He had an open bar. He had many beautiful women for angling to spend time with him. And he had the eyes of a nation interested in every movement.
And yet: Clayton Echard walked into the cocktail party at The Bachelor Monday night in a “gloomy mood,” as the former footballer explained in a confessional.
“The drama that unfolds between Shanae and Elizabeth is starting to affect the time I get to spend with other women,” Clayton said.
“And I have to address it.”
As a result, Echard let the ladies know he could not continue until he had resolved the situation.
“There were a lot of disturbing things that I became aware of this week, and so I really don’t feel like I can get on with the cocktail party until I tackle it first,” the beautiful brunette told the group.
“And then Shanae and Elizabeth, may I talk to you two outside, please?”
When the trio was alone, Clayton laid it all out and told the warring suitors:
“I feel a connection with both of you. The frustrating part is that I can not build a relationship with any of you when we have this conflict.”
From there, Shanae accused Elizabeth of being “fake”, “toxic” and a “bully”, and also of turning all the other contestants against her.
Without any conflict resolved, Echard canceled the rest of the gathering and went straight to the rose ceremony.
At the ceremony, Clayton gave roses to Marlena, Teddi, Rachel, Mara, Sierra, Susie, Jill, Serene, Genevieve, Hunter, Lyndsey and yes, the terrible villain Shanae.
That meant Elizabeth, Melina and Kira were sent home.
The remaining women traveled to Houston for the next part of their trip with Clayton, where Rachel went on a one-on-one date that started with a horseback ride.
After apparently crashing a family barbecue and drinking some beer, Clayton told Rachel he had a concern about her.
“The more I talk to you, the more confused I get, and the more questions I have, and I try to make sense of it, but it just does not make sense,” he explained.
“I wonder how a woman as beautiful as you, with a bad job who’s just so kind, I wonder how you are here.”
After Rachel said her ex-boyfriend did not support her career and Clayton said he would always do so, the couple ended their evening with a private performance by country group Restless Road.
“I will never dim your light,” Clayton whispered to Rachel as they danced.
Rachel, for her part, said she could definitely see herself falling in love with Echard.
On the group stage (with Sarah, Eliza, Teddi, Marlena, Jill, Susie, Mara, Sierra, Hunter, Lynsey, Genevieve, Gabby and Shanae), the group went to NRG Stadium to get some cornhole and some football.
Afterwards, Marlena challenged Clayton over his decision on the rose ceremony.
“When you decided to keep Shanae, many of the women in the house were shocked. Okay?” she told the Missouri native.
“And that’s because, based on the character we know about you to be, we think if you had a full story, you would not want such a person to be your wife.”
Clayton told Marlena that he appreciated her opinion, but still admitted to the cameras:
“I was completely shocked to hear her talk about Shanae still. I thought we were done with this.”
Genevieve later stressed similar concerns about Shanae to Clayton, the former of whom was told that her accomplices threw her to The Bachelor.
“I deserve to be here, so I wanted to come and see you,” she told Clayton after she crashed the winning team’s party.
“I overheard them literally say what they were planning,” Shanae added of Sierra, Gabby and Genevieve.
“They thought, ‘We have to get the 14 girls together to gather around Shanae’ to send me home.”
When Shanae ended this talk with Clayton, she walked over to the group of women and shouted:
“Genevieve and Sierra, keep my name out of your f — ing mouth!”
She then threw the winning team’s trophy into the bushes and claimed in front of the cameras: It’s Shanae Show and not The Bachelor.
The Bachelor is sent at. 8 / 7c on ABC Monday night.
To see what might happen next, visit our section of The Bachelor spoilers!