The Bachelor Spoilers: Did Racism Scandal Already Break Up Matt and Rachael?

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Matt James has made history. But to whom will he make love on The Bachelor - and to whom will be bequeath that coveted final rose?

This is the question viewers around the nation have, as they head into a brand new year, and season of this beloved TV franchise.

Well, we now answers. More of them each day.

Based on a number of sources and reports, we've got The Bachelor spoilers for you for the still-unfolding 2021 campaign.

Gotta love it. Bachelor spoilers make things more fun, after all, especially as the episodes fly by and pieces fall into place.

There are still gaps to fill in, but the top three are set - and the top two and winner herself have been named by Reality Steve.

The man is just plain good at what he does.

He's been on top of this all along, though even the Oracle of Bachelor Spoilers could not have seen some of this coming.

Questions remain after a tumultuous few months: Will Matt's journey end in a proposal? And perhaps more significantly:

Will his season be salvaged after the Rachael Kirkconnell racism scandal that has rocked the franchise to the core?

Chris Harrison has stepped away from the franchise following his tone deaf defense of Rachael, and it's unclear if he'll return.

Or what will be left of the show when/if he does.

Time will tell re: some of those historical topics, but as far as the spoilers go, we've got you. Scroll down to find out now.

[Spoiler alert, obviously.]

1. James is Making History

James is Making History
On the Season 25 premiere, Matt James - not only the first Black lead, but the first franchise newcomer to hand out the roses in years - admits to Chris Harrison that he's never been in love. Not ever. Not once in his life. "It's my job to change that," the host tells The Bachelor.

2. He Has Quite a Few Choices, Too

He Has Quite a Few Choices, Too
ABC released the names and photos of 43 women ahead of the season premiere. They range in ages from 21 through 32, but not all of these suitors ended up appearing on the show.

3. Where is the Season Being Filmed?

Where is the Season Being Filmed?
James' journey kicked off January 4 at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. The set was reportedly isolated and all COVID-19 protocols were being followed.

4. Make Way for Tayshia!

Make Way for Tayshia!
If you recognize the surroundings, your eyes are not deceiving you. The latest Bachelorette actually filmed her After the Final Rose ceremony at this same place - and the newly-engaged Tayshia has set a high bar for Matt.

5. Was There a Need to Shut Down at Any Point?

Was There a Need to Shut Down at Any Point?
No. Just like The Bachelorette (and the NBA), Covid protocols were followed and no surprises cases created any hiccups. "It's the blueprint and the formula we used to shoot Clare's season, and is working out perfectly," Chris Harrison, who ironically was the only person from the show to break quarantine when he took his kid to college, and was required to sit out for two weeks, told Entertainment Tonight. "I can tell you it's working, it's successful and -- knock on wood -- it'll continue to be successful."

6. Let's Talk First Impression Rose, Shall We?

Let's Talk First Impression Rose, Shall We?
The woman who earned the first impression rose made quite an impression on Matt and viewers alike.

7. Say Hello to Abigail Heringer!

Say Hello to Abigail Heringer!
Abigail got Matt's first rose. Originally from Salem, Oreon, Abigail was reportedly born partially deaf and given cochlear implants as a child.

8. Bow Down to the Queen

Bow Down to the Queen
Not everyone was as well received. Victoria Larson, a.k.a Queen Victoria, quickly made her presence felt on the 2021 season, both by captivating Matt and establishing herself as the villain to end all villains.

9. Body of Work

Body of Work
Victoria then found herself in an unexpected position - sympathetic victim - after a viral video showed Matt James' friend taking shots at her, specifically at her appearance. (Yes, somehow he had negative things to say about this person's appearance.) Whatever you think of her conduct on the show, she dealt with that off-screen controversy well.

