Every 'Bachelor' & 'Bachelorette' Season Ranked, From The Snoozeworthy To The Most Dramatic
Like death and taxes and most successful entertainment franchises, The Bachelor is all about reliability. When you turn on ABC on Monday nights at 8 p.m., you are guaranteed to experience a truly entertaining two hours, watching men and women go through various horrendous trials of courtship, hopefully to end up in blissful matrimony, but most likely just heading home, sobbing the back of a limo. Though the contestants don't always end up happy, the fans of Bachelor Nation usually do, which is why I've compiled this list of the best seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette — Yes, all 31 in total — for you to relive the fond memories or maybe learn a thing or two about the early seasons if you haven't always been tuning in.
Though The Bachelor galaxy is replete with many stars, a season burns brightest when there is not only a great Bachelor/Bachelorette, but also when the cast is particularly interesting. Anyone who is keeping up with the current season, starring Ben Higgins, knows this to be true. While Ben is fabulous to look at and a total sweetheart, it's the drama with Jubilee, Olivia, and the other women that has kept many fans coming back for more.
So, in honor of the 20th season of The Bachelor, I've composed a definitive ranking of the best seasons of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette based on just how momentous the season as a whole was — did fans finish each episode yawning, or clutching their pearls (and now their phones as many live-tweet the entire thing)? Take a look and see if you agree with my ranking from the snooziest to the most spectacular.
31. The Bachelor Season 6: Byron Velvick
Before I delved deep into a Google hole, I saw this guy's name and thought who the hell is that? Though this um, pro bass fisherman, proposed to winner Mary Delgado in a way that was very romantic, there was nothing else that stood out to me about Byron. Sorry.
Memorable Moment: The fact that somehow he won out over East Coast businessman, Jay Overbye, in the original double-header Bachelor showdown.
30. The Bachelor, Season 2: Aaron Buerge
Who is Aaron Buerge, even?
29. The Bachelorette, Season 10: Andi Dorfman
I liked Andi's law degree and killer hair, but I pretty much just watched her season because Josh Murray and I went to the same college. Other than that, it was kind of boring.
Memorable Moment: The fact that the season got the worst ratings of all of the seasons. Yikes. But, Andi is seemingly dating Chris Harrison now and that would really mean a lot to me as a fan.
28. The Bachelorette Season 2: Meredith Phillips
After being rejected by Bachelor Bob Guiney, Meredith went on to helm a pretty yawn-worthy season in her own right. Meredith threw a little salt in the mix when she told runner-up Matthew Hickl she loved him, and then went on to accept a proposal from Ian McKee, but that's about as exciting as the season got, and that was during the finale.
Memorable Moment: That "I love you" switcheroo set the precedent for seasons like Jason Mesnick's.
27. The Bachelor, Season 1: Alex Michel
OK, OK, I know that throwing the original Bachelor up this high on the list is tantamount to treason, but hear me out. Though he was an ideal catch on paper (fulfilling ABC's quest for a "businessman," Alex holds a degree from Harvard Business School), he was a little dull for my tastes. The first season of The Bachelor is virtually unrecognizable to how it is now, and I think that change has been for the better.
Memorable Moment: Instead of getting down on one knee, Alex simply asked Amanda Marsh to be his girlfriend. No zero to 60 here.
26. The Bachelor, Season 9: Lorenzo Borghese
Though he was definitively not the most offensive contestant with an accent to appear on The Bachelor, Lorenzo's season was just straight up monotonous. You'd think a season featuring Lorenzo, who is a bonafide Italian prince, might be a little more thrilling, but you'd be wrong.
Memorable Moment: When contestant Erica Rose waltzed in wearing a tiara and asked where the help was in the Italian villa, it was clear that The Bachelor producers were looking for contestants to create drama.
25. The Bachelorette, Season 7: Ashley Hebert
After being rejected by Brad Womack (Round 2), Ashley starred in a season that really served as a showcase for her questionable taste in men. Villian Bentley Williams once told the cameras that he'd rather go "swimming in pee" than be married to her. She kept him around for a while (though, to her credit, never heard half the things he was saying), before finally ditching him and marrying JP Rosenbaum in 2012. He was the best, though, so at least, in the end, she figured out what she wanted.
Memorable Moment: When she rejected Ben Flajnik's proposal only after letting him get down on one knee.
24. The Bachelor, Season 10: "An Officer and A Gentleman," Andy Baldwin
I think the only reason that I couldn't get behind Andy is just that I don't trust a person who seems to dislike carbohydrates as much as he does. Seriously, does this guy ever have any fun? Although I gotta give him mad ups for his humanitarian work, his season was not my favorite.
Memorable Moment: When he left Peyton Wright standing alone on an aircraft carrier as he choppered away with winner Tessa Horst. Not very gentlemanly, tbh.
