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The One Thing That Can Save 'The Bachelor'? Fewer Contestants

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The One Thing That Can Save 'The Bachelor'? Fewer Contestants

It's been five whole weeks, and I think we have to call it: Matt James' Bachelor season has been pretty disappointing. It could be due to the rushed COVID timeline, or the decision to cast a newbie as the lead, but I think I know the real problem. The Bachelor needs to have less contestants.

Matt started his season off with 32 women, which is about, oh, at least 10 too many. (In comparison, the very first Bachelor season started with 25 contestants, and Season 24, the one prior to Matt's, started with 30.) The number of contestants has been steadily increasing over the years, but that doesn't mean it's actually helped leads find love, or made the show better at all. In fact, I would argue the opposite.

LOOK AT ALL THESE WOMEN! Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin

More contestants make the season all the more chaotic. Unequal screen time and selective editing make it hard to know who to root for, and early favorites are lost in the background. And this season has put the limits of a big contestant pool on full display thanks, in large part, to the decision to add five new contestants in Week 4. After Matt had finally whittled down his potential fiancées to 18 women (still too many for so far in the competition, but I'll allow it), producers brought in five new additions, and he left the Rose Ceremony with two more contestants than when he started. At the end of Week 5, Matt had 15 women left going into a Rose Ceremony. Assuming he eliminates a minimum of three women, he'll be down to around 12. That is, until Heather Martin's "surprise" arrival bumps that number back up to 13.

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