Chris Harrison Says Tayshia Adams Was ‘Always’ an Option for ‘The Bachelorette’ Before Season 16 Switch-Up

Season 16 of The Bachelorette is already shaping up to be one of the most dramatic yet — but host Chris Harrison won’t give away any of the series’ secrets before the premiere.

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On Tuesday, September 29, the 49-year-old Texas native spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the unique trajectory of the upcoming season, which will feature both Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams on their individual journeys to find The One. Harrison insisted that Crawley, 39, is the official lead, but teased that Adams, 30, was the perfect runner-up.

“[She’s] not not the Bachelorette,” he told the outlet. “In all seriousness, Tayshia is a very good friend of mine. I absolutely love and adore this woman, and I would love for her to have that opportunity to be the Bachelorette, should that ever arise.”

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Chris Harrison Teases Tayshia's 'Bachelorette' Takeover Ahead of Season 16
Chris Harrison; Tayshia Adams. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Adams previously competed for Colton Underwood‘s heart on season 23 of The Bachelor in 2019 and later appeared on the sixth season of Bachelor in Paradise, where she fell for John Paul Jones. The former pair explored their romance off-screen but called it quits in October 2019.

“She would be a great candidate [for Bachelorette],” Harrison said of the phlebotomist. “She always was. She was on the top of our list from the start.”

Crawley, for her part, was announced as the incoming Bachelorette in March, making history as the oldest female lead in the franchise’s history. Production for her season was put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, but safely picked up at La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California, this summer. Us Weekly confirmed in August that the hairdresser made an early exit after she found love less than two weeks into filming.

“[Producers] had to find a way to continue the show without just starting from scratch,” a source revealed at the time, adding that the team was “frantic” and “scrambling” to find a solution. “They were shocked by [Clare’s] choice.”

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Before filming began, Crawley was given a unique opportunity to learn more about the men who would be vying for her heart. In June, the California native hinted that she had Googled some of her potential suitors, and a source later told Us that she “really hit it off” with one contestant through social media.

“She definitely took a peek,” Harrison told ET on Tuesday. “She admitted to me that she started looking through and getting an idea of what these guys stood for who they were — not a terrible idea, and maybe that’s something we incorporate into the future of this show.”

The Bachelorette premieres on ABC on Tuesday, October 13, at 8 p.m. ET.

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