It’s time to make some much-needed waves on the beach. Fans of Bachelor Nation are unanimously sighing in relief because “Bachelor in Paradise” is finally back. On August 16, fan favorites — and others who are not so adored — who were cast off on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” will strut their stuff on the sand looking for a second — or third — chance at love.
After a two-year hiatus, the franchise taped the show in a “romantic resort in Mexico,” according to a press release, and as for when it all went down, we know it was filmed in June. This is due to the fact that the show’s producer Mike Fleiss tweeted on June 8 that it was their first day of shooting. And for as far as when things wrapped, “Bachelor” source Reality Steve tweeted that the final rose ceremony took place on June 26. That short stint doesn’t seem like a long enough time to meet your “person,” but it’s definitely enough to stir up love triangles, heartbreaks, and unexpected entrances and exits.
With the controversy surrounding former host Chris Harrison’s departure from the franchise in June, casting proved difficult this season. “Some members of Bachelor Nation are apprehensive to sign up,” an insider dished to E! Online. “Some are wondering what direction the season will take and are curious if it will strictly focus on contestants falling in love.” We do know one thing for shore, there will be much more drama in the dunes than fun in the sun!
There are cast members who will appear on the beach unannounced
As loyal fans of Bachelor Nation, we are well aware of the fact that, although ABC releases a cast list before each season, there are always individuals who pop up unannounced to stir up drama. “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 7 is no exception, and although the show’s website details all the faces we’ll see in Mexico this summer, rest assured more will be sashaying onto the set.
According to Marie Claire, one notable name who makes his way to the beach is Chris Randone, who was on “BIP” Season 5 and popped the question to Krystal Nielson on its finale. The then-happy couple returned to “Paradise” a year later to get married, only to split nearly eight months later. Back in April, he spent time in Tennessee with franchise stars like Victoria Fuller and Clay Harbor, who are also rumored to be in the cast, as reported by Reality Steve and StyleCaster. Prepping for the show, perhaps? “BIP” alum Dylan Barbour took to Twitter to comment, “Producers gotta be stoked all the bachelor folk are hanging this weekend,” and Chris retorted with, “Imagine not being able to hang out with friends.”
Another contestant who fans are stoked to see on the beach is Dr. Joe Park. His involvement on the show was spoiled by Robert Mills, a vice president at ABC Studios. In January, he retweeted a photo of Dr. Joe getting the COVID-19 vaccine with the caption, “We’ve got ourselves a vaccinated Paradisian!!”
This is the first season a Bachelorette is part of the show
For some reason, in the previous six “Bachelor in Paradise” seasons, there was never an actual Bachelorette given a second chance at love on the sand. That streak ends this summer, as Reality Steve broke the news that Becca Kufrin will be there, making franchise history. Even though the reality starlet tried to dupe fans on Instagram, according to the blogger, she is not only on the show, but gets involved with one of the men of “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 7.
Allegedly, Kufrin, who announced her split from fiancé Garrett Yrigoyen in September 2020 (via Us Weekly), started a romance with Thomas Jacobs, the unanimous villain from Katie Thurston’s season, but she breaks it off right before the overnight date portion of the series.
Although Reality Steve claimed the couple had called it quits, fans thought otherwise when Thomas gave a tour of his home on Instagram and his decor seemed very similar to that in Becca’s place. He defended himself on the Bachelornation Scoop fan page, saying they just have “similar taste” (via Life & Style). If they are trying to make it work, the fact that they are both living in California — Becca moved to Los Angeles following her breakup and Thomas is based in San Diego — can help the couple build their fledgling relationship.
There are reportedly three couples who end up engaged
There were some lasting (for now) love matches made in “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 7. According to Reality Steve, three couples left the beach engaged. One pair that found their happily ever after in a seemingly hopeless place is Kenny Braasch from Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season and Mari Pepin from Matt James’ season. According to the blogger, he was sent evidence, but was asked not to post it. “Yesterday I received another [picture] of Kenny & Mari at a different rooftop pool in Chicago where Kenny lives,” Reality Steve explained.
Riley Christian, also from Clare and Tayshia’s season, reportedly pops the question to Maurissa Gunn from Peter Weber’s season.
And last, but not least, Joe Amabile, an alum of both “BIP” Season 5 and Becca Kufrin’s “Bachelorette” season, and Serena Pitt — who notably left Matt James on “The Bachelor,” — are said to leave betrothed. Joe — who earned his nickname “Grocery Store Joe” on Season 14 of “The Bachelorette” because he owned a grocery store (via PopSugar) — told Us Weekly that this time around was much less tame. “It was a lot different than my first time. It was wild,” he said. We’ll have to see what he means by that, but in the meantime, he was photographed getting cozy with his rumored new fiancée at a rooftop pool in Chicago. Considering the fact that Joe has a food vlog where he tours restaurants in the Windy City, this seems like a fun deal for Serena, who’s from Canada.
Two couples break up right before the overnight dates
Like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” their younger sibling “Bachelor in Paradise” also involves fantasy suites. There are many success stories that have come from a successful and romantic overnight date on the show. Think Season 4’s Adam Gottschalk and Raven Gates, who solidified their bond that night and morning, and are now married with a baby on the way. However, for those who are having cold feet, it’s easier to break things off before even more intimacy is involved. So besides Becca Kufrin and Thomas Jacobs, there are reportedly two other couples made in “Paradise” that call it quits just before that major milestone.
