Why Did Clayton Send Elizabeth Home On 'The Bachelor'? An Investigation On Why This Lead Continues To Flounder

- The Bachelor -
Why Did Clayton Send Elizabeth Home On 'The Bachelor'? An Investigation On Why This Lead Continues To Flounder

Clayton has some explaining to do. After bringing Shanae and Elizabeth together to talk shrimp on The Bachelor, he couldn't take anymore and canceled the cocktail party. And during the Week 4 rose ceremony, Clayton sent Elizabeth home on The Bachelor and kept Shanae. After the episode aired, he took to social media to state if he knew the full extent of Shanae's actions, he wouldn't have kept her around. But based solely on what he did see, it still feels valid to ask, why did Clayton keep Shanae on The Bachelor?

Typically, when villains linger too long, my instinct is to blame the producers. And it seems highly likely they did push Clayton to keep Shanae to some extent because of all the TV drama she's causing. What else would the social media team have to post this season if not for the shrimp counter? (But, also, how has no one made a "shrimp cocktail party" joke yet?). Yet, as my colleague Lia Beck brought up, Katie during her Bachelorette season didn't tolerate villains for TV's sake. While her contestants went a bit too far with mob rule, she did listen to their feedback and eliminate men who were causing problems in the house. It wasn't a perfect system, but it did prove that the leads do have control over who stays and who goes. And that they don't have to always keep the troublemakers.

So, I'm not letting Clayton off the hook by assuming the producers made him pick Shanae. And I guess there's a world where Clayton actually believed Shanae more than Elizabeth. With Shanae's claims that Elizabeth was a bully, he might have thought he was in the right to squash that. It's not like Elizabeth was being very sympathetic to Shanae's plight in front of Clayton. Of course, viewers fully understand why Elizabeth had no time for Shanae, but Clayton doesn't have the advantage of seeing what's happening in the house... something he acknowledged during the group date afterparty when talking with Sierra ("I'm just going off of what I see") and on Twitter.

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But here's where I argue that the Bachelor should probably be a better judge of character. Because he truly appeared to think sending Elizabeth home would solve the Shanae problem. "I was absolutely shocked to hear her talking about Shanae. Still. Like, I thought we were done with this," he said to the cameras after speaking with Sierra after the football group date. And then, he miraculously comes to this profound revelation about two weeks too late: "It's just, like, draining and it's just frustrating because Shanae seems to be involved in all of the conflict."

Should Bachelor fans chalk it up to Clayton being a poor judge of character? Again, that's letting him off too easy. Though, for what it's worth, he took the negative feedback of choosing Shanae over Elizabeth and addressed it on social media. Originally, he tweeted that he was looking forward to discussing this on "The Women Tell All." But there was some criticism in the replies about why not talk about it now. Then, Clayton posted an apology to Elizabeth saying that if he had known that Shanae had mocked her ADHD, he would have sent her home "immediately."

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As with almost all two-on-ones with a villain, Shanae is guaranteed to go home next week when she's pitted against Genevieve. But the question remains: Why did Clayton keep Shanae for so long?

In the end, he was probably simply more attracted to Shanae than Elizabeth. Bachelor fans have seen it before where a lead tanks his season by falling for the villain. But unlike Ben Flajnick, Clayton doesn't only have eyes for Shanae. So he should have been able to look past his attraction to see that she's a toxic figure (and yes, I know there's a difference between how someone is portrayed on TV and their real personality, but I think it's safe to call Shanae "toxic" based on the evidence presented).

Yet, The Bachelor continues to cast men like Clayton, Matt, Peter, etc., who claim they want a serious committed relationship and to get married, but their actions don't match their words. At the risk of sounding too earnest about a reality show, they're guys who seem to lack confidence and conviction but are too naive to even realize it. They appear to get overwhelmed by the process and allow the conflicting personalities to dominate the house, coming across as quite immature in the process. And I don't know how The Bachelor can fix this. Because even when they cast 36-year-old Arie, he was a hot mess express. Sure, he found a happy marriage, but not without humiliating Becca along the way.

Oh, Clayton, you brawny buffoon

I'm sure Clayton is a very nice man and I don't mean to dump on him... especially as he's been posting on his IG Stories about overcoming his need to be liked by everybody and has posted reminders that "everyone's mental health matters." But The Bachelor franchise has clearly not figured out how to cast a male lead who is dynamic enough, mature enough, and confident enough to see through the bullshit and steer a season toward the alleged end goal of finding "their person." And this, my friends, is how we end up with a Shanae still around in Week 5.

But to put back some of the responsibility on Clayton, he should have been aware that he was sending a very clear message when he chose Shanae over Elizabeth. Because as much as I want these dudes to follow their hearts (or whatever anatomy is driving these bozos), there's strategy and politics to consider when being on The Bachelor. So maybe the real way to fix this issue is to require the leads to watch past seasons of the show they're currently starring on. What a novel idea.

Images: ABC

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