Was This the Worst ‘Bachelor’ Season Ever? Let’s Rank Them All and Find Out

ABC

The Bachelor franchise is one of the most reliable things in my life. Chris Harrison never ages, hot tubs make women forget that they have a family at home watching, and contestants on this show are 1,000 percent more likely to contract hoof-and-mouth disease than the normal population.

Still, I’m worried about the state of the franchise.

I did a highly unscientific poll of my family, friends, and random strangers on the bus, and they all agree: Juan Pablo’s season is the worst season in the history of The Bachelor. I couldn’t agree more.

The guy. The girls. The dates. The English. It’s all terrible.

But that got me thinking. How do the rest of the seasons stack up? I decided to evaluate all 18 of them based on five criteria: Bachelor Likability, Scandalousness, Contestant Craziness, Season Twists, and Relationship Longevity (because apparently we’re supposed to be rooting for these couples to last). After creating some metrics, I assigned values 0 through 5 for each category, and thus created the most comprehensive ranking of all 18 seasons of The Bachelor.

18. Juan Pablo Galavis (Season 18)

Never before have two contestants, let alone the two most self-aware contestants, peaced out on their Bachelor. (We are, of course, talking about Sharleen and Andi.) Never has a Bachelor made Chris Harrison consider assaulting someone on live television. Never has a Bachelor offended so many people by stating he doesn’t think there should be a gay iteration of the show. Never has a Bachelor so effectively destroyed a woman while simultaneously spawning a new branch of science known as Oceancoitusology. Never has a Bachelor had. So. Much. Trouble. Speaking above a really creepy whisper.

When he was a contestant on Desiree’s season, I just thought we never heard Juan Pablo speak because he never had any one-on-one time with the Bachelorette. Now I realize that we never heard him speak because it’s nearly impossible to get a decent sound bite out of him. Every conversation is the same and [ahem] lacking in depth. Just ask Andi, whose fireside chat with Juany Pabs in the Fantasy Suite was so mind-numbing that she hopped the first flight out of St. Lucia.

If there was any doubt about whether Andi overreacted, I think it’s safe to say that the final episode squashed it completely. Apparently when Juan Pablo does decide to speak, he’s a complete asshole. The nicest things his own family could say about him were that he’s “hyperactive,” “rude,” and “willing to walk away.” He found yet another way to demolish Clare by saying some unsavory sexual comments to her off-camera during their last date. Then Juan Pablo sassed Chris Harrison on the After the Final Rose episode, effectively losing the three people in America who still didn’t hate him. It was so bad, even Neil Lane didn’t make his usual appearance. If approval ratings were formulated by the number of people who texted me that they want to reach through their TV and punch Juan Pablo, his would be negative.

The producers struck out big time with this one. Juan Pablo’s desirability is as nonexistent as his job as a “sports consultant,” which apparently involves walking around Marlins Park and borrowing bats from Venezuelan players.

Then there are the girls. Sure, we’ve got Clare, but she’s just one of those girls you didn’t like in high school. She’s not a true pioneer like my girl Courtney Robertson, the Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes, and she doesn’t possess eyebrows that move independent of her body like Tierra Can’t Take My Sparkle. The craziest thing about Clare is that she avoided all contact with an ocean for 32 years. Not to mention she rose like a phoenix out of the After the Final Rose ashes thanks to a lot of newfound confidence, a few hair extensions, and probably a little bit of therapy.

Plus, every date this season is a manifestation of my worst nightmares. “We have this private plane, but instead of going somewhere like Las Vegas or Puerto Rico, let’s fly to Utah so we can don neon terry cloth and run three miles in the dark.” “Oh hey, I know what we should do. Let’s learn a choreographed dance routine and then get on stage with a K-Pop group we’ve probably never heard of, while thousands of South Korean teenagers stare at us and wonder, Who the hell are these dumb Americans?” “Or how about we go to dinner and stare at each other because of our language barrier.” “Better yet, let’s go in front of millions of people together so I can tell you I don’t love you and then argue with Chris Harrison about it for 40 minutes.”

Sharleen summed it up best: “I wish I were a little dumber.”

Well, girl, I’m a little dumber for having watched this season.

Bachelor Likability: 0/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 4/5
Contestant Craziness: 1/5
Season Twists: 0/5
Relationship Longevity: 0/5 (I’m going to go ahead and give him a zero here. Safe bet.)
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5/25 Total Points

17. Alex Michel (Season 1)

The producers scoured the country to locate the most eligible bachelor in America for the show’s inaugural go. What they found was a nerdy, utterly boring business dude in a season that was nearly unbearable to watch.

