Well, we have confirmation.
From the most reliable source possible.
A few days after the Internet was stunned to learn that some dude named Clayton Echard had been named the next Bachelor, we still do not have any word from ABC itself regarding this strong rumor.
But we do have word from Clayton Echard.
“I’m excited,” the 28-year-old former football player says in a video shared by St. Louis’ Fox affiliate on Thursday, September 16.
“I’m also very, very nervous, and I’m looking to find my person.”
This, of course, is a very unusual situation.
Echard has never appeared on television before.
He’s set to be a contestant on Michelle Young’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette, however, which will mark the second season of that franchise to air in 2022.
It’s obviously very safe to assume Echard does not win over Young in the end — but he must have made a powerful impression on her during filming, and/or on producers, in order to have landed this role.
“It’s a big gamble with Clayton because viewers don’t even know him yet but he’s a midwestern gentleman that the audience will love,” an insider told The Sun this week, adding of Echard:
“He’s very naive and pure to the whole TV thing, he’s not an aspiring influencer like a lot of these people.”
This seems to be an indirect shot at Greg Grippo, who was allegedly under consideration to be the Bachelor … but who also seems to have only signed on to Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette in order to boost his profile.
So, what do we know about Clayton Echard?
He’s an orthopedic sales representative who calls the town of Eureka, Missouri home.
Echard played football for the University of Missouri and even signed with the Seattle Seahawks, playing in a numberr of preseason games before getting cut.
Clayton refers to himself as a “washed-up athlete now trying his luck in orthopaedic sales” in his Instagram bio and sources say he’s also a freelance rapper.
Once again, no one actually associated with The Bachelor has commented on Clayton just yet.
Back on September 15, though, Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss tweeted:
“Major Announcement!!! Your new #TheBachelor is a great guy from Michelle’s season of #TheBachelorette. Can’t wait for you to meet him! … His first name starts with the letter ‘C.’ #TheBachelor.”
There you basically go right there.
Young’s season of The Bachelorette completed shooting last month.
All we really know about it at the moment is that Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will once again serve as co-hosts, while Michelle and her suitors will visit the star’s hometown in Minnesota at one point.
Echard “will charm the audience at a time the show desperately needs a more wholesome lead,” adds The Sun insider.
“It’s not an ideal situation with the pandemic postponing things and Michelle’s season airing so late in the year, which is not typical. There’s no way around the scheduling conflict.
“Ultimately what they did is in the best interest of the franchise.”
The Bachelor will begin filming in just a few weeks and likely premiere in January.