The Bachelor 2022 with Clayton Echard: Season 26 premiere date, cast, contestants, spoilers and more

The Bachelor Clayton Echard poses with puppies on season 26 poster art
(Image credit: ABC)

The Bachelor 2022 is almost here, and this season it's all about Clayton Echard. This 28-year-old former NFL player was eliminated on Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette. You can watch The Bachelor season 26 premiere just after the start of the new year — and see the limos pulling up to the famous villa once again!

Clayton's casting as the next Bachelor was first confirmed in September by Reality Steve Carbone, before Michelle's season even began. Carbone also began releasing info and photos about season 26's contestants and filming. 

However, ABC stayed mum for weeks, while fans picked apart Clayton's appearances on the still-airing installment of The Bachelorette. Finally, in week 6, Michelle eliminated Clayton after their first one-on-one date. 

Now, Clayton will embark on his own journey to find love — which has apparently been successful, according to an interview he gave.

Here's everything we know about The Bachelor 2022 so far.

The Bachelor 2022 premiere date and host

ABC has set the The Bachelor 2022 premiere date for Monday, January 3 on ABC.

Season 26 will be hosted for the first time by Jesse Palmer, a former NFL quarterback and the lead of The Bachelor season 5. Since his stint on the show, he's worked as a college football analyst for ESPN and the host of ABC's short-lived reality series The Proposal.

Palmer's background seems like a perfect fit for Clayton's season, which the host noted in an Instagram post:

Who is The Bachelor Clayton Echard?

Clayton Echard is a 28-year-old medical sales rep from Columbia, Missouri. He played football as a walk-on at the University of Missouri, where he helped the team win back-to-back SEC championship games. Clayton went on to play briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. 

Now, he works in medical sales and is getting his MBA in the hope of starting his own business. His mother is a teacher, which Clayton mentioned several times in his time on The Bachelorette (since Michelle is also a teacher).

His Bachelorette profile says he "has it all — good looks, a great job and a wonderful family. The only thing missing is the perfect woman with whom to share his life."

Clayton describes his dream woman as "funny, independent, intelligent and athletic enough to join him at the gym for a workout."

The Bachelor with Clayton Echard: First look teaser trailer

ABC finally confirmed what everyone knew — that Clayton is the next Bachelor — with a first look teaser trailer that aired after Michelle's hometown dates episode. 

It kicks off with a bunch of women screaming "Clayton!" and then moves on to shots of a shirtless Clayton running down the beach, Baywatch-style. Then, the Bachelor is seen kissing several (many) women. And of course, the preview gives the first glimpse of potential villains among the cast members.

The Bachelor season 26 cast and contestants

In September, ABC announced 33 women as potential contestants for Clayton's season of The Bachelor. Here's the list of their names, ages and hometowns:

  1. Breanna G., 28, San Diego, Calif.
  2. Cassidy T., 26, Cave Creek, Ariz.
  3. Claire H., 28, Virginia Beach, Va.
  4. Daria R., 24, Baldwin, NY
  5. Eliza I., 25, Berlin, Germany.
  6. Elizabeth C., 32, Highlands Ranch, Co.
  7. Ency A., 28, Burbank, Calif.
  8. Gabby W., 20, O’Fallon, Il.
  9. Genevieve P., 26, Rehoboth, Mass.
  10. Hailey M., 26, Orlando, Fla.
  11. Hunter H., 28, Lake Wylie, S.C.
  12. Ivana N., 31, Snellville, Ga.
  13. Jane P., 33, Los Angeles, Calif.
  14. Jill C., 26, Scituate, R.I. 
  15. Kara G., 30, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  16. Kate G., 32, Clarksville, Tenn.
  17. Kira M., 32, Greensboro, N.C.
  18. Lindsay D., 27, Warner Robins, Ga.
  19. Lyndsey W., 28, Orange, TX.
  20. Mara A., 32, Cherry Hill, N.J.
  21. Marlena W., 30, Virginia Beach, Va.
  22. Melina N., 27, Los Angeles, Calif.
  23. Rachel R., 25, Chicago, Il.
  24. Rianna H., 26, Mount Pleasant, Tex.
  25. Salley C., 26, Greenville, S.C.
  26. Samantha J., 26, Dayton, Ohio.
  27. Sarah H., 23, Spartanburg, S.C.
  28. Serene R., 26, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  29. Shanae A., 29, Sycamore, Ohio
  30. Sierra J., 27, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  31. Susie E., 28, Virginia Beach, Va.
  32. Teddi W., 24, Redlands, Calif. 
  33. Tessa T., 26, Stamford, Conn.

The Bachelor 2022 filming locations

For the first time since Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor in 2020, the show returned to the iconic mansion in Los Angeles for the first weeks of filming Clayton's installment.

The pandemic forced both The Bachelor and Bachelorette to film in "bubbles" at resorts. Clare Crawley, Tayshia Adams, Matt James and Katie Thurston all filmed entirely in one location. Michelle's season was the first to travel to more than one place.

Clayton's season seems to be going "back to normal." The show will start out at the famous Villa de La Vina mansion in Agoura Hills, California. Spoiler photos have indicated that Clayton and the contestants will then travel to Houston, Texas and Toronto, Canada.  

The cast will then head overseas to Vienna, Austria and Croatia. Clayton and his final four women will go on hometown dates (in their actual hometowns!). Reality Steve reported that the fantasy suite overnight dates and finale were filmed in Iceland.

The Bachelor 2022 spoilers

As usual, Reality Steve already has The Bachelor spoilers for Clayton's season. He tweeted that the first impression rose recipient is Teddi Wright, 24, from Redlands, California.

Carbone also revealed Clayton's final three contestants. They are: Susie Evans, Rachel Recchia, and Gabby Windey (Serene Russell comes in fourth place). Check out their photos below:

And of course, the big questions are: Does Clayton get engaged? And to whom? 

So far, Carbone hasn't spoiled those details. But Clayton himself indicated in an interview with People that he ends up happily engaged.

"I did find love," he said. "I was a little skeptical going into the whole journey, but I'm so pleasantly surprised that things worked out much different than I thought. Again, I'm just so excited to watch it back and have everyone else watch it as well."

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.