The girls all got along. Alex was dull. Nothing happened.

But congrats to Alex. He broke the heart of America’s Sweetheart Trista Sutter on national television and then went on to serve as a member of the “Department of Romance” for a cruise line, so really he came out on top.

#Winning

Bachelor Likability: 2/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 1/5
Contestant Craziness: 0/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 2/5
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6/25 Total Points

16. Andy Baldwin (Season 10)

This season was called The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman. Appropriately, Lieutenant Bachelor only wore two outfits the entire season: Navy uniform and no shirt.

This season was largely unmemorable. Basically, I was just left feeling inadequate that Baldwin was a triathlete, medical doctor, Naval officer, and philanthropist, while I was just a college student still trying to figure out the appropriate technique for shotgunning a beer.

In true Bachelor fashion, Baldwin and fiancée Tessa Horst called off their engagement after a few months, and Lieutenant Bachelor went back to doing Navy things.

Bachelor Likability: 4/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 0/5
Contestant Craziness: 2/5
Season Twists: 0/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
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7/25 Total Points

15. Travis Stork (Season 8)

Season 8 featured a good-looking doctor from Nashville, whom no one would remember if he weren’t on that Dr. Phil spinoff show that comes on during the middle of the day in which they try to convince you that you have typhoid fever.

All I really remember about this one is that it was set in Paris. I even did some extensive research (i.e., Googling, then more Googling), and it appears that all evidence of this season has been stripped from the Internet. I do know he ended up picking the schoolteacher who lived down the street from him, and these two were together for about four minutes before they broke up.

Bachelor Likability: 4/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 0/5
Contestant Craziness Factor: 1/5
Season Twists: 2/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
______
8/25 Total Points

14. Aaron Buerge (Season 2)

The second season of the show was definitely more exciting than the first. The girls fought with each other over the Colt McCoy look-alike, but it was clear early on who the winner was going to be.

Still, all was not well in Bachelor paradise. Aaron dumped fiancée Helene Eksterowicz at a Starbucks in New Jersey a few weeks later because that’s where artificial love made for TV true love goes to die.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 1/5
Contestant Craziness: 3/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
______
9/25 Total Points

13. Brad Womack (Season 15)

ABC decided to give Most Hated Man in America Brad Womack a second chance at love. What we got to watch at home was Womack wax repeatedly about how he was a “changed man.” It was like watching 10 weeks of televised therapy.

This season is remembered for two things:

1. It brought Emily Maynard into our lives.

2. We got to see Womack nearly embalmed alive by a contestant on national television.

Bachelor Likability: 2/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 3/5
Contestant Craziness: 1/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 2/5
______
9/25 Total Points

12. Andrew Firestone (Season 3)

ABC’s third Bachelor was arguably their most eligible. Andrew Firestone, heir to a tire fortune of the same name, was nice, attractive, and owned a winery. What more could you want, America?

Firestone spent approximately 98.4 percent of his season in the hot tub, and looked good doing it. He gets points for that.

Bachelor Likability: 5/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 1/5
Contestant Craziness Factor: 1/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 3/5
______
11/25 Total Points

11. Sean Lowe (Season 17)

He almost married the chick who came out of the limo on the first night in a wedding dress. Instead he picked the girl who nobody knew was on the show until Episode 6.

It does hold the distinction of most times the word “virgin” was said during one season of the Bachelor, though. That’s not nothing.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 0/5
Contestant Craziness: 3/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 5/5
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12/25 Total Points

10. Bob Guiney (Season 4)

Guiney was the likable, funny, nonthreatening (read: overweight) castoff from Trista’s season of The Bachelorette. Viewers loved him. I loved him.

He was normal, relatable, and didn’t look like his diet consisted solely of protein shakes and workout supplements. Speaking of which: How does every person who goes on this show look like they could double for a fitness model? I don’t trust people who are in such good shape.

Bob holds the distinction of having slept with the most women in a single season, which proves that the American Dream is still alive and well.

Bachelor Likability: 5/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 4/5
Contestant Craziness: 2/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
______
13/25 Total Points

9. Prince Lorenzo Borghese (Season 9)

Season 9 boasts the distinction of starring the only Bachelor who was a real-life prince, although no one really took the time to ask “The prince of what?”

Still, ABC took out all the stops for this real-life Cinderella story, starting with this unbelievable teaser that’s a cross between a spaghetti sauce commercial and a trailer for a Lifetime Original Movie starring Chris Kattan’s more attractive brother.

