'The Bachelor' star Clayton Echard's bachelorettes officially announced by ABC -- Meet Clayton's women! (PHOTOS)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/17/2021
The Bachelor has unveiled the official cast of 31 women who will be vying for Clayton Echard's roses when the show returns with Season 26 next year.
ABC has announced the identities of the 31 bachelorettes who will meet and date Clayton, a 28-year-old orthopedic sales representative and former college football player, when The Bachelor's 26th season premieres Monday, January 3 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC.
It appears Breauna Jade Kading, a 28-year-old from San Diego, CA, and Kara Gandy, a 30-year-old from Cincinnati, OH, were dropped from Clayton's official lineup of Night 1 ladies.
ABC began its current practice of publicly announcing each The Bachelor and The Bachelorette season's possible cast in 2019 as an apparent attempt to further vet each suitor's background before filming actually commences.
Beginning last year with Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, they also began bringing extra potential bachelors to the season's filming location in case anyone tests positive for coronavirus during the quarantine period that must occur before production officially starts.
Clayton was officially announced as The Bachelor star for Season 26 in late November.
"I'm a Midwest boy from New Jersey that just wants to find love, and I can't wait to get married and have kids," Clayton says in a trailer for the new season.
And Clayton confirmed on Good Morning America just one day after ABC's big announcement that he "did find love" on the show.
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"And I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey, but I'm so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than what I had thought."
Clayton shared how he went into The Bachelor with "a checklist of sorts" in that he wanted to find a partner who is "funny, intelligent, driven, [and] put forth effort."
"What I found is very quickly the women blew my expectations out of the water. They brought all of that and so much more," Clayton teased on GMA, adding, "I realized that, ultimately, I was going to find everything that I wanted and so much more."
Clayton certainly did apparently find everything he was looking for -- in more than one woman.
During The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All episode for Season 18, a special sneak peek of Clayton's upcoming The Bachelor season aired and featured Clayton dropping two bombshells on viewers.
"I didn't believe it could happen, but I am in love with three women," Clayton admits.
Footage then seemed to flash to Clayton standing in front of two ladies, who appeared to be either his Final 2 bachelorettes or two of his Final 3 women, after his round of overnight Fantasy Suite dates.
"I just want you to know that what I'm about to say is not going to be easy to hear. I want to be fully, fully transparent, and I know it's not easy to hear, but I was intimate with both of you," Clayton confesses to the two ladies.