The highly anticipated season of The Bachelor has now ended with a jaw-dropping finale. After sorting through 32 women, Matt James finally found his match. But his ending wasn’t the fairytale he hoped it would be. Even ABC was surprised by this year’s outcome. So much so, they implemented a new layout for the franchise.
The Final Rose
Season 25 ended with a disappointed Bachelor Nation. Fans didn’t get to see Matt James down on one knee, after deciding he wasn’t ready for that commitment. But he continued to date Rachael Kirkconnell following the finale. However, the budding relationship didn’t last. Following her viral “Antebellum” photos, fans called her and ABC out. Many called Kirkconnell racist and stated that the station failed in its attempt at inclusivity. On “After The Final Rose”, Matt candidly says he initially didn’t believe the “rumors”. But after seeing them himself and further contemplation, he ended the relationship.
A New Conversation
Fans called for real recognition of the racially insensitive season. So, “After The Final Rose” kicked off with new host Emmanuel Acho. According to social media, fans weren’t disappointed with Acho. Many felt he asked the hard-hitting questions that everyone wanted to hear. He notably asked Racheal what steps she took to educate herself on anti-racism. But, she failed to provide a concrete response.
Acho also asked other cast members how they felt following Rachael’s racial controversy. Runner-up Michelle Young said, “I feel like Racheal has a good heart, I do. But I think there’s a lot of learning.” But she didn’t only have words for Rachael. Former host Chris Harrison attempted to justify Kirkconnell’s past actions — leading to his departure. So, she shared frustration with him and the franchise. “Everyone’s talking around and addressing [and] apologizing but not actually changing anything. There’s a point where you’re so exhausted.”
Matt also displayed exhaustion. He expressed a certain weight on his shoulders throughout the season. “A lot of what [viewers] take away from the show, like it or not, is gonna be their perception of how Black people move.” So, it also had an impact on his future with Rachael. “You hear things that are heartbreaking and pray that they’re not true.” He continued, “and when you find that they are, it just makes you question everything.” Matt hoped with him breaking things off, Kirkconnell gained complete space to both learn and unlearn.
The Future of the Series
This season of The Bachelor sparked so much controversy, the franchise made some changes. For starters, there will be two bachelorettes this upcoming season. Katie — a fan favorite — unsurprisingly earned the role. Katie was a blunt, girl’s girl destined to receive the title. Her season hits ABC as early as summer 2021. But the surprise didn’t stop there. Michelle will also grace our screens again. Michelle captured the hearts of fans after her sudden addition. She’ll become the third Black bachelorette in the series. Michelle’s season as bachelorette will follow Katie’s in the fall.
But that’s just the start. Chris Harrison remains on leave following his controversial remarks. So, who earned the coveted spot? Former bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will co-host the upcoming seasons. The new hosts are expected to bring a younger, fresh take on the role. Not to mention, it also prevents a hasty return from Harrison. Bachelor Nation isn’t quite ready to welcome the former host back on their beloved reality show. Plus, this decision also satisfies the need for diversity in the franchise. Despite the rollercoaster ride of The Bachelor, viewers are hopeful all of these women will put the franchise back on track.