Truly the Most Dramatic Season Yet

America’s favorite reality TV series, “The Bachelor,” makes history in its 25th season. Warning: the following article contains spoilers.


Monday night is a sacred time in Bachelor Nation. Across the country, thousands tune in to see the new two-hour-long episode, no doubt filled with tears, romance, drama and bad dresses. 

The basic structure of the show consists of around 30 women, none over 30 years old or over 130 pounds. Over the course of a couple of months, the bachelor gets to know the contestants through conversations, cocktail parties, group dates and one-on-ones with the hope of finding love and winning a big, sparkly engagement ring, free of charge from Neil Lane. 

In the midst of COVID-19, the demand for “The Bachelor” only grew. Unfortunately for the most recent bachelorettes, Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams, their season of “The Bachelorette” took place at the, some would say, sub-par La Quinta Inn. 

This season of “The Bachelor” is striking in comparison, taking place at Nemacolin, a beautiful, sprawling resort located amongst the scenery of Pennsylvania’s forests, obviously, a dramatic budget increase. Matt James, the new bachelor, is like none we’ve ever seen before. 

While it’s customary for the Bachelor to be plucked from the cast of a Bachelorette season, James has never been a part of the franchise. Rather, ex-Bachelorette contestant, Tyler Cameron, introduced James to producers and fans of the show. 

Cameron was the runner-up on Hannah Brown’s 2019 season of “The Bachelorette”, and Matt James is said to be one of his best friends. With an entirely new and fresh perspective, James enters the first episode like a deer in headlights and it’s clear he hasn’t had the same producer-grooming as past leads. James  also makes history for being the first black bachelor on the show in all of its 25 seasons. 

The bachelors and bachelorettes, and those who gain the most advertisements, brand deals and fame, were white for the first 15 years of the show’s tenure. It wasn’t until 2017 on season 13 of “The Bachelorette” did we see the first black bachelorette. It wasn’t until 2021 did we see the first black bachelor. 

This season is different not only because of the new Bachelor himself but also because of the COVID-19 precautions and the women. With a record-breaking amount of applicants, competition for James’s heart is at an all-time high. 

The show begins with a record number of 32 women; 6 new women join throughout the season which hasn’t happened up until now in Bachelor-nation history. With all these women looking for love and only 1 bachelor, drama, tension and jealousy is inevitable.  

A main source of drama in this season surrounds an excessive amount of bullying between the female contestants; a few women are even being described as the villains of the season. Viewers say that the introduction of a new group of women in episode 5 threw off the power dynamic between the women of the house. The move, which was clearly producer-driven, provoked chaos where many women were angry about the most important commodity of the show: time. 

Some women in the house like Anna Redman, self appointed “Queen,” Victoria Larson and MJ Snyder tried to create a separation between the “OGs” or “varsity team”, referring to the women who were in the show from episode 1, and the “newbies” or “JV team”, referring to the new contestants.

The “OG’S” were angry that the introduction of new women led to more of their time with Matt being taken away. This made the toxic bullying culture in the house worse, subjugating the new women to insults and groundless allegations. Another “OG” contestant, Katie Thurston, raised James’ attention to the bullying that was happening at Larson’s hands which led James to remove Larson from the show. 

Head of upper school and dedicated “The Bachelor” fan, Melissa Alkire says that although she doesn’t know Larson personally, “[I want] to believe [Larson] wants to be this season’s villain because the way she talked was like a characiture almost. And there were glimpses of her not behaving that way which made me sad because she, maybe, chose to be the season’s villain.”

Alkire continues to say she “[doesn’t] know if Victoria can [redeem herself]. I think she went too mean-girl.”

But, the drama surrounding the season doesn’t end there. Recently, allegations have come out that one of the last 3 contestants, Rachael Kirkconnell, engaged in racist behaviors and actions.

A former highschool peer of Kirkconnell’s, Maddy Bierster, called Rachael out for bullying her and other girls “for liking black guys” in a TikTok post. Which is ironic considering the bachelor, Matt James, is black. 

Many other allegations, exposing Kirkconnell of attending an antebellum themed party at a southern plantation. In response, the contestant responded to these allegations with a public apology on Instagram, saying her “ignorance was racist” and she apologizes “to the communities and individuals [my] actions harmed and offended”. 

Some fans are accepting her apology while others are reluctant to forgive her so fast. One fan says “We still love you girl!” in the comment section of Kirkconnell’s post while another Instagram user says “I don’t forgive you but you can earn my forgiveness”.

Chirs Harrison, the host of the franchise,  is facing recent scrutiny over an interview he had with ex-Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.

The interview consisted of Harrison coming to Rachael Kirkconnell’s defense for photos of the contestant at the antebellum themed party, though many saw these photos and the event as outwardly racist. 

However, Harrison did not see it this way. He claimed that since the photos were from 2018, “there’s a big difference” in how we should condemn Kirkconnell since 2018, a mere 3 years ago, was a wildly different time. 

Harrison further defends Kirkconnell in terms of her delayed response to the incident. It was 6 weeks since the photos were released at the time of the interview and many fans of “The Bachelor” started to question how Kirkconnell was handling the situation.

Chris Harrison said “the woke police is out there” and “it’s a slippery slope”, insinuating that it is very difficult to come up with a public apology or statement that would please everybody. 

Was the right decision to delay her response until weeks after the photos surfaced? Or is there simply no winning for Kirkconnell in this situation? Should the contestant be excused from scrutinity since 2018 was a different time or because she was young? Or should Kirkconnell be fairly condemned for her actions?

Bachelor Matt James finally addressed the controversy in late February after the interview with Chris Harrison was released. In his public statement James said, “Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch.”

James also claims that Bachelor Nation as a whole has deep rooted racial justice problems saying the scandal is, “a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.”

With all the drama of the season considered, students are ready to cast their votes as to who they believe will steal Matt James’ heart and win the diamond engagement ring. The bachelor is left to choose between Michelle Young, Bri Springs and Rachael Kirkconnell.

In a survey of 22 students, 13 people, or 59.1%, voted that Michelle would win James’ heart, while 9 people, 40.9% voted that Rachael would win the season. Shockingly, there were no votes anticipating Bri’s win.

Alkire says that she believes Rachael Kirkconnell is the winner “because of all the controversy that occurred, [I don’t] think Chris Harrison would have gone to that interview and fought so intensely and so incorrectly for Rachael if she wasn’t the one that was picked.”

Alkire continues, saying “I wish [Matt James] would pick Bri because [I think] she is lovely.”

The drama is never ending in Bachelor Nation and this season in particular takes the meaning of the word to a whole new level.