If all goes according to schedule, the next season of The Bachelor won’t air until January 2022, but over three months ahead of the premiere, we already have drama. According to Bachelor Nation’s resident spoiler blogger Reality Steve, one upcoming contestant was reportedly engaged to be married… less than a month ago. As in, she reportedly had a bachelorette party in August 2021 and was set to get married on Sept. 26. These days, it takes a lot for this franchise to surprise me, but this might be a Bachelor Nation first.
On Sept. 25, ABC published photos of 33 contestants who may appear on the upcoming Season 26. Among them was Salley Carson, a 26-year-old from Greenville, South Carolina. The same day, Reality Steve shared screenshots of Instagram posts and a Facebook profile reportedly linked to Carson. “Hearing a ton of stuff already about these women, but this one has me floored: Salley Carson was engaged & having her bachelorette party a month ago,” he tweeted. “She was set to be married TOMORROW but [the] wedding was called off a couple weeks ago.”
Another popular spoiler account, @bachelornation.scoop on Instagram, shared several unverified DMs about Carson. Two anonymous insiders “confirmed” that Carson’s rumored ex-fiancé, Avery Buchholz, was reportedly still legally married to someone else all along.
To be clear, there isn’t enough evidence to prove anything — Carson’s social media profiles are private, and the only public “proof” is a Crate & Barrel wedding registry in her name. The registry does imply someone named Salley Carson was set to marry someone named Avery Buchholz on Sept. 26, though, so do with that information what you will.
ABC hasn’t officially announced the next Bachelor lead, but creator and producer Mike Fleiss teased the decision on Sept. 15. “Your new #TheBachelor is a great guy from Michelle’s season of #TheBachelorette. Can’t wait for you to meet him!” he wrote. An hour later, he added, “His first name starts with the letter ‘C.’”
This narrows the Bachelor pool down to four guys, but sources including Us Weekly have revealed the pick is reportedly Eureka, Missouri native Clayton Echard. “Producers ended up going with him because they believed he was the best fit for the role,” an insider told Us Weekly in September 2021. “They wanted to switch things up and go with someone new and someone who hasn’t been in the spotlight yet.”
Echard also seemed to confirm his new role in a video shared by St. Louis’ Fox channel on Sept. 16: He told a cheering crowd he was “excited” but “also a little nervous” to find his “person.” Whether or not the rumor about Carson is true, for Echard’s sake, let’s just hope his contestants are here for the right reasons.