23. The Bachelorette, Season 4: DeAnna Pappas
She bore the brunt of being one of the two finalists dumped by Brad Womack in his first season, and her spinoff turned into a pretty fun run. But, I was just too annoyed with her for picking Jesse Csincsak over Jason Mesnick and breaking his heart on national TV (before he turned around and did the same to Melissa Rycroft... more on that later).
Memorable Moment: Um, when she shattered Jason Mesnick's heart on national television. Sadness.
22. The Bachelor, Season 8: Travis Lane Stork
Travis Lane Stork (that's quite the mouthful) is now featured on the medical talk show The Doctors, but, before he was appearing on daytime television, he took hold of the night with an OK season of The Bachelor that was only notable for the fact that it was based in Paris, and brie is pretty dope.
Memorable Moment: The fact that he and the winner, Sarah Stone, broke up, even though they lived on the same street in Nashville.
21. The Bachelor, Season 17: Sean Lowe
I know that he and Catherine are cuter than kittens, but adorability doesn't make for compelling television. I'M SORRY.
Memorable Moment: The publication of this golden boy's dishy memoir, For the Right Reasons, made me like him more. Way to give us the goods, Sean.
20. The Bachelorette, Season 3: Jen Schefft
The ex-fiancee of Bachelor Andrew Firestone, Jen was sweet and all, but, if that's all I wanted, I'd Seamless a Snickers bar. But, I'll throw her some points for the power move of not picking either of the final two when it came down to it, because she knew what she wanted! She's now happily married with two children.
Memorable Moment: Jen telling one of the finalists that they were "better off as friends" after he proposed. Well, she is the author of a book called Better Single Than Sorry, so she definitely knows what she's talking about.
19. The Bachelor, Season 11: Brad Womack (The First Time)
Brad is notoriously reviled in the Bachelor universe, but I have to side with his decision to not marry Jenni Croft or DeAnna Pappas, just like I agreed with Jen's.
Memorable Moment: When he decided to return as the Bachelor for Season 15! He just couldn't get enough!
18. The Bachelor, Season 3: Andrew Firestone
I really wanted to put Andrew, the original object of my preteen affections, in the number one spot, but, honestly, I couldn't remember much else about him besides how amazing he always looked in a hot tub, so...
Memorable Moment: His chest. Sorry Andrew, I know you're more than your looks. Blame The Bachelor producers for all those shirtless scenes.
17. The Bachelor, Season 5: Jesse Palmer
Another one that I really fought myself on ranking higher. The former NFL player also had nice muscles, but the sheer lack of anything eventful occurring during his season kept him out of the Top 10.
Memorable Moment: When he sent home a contestant after forgetting her name, and then handed her rose to a woman whose name he really had a handle on. *One million facepalms*
16. The Bachelorette, Season 9: Desiree Hartsock
This season was really fun to watch, until the totally odd and super-depressing season finale, where Desiree essentially was dumped by the guy she really liked and then immediately went for Chris Siegfried, who was a clear runner-up in my mind. Remember Jen's advice! Better single than sorry!
Memorable Moment: Oh, wait, the fact that she ended up marrying should-have-been-the-runner-up Chris! Everything works out for a reason, I guess.
15. The Bachelor, Season 4: Bob Guiney
I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the producers' push for Bob as "The Funny Bachelor," who was rendered as some sort of comedian just because he didn't possess the looks of a Ken doll. Now where's "The Funny Bachelorette?"
Memorable Moment: Bob Guiney has allegedly slept with more women than any other Bachelor, according to producer Mike Fleiss.
14. The Bachelor, Season 19: Chris Soules
Chris' personality wasn't so much the problem as was his series of really uncomfortable mumblings and stares into space as he basically wished he was back on his Iowan farm. The only reason his season ranks this high is due to the sheer drama factor of all of the contestants. God bless you, Ashley S. and Kelsey Poe, for really driving home the entertainment factor.
Memorable Moment: When Chris left Ashley I. and Kelsey in the desert together, I thought the show was going to feature its first on-camera murder.
13. The Bachelorette, Season 5: Jillian Harris
I really dug Jillian as The Bachelorette, but I was so not down with her decision to give all the roses to Ed Swiderski, who left the show mid-season for work reasons only to return at the end. I like work reasons, and it's not her fault she didn't know he'd end up being a huge jerk, but this season left a bad taste in my mouth.
Memorable Moment: Wes Hayden's limo confessional about his having a girlfriend back home. YUCK.
12. The Bachelorette, Season 6: Ali Fedotowsky
Speaking of leaving for work reasons, I really respected Ali's decision to leave during Jake Pavelka's season of The Bachelor because her job made her choose and she wasn't ready to give up her career for a man. Her following season was pretty entertaining in its own right. And, even if she and winner Roberto Martinez didn't last, she managed to turn her fame into a successful career with E! News and now with her fashion/lifestyle blog.
