Is Nick Viall the best Bachelor the franchise has ever seen? It’s been a rough ride for Viall, who’s preparing to dole out the final rose on Monday night’s three-hour finale. But, HA! Absolutely not. That’s a stupid question. A better question to ponder is whether Nick Viall is the worst Bachelor ever. He hasn’t been very good. Remember: He let Corinne command the show for the first few episodes? Or last week, when he told Vanessa he doesn’t want to move to Montreal because he’s “really proud to be an American”? This is a man with an affinity for terrible poetry, after all. But the question still remains, just how bad of a Bachelor is he? There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s to rank all 21 of the Bachelors in The Bachelor history.
It’s important to clarify what makes a good Bachelor. It doesn’t matter if they are still in a relationship with whomever they gave the final rose. True love does not matter on this show. It doesn’t matter if they seem like a “decent” person. It doesn’t even matter that much if they are smart or even good-looking. (By the way, Bachelor handsome is very different from the actual definition of handsome.)
Instead, we’ve selected five criteria by which to judge these dudes on a scale of 1 to 10:
Personality: We’re not here to make character assessments, it’s more a question of “Does this guy have one?” If being a certain kind of evil makes you interesting to watch, so be it.
Occupation: Some jobs (farmer, pilot, prince) are storybook perfect for a Bachelor contestant. Others (software salesmen, management consultant) sound made up, boring, and undateable.
Dating Ability: Do they seem like they respect women, like women, and want to plan fun dates for women? Or do they seem like they have deep-seated issues with women that they are working through with the help of Chris Harrison, Neil Lane, and a florist?
Personal Investment: Simply, do we care about them?
Jawline: This has nothing to do with how “attractive” they are and everything to do with how closely their jawline resembles that of a Disney prince.
OK, here we go. From Bachelor patient zero, Alex Michel, to our current Bach-demon Nick Viall, these are our rankings:
21. Alex Michel (Season 1)
Allison P. Davis: It’s hard to believe that this douchenozzle was the first Bachelor. I understand that everything about the franchise was incredibly janky in 2002—the production value, the house, the dates, the fashions, the hairstyles—but I’m still surprised the first fantasy man, the Adam in the Bachelor Garden of Eden—was a total nightmare. Alex dressed like low-budget Blade Runner, had the sociopathic tendencies of an ’80s movie villain (but none of the bangability), and ogled breasts in a deeply disturbing way. The fact that this man was the Big Bang for 21 seasons of romantic fantasies makes me question the entire fabric of the franchise.
20. Jason Mesnick (Season 13)
Davis: Listen, you cannot propose to Melissa Rycroft only to go on national, live television to trade a Melissa for a Molly and not face severe consequences. Mesnick is responsible for one of the most cringeworthy moments in the history of the franchise. I don’t care if Molly and Jason are still happily married with children and perhaps the most successful couple in Bachelor history, it started from a place of betrayal. Nobody is going to reward this kind of savagery. We might watch it over and over again, but we will not reward it.
19. Nick Viall (Season 21)
Andrew Gruttadaro: Nick has been in the Bachelor system for so long that you’d think he’d be better at being the Bachelor. Instead, he’s vacillated between being a cold-hearted savage and a blubbering mess. One minute he’s kicking Danielle L. off the show for having the gall to tell him she’s falling in love with him, the next he’s shedding tears at an alarming rate, explaining how scared he is that he won’t find love. If you didn’t break up with women who openly like you, this wouldn’t be an issue, dude!
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18. Juan Pablo Galavis (Season 18)
Gruttadaro: Just to get this out of the way: Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor was a classic. It featured two all-time moments: Andi Dorfman leaving the show in utter “I want to die” frustration and Clare Crawley telling off JP after he didn’t choose her. Both of those moments, however, were necessitated by the fact that Juan Pablo was a terrible Bachelor. He was condescending, vapid, and skeevy—watching him cup women’s chins as a display of affection still haunts me to this day. That multiple women actively rebelled against Juan Pablo made for a memorable season—I’m actually waiting for Bachelor producers to pursue this hate-date strategy once again—but since this is a list specifically about the Bachelors, JP needs to be towards the bottom like the garbage fire he is.