They moved production to Rome and stirred things up by adding two local Italian ladies to the mix of the 25 American women. Prince Lorenzo picked Jennifer Wilson, a teacher from South Florida, but they broke up soon after the show aired, and he immediately started dating runner-up Sadie Murray. Reality TV relationships are the best, aren’t they?

Without this season, we would have never met Bachelor Pad all-star Erica Rose, and my world, for one, is better with Erica Rose in it.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 3/5
Contestant Craziness: 3/5
Season Twists: 3/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
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13/25 Total Points

8. Charlie O’Connell (Season 7)

Nothing like choosing a guy who’s the younger brother of a D-list actor and has a drinking problem to be the face of your franchise.

They filmed the season in New York City, and the whole thing resembled more of a bar crawl than a season of The Bachelor. There were no limos, no gowns, and no traditional rose ceremony the first night. On the first group date, Charlie and the ladies did body shots. There was booze. SO MUCH BOOZE. They must have held casting outside a Carlos’n Charlies in Cancun.

This season caused my mom to stop watching the show for five years.

I loved it.

Bachelor Likability: 2/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 3/5
Contestant Craziness: 4/5
Season Twists: 1/5
Relationship Longevity: 4/5
______
14/25 Total Points

7. Ben Flajnik (Season 16)

If this list were ranking hairstyles, it ranks at the absolute bottom thanks to Bachelor Ben’s do, which looks like he smuggling beaver pelts out of Canada.

If this list were ranking the lovely-ish ladies vying for Mr. Flajnik’s heart, it ranks high thanks solely to Courtney Robertson, the Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes, and her propensity for late-night ocean romps. God love her.

If this list were ranking the probability that a contestant is, in fact, an undercover celebrity posing as an ordinary guy, it ranks “100 percent certain” until I see Ben in the same room at the same time as Rafa Nadal.

And if this list were ranking the most mind-blowingly improbable post-season story line, it ranks off the charts. The fact that Bachelor Ben could be Kim Kardashian’s future stepfather is a sure sign of the apocalypse.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 3/5
Contestant Craziness: 3/5
Season Twists: 2/5
Relationship Longevity: 3/5
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14/25 Total Points

6. Byron Velvick (Season 6)

This season actually started off with two guys, Byron Velvick and Jay Overbye, and the girls got to vote the first night on which guy they wanted to be the Bachelor. Velvick obviously won. The guy was a professional bass fisherman, after all. How could you not pick the dude who wears mesh, overly pocketed shirts every day?

The producers also brought in two Bachelor “all-stars,” who were contestants from a previous season. Shockingly, the other girls didn’t play nice with the newcomers, but who cares? One of the all-stars, Mary Delgado, won.

Velvick and Delgado lasted five years and one domestic abuse arrest before they finally split up.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 2/5
Contestant Craziness: 2/5
Season Twists: 4/5
Relationship Longevity: 4/5
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15/25 Total Points

5. Brad Womack (Season 11)

Unpopular opinion alert: I don’t hate Brad Womack, despite him being the Most Hated Man in America. Yes, he left both girls standing on the altar in their best Caché ball gowns lamenting the Neil Lane bauble they’ll never receive. It’s better, though, than putting on an engagement charade for a few weeks and breaking up after the finale airs.

Womack is a champion of romance and should be celebrated, not shunned. He’s basically the Benjamin Franklin of true love, with better abs.

Bachelor Likability: 2/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 5/5
Contestant Craziness: 4/5
Season Twists: 4/5
Relationship Longevity: 0/5
______
15/25 Total Points

4. Jake Pavelka (Season 14)

When he was announced as Season 14’\’s Bachelor, my initial thought was that I would rather be subjected to eight weeks of airline safety videos than two months of Jake Pavelka. Pavelka’s utterly boring and eternally cheesy personality coupled with ABC’s desire to ram the fact that he was a pilot down our throats was aptly personified by the season’s title: The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love.

Jake is fucking awful, and this should have been the worst season by far.

But what happened instead was something magical. What this Bachelor lacked in desirability, the show made up for in scandal and contestant craziness.

One of the contestants, Rozlyn Papa, was accused of having an affair with one of the show’s producers. Another one, Ali Fedotowsky, who later went on to be the Bachelorette, left after an ultimatum from her employer, Facebook. I’m shocked that a company wouldn’t allow its employee to gallivant around the world in hopes of made-for-TV love …

Jake ended up picking Vienna Girardi, who is the worst person to ever grace the Bachelor stage. Their relationship was short-lived and their breakup was all over the tabloids, so naturally ABC decided to air a couples’ therapy session mediated by Chris Harrison. It was the most excruciatingly captivating 30 minutes the show has ever produced. If only Celebrity Deathmatch were still on television.

