Forget the most shocking Rose Ceremony in Bachelor history.
ABC went ahead this week and delivered the most shocking piece of casting news in Bachelor history:
Nick Viall will be the 21st Bachelor in network history.
Yes, Nick Viall.
Not Luke Pell or Chase McNary, the two gentlemen considered to have been front-runners for the past several weeks.
Why did producers select Nick Viall?
Why give this man a fourth shot at contrived love, considering he's already appeared twice on The Bachelorette and is actually appearing right at this very moment on Bachelor in Paradise?
It wasn't the plan all along, a source tells E! News.
"In just the last few days, it totally switched," an insider tells E!, confirming that Pell had been the favorite for awhile.
Just how unexpected was the choosing of Viall?
"Nick's closest friends and Bachelor in Paradise co-stars didn't even know until moments before it was announced on After Paradise," this same mole confirms.
Another source chimed in and told E! the same sort of thing:
"It was completely a last minute decision that only came together in the past few days. A very small handful of people knew. Nothing has been shot yet. There's a lot that still needs to be figured out."
Okay then. But WHY?
Why Viall at the final moment over Pell?
He's apparently been a pleasure to work with on Bachelor in Paradise this summer. That just about sums it up.
"Nick is a low-key and chill to work with," the source explains. "He also had a great edit this season on BIP."
Viall ended up as the runner-up on both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe's seasons of The Bachelorette.
ABC will likely push the angle of this being his final chance to find a wife, of seeing whether he can finally clear the concluding hurdle.
"As Paradise started airing, he became a massive fan favorite," E! writes. "He's the villain who became a hero. It became a comeback story that was irresistible."
Of course, not everyone agrees.
Amanda Stanton, who got close to Viall on Bachelor in Paradise, wrote a cheeky response to Viall's casting.
But Josh Murray is actually happy for his reality show nemesis.
"Despite our differences I am truly happy 4 @viallnicholas28 everyone deserves love and he is no exception - this is your time, go find her," Murray wrote yesterday.
Really! He did!
Finally, host Chris Harrison helped explain why those who watch The Bachelor online will see Viall next spring and not Pell.
This is what he said to Good Morning America:
'Ultimately, at the end of the day when we were discussing all of the candidate... it just got down to the final question of, ‘Who's the most deserving? Who is the most sincere? Who have we watched time and time again really come on the show to find love and just come up short each and every time?'
"While Luke and Chase were good guys, we all just kept coming back to Nick. It's just crazy enough to work."
As for Pell?
Don't shed too many tears over his snub.
"Thanks for all the love and support over the past few months, sometimes in life we are faced with unexpected changes," he wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.
"I'm happy to be back home in Nashville and so excited about what the future holds."
He'll be just fine in the end.
The Bachelor Season 21 will air on ABC some time this spring.
Weigh in below: Which hunk would you prefer to see as the lead?
Nick Viall will be The Bachelor in the spring of 2017. But would you prefer to have seen Luke Pell picked for this position? View Poll »