After months of waiting, quarantining, gossip, and questionable recaps, the new season of The Bachelorette is finally here. For long-time viewers of the show, the onslaught of rumors over the course of filming 39-year-old Bachelorette Clare Crawley’s season has been even harder to keep up with than the usual rumor mill—and for new viewers, well, let’s just say that this season might require a little more background knowledge.
Luckily, for at least the first couple of weeks of Season 16, Bachelorette producers didn’t try all that hard to keep the twists a secret. Here’s a rundown of everything we know so far; including the players you absolutely have to know.
First off, the kicker: Clare isn’t(?) the Bachelorette after all
Clare has made it very clear that she is a woman who knows what she wants, and the fact that she’s 39 (The Bachelorette’s oldest bachelorette so far) only means that she knows exactly what she wants. Within a couple of weeks, Clare had apparently already decided that she knew who “the one” was; 32-year-old model Dale Moss. Rather than continue on with filming, she reportedly locked herself in her room with him, refusing to come out and even try to date the other men. This change of events leads us to…
Tayshia Adams, the replacement
30-year-old Tayshia Adams was one of the final three on Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor. Colton notoriously jumped a fence running away from the set after his final pick, Cassie Randolph, broke up with him (they got back together on the show and recently broke up after nearly two years, after which Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood). Tayshia has always been a fan favorite, and before Clare was announced as the Bachelorette there were plenty of people who were rooting for Tayshia.
Clare and Tayshia’s season starts off with 31 men, most of whom are in their 30’s— a refreshing shift. According to a Business Insider report, 60% of men on The Bachelorette are under 30, so it’s a huge change to see that this statistic has nearly flipped for Clare’s season. As far as gossip surrounding the contestants, most of the men seem unremarkable so far, in the best way possible. It does appear that 30-year-old Yosef Aborady may be shaping up to be a villain this season, at least in the early days of Clare’s part of the season. Looking at the lineup, though, one man stands out above all others: Dale Moss. Clare ended her journey for love on the show after falling for him a mere two weeks into filming.
With the big Bachelorette shakeup, one of the first things that came to mind was the dynamic between Tayshia and Clare’s bachelors and whether they would be compatible with Tayshia as they were, hypothetically, with Clare. Many of the contestants were not originally cast for Clare’s season, but when filming was shut down initially due to COVID-19, some recasting had to be done. But when Clare exited production, no recasting was done for Tayshia. Producers asked the men that Clare had sent home during her short run as Bachelorette to return, but no one new was selected for Tayshia’s part of the season. After some digging into the contestant selection process, it appears that the producers choose people that are both projected to do well on TV and match up in some way with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, so it will be interesting to see how well Tayshia matches up with Clare’s contestants. Of course, the producers can’t know for sure who the Bachelor/Bachelorette will get along with for sure, but it’s worth noting that the men Tayshia is choosing from were picked for Clare and went into the process thinking they were going to be vying for Clare’s heart.
Chris Harrison’s Replacement
Clare wasn’t the only one who got replaced; Chris Harrison also gets switched out. At some point during the season, Jojo Fletcher is set to take over hosting duties while Chris quarantines after dropping his son off at college. Fortunately, this replacement is only temporary, but the incidence of a second replacement of a “main player” in the franchise keeps this season in line with a truly chaotic year.