If ever there was a Bachelorette season in need of two Justins, two Jordans, a John and a Johnny, identical twins, six men from the Chicago area, and one solitary magician, it is this one: Season 19 of The Bachelorette, wherein two women forged in the fires of Clayton’s emotional illiteracy and strengthened by the bond of ABC-mandated sisterhood will stand side by side as co-Bachelorettes. The network will tell you that two Bachelorettes in one season is a move so unprecedented that its feeble-minded audience couldn’t possibly comprehend the glorious implications until we watch Gabby and Rachel exit their limos and set out on their parallel journeys toward marrying a man named Zakk M ...
But that’s not even a little bit true. In Season 17, after waiting six years to be named the Bachelorette and then six more months for a global pandemic to settle down just long enough for a group of men to safely come sweat all over her at La Quinta Resort and Auto Repairs, Clare Crawley immediately absconded into the Palm Springs desert with her One True Himbo, Dale, requiring a second Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams, to swoop in like a bikini-clad knight and save all the non-Dales from their sudden singleness. And way before that, in Season 11, The Bachelorette cast Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson into an intentional two-Bachelorette competition that was so rude the franchise just pretends it never happened. (A refresher: After the first night, the men voted on which Bachelorette they wanted to date for the rest of the season, not only leaving rejected Bachelorette Britt emotionally destroyed, but leaving chosen Bachelorette Kaitlyn with a bunch of dudes who’d just voted to date someone else.)
But the ghostly echo of Britt’s sobs still rings just loud enough for ABC to repeatedly reiterate to us that, in Season 19, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey will by no means be competing against one another. Allegedly, having two Bachelorettes this season simply means two eyebrow glow-ups to feast our eyes upon come July 11, two sets of sequined gowns to chafe two sets of underarms to smithereens, and two potential engagements on two windy platforms surrounded by one thousand stalks of pampas grass, 300 loose-leaf pedestals, and exactly one lavalier mic to catch the proposal audio. Yet no one feels the need to further explain how a setup in which Gabby and Rachel date the same group of men could possibly work. But now, after ABC rolled out its cast of 32 sales executives and meatball enthusiasts on Tuesday evening, consider my suspicions officially raised.
That’s right, it’s Bachelorette bio time! That semi-annual event that dares you to read “family is everything” 18 times in a row without hearing the voice of Vin Diesel in your head; that calls upon ABC’s bravest interns to make narrative sense of 32 fill-in-the-blank answers to the prompt “I would do anything for love but I won’t do [blank]” without outright saying that none of these guys are into butt stuff. And following Tuesday’s release, I admit that even I, a consummate clowner of Bachelorette bios, found my hopes for this group bolstered by the fact that, in lieu of the Olan Mills jewel tone backgrounds of seasons’ past, these dudes were clearly given a little art direction and a color palette to follow. These Season 19 bios weren’t even coupled with dumb social media graphics that make the men look like a specialty combo at TGI Fridays.
They were, however, presented by Jesse Palmer on TikTok Live instead of the usual Facebook Live—a move that shows such a misunderstanding of the technical prowess of its audience that you simply have to laugh. You also have to laugh when, 30 seconds into the live broadcast, Palmer accidentally calls Rachel and Gabby “dueling Bachelorettes,” immediately corrects himself, and then 50 more seconds into the live broadcast accidentally hits a button that invites a random viewer into the feed who sounds like a teenage boy and tells Jesse, “I really love your content that you do, bro.” Bro, same.
But if you think Jesse Palmer floating around in his own seventh ring of TikTok hell revealed any more details about how these two women will be dating the same amount of men that one Bachelorette usually dates, then bro, you would be wrong. I’m not exactly a numbers guy (nor a Crypto Guy, to be clear), but if Gabby and Rachel each take four people to Hometowns, does that mean that a quarter of this initial group will be heading to Hometowns? That’s a lot of families for us to meet! What if there aren’t enough giant HomeGoods clocks and stern but earnest dads to go around? And if Rachel and Gabby ax the standard six to eight guys in the first episode … that’s just not enough guys to keep the season stocked with co-boyfriends!
