Getting the party started early! It’s safe to say that plenty of Bachelor Nation fanatics were stunned when Rachel Lindsay — who is still one of Nick Viall‘s four remaining ladies on The Bachelor season 21 — was officially announced as the season 13 Bachelorette on Monday, February 13. So why did the show make the big reveal before the end of Viall’s run?
A source tells Us Weekly exclusively that producers considered waiting until after the dating-show mainstay hands out his final rose to announce the next Bachelorette, but they opted to spill the beans in order to have as much time as possible to round up a great batch of men for the 31-year-old Dallas-based attorney.
The insider tells Us, “They want to be able to cast guys specifically for her. There is almost no time between Bachelor ending and Bachelorette starting filming, so they wanted to have plenty of time to find the perfect guys for the next season.”
“It was going to get out anyway that Rachel would be the next Bachelorette, so producers figured they might as well announce it now and make it official to make sure they get the most and best number of applicants for her season,” the source continues. “It works better to have the next person as a definite as opposed to speculating on who it could be, in terms of casting.”
As it turns out, the plan appears to be working. “The response has been amazing about Rachel — there’s been a huge spike in casting,” the insider reveals. “Rachel is open to different types of guys. So it’ll be a mix of different types and races of guys for her season.”
According to the source, producers also think that the early reveal will help create added excitement for next week’s hometowns episode: “It’ll be interesting to see how people react to Rachel’s hometown date now — the audience will probably be more invested now because this is somebody everyone is going to get to know for 10 weeks. People will be interested to see where she came from.”
A recently released promo for The Bachelor’s Monday, February 13, episode shows Lindsay’s mom asking Viall whether he has “ever dated a black girl.”
Tell Us: Are you looking forward to Rachel Lindsay’s season?
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. The Bachelorette premieres on ABC Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET.