorette finalist Nick Viall — who appeared on back-to-back seasons of the franchise — was officially revealed as the season 21 Bachelor on Tuesday’s After Paradise. Viall joined season 17 Bachelor Sean Lowe and comedian Michelle Collins to unveil the big news.
“In all seriousness, I don’t know if anything prepares you for it,” Viall reflected of being the next Bachelor. “Honestly, I think I’m definitely ready for it and I’m very excited. I’ve had an interesting journey throughout this process. It hadn’t worked out so far and hopefully, this time, maybe things will end up on a positive note.”
Viall first competed on Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, but ultimately lost to Josh Murray. He then made a shocking return to the franchise to compete for Kaitlyn Bristowe’s heart, but Shawn Booth edged him out on the finale.
Despite his futile attempts at love, Viall has shown maturity and progress on the new season of Bachelor in Paradise — and many fans vocalized that he should be the next lead.
Meanwhile, his predecessor and former housemate, Ben Higgins, offered up some words of encouragement on Tuesday night about the emotional process.
“My biggest advice — and I’m sure Sean is going to agree with me — is that there’s going to be times in this [where] there is not a right decision,” Higgins advised Viall. “There’s gonna be really tough moments. But in the end, it can really work out well, and it can be the best experience you’ve ever had.” Joining the Season 20 Bachelor via Skype was his fiancee, Lauren Bushnell.
— Benjamin Higgins (@benhiggi) August 31, 2016
The latest Bachelor announcement shocked many franchise fans as it was speculated that the season 21 lead would either be Luke Pell or Chase McNary.
McNary acknowledged the news on Tuesday night as soon as the decision was announced. “Unfortunately, I don’t get to be the Bachelor…” he wrote on Instagram. “But my arms and heart are wide open, and I trust the right woman will come into my life at just the right time!”
Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss heavily teased the Bachelor announcement in the weeks leading up to ABC’s official reveal. On the night of the reveal, Fleiss said outright — several times — that the new Bachelor wasn’t speculated front-runner Luke Pell.