No matter the season, there's always a lot of theorizing that goes into The Bachelor. From trying to figure out who's going to win the competition to deciphering which contestants are ~there for the right reason,~ it's a nonstop guessing game until the final credits roll. And while Season 25 in itself is a little out of the ordinary, the newest speculation is downright fascinating. Basically, some fans have a theory The Bachelor edited a contestant out of Matt's Season. So, did producers give a cast member the virtual boot? Things are looking a little sus to some.
The theory itself came to light on Jan. 29, when Redditor HashtagVictory first posted to the r/thebachelor subreddit. Basically, they think a phantom contestant had been edited out of Matt's season. And the reason is all thanks to the wedding photo/capture the flag group date during Week 2.
The date, which was "the largest group date in Bachelor history" was supposed to be comprised of 18 women, but as HashtagVictory points out, only 17 names were announced during the date. Additionally, if only 17 women went on the date, why didn't the contestants complain about an unfair advantage of having uneven teams during the game? Seems like easy drama.
Granted, it wasn't just the Week 2 group date that caused some head-scratching, but the Week 4 group date as well. As the theorist points out: "We did not see a second of the first group date until the evening portion." While the Bachelor Nation fan noted Matt could have opted out of the day portion because he was upset over Sarah's self-eliminated in Week 3, others thought it's because the "canceled contestant" was too hard to edit around.
Unfortunately for conspiracy lovers, it looks like there's a simple answer to all of it. First, rumors have been swirling that the day portion of the group date was hosted by Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan, who broke up at the end of 2020. The couple posted about the resort at the end of August, which is right around when Matt's season was filming. It would make sense for producers to get rid of Kelley and Peter scenes because uh, they're not exactly a success story anymore.
Another idea, as Redditor Normal-Statistician7 pointed out, was that producers "probably didn’t show the most recent date simply because they didn’t have the time ... the date probably wasn’t interesting enough to air because this season has so much drama to edit into the episodes."
There's also an easy explanation for the Week 2 date discrepancy. If you go back and watch the epsiode, Khaylah was on that capture the flag date, but her name was not read out — so, it seems like she's the missing 19th woman. While Khaylah was eliminated during the Week 4 rose ceremony, it doesn't really look like her time on the show was concealed for any reason. Most likely, it was just a matter of the editors trimming down the footage to ensure Queen Victoria and her drama had plenty of airtime.
So, case seemingly closed.
Season 25 of The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.