‘The Bachelor’ Matt James Had To Face Obstacles No Other Lead Has Before; ‘It Was Trial by Fire’

The Bachelorette only has around five more episodes left before Tayshia Adams’ season is over. And there’s really only a little over a month until Matt James’ season of The Bachelor starts. It seems a little closer together than normal since COVID-19 caused Clare Crawley’s season to start filming later in the summer. But, regardless, fans are getting both still and Matt James’s promo looks really enticing. He has a very different introduction into the Bachelor Nation world than other leads, of course, which made his start a bit rockier than others. 

Matt James new season of ‘The Bachelor’ premieres in January 

Matt James will be the lead on 'THE BACHELOR'
Matt James will be the lead on ‘THE BACHELOR’| ABC/Craig Sjodin

Again, Adams’ season is set to have its finale around Dec. 21 and James’s promos show his season premieres on Jan. 4. A great way to kick off the new year. And even though ABC is following similar precautions with James’s season because of COVID, still, the two seasons are going to look completely different. Which is already obvious as seen by the promos. 

Crawley and Adams’ season takes place in Palm Springs, CA in the desert at a sprawling resort. And James’s season was filmed at a massive resort in a wooded area of Pennsylvania according to Entertainment Tonight. Instead of a flat area, it looks like a mansion. 

And this season goes back to its regular format of just one lead with 30 contestants to start off with. There will be no falling love at first sight like Crawley did, or so it seems. But that doesn’t mean this upcoming The Bachelor season is anything normal. 

Since James had never been on the show, he had no idea how to participate in rose ceremonies and other things 


In an Us Weekly interview with Chris Harrison on Nov. 24, the host talked about new and odd this was for James. He’s such an unprecedented lead in that he’s never been on the show before. In the past, the lead has always been a contestant on the show in past seasons, but James has not. He has a connection by being alum Tyler Cameron’s friend, and he was cast in Crawley’s season. But he didn’t actually make it on the show before being cast in June. 

“There are some wonderful things to the naïveté and innocence to just coming in,” Harrison said. “But then there are little things that we had to really stop, and you know, [it’s] night one and he doesn’t know what to do.” 

There were things like the famous rose ceremony that James might have seen on TV but never filmed the behind the scenes of. He didn’t know the ins and outs of giving roses (having never received any either) and so it was all so new with such a massive learning curve.

“He doesn’t know the vernacular, he doesn’t know what I’m going to do,” Harrison continued. “We really had to walk him through and teach him; it was Bachelor 101. And it was trial by fire.”

But despite some “mess-ups” and “trip-ups” Harrison said that audiences might see some “endearing and cute” moments play out because of it. Depending on if the edits are kept in. 

“Because this guy was just genuinely going through this and would stop and go ‘Wait, what are we doing?’” Harrison said. “And so, there was some fun to it. But there were also some trials and tribulations and a few hurdles we had to overcome.”

It’s never ‘the wrong time’ to do the ‘right thing’ for James 


A Kiss in ‘The Bachelor’ Promo Has Fans Freaked out For Matt James’ Season

James is also the first Black Bachelor, which is a big move for the franchise. Rachel Lindsay was the first Black Bachelorette in 2017 and has been an outspoken advocate for more diversity within the show for some time now, getting fed up with the lack of accountability ABC has taken in the past. 

“I think [my casting is] a step in the right direction,” James told Good Morning America back in June when casting was announced. “When Rachel speaks, we listen. She has a very important voice in all this, being the first Black woman, person of color, to [be the] lead, so I think we’re all following suit in that conversation. Hopefully this is the first of many black men to be in the position I’m in now.”

Even though it’s taken almost 20 years to cast a Black man in the lead — or any man of color — James had a very “better late than never” attitude. 

“I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. ‘Too little too late’ for me is this happening, and we can’t have change until we put that first foot forward,” he said. “And that first foot forward for the ‘Bachelor’ franchise is having a black lead, so I’m excited to take on that role.”

James’s season of The Bachelor premieres on Jan. 4 on ABC.