I am only as ignorant as ABC makes me, and a month out from the Season 19 premiere, that feels more ignorant than usual. Ahead of the bios, the main marketing tool the network had deployed for Season 19 is Gabby hollering, “plural, baby!” And while I would love to see the Bachelor franchise simply pivot to polyamory before Netflix beats it to the punch, I know that, much like Jesse Palmer inviting randoms into his TikTok, refusing to tell us the structure of the two-Bachelorette season is simply delaying the inevitable. Because the whole point of inviting both Rachel and Gabby to be the next Bachelorette was that they earned it after trauma-bonding over Clayton calling two all-hands meetings to break up with them as a pair. But there’s almost no chance this two-party structure doesn’t wind up with some of these men having to choose between Gabby and Rachel in front of Gabby and Rachel all over again. And with 32 fresh bios, we’re only left to wonder: Which one of these donuts is going to break the heart of which one of these women?
So, without further adieu, it’s time to make wild assumptions about 12 brotestants’ character based solely on one photo and a handful of sentences wrung out of a questionnaire they filled out while buzzed on free whiskey sodas, plus some sporadic Googling and Instagram-sleuthing when the occasion calls for it (the occasion is one of these dudes being Leelee Sobieski’s brother, which it should actually be illegal not to disclose on a Bachelorette bio). These have been selected at random, and listed in no particular order.
Roby, 33: Magician from Los Angeles
Here are all of the things I’d assume Roby was before assuming he was a contestant competing on The Bachelorette: a teen competing in Battle of the Bands on Degrassi: The Next Generation; the third Property Brother trying to sneak his way onto The Bachelorette using his notorious magician’s training; the second Property Brother trying to sneak his way onto The Bachelorette despite spending years evading its producers before failing upward into dating Zooey Deschanel; an advanced scuba diver; a fluent French speaker; someone who “wants to live in a home with secret rooms and hidden tunnels in it.” Those last three are true, per Roby’s bio, but there’s simply no time to get into the psychology of an adult man who wants nothing more than to have secret tunnels under his house, because let me tell you the one thing I wouldn’t have guessed before believing Roby the Magician was a contestant on The Bachelorette …
That Roby the Magician is Leelee Sobieski’s brother. As in, the thinking girl’s thinking girl of ’90s teen cinema, paragon of Never Been Kissed fashion, and proto-Haim sister—that Leelee Sobieski. He is also, I guess, a pretty accomplished magician in his own right. I absolutely can’t wait for someone to make a big ol’ deal out of him only coming on the show for magician clout.
Tino, 27: General contractor from Playa del Rey, Ca.
It’s giving … it’s giving … grow a tiny mustache, play the son of Anthony Edwards, and restore the good name of the Hollywood blockbuster alongside ageless Scientology vampire Tom Cruise. I can’t wait for Glen Powell and Jay Ellis to show up for their fourth consecutive year of promoting Top Gun: Maverick and welcome Tino into their giant, loving arms.
Brandan, 23: Bartender from Carlsbad, Ca.
Introducing 23-year-old Brandan on the TikTok Live that was more like Chatroulette, Jesse Palmer said that “Brandan is much older than his age indicates.” Which, of course, does not make any sense. What I think Jesse would have said had he accidentally invited me to cohost his TikTok Live is: Brandan acts as old as he looks, which is not as old as he is, which is allegedly 23. Don’t get me wrong, Brandan looks great—but he looks too great to be 23.
Given his luscious mustache, one that would be at home on any number of 1990s sitcom dads, it’s a little discomforting to read that one of Brandan’s foundational life facts is that he loves Disneyland so much he goes every year for his birthday... until you realize that, with over two years’ worth of pandemic interference, Brandan may not have been to Disneyland since he was a teenager, which was not that long ago.
