The Bachelor is a total reality TV staple on ABC and has been ever since it premiered way back in 2002. That means that there are 22 seasons worth of drama, romance, and excitement (unless we’re talking about Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s season of course). There have been 21 men (Brad Womack excruciatingly tried his hand at the whole thing twice) who have been named the classic suitor. They’ve all put a spin on the role in their own unique way.
While the Bachelor leads may not ever be as exciting, likable, or overall as awesome as their Bachelorette counterparts, they all brought a little something to the table during their respective seasons. Though, for some, what they brought was better than others. Keep reading to see all the Bachelors ranked from best to worst. Who was the biggest trashhole of a lead? Keep reading to find out…
21. Sean Lowe
Honestly, Sean Lowe is the best Bachelor lead for one very simple and important fact alone: he’s still with the winner of his season! Unlike every other Bachelor lead (including Jason Mesnick because that messiness doesn’t count), he is happily married to the woman he gave his final rose to, Catherine Giudice-Lowe. They have a baby boy named Samuel and another tot on the way! So far, he’s the only one who gets to say that The Bachelor really worked for them, which is incredible given that the show has been on for 22 seasons. Also during his season, he only treated the women with class and respect, which is a hell of a lot more than we can say for some of the other leading men. Sean and Catherine are the perfect example of a dream Bachelor scenario, i.e. the final pair lives happily ever after together.
20. Ben Higgins
Ben Higgins was a great Bachelor lead. He was cute, earnest, and non-threatening in a way that makes him a perfect suitor for national TV. His season also had its fair share of drama, with the likes of Lace and Olivia helping out. Overall though, he seemed as though he was genuinely looking to find love, which is an aspect that can’t be overlooked when considering who the best franchise lead is.
However, he’s not the best suitor because he did say “I love you” to both women in his final two: Lauren Bushnell (the winner) and Jojo Fletcher. That’s a huge no-no in Bachelor Nation and ultimately just messes with every woman involved’s emotions. He came onto Bachelor Winter Games proving he’s still just as adorable and genuine as ever, and his friendship with Ashley Iaconetti is actually pretty cute. Not going to lie, Sean and Ben might be the only certifiable “good” Bachelors.
19. Travis Stork
Travis Stork was yet another one of those dreamy Bachelor types. He was a doctor (swoon-worthy enough) and he was also a good-natured guy who was a perfect Bachelor choice. Still, that doesn’t mean that he found success on the show. Like almost every other Bachelor before him, he is not currently with the recipient of his final rose. On the show, Travis got down on one knee for Sarah Stone, but the two only lasted about a month after the finale aired. So much for finding long-lasting love on The Bachelor.
Nowadays, Travis stars on the TV hit The Doctors. So, while he didn’t find love on TV, he’s certainly translated his Bachelor-stint into a media career. (And isn’t that why so many are on the show?)
18. Ben Flajnik
Ben Flajnik was an interesting choice for The Bachelor. First of all, he didn’t have that typical suave quality that other leads seem to have. But, he had a couple of major things going for him: he was incredibly likable after appearing on Ashley Hebert‘s season of The Bachelorette and he kept the drama going on his season.
The source of that drama? His final pick: Courtney Robertson. It was annoying to watch him give her special treatment every time she was SO CLEARLY breaking the rules, but it did make for some good TV. Thankfully, Ben kept his eventual ex-fiancée around until the end of the series, which only upped the drama ante throughout the entire season. Courtney, surprisingly, went on to date Arie.
17. Jesse Palmer
Jesse Palmer was pretty dreamy, which is exactly what a Bachelor should be, tbh. He was an NFL player, a University of Florida graduate, and was, and is, an overall incredibly charming guy (just look at how he fares as one of Good Morning America‘s current contributors). That said, all of that wasn’t enough to help him find a lasting connection on reality TV. He broke up with his final pick, Jessica Bowlin, a month after the show.
