‘The Bachelor’ Shocker: Arie Luyendyk Jr. to Star in Season 22

Arie Luyendyk Jr. new Bachelor
Courtesy of ABC

The wait is finally over. ABC revealed on Thursday that Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be the star of “The Bachelor” Season 22.

Luyendyk is known to Bachelor Nation as the runner-up on Emily Maynard’s season of “The Bachelorette” back in 2012.

The announcement came as a shock to fans who expected Peter Kraus, the runner-up from the most recent season of “The Bachelorette” (with Rachel Lindsay), or Luke Pell, who came in second the previous season (with JoJo Fletcher), to be named the new Bachelor.

Luyendyk was announced as the next “Bachelor” on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“This just fit perfect — the timing of this really fit for me,” Luyendyk told Michael Strahan. “I was a little skeptical, just because we’d been in talks for a few years about doing it, and so I just kind of went in with an open mind, open heart.”

Luyendyk has been away from the spotlight since losing to Jef Holm on Maynard’s season of “The Bachelorette,” and since, he’s been rumored to return some day as “The Bachelor.” He was in talks to star in the series a few years back, before ABC chose Chris Soules instead.

“I’m not nervous,” Luyendyk said on “GMA” this morning. “Now that I’ve had some time and distance away from it, it feels like the feeling I had before I went into it the first time. I think sometimes when you’re on ‘The Bachelorette’ and you jump right into being the Bachelor, for me it would’ve been too soon. This feels more natural. I’m not concerned what people think. I’m just focused on the outcome. I want to find my person and will do whatever it takes!”

Luyendyk’s selection, which was not ABC’s original plan, was kept completely under wraps. According to a source, “no one” outside of “The Bachelor” team knew about the decision, which is unusual for the franchise that’s typically subject to many leaks.

Eric Bigger and Dean Unglert were also in the running, with Kraus emerging as the frontrunner and in serious contention for quite some time. However, an insider said that Unglert’s young age was a factor in him not being chosen, despite being a fan-favorite. As for Kraus, a source in “The Bachelor” casting indicated that the majority of women trying out for the upcoming season said they would be most excited about vying for Kraus’ heart, but in the end, ABC wanted to select a suitor who is “there for the right reasons” — in comparison to the majority of recent castoffs who have all benefitted from the franchise with endorsement deals and lucrative product placement posts on Instagram.

“The Bachelor” returns to ABC in January 2018.