Five years ago, Brandan was in high school. Think about what you were doing five years ago—that’s when Brandan was painting little stripes on his cheeks and going to pep rallies. Did Brandan have his mustache then? Only the future ghost of Steve Harvey knows. But I don’t know how I’m expected to believe that this is the spirit of a man who’s never had to press a Nokia keypad nine times just to type “LOL.” You’re telling me this guy couldn’t legally throw back a cold one back in March 2020? You’re telling me Rachel the pilot and Gabby the ICU nurse are about to date a 23-year-old recent college graduate?!
I guess, historically speaking, Kit did kinda yield dividends on Matt James’s season at only 21 years old. Is there any chance Brandan is also the fashion nepotism baby of, like, Kimora Lee Simmons? (At this point, I actually am a math guy, and I swear the math on this checks out.)
Sometimes you make an entire meal just because you’re craving one perfectly balanced bite of food, or write an entire article just because you want to make sure people know Leelee Sobieski’s brother is a magician who’s competing on this season of The Bachelorette. That’s what ABC did with Joey and Justin: the network didn’t just see the opportunity to cast twins; it saw the opportunity to cast twins and then call one of them the “Other Twin.” As his occupation. Justin Y. is not even the main character in his family business of two! He’s not even the main Justin on Season 19 of The Bachelorette (unfortunately, Justin B is giving “upbeat Anthony Bridgerton” vibes with his “loves the smell of jasmine” fact and glowing smile). And as a consummate lover of a group’s least adored member—you’re looking at a one-time Kevin Richardson, Lance Bass, and Louis Tomlinson stan, folks—this means that I have pledged all of my allegiances to Justin Y …
It also means I irrationally despise his brother Joey. Actually, maybe it’s not even that irrational—Joey should have gone by “Joey Y” in solidarity with his business-partner-in-Twins and actual twin brother, Justin Y!
James, 25: Meatball enthusiast from Winnetka, Ill.
I, too, am a meatball enthusiast. It’s why I tune back in to The Bachelorette every year. All these damn meatballs, I just cannot resist watching them profess that they think they’re starting to fall in love with the Bachelorette after confessing their deepest childhood wounds to one another and watching a fireworks show while a D-list country singer named Jayson T. Denim serenades them. At various points throughout the year, you could even call being enthusiastic about these meatballs “my job.”
And yet, I would never describe my career as a meatball enthusiast. But that’s not my main hang-up with James, because I know these producers will change “Lululemon Sales Associate” to “Sloth” faster than you can say Winnetka. No, my issue with James is that the producers very clearly established a “blush and bashful” palette, and homeboy went ahead and wore a sport coat to the photoshoot anyway. Plus, in trying to find whose recent limo introduction involved meatballs (it was Illeana from Matt’s seasons), I found out that executive producer Bennett Graebner has a whole theory about meatballs, contestants, and Night 1 behavior. As he told Kristen Baldwin of EW, “If there’s a woman who ends up standing next to the meatballs all night, she always goes home,” because apparently, the meatballs are the “safest space” in the mansion. So it was really nice judging you on the internet, James, I hope you enjoy the unlimited meatballs while you can.
Ethan, 27: Advertising executive from New York
At the youthful age of New York City 27 (that’s a Midwest 25 and a Southeast 23), Ethan has already decided he’s over staying out until 4 a.m. and ready to settle down into a midnight-bedtime relationship. Ethan is wholesome and I love him.
But I also have some questions. Because Ethan says he’s “a big believer in signs” and knows The Bachelorette is where he’s supposed to be “thanks to a few well-timed coincidences.” What are these signs? What are these coincidences? Does Ethan think that a producer sliding into his DMs is one of the universe’s great marvels? Or is it more like Ethan saw a map to a mansion in Agoura Hills in the stars, and followed it until he hit Jesse Palmer? Did he witness a puddle of syrup from his beloved pancake breakfast take the shape of a hot dog costume, knowing right then and there that he would need to go on The Bachelorette and tell two women, “I wanna be your weiner” while wearing said costume? Please, Ethan, tell us what these signs were so we can know how to avoid them at all costs.
Ryan, 36: Investment director from Boston
Oops, someone ran Jesse Palmer through the dryer!
