Bachelor's Emmanuel Acho Teases Matt and Rachael's "Incredible Connection" Ahead of Finale

Prior to hosting the upcoming The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, Emmanuel Acho told Stephen Colbert on March 10 that Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell "have an incredible connection."

By Ryan Gajewski Mar 11, 2021 7:03 AMTags

Emmanuel Acho, who is stepping in to host next week's The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, is sharing his thoughts on Matt James' much-debated journey with Rachael Kirkconnell.

The author, who is filling in for Chris Harrison to lead the post-finale reunion show, visited The Late Show on Wednesday, March 10, where host Stephen Colbert asked if Emmanuel himself would connect more with either Rachael or Michelle Young, the final two remaining contestants. As fans know, Rachael has faced criticism stemming from resurfaced photos of her attending a fraternity party.

"Rachael is currently dealing with all of this racially tense controversy," Emmanuel explained. "So that would kind of, obviously, skew my decision as a Black man, if I already knew about said controversy. But I think what's so interesting is watching both of the love connections play out."

He continued, "I think Matt and Rachael have an incredible connection, just affection. Matt admitted he was falling for Rachael first. And Michelle and Matt, they really vibe, and we saw it and continue to see it over the course of the season. I can't speak for Matt. But I'm excited to watch it play out." 

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Last month, Chris announced he was temporarily "stepping aside" from the franchise after defending Rachael's past behavior during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's first-ever Black lead. The controversy centers on viral photos of Rachael attending a fraternity event in 2018, which a Redditor described as an "Antebellum plantation themed ball."

ABC/Craig Sjodin

The contestant released a statement on Feb. 11 to apologize for her actions, while Matt deemed the photos "incredibly disappointing" in his own statement on Feb. 22.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM; MediaPunch/Shutterstock

During a March 10 appearance on Good Morning America, Emmanuel was asked whether he believed Chris should return to host the show. Chris recently stated during his own GMA appearance last week that he plans on resuming his role

"Is it in the best interest of Chris Harrison?" Emmanuel replied. "Is it in the best interest of the show for them to continue to mutually move forward? This is the most uncomfortable conversation in the history of the Bachelor franchise because it's not just about relationships, but now it's about race."

The Bachelor finale airs Monday, March 15 on ABC.