The Bachelor franchise has had its fair share of memorable breakups, but Zach J. being sent home by Chris Harrison instead of Clare might be one of the franchise's most surprising — and uncomfortable. Though his one-on-one spa date with Clare started out well enough, things took a turn in the pool when Clare leaned in to kiss Zach before suddenly stopping. In the confusion, he grabbed Clare by the arm and the waist to pretty forcibly pull her back into a kiss.
The whole moment was incredibly awkward to watch, and especially difficult for Clare, who admitted that she felt triggered by his behavior and didn't want to go to the dinner portion of their date. As a result, Zach was joined for his candlelight dinner by Chris Harrison rather than the Bachelorette. "I know I'm not who you were hoping to see," Harrison explained. "Clare isn't coming to dinner," and "unfortunately, this means that I will have to send you home."
Thats right: for the first time in Bachelorette history, Harrison eliminated a contestant instead of the lead. Naturally, fans were freaking out about this the turn of events:
Over the course of The Bachelore/ette's 18-year history, Harrison has only asked one other contestant to leave, though it was under very different circumstances. During Jake Pavelka's Bachelor season in 2010, he sent contestant Rozlyn Papa home after he and other higher-ups learned that she had allegedly engaged in a "physical relationship" with one of the show's producers. (She denied the accusations in the press and during the Women Tell All special.) "This is something we've never had to deal with in the history of the show," Harrison said during the "awkward" conversation where he sent her home. "The bottom line is this: because of what happened, we feel it is impossible for you to continue on with this show ... and you need to leave tonight."
As shocking as it is to see Harrison break up with a contestant on Clare's behalf, nothing about this season of The Bachelorette has been traditional. In the final moments of the Oct. 27 episode, the show confirmed that Tayshia Adams will replace Clare as the Bachelorette after she assumedly quits just a few weeks into filming. The hairstylist has been smitten with football player-turned-model Dale Moss since the moment he stepped out of the limo, and it's rumored that she leaves the show to be with him.
"It’s unlike any other season for a number of reasons," Jojo Fletcher — who briefly filled in as host for Harrison in August — told Us Weekly about Clare's season. "Obviously, the circumstances, obviously there’s a shake-up. What that shake-up is and how it plays out and what actually goes down, I think people will be very excited to watch and see."