Well that was not who we expected!
ABC has finally named the next star of the Bachelor franchise, and it was a bit of a surprise. Instead of choosing one of the men who competed on Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette, producers went back in time to Emily Maynard's season and chose...Arie Luyendyk Jr.?! Talk about a blast from the blast!
After coming in second on Emily's season, with Jef Holm eventually proposing to the Bachelorette, Arie was in the running to become the Bachelor in season 19, but lost out to Chris Soules, and was considered for the job in season 17,with Sean Lowe eventually being chosen.
But now, over five years later, Arie is finally handing out the roses, in a bold casting move from ABC that no one saw coming.
Arie appeared on Good Morning America on Thursday to help make the shocking announcement.
Luyendyk was "at home" when he got the call. "It was pretty recent," he told Michael Strahan. "We've kept in touch over the years. This just fit really perfect. The timing of this just really fit."
"I was a little skeptical because we'd been in talks for a few years about doing it, so I just kind of went into it with an open heart, an open mind," he added. "It just hit me that yeah, I'm here."
Not even Luyendyk's family and friends had any idea that he was going to be the next Bachelor. "This has been such a quick turn of events," he said, adding, "Now they know along with you guys!"
Luyendyk is looking for a partner who is "independent, strong but then still gentle."
"Are you still the kissing bandit?" Strahan asked, referring to his nickname from Season 8.
"With the right woman," Luyendyk teased.
With many of his friends getting married—in addition to his 24-year-old brother—the reality star is ready to settle down. "I feel like I'm the last of my friends to take this step," he admitted.
Arie is a professional race car driver, who is the son of Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. At 35, he's one of the oldest men to hold the title of Bachelor, and he even joked about his age in early August when a fan asked if he could come back as the next Bachelor on Twitter. "Have they ever had a Bachelor with grey hair?" he responded.
Aside from Emily, Arie has also dated Courtney Robertson (Ben Flajnik's winner) and Selma Alameri (a contestant on Sean's season) from the franchise.
Ray Tamarra/GC Images
The road to this announcement was quite a rough one, with many men rumored to be the new star, including Wells Adams, Dean Unglert, and the man we all thought was the frontrunner, Peter Kraus. Creator Mike Fleiss shot all those names down over the past few days.
Kraus was Rachel's runner up, but he and Rachel parted in tears after he couldn't commit to proposing to her if she chose him, which might have contributed to him not ending up with the gig. As Fleiss tweeted, "Don't we all agree on one thing—that we want #TheBachelor to be a man that's serious about finding his soul mate/wife?"
Hopefully, Arie is as serious as can be.
The Bachelor premieres in January on ABC.