Matt, 25: Shipping executive from San Diego
Matt has the gorgeous smile of a Crest Whitestrips commercial, and the bio of a “What I Do in a Day” TikTok that is all meals and beverages, no work, and the inexplicable price tag of $1 million. What I mean is that Matt’s bio repeatedly emphasizes the business “empire” he’s built without ever defining what a shipping executive is, or how one shipping executive can make an empire. But the good news is Matt is ready to stop prioritizing being a shipping magnate and start dating two women on TV. Gabby and Rachel will just have one task that stands in the way: figuring out what Matt means when he says he “would rather vibe than dance to good music.” Are those things mutually exclusive? Have I always thought I was bad at shipping stuff, but really I was just bad at vibing all along?
Erich, 29: Real estate analyst from Bedminster, N.J.
Erich is my pick to win because Erich has finally figured out how to game the system. For years, whatever questionnaire the Bachelor(ette) producers make these contestants fill out has prompted them to list their greatest fears, their worst nightmare date scenarios (always diarrhea), what kitchen appliance they’d be if they could be any kitchen appliance. That last one generally doesn’t have too much effect on the events of the season, and the second one isn’t exactly inside the producers’ control—but you better believe if someone says their worst fear is heights, they’re going surprise bungee-jumping, at which time they’ll learn a valuable lesson about trust and support alongside a person who isn’t scared of heights at all. But other than the Bachelorette interns waxing poetic about how handsome and kind Erich is, the only notable thing about his bio is this: “Erich has no interest in going to an escape room.”
And I just know, in my heart of hearts, that Erich is phenomenal at escape rooms. That he would love nothing more than to get Gabby or Rachel into a room and show them every single one of his code-breaking, lock-picking, riddle-solving skills under the pressure of a ticking clock. Because Erich knows that the currency of The Bachelorette is psychological warfare, and the best way to dwell in his strengths is to pretend they’re his weaknesses …
On the other hand, if Erich just actually has no interest in escape rooms—that is also the right take.
Termayne, 28: Crypto guy from Naperville, Ill.
You gotta respect a guy who’s like, “Yes, one day I’ll be in a six-part HBO documentary, and not as one of the good guys, but I don’t care—I’m gonna sell these leggings while the selling is good, and I’m gonna tell you about it.” And you’ve gotta respect The Bachelorette for—just this once—representing what actual modern dating looks like. If Termayne shows up to the limo introductions holding a fish and saying he’s looking for a “fit” girl to hit the gym with … just paint that shit on a canvas and call it “American Gothic: Bumble Edition.”
Johnny, 25: Realtor from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Johnny is the only contestant who comes bearing a threat by way of Jesse Palmer’s TikTok introduction: “Johnny may or may not be rapping during his intro … maybe freestyling.”
Johnny. Please. We ask only two things of our Bachelor contestants: be hot and don’t rap. Season 19 is so close to a perfect 32-for-32. Just give us this, we beg of you.
Chris, 30: Mentality coach from Redondo Beach, Ca.
Oh, Chris. Chris, Chris, Chris! So few sentences in a bio with so many red flags—you really must hand it to the only man who showed up to the Bachelorette photoshoot in all dry-wicking materials! Things start off … interesting with Chris being a mentality coach, something most people won’t have ever heard of, but which kind of sounds like the occupational equivalent of singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Luckily, Chris knows “what his goals are and exactly what he needs to do to accomplish them.” All he asks of a partner is that she “support [him] as he chases his goals but also work hard to accomplish the goals she has for herself”—no word on whether she’ll receive Chris’s support chasing those goals, but surely a discount code for mentality coaching at least—and that she “love him for the hard worker he is, and not complain as the two of them work together toward greatness.”
Ah, yes, the key to a good relationship—blind, unquestioned ambition in the pursuit of mentality coach greatness! This is what great love stories are made of. It is also, presumably, what the two books Chris has written cover, inspiring him to say that “he is his own favorite author.”
Finally, when asked what Chris fears in life, he responded, “I don’t choose fear.” And it’s like, hey bud? Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to “choose” a smidge of fear about how you’re perceived.