Whether you’ll be watching Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor out of excitement or spite, you can at least expect it to end happily. Though the Season 26 lead didn’t explicitly reveal whether or not he got engaged, he confirmed during a December appearance on Good Morning America that he left the show in a relationship.
“I did find love,” the 28-year-old Missouri native told host Lara Spencer. “I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey, but I’m so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than I thought. Again, I’m just so excited to watch it back and have everyone else watch it as well.”
There may also be some hints to be gleaned from the “checklist” Clayton made before filming the ABC reality series. Among the attributes he’d hoped to find in a potential fiancée were a sense of humor, intelligence, and drive. “Well, what I found was very quickly the women blew my expectations out of the water,” he added on GMA. “They brought all of that and so much more, so the expectations continued to rise, and I realized that, ultimately, I was going to find everything that I wanted and so much more.”
ABC has since announced Clayton’s Bachelor contestants, including women who hail from all over the country (one is even from Berlin, Germany) and have jobs ranging from spray tanner and a Bar Mitzvah dancer to a former Olympian and an architectural historian. Though there are 30 women in all, eagle-eyed fans think ABC might have already accidentally revealed Clayton’s finalists in the Season 26 trailer.
In one scene, Clayton confesses to two women — one blonde, one brunette — that he was intimate with both of them. Voiceovers seem to indicate that these women are among Clayton’s final three contestants. According to Reality Steve, the women in question are Sarah Hamrick and Rachel Recchia, but other fans noted that the splicing of scenes looked like an editing trick to throw fans off. After all, even Reality Steve has yet to figure out Clayton’s winner.
Despite a relatively low success rate for Bachelor Nation couples, Clayton said he went into the show with a positive attitude. “I try not to compare myself to others. I’m my own person and with that I’m unique and my journey is unique and just because, maybe, it doesn’t work out with these six other couples,” he recently explained to E! News. “I’m not going to let it impact me and say, ‘Well, I’m doomed; it’s not going to work for me.’ I’m obviously aware of it. I’ve seen the success rate of the people that end up with their person long-term. But again, I am who I am and I believe I can make it work.”