As if filming during the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t dramatic enough, it appears The Bachelorette Season 16 is going to introduce a historic game change: Clare Crawley will reportedly exit partway through the season, making way for a second Bachelorette to begin her own search for love.
The show’s rumored pick to replace Clare? Fan favorite Tayshia Adams, who would be the second Black Bachelorette in franchise history.
According to Deadline, after Clare reportedly fell for one of her contestants and declined to lead on the rest of her suitors, The Bachelorette decided to incorporate her decision into its storyline. After a period of quarantine, Tayshia has reportedly joined the production—and according to Deadline, some of the beaus who competed for Clare’s heart will stay on to try and win over Tayshia.
Steve Carbone, AKA Reality Steve, recently sounded off on the rumors. Although he does not have enough confirmation to blog it yet, the reality guru said he is certain that Tayshia is in La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs, where the season is underway. “There’s no reason for Tayshia to be in La Quinta unless she’s being asked to film something,” he said.
Representatives for ABC and Warner Bros. Television, which produces the Bachelor franchise, did not immediately respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Should Adams join the season, she will be the second Black star the Bachelor franchise has chosen this year—following its first-ever Black Bachelor, Matt James. She follows Rachel Lindsay, whose season aired in 2017, as the second Black Bachelorette.
But the Bachelor’s history with race is fraught at best. Black contestants generally do not make it as far as their white counterparts, and some alums from the show have spoken out about the way they were treated both during production and during editing.
Rachel Lindsay’s Bachelorette season, in particular, was a ham-fisted embarrassment that used a racist contestant as a source of drama. Hopefully Season 16 will treat Tayshia better—but the midseason could lead to some messiness that other Bachelorettes have not had to endure during their own seasons. In particular, the prospect of some contestants who just competed for Clare sticking around feels... risky, to say the least.
Still, casting more Black leads on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is the first step in reversing this trend. And from the time Tayshia first appeared on Colton Underwood’s Bachelor season last year, she has become a fan favorite.
Tayshia was among Colton’s final three before he ultimately chased down and won over Cassie Randolph. (The two broke up this year.) She later appeared on Bachelor in Paradise as well. After Colton’s season, some fans rallied for Tayshia to become the next Bachelorette—but producers chose Hannah Brown instead. Fans lobbied for her for this season as well before producers ultimately chose Clare. Maybe now is finally her time. If so, let’s just hope she gets the love story she deserves.