The Bachelor: The One Reason Matt James' Season Is So Different

There's a tradition for everything. For Bachelor Nation, the formula is that whoever got their heart broke on the previous season of The Bachelorette or The Bachelor becomes the next lead. It's worth noting that the lead role doesn't necessarily go to "second" place — as Bustle noted, the coveted position can go to the third or fourth runner-up. 

Sometimes the lead is chosen by popular opinion, sometimes not. Honestly, sometimes the process can be a total crapshoot. Just look back to Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor. The final two ladies, Hannah Ann Sluss and Madison Prewett, did not end up in a relationship with Peter, but they also didn't land the upcoming role as the Bachelorette. That spot went to Clare Crawley. According to Refinery29, producers went out of order because fans were asking for an older lead, someone who might bring a little more maturity to the season (no offense, kids!) 

But the common denominator in all of these cases, no matter how irregular, is that every lead was previously on a season. They're immersed in Bachelor Nation. They know the lingo and what it's like to canoodle with a camera around. With all of that in mind, let's take a look at why Matt James leading The Bachelor is quite groundbreaking.

Matt James is a stranger to The Bachelor world

Why is Matt James' season on The Bachelor so unprecedented? It's because he was never on a prior season. Technically, he was going to be on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, but "producers liked him so much that they pulled him from the cast and offered him his own season and shot at finding love on his own terms," according to Distractify.

Chris Harrison spoke with Us Weekly in November 2020 about how James' lack of experience on the show changed things, but in a charming way. "There are some wonderful things to the naïveté and innocence to just coming in," Harrison said.

"But then there are little things that we had to really stop, and you know, [it's] night one and he doesn't know what to do," Harrison added. "Because he never came up to the mansion before, he never went to a rose ceremony. He doesn't even know how to get a rose or give a rose. So he doesn't know the vernacular, he doesn't know what I'm going to do. We really had to walk him through and teach him; it was Bachelor 101. And it was trial by fire." That must have been intense for James! But we have a hunch he did just fine.