Clayton Echard ‘Bachelor’ Season 26 Premiere Recap With ‘How to Win the Bachelor’ Authors

Bachelor Nation’s reasoning for watching the popular franchise varies — some watch for the love stories, some watch for drama — but the authors of How to Win the Bachelor treat the reality show like a sport and claim they have their own “player” in the “game” on Clayton Echard’s season 26.

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“Writing this book was not only for me about compiling the data and stuff, I actually wanted to see if I could put this into practice,” coauthor Chad Kultgen says on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “And let’s just say starting with season 26, there will never be another season that doesn’t contain highly-trained players that are not only using this information but being taught this information that will be undetectable to producers or anyone else.”

Kultgen, who wrote the book with “Game of Roses” podcast cohost Lizzy Pace, added that he wants to see if he can “help people win” The Bachelor.

Clayton Echard Bachelor Season 26 Premiere Recap
Clayton Echard ABC/John Fleenor

“These are professional athletes and I’m training them to win this game because there’s so much at stake,” he explained. “For the true winners of this game — you’re looking at careers where you’re making millions of dollars a year doing spon-con, potentially getting official Bachelor Nation podcasts, doing your own lines of clothing, wine, scrunchies, whatever you want to do. If you are successful in this game, you can become incredibly rich off of it, leading a life that is pretty fun. I mean, being an influencer is a fun life. Yes, it’s hard work and all that. I’m not discounting any of that. But, like, it’s a good life. And so for me, in writing this book with Lizzy, it was like, ‘Yeah, we put all this together and we have our theories, and we have our strategies, and we know the statistical likelihoods of literally any possible outcome of any of the stuff,’ but like, ‘Can we put it into practice?’ The answer to that question is, ‘Yes, we can.’”

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Kultgen and Pace break down decades of The Bachelor in their book and on their podcast. On the Tuesday, January 4, episode of the “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast, the writers explain their eight types of limo exits — The Grandy, The Trick-Or-Treat, The Aloha, The Stand-Up, The It Takes Two, The Sidecar, The Santa Claus and The Blandy — while recapping Clayton’s premiere.

Rachel [Recchia] did one of the most exotic types of limo exits, which is The Sidecar, which is where you bring another person with you,” Pace told Us of the flight instructor bringing her “wing woman” on night one. “And we’ve seen this a couple of times — we saw Jasmine [Goode] bring Neil Lane [on Nick Viall’s season]. We saw a woman named Brittney Schreiner bring her grandmother [on Ben Flajnik’s season]. It’s always very exciting for us when we see The Sidecar because it just doesn’t happen that often.”

Kultgen noted that there were several “TOTs,” a.k.a Trick-Or-Treat entrances, including Kira Mengistu, who wore lingerie under a white doctor’s coat. “Anything that’s not a, like, cocktail dress and nice shoes, anything else is TOT,” he explained.

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Someone who took a risk that didn’t pay off? Ivana Noble, who didn’t say a word to Clayton as she walked in and was ultimately sent home on night one.

“That’s never a good idea,” Kultgen said. “In my opinion, as a player, you’re looking at this moment as not so much, ‘I need to make a good first impression on The Bachelor.’ That’s almost irrelevant. This is your first impression on us, the fourth audience — you are on the stage for the first time, you must make us want to see you and if you say nothing and do nothing, that becomes very hard. You know, I have no idea who this person was. I know nothing about her. I don’t know if she’s funny. I don’t know she can dance. I don’t know anything. It’s just a wasted opportunity and a huge misstep, obviously.”

How to Win The Bachelor: The Secret to Finding Love and Fame on America’s Favorite Reality Show, which is not afflicted or endorsed by ABC, hits stores on January 25.

For a complete recap of Clayton’s premiere, including why the “first flower” historically holds more significance on The Bachelor compared to the first impression rose, listen to “Here for the Right Reasons.”

Episode 109

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