There we were, just minding our own business, looking forward to Tuesday's episode of The Bachelor, when news hit that ABC would be revealing the next star of The Bachelorette on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after the show — oh, and it's someone who's still competing on Nick Viall's season. Indeed, Chris Harrison and Jimmy Kimmel announced Rachel Lindsay as the heir to the Bachelorette throne on Tuesday, to the excitement and confusion of, well, everyone.
To state the obvious, Rachel is black, and there has never been a black lead on either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, a fact for which the network has been criticised in recent years. So on the one hand, awesome! Casting Rachel represents a milestone for the reality TV staple, and one that should have come much sooner. On the other hand, why the hell would ABC announce the news when Rachel is still a contestant on the show? I've given this a lot of thought (because my own life is dull) and here's what I've come up with.
- The spoiler was already out there. If you're not familiar with Reality Steve, he's a blogger who spoils essentially every season of The Bachelor by revealing the final four and the winner early, sometimes before the season even begins airing. On Monday morning, he wrote that ABC would be announcing Rachel as the next Bachelorette that night. The timing of the situation seems fishy; a week before, one of the show's producers tweeted out that a "historic announcement" was coming, so they had to already be planning to reveal the news on Tuesday night. It's a bummer that Reality Steve spoiled it that morning, but his posting the spoiler wouldn't have triggered ABC to suddenly make the announcement.
- They're trying to spice up the end of Nick's season. As a long-time fan, I can solidly confirm that this season has been boring as hell. Corinne has been great, but Nick, possibly too afraid of making his image even worse, has been such a timid presence on camera. While we know Rachel doesn't get Nick's final rose, announcing her as the new Bachelorette does make me want to tune in (LOL, as if I wouldn't anyway) to see how things go down between her and Nick.
- They want more time for casting. Rachel is a catch, and maybe they're trying to get back to the old model. Remember back in the day, when the Bachelor was (supposed to be) a successful professional with a dazzling personality who anyone would be lucky to date? Then over the course of the seasons, the bar fell lower . . . and lower . . . and lower. Well, if anyone is a worthy Bachelorette, it's Rachel. My very first impression of her was, "Oh girl, you're too good for Nick. Run home!" Instead, she's running to be the star of her own show, and she deserves good men, not, you know, Chad.
- ABC just wants the credit for casting a black person. Perhaps my previous point was giving ABC far too much credit. Did they say, "Hey that funny, sincere, engaging attorney would make an enchanting Bachelorette"? Or was the conversation more along the lines of "Well, she's black and she's making it far enough with Nick that I guess we can cast her"? This season hasn't been as explosive as the previews promised (or as we had hoped), and it's definitely a possibility that execs forced the announcement so that people would finally be talking about the show in a positive light again.