But, he gets major props for being responsible for one of the funniest moments in the series to date. In the first episode of his season, he accidentally called out the wrong name when he was handing out roses. It was cringeworthy but pretty hilarious. It’s surprising that that doesn’t happen more often, honestly.
16. Andrew Firestone
At first glance, you might not remember anything at all about Andrew Firestone (and, same). But, when you think about it, his turn as the third lead Bachelor in the series really paved the way for others to come. Alex Michael and Aaron Buerge might have gotten things rolling during the first two seasons, but Andrew really molded what the show was, and what it could become.
It was the early days of reality TV, so there wasn’t any of the more insane drama that we’ve become used to, but Andrew himself was charming, accomplished (with a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego), and was from an equally accomplished family. At the time, he was just a good enough dude who was right for the Bachelor role.
15. Nick Viall
Nick Viall‘s stint as the Bachelor was not his first rodeo in the franchise. He’d already competed in Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s seasons of The Bachelorette, making it to the top two both times. He was pretty controversial during Andi’s season (he did iconically ask her why they “made love” in the fantasy suite if she didn’t love him), he was downright unlikable during Kaitlyn’s run as the leading lady. Then he went on Bachelor in Paradise and kind of redeemed himself.
When it was his time to take center-screen he was… fine. It wasn’t a total snoozefest considering it brought us the antics of Corinne Olympios and “emotionally intelligent” Taylor Nolan. Other than that, though, there’s not much to be said.
14. Charlie O’Connell
Charlie O’Connell is another one of these typical, kinda bland Bachelor contestants. But we’ll give him a pass because he at least had some semblance of a personality during his season. He also at least had a flashy job as an actor that made himself a great option for The Bachelor. After all, there has to be some kind of fantasy aspect, right? Well, Charlie brought all that to the table… and not much else.
In case you forgot what went down during his season, Charlie ended up with Sarah Price. Charlie and Sarah had an up and down relationship over the years, breaking up and getting back together multiple times between 2005 and 2010. So, while it didn’t work out, it was actually one of the most successful relationships in the franchise (which isn’t saying much).
13. Matt Grant
Matt Grant was yet another fantasy-laden Bachelor choice. It’s too bad that his season was overall sort of unremarkable (aka without a lot of the good ol’ fashioned drama we’ve come to know and love), otherwise, this season would’ve definitely ranked a bit higher.
First of all, Matt was British and his season was entitled The Bachelor: London Calling (what gives with no subtitled Bachelor seasons now, ABC?). He was a nice enough guy who was accomplished in his own right, as he earned his Bachelor’s degree in modern history and politics at Anglia Ruskin University in his native country. Hot, British, and learned? Check, check, and check!
12. Lorenzo Borghese
Another Bachelor that you might have forgotten (which is why he’s ranked the completely mediocre 10th) about was Lorenzo Borghese. Lorenzo was another Bachelor star who upheld that Bachelor fantasy standard, like Matt Grant. Lorenzo was a member of the famous Borghese family, a family which has noble roots in Italy. Basically, he’s descended from royalty that dated as far back as the 1300s. So, not only was he a successful businessman, but he was also kind of a prince. Um, talk about an amazing Bachelor pick!
His season was also special because it was filmed in his native Italy. In other words, this season was a serious dream for anyone who’s into the fairytale romance aspects of the series. Someone, please explain to me why the ABC series hasn’t gone back to its fairytale-esque roots? The show would maybe be better off for it.
11. Andy Baldwin
Andy’s season of The Bachelor was subtitled, The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman, and boy was he. Andy was not only an accomplished naval captain, but he had also obtained multiple college degrees, including a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. He was basically the kind of fantasy man that should always be considered to be the titular star. Who wants Instagram sponsor kings and unsuccessful racecar drivers to take over these seasons? I know that I, for one, am over that. Bring back this whole fantasy gentleman Bachelor-archetype, ABC, please.
