Hello, Mr. Bachelor! Zach Shallcross is the new leading man for season 27, which will premiere in 2023. The former Bachelorette contestant previously appeared on Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia’s joint season, but he’s now preparing to meet a roster of gorgeous women who will be vying for his heart.

The 25-year-old Anaheim Hills, California, native went home following his fantasy suite date with Rachel. After his elimination, fans started rallying around Zach — and it looks like they got their wish! During the Bachelorette season finale on Tuesday, September 20, Zach was officially announced as the next Bachelor by host Jesse Palmer.

Last season, former leading man Clayton Echard caused quite a stir after his drama-filled finale. Contestant Susie Evans self-eliminated after she found out he had been intimate with his other finalists, Gabby, 31, and Rachel, 26. After begging the two remaining ladies to continue the journey with him, the season 26 star quickly changed his mind and ended things with both of them to pursue things with Susie, 29. 

Although Susie and Clayton, 29, didn’t reconcile during the season, they rekindled their relationship off camera and are currently dating.

Are Bachelor’s Clayton Echard and Susie Evans Still Together? Find Out Where They Stand Today!
Courtesy of Clayton Echard/Instagram

The Missouri native admitted that the negativity he received from fans was hard to handle. “To me, I just wasn’t ready for the magnitude of criticism I was going to face,” he said during an appearance on Nick Viall’s “The Viall Files” podcast in February, noting that he’s now able to ignore rude commenters better. “It doesn’t matter at this point to me, because I’m happy with people I have in my life and that’s ultimately what’s pushing me forward.”

The former contestant from Michelle Young’s season said in July that he was “embarrassed and disgusted” while watching back his season, which he called a “train wreck.”

“Ultimately, I had to live with the fact that my narrative is what was shown. And that was hard because that’s not really who I am,” he explained to The Virginian-Pilot. “I don’t feel that what I was on the show is who I truthfully am, but I did those things. I became that person.”

Clayton is not the only former lead to slam the reality dating show. Season 25 star Matt James also claimed that he received a bad edit and the show cut important conversations he had with his contestants about race.

“When that didn’t come across on the show, it looked like I lacked substance, I lacked depth,” Matt, 30, who is currently dating his season’s winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, told the Los Angeles Times in June. “We had the opportunity to have the opportunity to have those tough conversations, but the show missed the mark.”