Usually there’s time to catch your breath between seasons of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor. Not this year. With the pandemic pushing the finale of The Bachelorette to late December, we’re just 13 days removed from the last rose-fest. But who cares about catching one’s breath? Matt James is the Bachelor, and a whole slew of women are headed to the Pennsylvania woods to win his heart. And we’re previewing it all below.
1. The biggest question: Will Matt James be a good Bachelor? (And why?)
Alyssa Bereznak: Yes. If I can fall in love with Matt James via Tyler Cameron’s Instagram feed, just imagine how hard the women who get to see him in person will fall.
Andrew Gruttadaro: The best Bachelors are the absolutely absurd ones (Jake, Juan Pablo) or the ones who sit back while the women tear each other apart. It seems impossible that Matt James will fall in the first category, so ideally he’ll land in the second one.
Amelia Wedemeyer: As much as I want Matt James to be a good Bachelor, I’m afraid casting him without any previous Bachelor Nation experience will end up in disappointment for us all. There was really no vetting of Matt, beside the fact he’s best friends with Tyler C. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but that’s where we are.) And since he was cast we’ve learned that he’s allegedly a registered Republican, which, personally, that’s a red flag for me. While I won’t be rooting against him, I have to wonder why they chose him over someone established, likable, and beloved by Bachelor Nation, like Mike Johnson.
Matt James: Before I weigh in on this, I feel obligated to disclose that my name is also Matt James. I will, however, try not to let my journalistic integrity be impacted by this younger, hotter person blatantly and remorselessly stealing my name.
That being said, Matt James will be a terrible Bachelor. Just awful. I mean, have you seen the guy? He’s obscenely good looking and seems very nice. This will be a disaster.
Kevin O’Connor: If Matt is anything like Tyler, this is sure to be a highly entertaining season. A fun Bachelor automatically qualifies as a good Bachelor. But what would make him great is an open mind and an open heart, like we saw from Tayshia during her season as the Bachelorette. Openness leads to the most vulnerable, human moments you can watch on television. If Matt shows us that side of him, this has the upside to actually be “the most dramatic season ever.”
2. After The Bachelorette filmed in Palm Springs, this season will take place at a resort in Pennsylvania. What is the best part about this and what is the worst part about this?
Wedemeyer: First of all, Nemacolin is just a regal as fuck name, so there’s that. Palm Springs? Fine. But Nemacolin sounds like a fancy racehorse or a premiere Ivy League club from the 1920s. Additionally, Nemacolin looks woodsy and rustic, which is the perfect setting for the current winter season—who doesn’t want to fall in love beside a crackling fire? That being said, one of the disappointments from this past season of The Bachelorette was the lack of creativity in the dates—how many times do you think an intern had to run out to the nearest Target to find random objects for all those scavenger hunts? Obviously, that’s beyond production’s control, but it does make me wistful for the days when they traveled to far-off locations and staged borderline offensive dates.
O’Connor: Location doesn’t really matter in this case. It’ll just be nice to have some new scenery. Less sand, less of the smoldering sun, fewer dates spent in the shade. More grass, more trees, and hopefully more flexibility for production to get creative with the dates.
James: I’m pretty excited about this venue but I do wish that they could have booked the actual hotel from The Shining rather than this Vegas-inspired modern knockoff.
Regardless of how haunted this place is, I think the contestants will prefer this venue to the unforgiving heat of Palm Springs. It’s pretty difficult to make the most of your precious one-on-one time when you’re putting all your effort into pretending that you’re not sweating profusely.
Gruttadaro: Best part? One word: FLANNEL. Worst part is there won’t be any dates involving stripping. (Actually, hang on, that’s also the best part.)
Bereznak: Best: more opportunities to do a wearing-very-few-clothes-in-the-middle-of-the-snowy-wilderness date. Worst: less back sweat on nationally televised television?
3. How many times will Tyler C. appear on this season?
Gruttadaro: Is it wrong to guess once an episode?