10. Byron Velvick
You probably, well definitely, forgot about Byron Velvick. He starred in the sixth season of The Bachelor after competing for the titular spot against Jay Overbye (similar to how Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson competed in Season 11 of The Bachelorette). But, he isn’t ranking any higher than this because of some unfortunate drama post-Bachelor.
Byron had a turbulent relationship with the winner of his season, Mary Delgado. The two got engaged during the show in 2004. However, things didn’t go smoothly for the pair. Mary was arrested for allegedly punching Byron in the face in 2007, as Popsugar noted. Yet, the couple tried to stay together after the incident. They eventually broke up in 2009 which was probably the best move for them both. We like dramatic seasons of The Bachelor, but this is just too much.
9. Alex Michael
Alex Michael gets major points just because he was on the very first season of The Bachelor. If Alex couldn’t help set the tone for the iconic reality TV series, who knows whether the show would even still be on today?
But, other than that, who really even remembers the bland OG suitor? Alex certainly set the tone for the current Bachelor archetype, i.e. boring and slightly more exciting than a glass of milk. Yet, as everyone knows (especially while watching Arie’s season), the show isn’t made to revolve solely around the titular star. The seasons are exciting because of the wild contestants and even wilder scandals. Alex’s season definitely had that in spades. Apparently, the winner of his season, Amanda Marsh, eventually dumped him because he had slept with his runner-up Trista Rehn during the course of the show. That could be a storyline on any Bachelor season even today.
8. Aaron Buerge
Aaron Buerge was one of the OG Bachelors of yesteryear. But that doesn’t mean that the drama on his season, or after it, could match the standards we’ve set for Bachelor seasons today.
Aaron’s worst offenses came after his stint on reality TV ended. Apparently, he broke up with the winner of his season, Helene Eksterowicz, in a Starbucks. Later, he allegedly had some concerning money issues. According to Radar Online, he was accused of money fraud in 2014 and, according to his own statements to People, he filed for bankruptcy back in 2011. It’s not enough to rank him with some of the truly evil Bachelors of the past, but he’s not exactly the man of our dreams.
7. Bob Guiney
Bob Guiney was billed as the lovable guy from Trista Rehn’s season of The Bachelorette. But, like many, many of the other guys on this list, there just wasn’t anything remarkable enough about him on the show to rank him any higher than even 15th. While having a total bore of a season typically wouldn’t earn a man such a terrible position on the list, the fact that Bob didn’t even propose at the end of his season really pushed his ranking down. Instead, he gave his final pick, Estella Gardinier a promise ring. Um, why? Either propose or just hand off a final rose, dude. Of course, that promise ring meant jack sh*t as the two split shortly after their season ended.
6. Jake Pavelka
Jake Pavelka was not a great Bachelor. He wasn’t as evil as some, but he was pretty bad. That’s the only way to say it. He seemed nice enough during his stint on The Bachelorette and even for the majority of the time he led his own season in the franchise, but things imploded in the months after as the drama between Jake and his final pick, Vienna Girardi quickly got out of hand.
Vienna was accused of cheating on Jake, an accusation which she’s denied. The pair then solidified their breakup on TV in one of the most intense confrontations ever on the reality series. And that’s saying something – considering the confrontations we’ve seen on the show. Jake was so unbelievably rude to Vienna that he screamed at her to stop talking at one point. It was simply uncalled for, especially on national TV. That’s exactly why Jake is one of the worst Bachelors on the show, ever.
5. Brad Womack
Fans of The Bachelor sat through two whole seasons with Brad Womack in the lead. Still, he never ended up with anyone – leading many to think that his time with the franchise was solely for fame and the chance to date 50 women on TV with no long-term commitment. On his first season of The Bachelor, he didn’t choose anyone at the end of the season. That was crazy, but fine. If he wasn’t feeling it, he wasn’t feeling it.
