The hometown dates episode of “The Bachelorette” is coming Monday night, and we tend to think of this episode as much more than just one where the leading lady narrows down her field and meets families: It’s also a really wonderful vehicle in the search for the next Bachelor.
When you look back to before Jason Mesnick’s season, which is when it started to become routine for contestants to be alumni of the season before, the vast majority of the men chosen (and in turn, the women chosen for “The Bachelorette”) are people who make it to hometown dates. Juan Pablo Galavis and Ben Higgins are the exceptions to the rule, and with Ben he technically made it far enough to get to that point. The only reason it didn’t happen was because a change in the structure of his season.
Ultimately, ABC is not in the business of taking risks. They want a leading man who they know viewers will like and want to watch. This is why so many of their leads are so similar among the guys, and by the time they make it to hometown dates, there are assurances that viewers like them and want to keep watching them.
We’ve said before that Luke Pell and Chase McNary are the clear Bachelor frontrunners from JoJo Fletcher’s season, and based on the material that is out there already for Monday’s episode, we’re more confident than ever they are getting some distance from the field. After all, for Robby Hayes he’s getting in some hot water about some girlfriend rumors, and we don’t think ABC likes to hire as a lead someone with even the slightest bit of controversy in this way. Meanwhile, Jordan Rodgers is the favorite to win this show, and even if he wasn’t we get the sense that his new SEC gig is going to make it hard to film anything else this fall.
As of right now, our metaphorical money is leading towards Luke at the moment — but who do you think? Whose hometown date could be more essential to getting the call from ABC to be the Bachelor? Vote below, and head over here to preview Monday’s episode!
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