In a move surprising no long-suffering Bachelor Nation fan, the newest Bachelor has been revealed to be Colton Underwood, the adult virgin and former pro footballer featured in the most recent seasons of The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
The Good Morning America announcement comes after weeks of fans pining for Jason Tarticke or Blake Horstmann, both recent castoffs from Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette, to assume the bachelorship. Still, Bachelor producers have elected Underwood, a charming and handsome, if not exactly complex contestant.
Before joining Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette, Colton played for the Oakland Raiders and dated Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman. He also had a brief fling with former Bachelor contestant Tia Booth, a relationship that caused some tension with Becca during Colton’s time on her season of The Bachelorette, since Becca and Tia are friends and former castmates. Tia and Colton later reconnected, albeit briefly, on Bachelor In Paradise.
Colton’s biggest hurdle during his time on The Bachelorette was the fact that he was still a virgin at age 26. At times, Underwood’s virginity was played for laughs—in one episode, he posed next to a signpost for the “Virgin River”—but it mostly served as a measure of his apparent sincerity. When Colton earnestly revealed his lack of sexual experience to Becca midway through the season, he expressed his hope that it wouldn’t affect their relationship. And as the infamous fantasy suite dates—where the Bachelor or Bachelorette and a contestant of their choice have the opportunity to spend the night “as a couple” without cameras present—loomed closer, Colton asked host Chris Harrison for advice on how to navigate the situation (Harrison essentially told him to just go with the flow).
Unfortunately for Colton, he was axed before he ever got the chance. Becca ultimately chose alt-right troll Garrett Yrigoyen as her fiancé, despite his history of liking transphobic, anti-immigrant, and alt-right conspiracy theory posts on social media. Underwood, meanwhile, is ostensibly still a virgin, even after his stint on the pheromone-fueled Bachelor in Paradise.
While on Paradise, Colton dutifully started drama and walked around shirtless, even rekindling things with Tia for a moment. He ultimately broke things off after a few weeks, saying he wasn’t sure he was “feeling it.” Tia was blindsided, and the two departed Paradise in true Bachelor fashion: crying alone in separate SUVs.
Now he’ll have another chance at love as the new Bachelor. And in choosing the extra-wholesome Underwood, Bachelor producers have essentially upheld the franchise’s quietly conservative values.
That’s what The Bachelor and The Bachelorette glorify and strive for, after all: marriage between a man and a woman, and eventually, a family. A traditional union is the explicit goal of each season, but contestants have to play their cards right when pursuing the man or woman of their dreams. While sex within the franchise is treated as an event with plenty of buildup, sleeping with someone outside the fantasy suite—especially if you’re a woman—is highly frowned upon, and has led to backlash and even the dissolution of would-be marriages.
Colton has been outspoken about his virginity ever since discussing it with Becca on The Bachelorette. “My virginity shouldn’t have to be defended or used to describe me as a person,” he wrote in an Instagram caption on July 30th. In an earlier tweet from July 11th, Colton was even more outspoken, complaining about the “double standards in today’s society.”
Whenever Colton does lose his virginity, he wants to be a father. In reply to a tweet warning him that he’ll someday have a dad bod, Underwood said, “Just imagine... one day I’ll be a dad. Way more important things to worry about then my ‘bod’ at that point.”
Colton is also a self-proclaimed “momma’s boy” (he had possibly the cutest hometown date in all of Bachelor history) and frequently tweets out Bible verses. His favorite seems to be Jeremiah 29:11, which reads: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
It’s unclear if God’s plans for Colton include finding a wife on a TV show, but the franchise’s producers seem intent on making sure he finds love. And while Colton doesn’t appear to have a penchant for alt-right memes like his former castmate Garrett, his earnestness about his sexuality, coupled with his outspoken desire to be a husband and father, make for a perfectly palatable Bachelor.
Colton’s season will surely have no trouble delivering the carefully-manufactured heartbreak and vacuous conversations we’ve come to know and love—while still upholding the show’s quietly conservative, family-oriented values.