The Bachelorette may have just had its first case of love at first sight. On the show's Season 16 premiere, Bachelorette Clare Crawley had a very strong reaction when she met contestant Dale Moss, claiming that she may have just met her husband. But it was her declaration of "I knew it!" that had fans wondering if Clare and Dale knew each other before the show. And while the two haven't admitted to actually making contact before her season of The Bachelorette started filming, they certainly knew of each other.
Back in March, filming for The Bachelorette Season 16 was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the decision was only made after ABC unveiled the contestants that would be showing up to the mansion. As she waited for filming to begin, Clare was able to do her research in quarantine, a first for the franchise, as she admitted in a new interview on Oct. 13. "There was nothing against the rules of going on social media and looking at people," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I feel like I'd be doing myself a disservice to not do my research and look these guys up." Although Clare never spoke with any of her contestants personally before filming (except Blake, who broke the rules to contact her), she definitely Insta-stalked them.
"Dale, in a lot of his Stories, he would talk about his mom and he'd talk about his family," she said, noting that he definitely stood out. "He was with his family a lot and that is something that deeply resonates with me. But you ultimately don't know if it's a romantic connection, because you're just seeing him through social media." Though she didn't mention this research on the show, during the episode, Clare's "I knew it" and her remarking "I've been waiting for this" before kissing him definitely tipped viewers off that she was familiar with Dale before he stepped out of the limo. And Bachelor alums including Kaitlyn Bristowe, Jason Tartick, and Blake Horstmann were all quick to pick up on the slip on their Instagram stories. "She def stalked that Instagram," Blake wrote.
Whether or not Clare and Dale had contact before The Bachelorette, their instant connection was the first sign of what is likely to be a never-before-seen twist in the Bachelor franchise. In August, multiple sources, including ET and Bachelor blogger Reality Steve, reported that Tayshia Adams was called in as the new Bachelorette just two weeks into filming, after Clare had fallen in love with one contestant and decided that she didn't want to lead on the other men.
Speaking after her premiere, Clare wouldn't confirm the rumors just yet, but she did say that she was "very happy." However, host Chris Harrison has hinted at the switch, telling ET in separate interview that Tayshia was "not not the Bachelorette."