Wild roses! Bachelor Nation has seen its fair share of controversial contestants and final picks, but when it comes to choosing the franchise’s lead it’s usually easy to call — but not always.
When The Bachelorette announced Clare Crawley, who hadn’t been on a Bachelor series or one if its spinoffs since 2018’s Bachelor Winter Games, as its newest lead, on Monday, March 2, 2020, some fans were shocked.
More often than not the next Bachelor or Bachelorette is chosen from the final four contestants, many times the No. 3 runner-up. Crawley, however, isn’t the first individual to come out of left field to take over the reins on a season of the ABC dating show.
In fact, there have been four seasons of The Bachelorette and three seasons of The Bachelor that threw major curveballs to diehard watchers of the series. Before Crawley, 38, was announced as the oldest Bachelorette in history, Becca Kufrin, surprised some viewers when she took the role in 2018 — after winning her season of The Bachelor and subsequently being dumped for all of America to watch on TV.
Then there was Arie Luyendyk Jr., who picked Kufrin, 29, at first and later left her to pursue his runner-up, Lauren Burnham, who he eventually married and welcomed a child with. Before appearing as the lead on season 22 of The Bachelor, the race car driver, 38, was out of the reality TV game for six years.
Of course, fans can’t forget when Nick Viall took over the coveted role — after appearing on The Bachelorette twice — creating a divide between viewers who were Team Nick and those who were Team Luke Pell.
One of the biggest twists in casting was in 2015 when there were two Bachelorettes, Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who the men voted on before moving forward with one lady.
Lastly, fans have to go back a few years to remember Emily Maynard as a Bachelorette, who was brought back after she won, but later split from Brad Womack. Womack as the lead was also unprecedented after he decided to let both of his final two women go the first time. He returned to the franchise four years later to try it again.
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Scroll below to relive the most shocking lead choices in Bachelor Nation history.