After months of speculation and leaked photos of the new season of The Bachelor, ABC has finally unveiled Clayton Echard as the show’s new heartthrob.

Leaked photos have been showing up online of the upcoming season and photographed Echard but ABC hadn’t confirmed the news until now.

Echard was eliminated on the November 23 episode of The Bachelorette, where Michelle Young to her hometown for dates with the final four men and ultimately decided her connection with Echard wasn’t strong enough.

“You’ve continued to show me how much you want to be the best for your future family. You completely check every single box of all the qualities I’m looking for in somebody,” Young told Echard at the end of the date. “But I know that giving out this rose means I’m ready to get there with you in time. And this is incredibly difficult for me because not being able to give you this rose doesn’t mean that you’re not enough. It’s, for me, about following my heart.”

The 28-year old Missouri native was emotional after being eliminated telling the camera in his final interview. “I just want to find love so badly and have a family. And start that chapter in my life. I want it more than anything else. I’ll do whatever it takes to get that,” he said. “Whatever it takes.”

Echard’s wish was ABC’s command – only one week after his elimination, the T.V. network announced viewers won’t be seeing the last of Echard.

The underdog has become the alpha and now has a second chance with a whole new romantic destination and multiple love interests he can choose from.

The Bachelor Season 26 premieres on ABC on January 3 at 8 p.m. ET.

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