The Bachelor Season 22 contestants’ list has been released, and already there is controversy. Us Weekly posted the complete list of Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s potential brides, and while they all seem to have normal jobs (no “Chicken Enthusiast” here), it’s pretty clear the “Kissing Bandit” is looking for a younger woman. Or at least ABC is.
Arie, who appeared on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette in what seems like an eternity ago, is one of the oldest Bachelors ever to headline the long-running ABC dating show. At age 36, the race car driver turned realtor is presumably ready to settle down. But the age gap between Arie and most of his 29 women is very large, with some of them barely out of college.
The oldest contestant on Arie’s season of The Bachelor is 33-year-old Lauren. Lauren’s credentials are impressive—she’s a recent master’s graduate from Louisiana. But just five other women are in their 30s—and just barely. Luyendyk’s remaining 23 Bachelor contestants are in their 20s, with the youngest age listed for a woman named Maquel, a 23-year-old photographer from Utah.
But eagle-eyed Bachelor fans have zeroed in on a Los Angeles-based nanny named Rebekah, or “Bekah.” Strangely, Bekah’s age is not listed on her Bachelor bio at all.
It’s no secret that Bachelor fans are notorious sleuths, and with the help of spoiler king Reality Steve, it’s not hard to find out that Bekah Martinez is 22-years-old, which makes her the youngest contestant to ever appear on The Bachelor. Meanwhile, Arie Luyendyk Jr. is one of the oldest leading men ever to headline the ABC franchise.
While Arie is a full decade older than almost all of his Bachelor women, Bekah is seriously cradle robber territory. Is it realistic to think she is on the show for the “right reasons”? Only time will tell, but somehow she scored a sweet red ride in lieu of the traditional group limo arrival to The Bachelor mansion.
Of course, the big question is why did ABC withhold Bekah’s age? Fans may find out as the season progresses, but it is a glaring omission indeed.
As for Arie Luyendyk Jr., a source told Entertainment Tonight that he is very serious about finding love on the ABC reality show and that the show’s producers were very careful when casting his contestants.
“The production has cast women this season who are serious about making a connection, and not just wanting to become famous on the show,” the source told ET.
Take a look at a promo for Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor below.
The Bachelor Season 22 premieres Monday, Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.