After weeks of struggling to choose the next show’s leading man, Bachelor producers have finally named Arie Luyendyk Jr. the new season 22 star!
“This is pretty surreal,” he told PEOPLE. “It doesn’t really feel real yet, but I’m taking it step by step. The timing is just so perfect in my life. I could not be more excited for this journey I’m about to embark on.”
As Radar readers know, Peter Kraus was the fan’s number one choice, yet after failing to propose to Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, producers were skeptical.
“Unfortunately, Peter probably will not be #TheBachelor” show creator Mick Fleiss tweeted on Wednesday.
Eric Bigger and Wells Adams were reportedly also in the running but failed to meet the producer’s standards.
Speaking of being the next man to embark on his quest for true love, Luyendyk Jr. said: “I’m not nervous. Now that I’ve had some time and distance away from it, it feels like the feeling I had before I went into it the first time. I think sometimes when you’re on The Bachelorette and you jump right into being the Bachelor, for me it would’ve been too soon. This feels more natural. I’m not concerned what people think. I’m just focused on the outcome. I want to find my person and will do whatever it takes!”
After making the decision to eliminate Kraus from the running, producers reportedly went in “full-blown panic mode,” until they found Luyendyk Jr. Even choosing him, however, was a struggle, as they worried about the fact that he hadn’t been on TV in two years.
They “were getting nervous,” said an insider.
Said Luyendyk Jr., “I just want to find that spark with somebody. I want to someone to share my life with. I feel like it’s my time. I’m going into this with an open heart.”
Assuring that he is the right choice, former Bachelorette Emily Maynard said: “Not only is Arie a gorgeous man, but he has a heart of gold and he’s a great kisser! Does it get any better than that.”
What do you think about The Bachelor’s new leading man? Are you disappointed it’s not Peter? Let us know in the comments below.
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