On Elon University’s campus, a community has grown around the number of ‘The Bachelor’ viewers, and has only grown with the premiere of its 27th season Jan. 23, where tech executive Zach Shallcross, 26, is the leading man. Shallcross had his television debut on Season 19 of ABC’s ‘The Bachelorette’ with Rachel Recchia.
Thirty women from across the U.S. are competing for Shallcross’ love and final rose. Women of the season include emergency room nurse Kaity Biggar, stylist Olivia Miller and former Charlotte Hornets dancer Kylee Russell.
Elon sophomore Anna Lippert began watching the reality show in high school. Lippert said having a contestant like Russell who has a connection back to North Carolina makes this season all the more exciting for students.
“I think it’s great that there’s a girl from Charlotte as a contestant this season,” Rosen said. “If Russell makes it to the hometown round it would be super cool to see the team walk around the city.”
Lippert said she has kept up with the drama between contestants over the years.
“My roommates and I have watched it a lot, and we always make sure to watch ‘Bachelor In Paradise,’” Lippert said. “This season, I’m most excited for the drama and see which cliques emerge, because it always happens.”
Lippert said that ‘The Bachelor’ has brought her roommates closer together through activities leading up to the episodes.
“We always watch it the night after it gets released and make a whole night out of it. We go on a quick snack run and then enjoy the episode together,” Lippert said. “We did it last year too, so it’s always been our tradition.”
Elon freshman Anna Orlando said she has watched ‘The Bachelor’ since she was 15.
“I would watch parts of each season and I talked to all of my best friends about it,” Orlando said. “We have ‘The Bachelor’ nights every Monday, and we did the same thing with ‘The Bachelor In Paradise.’”
Orlando said watching ‘The Bachelor’ has brought her friends together in conversation throughout the seasons.
“We always have popcorn and random snacks like Cheez-Its and pretzels while we watch,” Orlando said. “We love talking about each of the contestants and which one of them would be the best match with ‘The Bachelor.’”
Shallcross told Elon News Network he was contacted by ‘The Bachelor’ last year and after months of discussion and hesitation, he accepted the role.
“It was actually a surprise to me when they chose me,” Shallcross said. “I thought they said somebody else's name and it wasn’t supposed to be me.”
Shallcross said his best friend from Austin, Texas, nominated him for the role on ‘The Bachelorette,’ and that began his journey on both productions.
“He knew I was single and looking for a serious relationship,” Shallcross said. “I said, ‘I have nothing to lose’ and the next day, I get a call and ‘The Bachelorette’ happens.”
Shallcross said the filming process of “The Bachelor” was overwhelming for everyone at first but after a while, he learned to ignore them. He was “surrounded by cameras almost all the time.”
With communities like students at Elon coming together to watch the new season of “The Bachelor,” Shallcross said that there came a point where he didn’t care about opinions, and he was going to do what he wanted to do.
“It is pretty cool, though, on the reverse side when it is all support and people come together with fun wine nights and interesting TV,” Shallcross said “My sisters and my mom; they eat that up.”
Shallcross is most excited to look back on what happened over the course of the season, as he said he doesn’t remember much of it.
“I’m excited to rewatch the journey and relive it,” Shallcross said. “There’s so much that I may have forgotten. Getting to watch it with everyone else is a pretty exciting feeling.”
Episodes of “The Bachelor” will air on Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT andwill stream on Hulu the next day.