Ladies and gentlemen, your new Bachelor... Arie Luyendyk Jr.!
The next lead of ABC’s long-running reality dating show was announced on “Good Morning America” Thursday morning, after days of heavy hints from show creator Mike Fleiss on Twitter. “First Big Clue... #TheBachelor will not be from Jojo’s season,” he tweeted on Monday.
But despite the hints, it seems few fans guessed Luyendyk would be the selection over popular contestants from more recent seasons of “The Bachelorette,” like Peter Kraus, Eric Bigger, and Wells Adams. The 35-year-old race car driver has been the subject of occasional “Bachelor” rumors since he came in second on Season 8 of “The Bachelorette” starring Emily Maynard.
In 2016, Luyendyk revealed that he’d signed a contract to star on Season 19 of “The Bachelor,” but had been dumped at the last minute when the show decided to go with Chris Soules, who appeared on Season 11 of “The Bachelorette.”
This time, he told Michael Strahan in his debut “GMA” appearance, the timing just worked out. For fans who have been jonesing for Luyendyk as the Bachelor since his 2012 franchise debut, this was a thrill:
For newer viewers, and those excited to see recent runner-up Kraus as the lead, it was the opposite:
Arie?! Are producers trying to kill the show? What audience are they trying to cater for? His season was AGES ago!!! #TheBachelor— Cheeky Sausage (@CHEEEKYsausage) September 7, 2017
Leave it to #TheBachelor to ruin my day first thing in the morning by picking someone I've legitimately never heard of.— ѕιerrα joнɴѕoɴ ☾ (@sierramjohnson) September 7, 2017
This marks the second season of “The Bachelor” in a row that ABC has chosen to select a Bachelor from an earlier season. In 2016, production chose Nick Viall, who appeared on seasons 10 and 11 of “The Bachelorette,” over Season 12 contestant Luke Pell, right after Viall’s image-restoring turn on Season 3 of “Bachelor in Paradise.”
Luyendyk, on the other hand, has taken a long break from “Bachelor” franchise shows. In his interview with Strahan, he emphasized that he’s ready to finally find love and settle down ― with the right woman. When asked what he looks for in a woman, he said he wants someone “independent, strong, but then still gentle.” Sound like you? Ladies, you know where to sign up.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.