If you haven’t watched The Bachelor(ette) in recent years, the vision you probably have of the show doesn’t much exist anymore. The premise is the same—beautiful people compete for beautiful person—but the producers’ fastidious commitment to fairytale-like staging has been punctured somewhat by meta flourishes, realistic sexual politics, and the increasing awareness that what happens on the show isn’t real life. Several recent seasons have seen their leads almost immediately dump the person they chose in favor of someone they’d already dumped from the season, while Colton Underwood’s stint devolved into chaos after he was kinda-sorta rejected by one of the women ostensibly vying for his heart. Still, if the rumors are true, this upcoming season of The Bachelorette—delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—might just be the weirdest one yet.
Clare Crawley, a franchise veteran, was chosen as the lead earlier this year, a notable choice considering that, at 38 years old, she’s the series oldest lead thus far. The pandemic put the brakes on her season back in March, but filming reportedly resumed last month at a Palm Springs resort with everyone involved quarantining for 14 days before getting started. Well, according to a report in Life & Style, Crawley apparently wanted to abandon the show after 12 days of filming, saying she had fallen in love with contestant Dale Moss. Reality Steve, the franchise’s biggest (and most reliable) purveyor of spoilers, initially scoffed at the news, but, after chatting with his sources, found validity in it. And, hey, that’s great! She did the thing the show’s leads so often fail at doing! But, you know, she did it way too soon. So, what do producers do? Replace her? Yes, apparently. Even Reality Steve seems to believe the show isn’t just allowing Crawley to leave with Moss, but is replacing her with Tayshia Adams, an alum of both The Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise.
Per Life & Style, producers hope to “match [Tayshia] up with the bachelors who are left,” which, if we’re being honest, doesn’t sound like much fun for her. Frankly, the logistics of it all are confounding as hell, but there’s plenty of evidence that it’s happening. While ABC has yet to confirm the news, Entertainment Tonight has confirmed it with a source. ET’s Lauren Zima, meanwhile, shared an Instagram post congratulating Adams on the new gig, which is notable considering Zima is currently dating franchise host Chris Harrison. She would know.
Several franchise alums have also offered kind words to Adams, including Rachel Lindsay, the Bachelorette’s only Black lead up to this point. “When I stepped in as Bachelorette, I wanted to pave a way for more diversity, for more people who look like me and who didn’t look like the typical lead. So to see another Bachelorette of color, I’m thrilled,” she told ET on Monday. “I have been fighting for inclusion, and I’ve said before that Tayshia would be an excellent Bachelorette, so I am more than happy to pass the torch.”
The official Bachelorette Twitter account also dropped a short teaser last night. It offers absolutely nothing—aside from saying the show is “returning soon to Tuesdays”—but that it offers nothing is revealing in and of itself.
So, it appears that the upcoming season of The Bachelorette will be comprised of both Crawley’s short journey and Adams’ presumably longer one, a first for the franchise. And all of this in the middle of a deadly global pandemic. What a concept!