Always a contestant, never a lead.

While it's not a sentiment most normal people can relate to, it's one a lot of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette alums know all too well, with only a rare few going on to become the franchise's next lead after they fail to find love on their season or on Bachelor in Paradise. 

But that doesn't mean they aren't seriously considered by the producers for the job...or even sign contracts before another person is ultimately chosen. And that's exactly what happened when it came time to pick The Bachelorette's season 16 lead, with Clare Crawley, the runner-up from Juan Pablo Galavis' 2014 season (and a two-time Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games star), being chosen over women from more recent seasons. 

Before Clare, 38, landed the role, producers met with at least six other women, according to our sources, with all of the contenders finding out the night before the decision was officially announced on Good Morning America if they had landed the gig or not. 

While some fans were surprised to see Clare announced as the new Bachelorette, a source revealed to E! News that she has actually been in the mix for some time, and had even been thought of for last season.

A second source explained, "They wanted someone who was older, more mature and had more life experience."

Clare Crawley

ABC/Paula Lobo

As for the other women producers met with, just one was one from Peter Weber's current season, which has been criticized by some fans because of the contestants' cattiness. And some viewers felt like they really didn't get to know any of the women that well due to the endless drama going on in the house. 

Clare, however, has consistently provided compelling moments throughout her four previous appearances within the franchise. 

"Clare is known to be very emotional and vulnerable and they know they are going to get a good season," a show insider explained.

Still, three other women reportedly signed contracts before Clare was picked, with one woman being revealed as their No. 2 choice had the hairdresser passed. 

Here are the six other women who were in the mix:

Hannah Brown

Walt Disney Television/Heidi Gutman

Tia Booth, Bachelor, Bachelorette

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Kelsey Weier

Benjamin Askinas/WME IMG via Getty Images

Tayshia Adams, Bachelor, Bachelorette

ABC/John Fleenor

Kendall Long, Bachelor, Bachelorette

ABC/Matt Petit

Katie Morton, Chris Bukowski, Bachelor In Paradise

ABC/John Fleenor

The Bachelor's two-night finale begins Monday, March 9, at 8 p.m. on ABC, while The Bachelorette will debut this spring.

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.