A record four women quit the show this season, with fans watching the latest woman, Cassie, saying her goodbyes to Colton on Monday night's episode. The 27-year-old former football player then also performed a Bachelor first by jumping a fence and leaving the show right after her -- making him the fifth person (after Elyse, Sydney, Heather and Cassie) to quit the show in one season.
The Bachelor franchise isn't immune to people leaving the show on their own accord, but Colton and his ladies definitely took it to the next level. The last time the show saw anything like this was Ashley Hebert's season of The Bachelorette in 2011, during which three men left her, including one of her final three. Other than that, no more than two contestants have quit per season (Ben Higgins, Juan Pablo Galavis, Aaron Buerge, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Desiree Hartsock and Ali Fedotowsky are among those leads).
"Apparently it is record-setting," Sydney -- the second woman to leave Colton -- told ET's Lauren Zima at the "Women Tell All" taping. "We didn't talk about it before, none of us were like, 'Yeah, we're gonna leave.' Also, [it was] not my plan."
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"I went into that night trying to get answers, and the answer I got was not what I needed," she continued. "I'm not gonna stick around just to be a placeholder, so that's why I left."
Elyse's exit in week five was a little more thought-out. The Arizona-based makeup artist put on her best gown and glam to confront Colton, explaining to him that at just week five of the competition, her feelings for him were strong -- and too strong for her to sit around and watch him pursue relationships with other women. She left that night, seemingly setting off a trend.
In week six, Sydney left, deciding during the night portion of the group date that her relationship with Colton wasn't going anywhere. She warned him to focus on those who wanted marriage, but didn't name names. Katie and Demi, who also left that week (though not by their own accord), issued similar warnings.
In week seven, just ahead of hometown dates, Heather came to the conclusion that she wasn't ready to introduce Colton to her family. They ended things amicably on the group date. Cassie left on week nine, after several conversations with her father, who told her she probably wasn't ready to get engaged to Colton.
"I think all the self-exits from this season was a little shocking," Onyeka, who was close friends with Elyse, told ET. "I think all the self-exists showed how raw and authentic we were."
"We weren't just here to be like, 'Oh yeah, sure I'll get engaged at the end of this. Colton seems like a hot, decent guy,'" she explained. "I think we all just wanted to be real and honest, and that showed that the girls that left had opinions that were voiced throughout the season."
What was it about Colton that made all these women want to leave? It wasn't that he was the youngest Bachelor (season 20's Ben was also 26), or his virgin status. Many of the contestants expressed throughout the season that they had no problem with Colton's lack of sexual experience, and even shared that they looked forward to getting intimate with him.
Colton also didn't appear that indecisive -- or distracted by "shiny things," as Sydney claimed he was; he sent home three women (Caitlin, Hannah B. and Kirpa) during dates, and one (Demi) during a late-night visit to his hotel room. And after Monday night's episode, in which he vowed to "fight" for Cassie after she had left him, it appears as if he'll eliminate two more women outside of rose ceremonies.
"I think making that statement is something I would make in any relationship that I'm in. You have to choose to love somebody, you have to choose to fight for anybody you're in a relationship with," Colton explained to ET. "I think that's what love is, and that's what being in a relationship is all about."
Maybe, just maybe, these women could sense that when he was with them, all he could think about was Cassie (as he told her during their breakup last night), and have decided that just because the show is called The Bachelor, they're still in charge of their own love stories.
The Bachelor's "Women Tell All" special airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Colton's journey will continue with a two-night finale on Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12.
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