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Bachelor Nation’s Bennett Jordan Claims Franchise Casts ‘Puppets’ as Leads After Clayton Echard’s Explosive Rose Ceremony

Bachelor Nation's Bennett: Producers Choose 'Puppets' as Leads — Not 'Men'
Bennett Jordan and Clayton Echard. Courtesy Bennett Jordan/Instagram; ABC/Pamela Littky

Getting thorny. Bennett Jordan is the latest Bachelor Nation member to weigh in on the first half of Clayton Echard‘s chaotic season finale — and he didn’t hold back.

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The season 16 Bachelorette alum dropped a comment on Blake Horstmann‘s Instagram post referencing the Monday, March 13, episode of The Bachelor. “A LOT to unpack from tonight 👀 but I have been saying this for a long time,” Blake wrote in the caption alongside a screenshot of a tweet he shared during the show.

The Colorado native claimed via Twitter: “Clayton doesn’t seem to have enough empathy in these moments because he wasn’t in love with Michelle [Young] and didn’t get his heart broken on national television. The leads have a better shot at finding love if they are from the top 3 and have fallen in love in this environment.”

Bachelor Nation's Bennett: Producers Choose 'Puppets' as Leads — Not 'Men'
Bennett Jordan on Instagram. Instagram

Bennett shared his thoughts in the comments, noting, “I would counter this argument and say whether you’re top 5 or top 3 does not matter at all as long as you know the journey works. It’s a matter of men vs. children on a tv show to get married, and unfortunately puppets are chosen over men when production wants to play the lead.”

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Blake told the Harvard University grad that he “completely” agreed, while Adam Gottschalk gave a different perspective. “Whew it was rough!” the Bachelor in Paradise alum commented. “Agree to an extent with top 3-5 but a lead should never go into the show ‘blind’ like Matt James or Clayton. They should have their chance to understand the process and like you said get their heart broken.”

Viewers were introduced to Clayton during Michelle’s season 18 of The Bachelorette, but he was sent packing before the hometown dates. Us Weekly confirmed in September 2021 that the former football player was tapped to take over as the next ABC lead — before Michelle’s journey even started airing.

The decision sparked confusion within the fandom, and many were skeptical heading into Clayton’s season. On Monday, as the Missouri native approached the end of his search for The One, things took a hectic turn. After he sent Susie Evans home during their fantasy suite argument, Clayton told remaining contestants Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia that he was in love — and had been intimate — with both of them.

“I want to apologize for putting you both through this tonight,” he said after Gabby threatened to walk away. “I do appreciate you all giving me the time to talk with you both, and I do understand that as I hand these roses out tonight, that you can choose what you want to do and you can choose not to accept the rose if you do not feel that you are able to. I just want you to know that I hope that I’ve said enough, but I thank you for at least giving us the time to talk through it.”

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The finalists eventually accepted their roses and went on to meet Clayton’s family. However, he confessed to his parents that he couldn’t stop thinking about Susie, whose return was teased at the end of the episode.

Throughout the live finale, former leads and contestants appeared in the hot seat to discuss the shocking twists. Michelle reminded viewers that there’s “no handbook” for being the Bachelor or Bachelorette.

“I think it’s just this huge reminder that when you’re in a relationship — whether it’s family, whether it’s friends, an intimate relationship — you have to handle it with care,” she told host Jesse Palmer. “Both sides have to be willing to put in the same amount of effort and both sides have to feel heard and acknowledged and I think that’s the only way that, you know, two people can work past something like this.”

Part two of The Bachelor season finale airs on ABC Tuesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.

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