ABC has selected the star of “The Bachelor” Season 22, and it’s definitely a curveball.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be the next lead of the dating franchise, making him a surprise pick. The “Bachelorette” Season 8 runner-up appeared on “Good Morning America” Thursday to discuss his decision.
“This just fit perfect — the timing of this really fit for me,” he told Michael Strahan. “I was a little skeptical, just because we’d been in talks for a few years about doing it, and so I just kind of went in with an open mind, open heart.”
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Luyendyk Jr. reflected the surprising nature of the pick by tweeting a photo of himself holding a rose, along with the message, “And now it all feels very real!”
Instead of someone from Rachel Lindsay’s most recent season of “The Bachelorette,” the romance series has opted for the race car driver who lost out to Jef Holm for Emily Maynard’s final rose back in 2012.
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Among the guys who were seen as potential frontrunners for the role of the new Bachelor were Peter Kraus, Lindsay’s Season 13 runner-up; Wells Adams, “Bachelorette” Season 12 standout and bartender on “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 4; Ben Higgins, the Season 20 Bachelor who recently split from fiancée Lauren Bushnell; and Ben Zorn, “Bachelorette” Season 11 hunk and “Paradise” Season 4 lonelyheart.
Luyendyk Jr. dated Bachelor Nation’s Courtney Robertson after parting ways with Maynard. He previously stated that he was in talks to be the Bachelor for Season 19 until producers had a change of heart and went with Chris Soules at the last minute.
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This is the second “Bachelor” season in a row in which the lead guy was not from the most recent “Bachelorette” run, as is typically the pattern. Season 21 “Bachelor” star Nick Viall was the runner-up on Seasons 10 and 11, rather than hailing from JoJo Fletcher’s Season 12.