Always a contestant, never a lead.

While hundreds of men have appeared as contestants in the Bachelor franchise since it began in 2002, only 22 men have served as the star of The Bachelor, with one man even handing out roses twice. (What's up, Brad Womack?)

Beginning with businessman Alex Michel in its inaugural season, ABC picked eligible normal men to be their lead, sometimes choosing a more high-profile name like NFL player Jesse Palmer or actor Charlie O'Connell or Firestone Tire heir Andrew Firestone

But midway through The Bachelor's 23-season run, the show realized its viewers were way more invested when they knew the lead from the previous season, especially when they chose single dad Jason Mesnick as their new Bachelor in season 13.

Since his season aired, every Bachelor has been a previous contestant, and since it started in 2003, each of the 15 Bachelorettes have also been a former suitor looking for her own love story;  there's  already a built-in story and emotional investment in these leads, as viewers recently watched them have their heart broken by the previous lead in a vicious-yet-compelling cycle. 

Peter Kraus, The Bachelorette

George Burns/ABC

That means that from the moment the first contestant steps out of the limo on night one, Bachelor Nation is already scouting their next Bachelor or Bachelorette, with Bachelor in Paradise also playing a major factor in the decision-making process since its debut in 2014 as two men have gone on to become the Bachelor after their trip to Mexico.

Seeing as how quickly things can change in the Bachelor world, several men are often courted to be the next Bachelor, with many even signing contracts only to never be named the franchise's next leading man in the end.

Over the years, several almost-Bachelors have talked about the process and ultimately losing out on the gig. For some, it actually helped their love lives. For others, it lead to some f--kboy drama in Paradise...

Peter Kraus, The Bachelorette

George Burns/ABC

Kaitlyn Bristowe, Jason Tartick

ABC/Matt Petit

Blake Horstmann, Jingle Ball 2018

Paul Herbert for iHeartRadio

Chase McNary, Ex on the Beach

MTV

Luke Pell, 2017 CMT Music Awards

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For CMT

Ryan Lochte, Hakkasan Las Vegas

Joe Janet/Hakkasan Group

Peyton Lambton, Chris Lambton

Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images

Jay Overbye, The Bachelor 2004

Bob D'Amico/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Tim Tebow, Pre-Super Bowl 50 Party

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for DirecTV

The next Bachelor will be announced later this summer, with season 24 premiering in early 2020. 

Don't miss E! News every Tuesday to Saturday at 6pm.

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