We may not know who our next Bachelor is for several weeks, and the journey is already turning into a bumpy ride. Fans got an unforgettably emotional Bachelorette finale that seemed to set frontrunner Peter Kraus up solidly to be the next Bachelor. He was good-looking, kind and wounded; his story felt raw and real.
Yes, the Wisconsin native said he wasn't ready to propose to Rachel Lindsay (and Bachelor Nation shows are supposed to end with proposals), but in finale footage of their finale date, he backtracked a bit, telling the Dallas lawyer he'd pop the question just to keep her in his life. Lindsay rejected him. Then, live on TV, Kraus said he might not have properly opened up to the process (perhaps implying that he could in the future.) But Lindsay clapped back, and this exchange ensued ...
RL: "I just don't think this world, this process, this journey, this show -- I just don't think it's for you. You need more time, you need to see things through, like, you're searching for something else. ... I think you just need more time when it comes to these things."
PK: "I agree."
Cut to just a few days later, and Kraus seemed to be, again, open to the process. On Good Morning America, he didn't rule out the idea of being the Bachelor, telling co-host Michael Strahan with a smile, "I'd have to think a lot about it." In short, most signs were still pointing to Kraus as Bachelor No. 22.
Then, Thursday, Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss threw a serious wrench into the narrative with this post...
Do we really want a Bachelor who isn't ready to settle down with a woman he loves? Hmmm. Not what #thebachelor is all about...
Also notable: While this tweet does seem to be about Kraus, that doesn't mean he's definitely out of the picture. Reality Steve is reporting that Kraus turned down the Bachelor offer, which would surprise us. But a source tells ET that the new Bachelor is far from set in stone. "Anything could change at this stage of the game," the source shared. "Still too early to tell. Producers in this franchise are very good at convincing."
That mirrors what host Chris Harrison told us at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All taping: anything can happen. "We're gonna wait for Bachelor in Paradise to kind of run its course [before we announce the Bachelor]," he said. "Nick [Viall] popped out of Paradise ... we didn't see that coming. We weren't planning on it, and then it happened, so I think lesson learned."
Friday, an account appearing to be Kraus' sent out this mysterious tweet...
Making a judgement without having facts, is like solving a math problem without having the equation. #smh
Bachelor in Paradise alumni Daniel Maguire and Vinny Ventiera told ET on Tuesday that they see Kraus taking the position. "He's just a great guy and he spoke what's on his mind, he didn't get influenced by being on a show that he's just gonna give her this ring if he didn't feel like he wanted to," Ventiera said. "That was so real and amazing. He should be the next Bachelor."
Dean Unglert, another frontrunner from Lindsay's season, told us in mid-July that he might not be ready. "I think I have a lot of maturing I need to do myself, but I would never immediately say no to any opportunity," the 26-year-old said. "We'll see." Viewers will also see him flirt and date on this summer's season of BIP.
Ultimately, we may not get answers any time soon. Also at Men Tell All, Harrison said, "We don't start taping for quite some time, so there's no reason[to announce yet.] I know people would love for us to announce it, but there's no reason to. We would just be jumping the gun. So we're going to wait."