However, why ABC plagued audiences with watching the boring Bachelor try to find love again in yet another season is truly anyone’s best guess. If he didn’t find anyone the first time, what made them think he deserved a second shot at the process? His whole Bachelor journey was pretty much a waste of time for everyone involved.
4. Chris Soules
Chris Soules was criminally boring when he was on The Bachelor. Who thought that having him lead the season would be a good idea? “Prince Farming,” they told us. Oh, please. There’s certainly no His boringness rivaled maybe only Arie’s, and that’s saying a lot.
But it’s really his appalling behavior post-Bachelor that earned him a spot in the rankings of the top-five worst Bachelors of all time. The former suitor was involved in a fatal car crash where he left the scene of the crime after, according to People. The whole thing was a terrible mess and was not at all a great look for him. Then, his past run-ins with the law including driving while intoxicated surfaced and it was clear that Chris Soules really wasn’t deserving of the Bachelor title after all. In fact, who let him on the show in the first place?
3. Jason Mesnick
Jason Mesnick pulled the OG final-two swap, which means that he narrowly edged out a different Bachelor on this ranking. While at the time, this quickly made him the most hated man in Bachelor nation, he’s somehow slid to #3 with the really despicable acts of a couple of the Bachelors who came after him.
It wasn’t even as though Jason was exciting to watch during the rest of his Bachelor season, thus somewhat redeeming him for that shitstorm of an After the Final Rose Special, where he admitted to Melissa Rycroft he wanted to get back with his runner-up. The best thing one could say about him is that he did make the right choice in the end, after all. He’s still currently with the runner-up he eventually chose, Molly Malaney. So, things worked out for the best?
2. Juan Pablo Galavis
If there was a King F*ckboy award, the honor would have to go to Juan Pablo Galavis. He was an all-around mess on his season of The Bachelor, and that could’ve had something to do with the fact that he didn’t even make it to the top five on Desiree Hartsock‘s Bachelorette, meaning no one really knew who the “real” Juan Pablo was before he got a season of his own. He was the creator of the “fantasy suite nightmare” with Andi Dorfman, his second-runner-up, made sexually degrading comments towards Clare Crawley, his runner-up, and then couldn’t even tell the last woman standing that he loved her. Like, isn’t that kind of the point of the show? To find love? Either way, he was smarmy and rude throughout the entire season, so much so that it’s surprising that anyone, let alone his final pick Nikki Ferrell, accepted his final rose in the end.
Also, since we’ve been talking about post-Bachelor indiscretions on here, too, we can’t let Juan Pablo get the title of the first runner-up to the Worst Bachelor Ever title without talking about his wildly homophobic comments when asked if he thought there’d ever be a gay Bachelor. The words “they are more pervert in a sense,” actually left his mouth, according to The TV Page. He later apologized for his comments and said it was the language barrier (Juan Pablo’s first language is Spanish), but the damage was done. See you never, Juan Pablo!
1. Arie Luyendyk Jr.
No surprises, here. After the sh*t that Arie Luyendyk Jr. pulled on Becca Kufrin, we wish there were more Bachelor seasons so he could have an even lower ranking. As if it’s not terrible enough to propose to someone when you’re unsure, then dump them to date the runner-up in the first place, doing it on LIVE TV?! As Becca would say, “Are you f*cking kidding me?!” He colluded with The Bachelor producers and Chris Harrison to blindside a woman he allegedly loved. Doesn’t get much scummier than that. Even on this show.
All of that super exploitative drama aside, Arie helped make the latest season of The Bachelor the worst yet. Every episode except the finale was, quite frankly, snooze-inducingly boring. The only phrase he really knew how to say was “I love that,” and his general superficiality was just hard to watch. The fact that class act women like Becca, Kendall, Sienne, and more even wanted to date him is kind of shocking. Also, Arie is no catch. The rumors that plagued him before starting his run on the show turned out to be, more or less, true, and I think we speak for everyone when we say that Peter Krause would’ve NEVER let what happened on Arie’s season come to pass. #NotMyBachelor