Bereznak: Once to explain who exactly Matt James is; again to host a football-themed date; and once more to help counsel Matt over a difficult decision. Look, I’m not complaining!
James: Tyler will have more screen time than Chris Harrison.
Wedemeyer: Cancel me, Bachelor Nation, but I hope he doesn’t appear at all. I’m ready to move on, and you should be too.
O’Connor: Twice, once in the beginning for a fun date and then again toward the end when things are serious.
4. What is the most cursed bit of information from this season’s Bachelor Bios?
Bereznak: “Jessenia loves escape rooms.”
James: Kimberly’s bio says that taking her on a date to a cemetery is “a hard pass for her.” I find that to be very reasonable. There’s just not a lot to do at cemeteries. Food options are limited, bathrooms can be sparse, and there’s a lot of walking involved. It’s just dead person after dead person after dead person. Like, come on, you all died, we get it.
This information is both cursed—she is neither an actual royal nor a pageant girl who loves attention—and also reminiscent of previous years, when job titles included “Twins,” “Dog Lover,” “Bachelor Superfan,” and “Social Media Participant.”
Gruttadaro: On Corrinne’s page:
These two things back-to-back are HIGHLY concerning.
O’Connor: Anna, the 24-year-old copywriter from Chicago, is scared of fish, obsessed with cheese, and “dreams of writing screenplays for Hallmark movies.” I’d send her home on Night 1 with this knowledge because I’d much prefer my potential wife to aspire to write Lifetime movies.
5. Pick your final four.
Wedemeyer: This is a real shot in the dark, but from watching the sneak peek a few times: Rachael, Anna, Sarah, Bri.
Bereznak: Bri, Saneh, Illeana, and Magi.
Gruttadaro: Oof, I don’t think this is close at all but: Abigail, Bri, Chelsea, and Serena C.
James: It’s always hard to pick finalists based on pictures and bios so I’m just going to pick all of the women who live in New York City, where this so-called “Matt James” lives. I’m guaranteed to hit on one or two of these picks. New York is not for everyone. If Matt can find love with someone who already lives there, that’s an easier path for him. He won’t have to worry about his future wife struggling to adapt to New York City or urging him to move to another city. As a Matt James who has lived in New York City, I can tell you that New York City Matt Jameses are hesitant to move anywhere else aside from maybe Los Angeles (where I currently live). So my picks are Alicia, Chelsea, Illeana, and Kit.
O’Connor: My personal final four, just based off of the online profiles, is Marylynn, Pieper, Jessenia, and Illeana. All seem like incredible women with drive and a vision for their own future. It won’t be a shocker if Matt also has one or multiple of them in his final four.
6. Chris Harrison is moving to Texas; people think he might be stepping down. He probably isn’t, but if he did, who should be the next host of the Bachelor franchise?
Gruttadaro: I think it’s gotta be Ken Jennings. Oh wait, sorry, that’s the wrong show. My answer is Wells—surely he’s tended bar in Paradise long enough to warrant the gig.
James: Wells Adams. The best thing about Bachelor in Paradise is Wells playing the role of the underqualified bartender/therapist of the island. I’m still holding out hope that he’s on this season of The Bachelor as a bartender. Every haunted resort needs a trustworthy bartender.
Wedemeyer: Why not Jennifer Love Hewitt? She’s a fan, and seems like a very nice person.
Bereznak: JoJo’s cameo last season made me realize just how attached I am to Chris. That being said, if Nick and Vanessa Lachey took over we’d get another “I’m Nick Lachey ... obviously” moment and plenty of 98 Degrees pun opportunities.
O’Connor: I’d expect Ben Higgins to receive consideration, as he hosted The Bachelor Live on Stage. Higgins is a good communicator and would thrive in the role. Unless the producers are looking for someone from the sports world, of course. Did you know that Chris was a sports reporter from 1993 through 1999 before ABC hired him in 2002? As an NBA writer myself, I wouldn’t ever want the word “former” to appear on my bio. But I’d love to do both. Today, I am formally announcing my candidacy to be the next host of the Bachelor franchise.