“Dale, will you accept this rose?” … 6 ft apart … “Yes.” Clare Crawley, is the new Bachelorette for 2020, or is she? This new season is ripe with rumors and changes leaving some to wonder whether Clare even is the Bachelorette.
Crawley has been a part of Bachelor nation since her premiere on Juan Pablo Galavis’s season in 2013 and continued on to join the spin-off shows Bachelor Winter Games and Bachelor in Paradise. Crawley is the oldest Bachelorette yet and her connection to Bachelor nation is long term, similar to 2017’s Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr. who became the Bachelor after a six-year hiatus. Her lack of connection with newer viewers has caused somewhat of a stir, while most are excited to see her return to the small screen.
Junior Elizabeth Walden said she has watched the Bachelor franchise shows in the past, but may not be watching this season. Walden said she ended up watching the first episode and decided she wouldn’t continue to watch Crawley’s season. This comes as no surprise for Walden; Walden said, “When they announced the new Bachelorette, everybody wanted it to be one of Peter’s [the last Bachelor] girls, but then it’s just this random chick … none of us were expecting that.”
Walden said she wasn’t originally excited about Crawley being the lead because of the way the trailers and episodes of her in past shows portrayed her, however, if a certain rumor is true she would be more interested in the show. That rumor, Clare finds love in the first week and the show trades hands to Tayshia Adams.
Adams is a more recent face for most, being on Bachelor in Paradise season six in 2019 after appearing on season 23 of the Bachelor. Freshman Mallory Avila said she thinks it would be fine if Adams filled in for Crawley since that means she found love. Although Avila doesn’t know Adams’ background, she’s still ready to watch the show if it comes to that. “I haven’t heard much about Tayshia but I look forward to seeing who she chooses,” Avila said.
The possibility of a change of Bachelorette mid-way through the season was not the only rumor that spread like wildfire. In a season where the cast is contained in a bubble due to COVID-19 (similar to the NBA Bubble in Orlando, FL.), it’s hard to keep everything a secret.
Avila said she’s excited to see how the show handles the pandemic. “It definitely is different this year and they gave out some spoilers, but other than that I am excited to see how this season goes,” Avila said.
While the show usually ends the final weeks traveling the world, this year is different. All of the cast is staying at the mansion which could lead to new changes to keep the show feeling fresh. Some of these possible changes include a week with a guest host of Jojo Fletcher, a former Bachelorette, and two former cast members coming back to aid the lead.
Junior Annalise Lawlor said she thinks the two former cast members are there to fill in for celebrity guests that would have been on the show for group dates. “They can easily be contacted by producers, you can easily bring them into the bubble, and then there you go, you have more excitement that you can advertise later on,” Lawlor said.
Major changes are happening to the franchise as a whole as well. Over the summer with the Black Lives Matter movement, there was a call by fans and cast to have increased diversity of the cast and crew for the Bachelor shows. ABC reacted quickly, naming Matt James as the lead for the 2021 season (he will be the first Black Bachelor) and included more people of color on screen. If Adams becomes the Bachelorette for 2020, she will be only the second Black Bachelorette.
Avila said she thinks the changes made are good and Lawlor said she thinks it will be a slow process but one that is worth it in the long run. “If you watch a lot of early Bachelor until Rachel Lindsay’s season (the first Black lead), we had basically zero diversity. And in some groups of people it is going faster than others…” Lawlor said, “and that’s great, obviously we want more [diversity], but I think Bachelor nation will be hungry for more diversity in terms of Hispanic or Latinx representation, Asian representation … I could go on and on about different types of representation that this series is missing, but I’m excited because it’s the start of change.”
As stated earlier, Crawley is also the oldest Bachelorette yet at 39-years-old. Some are worried this will make the show less entertaining while others are excited to see someone more mature take the screen. Walden said she didn’t have the best first impression of Crawley from the promotions and was worried she would still be dramatic, something Walden wants the show to avoid in general, but is excited and hopeful that she finds love. Opposite Walden, Lawlor is excited to see a more mature and strong figure as the female lead and to oppose the double standard when it comes to age gaps between relationships.
“I think some of the guys they bring on have such big personalities, that they just overshine the Bachelorette, the lead, even if they don’t mean to…” Lawlor said, “I just feel like they have guys that come in just, ‘Let’s go get em,’ very alpha male type men and it just over shines the lead, and I don’t think we’re gonna see that this season. I think she’s gonna hold her own.”
No matter what twists and turns happen throughout the season, Lawlor added that she’s excited to see a strong woman as the lead. “She’s really assertive, she knows what she wants and she’s gonna go get it and I think it’s gonna be great. Especially for fans if it’s their first time watching it, especially for little girls seeing that, ‘Yeah, you can be an assertive woman and you can find love and you can be a boss and you can just be powerful.’ I think that’s gonna be really cool for this next generation of Bachelor fans to see,” Lawlor said.