ABC has announced 33 women who "may" have a chance to meet and date Clayton, a 28-year-old orthopedic sales representative and former college football player, on The Bachelor's 26th season, which is expected to begin filming this week and premiere in early January 2022.
"We are giving you an early look at the women who may be on this season of The Bachelor! Leave a [rose emoji] for who would get your first impression rose," The Bachelor's official Facebook account captioned a slideshow of the 33 ladies on Saturday.
The inclusion of the word "may" suggests a few of the women may not actually appear on Clayton's season of The Bachelor; however, given the typical The Bachelor or The Bachelorette season usually begins with about 30 contestants.
Clayton's initial cast of women range in age from 23 to 33 years old.
ABC revealed names, bios and photos for the women on Facebook, and the photos display a variety of backgrounds apparently indicating the photos were not taken at the same location by the same photographer.
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.
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Beginning last year with Clare Crawley's seasons 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.
Viewers will be introduced to Clayton on Michelle's The Bachelorette season.
Considering ABC already selected him to be the franchise's leading man for Season 26, fans can only assume Clayton got his heart crushed by Michelle on the show or his star-quality and/or storyline made him a natural fit to become the show's star for 2022.
"Clayton stood out right off the bat," a source told Us Weekly of the Eureka, MO, native. "Producers ended up going with him because they believed he was the best fit for the role."
ABC reportedly loves the fact Clayton is a fresh face whom America still has to get to know.
"[Producers] wanted to switch things up and go with someone new and someone who hasn't been in the spotlight yet," the source explained. "The mystery makes it more exciting for the prospective contestants."
While ABC and Warner Bros. have yet to officially confirm Clayton will follow in Matt James' The Bachelor footsteps, a banner hangs in Eureka that reads, "Go Find Love Clayton," and the town's mayor, Sean Flower, said on Facebook that ABC had purchased the giant sign.
Below is a listing of the 33 women who may be appearing on The Bachelor's 26th season starring Clayton, however click on the BEGIN GALLERY link below to also see photos of all the bachelorettes!.
- Breauna Jade Kading, a 28-year-old from San Diego, CA