In Defense of "Boring Bachelor" Zach Shallcross

While many Bachelor Nation fans were less than impressed when ABC announced Zach Shallcross should be season 27's Bachelor, we are loving his no-drama approach to handing out roses.

By Tierney Bricker Feb 26, 2023 1:00 PMTags

Even Zach Shallcross was surprised when ABC announced that he would be the next Bachelor

"I thought they f-cked up," Zach joked of his casting on the Feb. 16 episode of the Click Bait with Bachelor Nation podcast. "'Why me?' is immediately where my mind went to. I thought it was a typo or something in the email. It was pure shock."

The 26-year-old tech executive, who was a contestant on Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey's season of The Bachelorette, joins an ever-growing list of men—including Clayton Echard, Colton Underwood and Arie Luyendyk Jr.—whose coronation as the lead was less than well received by Bachelor Nation. And when it came to Zach, there was one buzzword that seemed to be repeated amongst annoyed fans: boring. And guess what? He kind of is...and he's also okay with it, warning viewers who love the dramatic antics that he might not be the guy for them. 

"If you are a fan of actual people falling in love and romance, then I think they're going to be really happy," he told Glamour. "But if you're into the drama and the bullshit, then sorry, you might not want to watch this season then, to be honest."

Bachelor Nation Hookups That Happened Off the Show

And it's been clear since the Jan. 23 premiere that Zach is here for—you guessed it—the right reasons, even if that doesn't necessarily make him a great reality TV star.

When it comes to a good Bachelor season, there's usually one key factor: The lead is the least interesting person on it, more often serving as an anchor while his potential brides outshine him. This season, it seems producers are attempting to return to the old-school era of the franchise, which focuses on the love stories, not capturing in-house arguments over shrimp or their lead hopping over a fence to be used endlessly in show promos.

"I've been saying this is the most emotional season I've hosted and that's what encapsulates it," host Jesse Palmer told E! News. "There is drama, but it's not created. It's all the real feelings that transpire throughout this journey."

While we have heard, understand and agree with the criticism the show has received for the lack of diversity among its recent Bachelor picks—Rodney Mathews was right there, you guys!—we don't think that should used as a reason to not root for Zach. Because we have a confession to make: We really are liking Zach as the Bachelor and we're not going to hide it anymore. 

He's Self-Aware

If there was any doubt that Bachelor Zach Shallcross has been able to read the, uh, feed when it comes to the social media response to his casting, may we present to you his Jan. 30 Instagram post, in which he wrote that he had BBE: Boring Bachelor Energy. 

In an interview with the Clickbait podcast, Zach acknowledged, "You never like to be told you're boring," but said, "then you look on the bright side and realize I could be called the a--hole Bachelor. That would be worse."

Zach also seems to understand and explore his emotions, which was fully on display when he worked through how he was feeling about Christina Mandrell's revelaion that she had a 5-year-old daughter in episode two. 

Rather than immediately insist he was all in on potentially playing stepdad, he admitted in a confessional, I don't know how to react to this. I'm scared of it, and I think sometimes you have to be selfish."

He Has No Time for Drama

How refreshing is it to see Zach constantly trust his instincts and just (gasp!) send a woman home when he wants to, not waiting for a producer to possibly convince him to keep a great-for-TV contestant around for a few more weeks of content?

Our jaws hit the floor when he didn't give a rose to single mother Christina Mandrell—born to be left on an island during a two-on-one date—in week three. We legitmately guffawed when he literally told Brianna he had no interest in hearing the name of the person she was having issues with in the house, so long as their issues were already resolved. We applauded (okay, we tapped the side of our wine glass) when he immediately spoke to Anastasia after she was accused of being on the show to gain social media followers. 

Zach is sharply decisive, often in ways that a lead isn't allowed (or sometimes doesn't allow themselves) to be, and we can't help but respect his zero-tolerance policy when it comes to B.S. Just look at this response he gave to Greer—hilariously via Zoom after he had COVID-19 and was forced to do a virtual cocktail party—when she compared his situation to the time she almost missed her sales goal at work due to coronavirus. 

"I think it's completely different, at least in my perspective, me being frustrated in finding my future wife, versus… the close of the quarter," he said. "In a few short weeks, I could be standing in front of my person, and that means a lot more to me than the end of a sales quarter."

In his interview with Rolling Stone, Zach explained how he was more than okay with being called boring based on the decisions he's making on theshow. 

"If you're into the unnecessary drama and stuff that's just like ridiculous and doesn't make sense," he said, "then yeah, maybe I'm not the guy for you."

He Actually Connects

Yes, it is 2023 and we still have to commend a man for actively listening to women. But as any single person navigating the modern era of dating will tell you, the bar is so low it's in a bunker below a basement.

Rather than use the same PR-approved statement of "Thank you for sharing that with me," Zach takes the time to respond rather than react when the women share their personal stories during their one-on-one time with him. 

"I don't want you to have that fear," he told Kathyrn in episode four when she admitted her concerns over feeling "unlovable" due to her complicated family dynamics. "I want to love my person for who they are, not for what they came from."

And when Brooklyn shared details of her previous physically and emotionally abusive relationship, an attentive Zach expressed his admiraiton for her strength. "You are so f--king tough," he said. "It makes me sick to my stomach that you had to go through something like that."

He's Done the Work on Himself

During his first one-on-one date with Rachel Recchia during The Bachelorette, Zach opened up about his mental health journey and how he "wasn't okay" after a recent breakup. 

"About a couple [of] years ago, I was about 85 pounds more than I am now. I was severely overweight," Zach explained. "So, I needed to make sure that I myself became whole, and figured out what is the problem, how do I fix it? And then, once I'm whole, I want to share that love with someone when I'm there for them and not make those mistakes."

"I realized that I was not happy, and I didn't have anything that resembled love for myself," he continued. "So when I was trying to seek that in others, I couldn't find it, even if it was maybe right in my face, I couldn't do it."

When Rachel asked what steps he took to improve his mental health, Zach shared, "The main thing that really helped me in all this, and I'm a huge proponent of it, therapy." We love to hear it!

He Really Is Mr. Right Reasons

Maybe we're naive but we actually believe Zach is genuine in his desire to find his—say it with us now—best friend? The producers also seem to be as charmed as we are, having Sean Lowe, arguably the most beloved male lead of all-time, show up on several occasions as Zach's Bach spirit guide. And we love one of the first questions Zach asked his mentor: "How did you come into it, being comfortable as much as you could, but also showing the world Sean?"

Even Sean couldn't help but comment on how "genuine" Zach is, which is the exact word that comes to our minds when we think of him. He wears his emotions on his face—you can always tell how he is feeling even if he isn't saying anything—but is thoughtful about how he speaks with the woman and in his decisions about who sends home. 

He's Nerdy

"I've got the worst dad jokes in the world," Zach told Elle before the season began airing. "I think I'm funny, but I'm really not. And it's just goofing around and having fun this whole season."

And viewers have gotten to see Zach's sillier side, cheesy jokes and self-deprecating nature included. We got a taste of Zach the Snack's level of self-snark when a producer asked him if he was a good dancer in episode two. "Nope!" he happily responded, later comparing himself to a Sims character while dancing.

Zach has found that sweet spot of taking the process seriously while still being able to make fun of himself.


He's Tall

C'mon, did you really think we'd make this list without mentioning that Zach is 6-foot-freaking-4? Oh, you did? That's so sweet.

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.