It’s fair to say that viewers of The Bachelor season 21 had a wide variety of reactions to watching Nick Viall‘s fourth TV-sanctioned quest for love. Fans at times didn’t know what to make of his connection with cheese pasta enthusiast Corinne Olympios, or the fact that he appeared to send ladies packing right after they professed their love for the guy. But if you ask Us, his naysayers couldn’t be more wrong.
With the venerable ABC dating show marking its 15th anniversary this month, we’re here to make the case in defense of Viall’s season. In fact, we’ll take it one step further: Viall was the best Bachelor we’ve seen so far, and here are three pieces of evidence to back it up. And if this list bothers you, then you should just know that we’re not here to make friends.
1. He didn’t have a fairy tale romance
If there’s one thing Viall isn’t, it’s Prince Charming. Considering this is real life we’re talking about, despite the fact that it’s a reality television show, we admire that the two-time Bachelorette runner-up, 36, wasn’t trying to sell viewers a glossy narrative. At one point during the season, it even seemed as if Viall might walk away without a relationship of any kind.
And although he put a stunning Neil Lane diamond engagement ring on now-fiancée Vanessa Grimaldi’s finger, viewers of their After the Final Rose special know the relationship isn’t without its bumps. But that’s why we love Viall — as with everything in the real world, he isn’t perfect. His journey wasn’t a fairy tale, and that just makes him more relatable.
2. He was the first Bachelor to get real about sex
Despite the fact that more than 15 years and a whopping 21 seasons of The Bachelor have come and gone, the show’s attitude toward getting it on has been pretty consistently outdated. In fact, many contestants on past seasons waited until around the time that the Fantasy Suite cards were handed out before they started talking about doing the deed. Viall — with some not-so-subtle help from Olympios, obviously — wasn’t about that.
Not only was Viall unafraid to admit that he was attracted to Olympios’ confidence and sexuality, many of the women talked throughout his season about the importance of sex in a relationship. (And let’s not forget how open Kaitlyn Bristowe was about sleeping with Viall during an early episode from her Bachelorette season 11 stint, which also helped evolve the franchise’s attitude toward bedroom behavior.)
3. He knew how to pull off a turtleneck
We don’t really need to say anything beyond the above subheadline to explain why we approve of his sartorial choices, but we will anyway. While many can appreciate the subtle beauty of a gorgeous man in a turtleneck (and make no mistake, Viall is one good-looking guy), only a select few can pull it off. And if there’s one thing this past season of The Bachelor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s that Viall is one of those select few.
His decision to don an oversized gray turtleneck — during an intimate date with runner-up Raven Gates — not only sent Twitter into a meme meltdown, it also solidified the reality TV mainstay’s spot in the turtleneck hall of fame (alongside Zayn Malik, Drake and David Beckham, of course).
So there you have it, ladies and gentleman — Nick Viall was the best Bachelor yet. Case closed.
Tell Us: Who is your all-time favorite Bachelor?
The Bachelorette returns to ABC Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!