‘The Bachelor’ Fans Are ‘Baffled’ and ‘Confused’ Over Matt James as the New Lead

On June 12, 2020, The Bachelor made a surprise announcement that season 25 will feature Matt James as the new lead. The statement was made after ABC came under fire for only having one Black lead on the show in 40 seasons. Fans can’t help but be “confused” and “baffled” over the decision. 

'The Bachelor' Matt James and Tyler Cameron
‘The Bachelor’ Matt James and Tyler Cameron | Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

How did ‘The Bachelor’ franchise choose Matt James as the new lead?

Although James was not on a Bachelor show yet, he was cast for The Bachelorette Season 13 with Clare Crawley. Her round of dating did not get off the ground yet because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown. 

The Black real estate broker began picking up a huge Instagram following when he was quarantined with Tyler Cameron and Hannah Brown from The Bachelorette Season 12. Fans of Brown and Cameron love to watch the TikTok videos and social media posts of the three with their friends.

RELATED: ‘The Quarantine Crew’: A Run-Down of Everyone That Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron are With During the Coronavirus Pandemic

However, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said they did not choose James because of his recent fame with Cameron and Brown.

“Matt has been on our radar since February when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation as part of Clare’s season,” Burke said in a statement. When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor.

Why are fans ‘baffled’ and ‘confused’ that Matt James is ‘The Bachelor?’

Bachelor Nation was stunned when they heard the announcement — for various reasons. First, the Bachelor is typically chosen from the pool of contestants in previous years. 

“I’m excited? Confused? Baffled? What’s happening?” one Reddit user wrote. 

The new lead has often been one of the eligible men from The Bachelorette season prior. James has never been on any of the Bachelor franchise shows. So, the audience does not know who he is unless they follow Cameron and Brown on social media.

RELATED: ‘The Bachelor’ Fans Are Obsessed with Matt James; He Hasn’t Even Been On the Show Yet

“Mike [Johnson] makes WAY more sense than someone who hasn’t been on the show,” another fan added.

The Bachelor franchise first met Johnson on The Bachelorette Season 15 featuring Hannah Brown. The model made it to week seven, but was sent home by Brown. She said she did not see a future with him. He also went on Bachelor In Paradise Season 6 — many fans were confident he would be the first Black Bachelor. However, Peter Weber was picked instead.

‘The Bachelor’ fans are shocked Matt James was picked over Mike Johnson

“I really wanted Mike, and I feel kind of sad for him and the other black contestants who lost their shot,” another Redditor wrote. “It’s kind of like they just went with Matt because of his connection to Tyler.”

RELATED: Rachel Lindsay Finally Reveals Why Mike Johnson Wasn’t Chosen as ‘The Bachelor’ — Fans Don’t Buy It

The decision to choose someone outside the franchise has not happened in 29 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. The last time the producers chose someone, not from previous shows, was The Bachelor Season 12 with Matt Grant.

“But on the other hand, it’s kind of good to start with someone outside the franchise again,” continued the fan. “I’m really happy for Matt, and I am really happy they picked a BPOC [Bachelor Person of Color] to be our lead.”