Now in his post-Bachelor days, Jake prescribes to the Trishelle School of Reality TV Famewhoredome and has been making the rounds on VH1 and CW programming.

He’s still fucking awful.

Bachelor Likability: 0/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 5/5
Contestant Craziness: 5/5
Season Twists: 3/5
Relationship Longevity: 2/5
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15/25 Total Points

3. Jason Mesnick (Season 13)

Mesnick was the single dad from Seattle who had an entirely forgettable season until the After the Final Rose episode.

Boy, did that change absolutely everything.

Mesnick goes all Adam Banks in Mighty Ducks and pulls the ultimate switcheroo. He broke up with Melissa Rycroft on national television and switched to the runner-up, Molly Malaney, ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.

Who am I to judge? Jason and Molly had a paid-for-by-ABC wedding and recently had a baby. (Disclosure: Disney owns both ABC and Grantland, but has not directly paid for any Grantland staff weddings.) Still, that will remain the single greatest moment in franchise history.

Bachelor Likability: 3/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 5/5
Contestant Craziness: 1/5
Season Twists: 3/5
Relationship Longevity: 5/5
______
17/25 Total Points

2. Jesse Palmer (Season 5)

Former NFL quarterback and now-ESPNer Jesse Palmer was a great pick for the Bachelor, even if he does has trouble commanding the English language when he’s nervous.

He started things off with a bang, calling out the name Katie at the first rose ceremony instead of Karen, and then had to correct the mistake, keeping both girls around. Don’t worry, Jesse. Juan Pablo understands. Names are hard.

Palmer also had his married friend, Jenny, pose as one of the contestants to gather intel:

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go undercover in the Bachelor Mansion so you can report back on which contestants are normal and which are batshit crazy, but I’m not going to listen to you. I’m going to keep the chick who all of the other girls hate, even though you warned me that she’ll probably go psycho on my ass and stab me with a nail file.”

The psycho chick in question was Trish Schneider, the first real Bachelor villain. Palmer kept her around through the final four before he finally sent her packing, but my girl Trish wasn’t going home without a fight. The next episode, Trish crashed his date with another contestant and handed Mr. Football a key to her room “should he change his mind.”

That, my friends, is true psychotic genius.

Bachelor Likability: 5/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 2/5
Contestant Craziness: 5/5
Season Twists: 4/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
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17/25 Total Points

1. Matt Grant (Season 12)

ABC capitalized on American women’s love for guys with accents when they cast Matt Grant, an English financier.

The Bachelor was the best. The girls were the best. The season was the best.

Stacey Elza will forever be remember as the girl who got completely slammered and slipped her underwear into Grant’s pocket during the first cocktail party.

Needless to say, she left that night pantiless, without a rose, and nursing a hangover.

Stacey wasn’t the only one. There were plenty of other crazy chicks, though, like this woman who’s got a little Kathy Bates in Misery thing going on with her cat.

The only downside of the season was it was obvious that he was smitten with Shayne Lamas from the get go. Shayne, you may recall, is the spawn of Lorenzo Lamas and a character from the movie Labyrinth.

This woman was really ahead of her time. A few years later and she would have owned the Real Housewives franchise.

Grant and Lamas got engaged on the last episode, but sadly Grant and the 22-year-old “actress” did not find everlasting love. On The Bachelor: Then & Now special, which aired a couple of years ago, Grant remarked about his time as America’s Most Eligible:

“Did I find true love on the show? Um, no. Not one little bit. I proposed to a woman who was about a foot and a half shorter than me, who had nothing in common with me, and thought there were palm trees in London. Did I make a mistake? Yes. Did I look like an idiot? Yes. Do I regret it? A little bit.”

It’s all those reasons, Matt, that make this the best Bachelor season ever.

Bachelor Likability: 5/5
Scandal/Shock Factor: 4/5
Contestant Craziness: 5/5
Season Twists: 3/5
Relationship Longevity: 1/5
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18/25 Total Points

 

Caitlin Mangum is the GRTFL super scorer and a producer living in Washington DC.

Filed Under: TV, The Bachelor, juan pablo galavis, Chris Harrison, Sean Lowe, jake pavelka, Ben Flajnik, ABC

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