One of those unions is Noah Erb from Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season and Abigail Heringer, who competed on Matt James’ season and made Bachelor Nation history as the franchise’s first deaf cast member (via Today). According to Reality Steve, they pair up right from the start, but Noah ultimately initiates the split. A native of Oregon, Abigail has relocated to New York City, and by the looks of her Instagram page, she’s definitely moved on from “Paradise.” She recently posted a photo with the caption, “Went on a date with a model … “
Reality Steve also noted that Brendan Morais and Pieper James, also from Clare and Tayshia’s season and Matt’s season respectively, left the resort early on, but it wasn’t because they didn’t want to test the waters. Keep reading for more on that!
One couple faced backlash for dating prior to filming
It goes without saying that when you enter the sands of “Paradise,” you should not be dating someone else — let alone another cast member. Well, Brendan Morais and Pieper James, who is reportedly another contestant who walked on unannounced, must have not gotten that memo because they strutted their stuff on the beach having already been coupled-up prior to filming. In June, a source told Us Weekly that they’re working out their Boston-to-New York courtship. “They’re keeping their relationship under wraps since they’re trying to make it work long-distance and it’s still new,” the insider said. “They both are super into each other and are getting to know each other and are just having fun going on dates.”
According to Reality Steve, rumor has it that this fact was known pre-filming and the powers that be behind the scenes may have used it to stir up some drama. “I think it’s clear production purposely waited til Brendan gave his rose to someone else before deciding to bring Pieper in,” Reality Steve explained. “But if they were already dating and this is pre-planned, gonna be interesting to see if they pretend like they weren’t, or, if they just go with it and let everyone know.” The blogger also noted that the fact that the pair was not forthcoming with the information became somewhat of a storyline, with cast members chastising the pair for breaking one of the franchise’s cardinal rules.
This contestant had a rough time watching her ex with another woman
On Season 5 of “Bachelor in Paradise,” Kendall Long and Joe Amabile shockingly broke up on its intense finale (via Entertainment Weekly). However, on the show’s “Tell All,” they surprised fans yet again by revealing they were, in fact, back together and in love (via Bustle). In January 2020, they crushed hearts a second time by announcing their split to Bachelor Nation. In a joint statement, they revealed, “We have decided mutually to go our separate ways. Joe has made the decision to move back to Chicago while Kendall will be remaining in her hometown of Los Angeles.”
Less than a year later, in May, Kendall was interviewed on “The Ben and Ashley I: Almost Famous” podcast and poured her heart out, saying how devastating it would be to witness her ex-fiancé with another woman. “I would not want to watch him fall in love with someone else. Definitely not,” she said. “That would suck so, so much.” This is understandable given the recent nature of their split. However, for some reason, as reported by Reality Steve, Kendall makes her way onto the “BIP” set.
In June, Reality Steve tweeted, “Joe & Kendall are both there but not rekindling. They have both given roses to other people.” Although the blogger noted that Kendall was “involved” with Ivan Hall while there, she still couldn’t take watching Joe and Serena Pitt frolicking under the sun, so she packed her bags and left the resort.
There was a love triangle on the beach
There is one man who is interested in two women in “Paradise” and it seems like he doesn’t know what to do and vacillates on the show. Kenny Braasch, the boy band manager who made his franchise debut on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season, is the one in the middle of the love triangle. And according to Reality Steve, he is torn between Mari Pepin and Demi Burnett, who’d previously gotten engaged to Kristian Haggerty at the end of Season 6 of “Bachelor in Paradise.”
In October 2019, Demi announced their split on Instagram, and this season she’s back on the beach single and ready to mingle. At the start of her second stint in “Paradise,” she gives her first rose to Kenny. “Ultimately we now know that Kenny chose Mari over Demi since Kenny and Mari are engaged,” Reality Steve explained. “But I was told in the beginning he was going back and forth between them.”
The fact that Kenny entered “Paradise” scantily clad, as seen from the somewhat-revealing Instagram photo he posted of himself at the start of the show with the caption, “I was told to pack light so I did,” must have worked to reel in the ladies.
One star is sporting a drastically different look
No one in Bachelor Nation can forget Victoria Larson, who turned heads on Matt James’ season for always referring to herself as “the queen” and using derogatory words to describe some of the other women in the mansion. In an interview with “Good Morning America,” she apologized, saying, “If my words or actions hurt anyone, like I sincerely apologize and I’ll do better and hold myself accountable. I’m not a bully, I’m really not.”
Therefore, it really comes as no surprise that for the sure-fire drama she brings, she was ultimately cast on “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 7, and we can only imagine what new trouble she will cause this time around. In fact, she already created quite a stir before the show even aired after photos like the one above surfaced of her sporting a brand new look. To defend herself from the haters who commented on her transformation, she took to TikTok by saying, “Hit ’em with a plot twist anytime you want, sis. It’s your life and shout out to my Botox girl. And I looked good both ways. Don’t get it twisted.” The 28-year-old also jumped on Instagram, posting side-by-side before-and-after pictures of her face, where she admitted to getting her lips done, asking naysayers to stop with the unsolicited judgments.
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