Memorable Moment: Whenever Roberto was onscreen. Caliente.
11. The Bachelor, Season 15: Brad Womack (Again)
Even though he was Public Enemy Number One, Brad shone during this repeat season. He fell in love with Emily Maynard, and everything was happily ever after.
Memorable Moment: Or not. On After The Final Rose, it was revealed that Emily and Brad were clearly not meant to be together. Strike two for Bachelor Brad.
10. The Bachelor, Season 13: Jason Mesnick
I KNOW what Jason did was the most shocking thing to ever happen on the most shocking show in the world, but I thought the rest of the season was pretty meh so that's why it's here and not number one.
Memorable Moment: When Jason was bawling after dumping Molly Malaney to propose to Melissa Rycroft, because, oh wait, he was actually totally in love with Molly. OOPS. Come on, Jason, make up your mind before the Neil Lane gets involved.
9. The Bachelorette, Season 8: Emily Maynard
I loved this season because Emily was cute and loud and had the worst batch of men I've seen this side of the underworld, but I also loved that she put such a strong emphasis on her identity as a mother in a world that sometimes erases the children of the contestants.
Memorable Moment: When she told off that jerk Kalon.
8. The Bachelor, Season 7: Charlie O’Connell
Instead of having a cocktail party on the first night, Charlie eschewed tradition and ended up doing body shots with the new contestants. That's one way to start a show!
7. The Bachelorette, Season 11: Kaitlyn Bristowe
Hooray for Kaitlyn. She was the Canadian Miley Cyrus, rocked some mad crop tops, and got some with Nick Viall without apologizing for it. Kaitlyn went on to find love with Shawn B., whom she is now engaged to.
Memorable Moment: That time she pretended to host her own funeral.
6. The Bachelor, Season 16: Ben Flajnik
Ben F. had a haircut that made him look like a character from Arthur , but his season was really all about Courtney Robertson and she was THE BEST.
Memorable Moment: When the openly reviled Courtney was picked over everyone else, to the disdain of viewers and contestants everywhere. She wasn't there to make friends, but I loved her for it.
5. The Bachelor, Season 14: Jake Pavelka
Jake's whole shtick as a pilot was so obnoxious, but this season was incredible for so many reasons. His choice to propose to Vienna Girardi, the season's villain, was inspired.
Memorable Moment: When Rozlyn Papa was accused of having an affair with one of the show's producers. "She had a physical relationship with a producer on our show," host Chris Harrison told People magazine. "You cannot do that. There is no gray area ... Other girls on the show saw it. The producer confessed more than once and to more than one person. I cannot make it any clearer." However, Papa denied the allegations outright. "It seems they want the ratings!" she told Entertainment Tonight. "This seeps into my personal life. I have a 7-year-old little boy at home that I want to look up to me and to have this blatant lie out there perpetuated by the show itself, it's hurtful. It's scary to think what my son will think of me." When asked if she ever cheated on Jake with a producer, she told ET, "Absolutely not, no."
4. The Bachelor, Season 20: Ben Higgins
Ben is Disney-prince level on the attractiveness scale, genuinely kind, and apparently this Bachelor even smells incredible. Add to the mix one dash of hyper-aggressive contestants, one sad twin elimination, and even a miniature pony and you have yourself one hell of a season. Can't wait to see how the rest of it develops.
Memorable Moment: Well, let's start with that awkward moment when Olivia popped out of the cake, flouncing around like a rooster for the longest minute and a half of viewers' lives. And, the season is just getting started.
3. The Bachelor, Season 12: Matt Grant
Blimey, I loved Matt's season for one reason and one reason alone: Shayne Lamas. The actress spent the entire season in various stages of drama, and she still won the British Bachelor's heart in the end. Kind of they eventually broke up, and he later commented that he regretted his decision to be on the show "a little bit."
Memorable Moment: When true rockstar Stacey Elza put her underwear in Matt's pocket right when she got out of the limo.
2. The Bachelor, Season 18: Juan Pablo Galavis
You're reading this right. I want the second place slot to go to J.P. because he showed the world what a truly awful person you can be and still make for an entertaining time. His repugnant statements towards the women on his show and other terrible viewpoints opened up discussion amongst Bachelor viewers in a way that I think reached further than hate-watching.
Memorable Moment: Sex in the ocean suddenly seems so much less hot.
1. The Bachelorette, Season 1: Trista Rehn
30 million viewers can't be wrong — that many people tuned in to watch this precious woman choose her precious husband, Ryan Sutter, and I was one of them. I will stand by this decision to put her at number one forever and ever.
Memorable Moment: The fact that they are still together to this day. It proves that this wild show can produce true love every once in a while, which is why viewers can't help but watch each new season and journey to love.
Images: Craig Sjodin, Rick Rowell/ABC; Getty Images (2)