clayton echard bachelor
Clayton Echard/Instagram

‘The Bachelor’ Has Found Its New Leading Man For Season 26

ABC revealed its 'Bachelor' Season 26 lead following last night's 'Bachelorette' episode. Get all the details right here!
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The Bachelor franchise has found its next eligible suitor.

Clayton Echard was sent home on last week’s episode of The Bachelorette, but he’s not going to be away from the franchise for too long.

Though he wasn’t the right man for current Bachelorette Michelle Young, he’ll have another shot at finding love when Season 26 of The Bachelor premieres next year.

Announcement Was Made Following This Week’s ‘Bachelorette’ Episode

Clayton was revealed to be the next Bachelor following Michelle’s Hometown Dates episode, which aired on Tuesday, November 30.

“I’m just a Midwest guy from Missouri that just wants to find love. And I believe more than anything that my future wife is here,” Clayton says in the clip. 

He “Did Find Love”

Though he was announced as the Bachelor just this week, Clayton’s season has actually already finished filming!

And, while appearing on Good Morning America on Wednesday, December 1, the 28-year-old even revealed he’s already in love!

“I did find love. I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey, but I’m so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than I thought,” he explained.

“Again, I’m just so excited to watch it back and have everyone else watch it as well.”

Was One of Michelle’s Top 5 Guys

Though Clayton began Season 18 of The Bachelorette as one of the top contenders, his connection with Michelle just wasn’t enough to get him into the top four.

In fact, despite checking all of Michelle’s boxes, she knew her heart wasn’t in it. 

“You’ve continued to show me how much you want to be the best for your future family. You completely checked every single box of all the qualities I’m looking for in somebody,” Michelle said before sending him home.

Michelle Clayton Bachelorette

“But I know that giving out this rose means I’m ready to meet your family and I don’t feel that I’m able to get there with you in time. And this is incredibly difficult for me because not being able to give you this rose doesn’t mean that you’re not enough. It’s, for me, about following my heart.”

Make sure to tune in when Season 26 of The Bachelor premieres on Monday, January 3 with new host Jesse Palmer.