10. Escort Her Out?

Escort Her Out?
In an unexpected twist, one of Matt's aspiring girlfriends Brittany Galvin was accused by fellow contestant Anna Redman of being a real life escort. As in she has transactional relationships with men for money in Chicago. Brittany denied this - while not shaming sex workers - and in the end, it was Anna who ended up paying the price.

11. Bye Bye, Bullies

Bye Bye, Bullies
On the February 1 episode, Matt bid farewell to both Anna Redman (above) and Queen Victoria, sending a strong message that bullying has no place in his journey to find a wife. Brittany, Ryan, Rachael, Serena P., Magi, Kit, MJ, Jessenia, Katie, Abigail, Chelsea and Serena C. received roses at the end of this emotional installment.

12. How Far Does Abigail Advance?

How Far Does Abigail Advance?
Sadly, for those hoping that the first deaf contestant would run away with Matt's heart all the way to the finale, she was eliminated in the final six this year. (Which is still a heck of a run.)

13. The Final Four Lucky Ladies

The Final Four Lucky Ladies
It took a little longer than some fans hoped, but Reality Steve has delivered the goods, and we know the names of Matt's final four.

14. Michelle Young

Michelle Young
Michelle arrived late - one of five women who were introduced to the house after the second rose ceremony. And it seems she wasted no time in catching Matt's eye.

15. Serena Pitt

Serena Pitt
Next up is Serena Pitt. The 23-year-old publicist and self-described foodie from Toronto formed quite a connection with Matt. She may not have gotten as much time with Matt as she would have liked during the insanity of the first party, but she more than made up for it down the road.

16. Bri Springs

Bri Springs
Bri is something of a wild card. Steve says this is the one he was least certain of and she didn't get as much screen time as some of her competition. But right now, with Bri having made it to the final four, she got the last laugh.

17. Rachael Kirkconnell

Rachael Kirkconnell
Last but certainly not least, the lovely and controversial Rachael Kirkconnell rounds out the final foursome this season. Like Matt, the Cumming, Ga., resident is a southerner with a taste for the old-fashioned (which we recently learned is not necessarily always positive). Kirkconnell says she's never been in love, but obviously that will change this season. So who will receive Matt's final rose??

18. Not Serena Pitt

Not Serena Pitt
Serena Pitt withdrew from the competition during hometown dates (quote-unquote), saying she realized Matt was not her person. That made James' life easier, as he had three roses to give out and three women remaining. However, one was not entirely pleased.

19. Bri Springs Not Eternal

Bri Springs Not Eternal
Bri was not happy that she was the third (out of three) to receive a rose from Matt. She felt this signified that she was his lowest priority, and she may not be incorrect.

20. There Can Be Only Two ... Then One

There Can Be Only Two ... Then One
Steve's spies tell him that Bri will be the next to go, leaving Rachael and Michelle in the final two, and after that, Rachael Kirkconnell emerges victorious. Of course, major questions still remain about how it all went down.

21. Hometown Intel

Hometown Intel
The Bachelor spoilers guru says that intel is backed by reports from the residents of Cumming, Ga., who say there's no doubt that Rachael is Matt's woman. "All I keep being told out of Cumming is that Rachael won, and all her friends and family know and they’re telling everyone," Steve writes.

22. Could This Be Wrong?

Could This Be Wrong?
Of course. Steve cautions readers that the outcome is still not guaranteed, and there's "a lot more that goes down this season." And there's also the chance of a late-season (even post-season) shift, as we've seen with Arie and Jason, to name a few. But Steve also doesn't publish things that he's not confident in, and overall has an incredible track record. So the smart money is definitely on Rachael.

23. The Runner-Up

The Runner-Up
As for Michelle, we don't know with 100 percent certainty that she makes it all the way to Matt's top two, but there is one piece of information that seems to indicate as much.

24. No Ceremony Needed

No Ceremony Needed
According to Reality Steve, Matt sends Michelle home during an intimate, one-on-one moment, as opposed to during a rose ceremony.

25. The Correct Move

The Correct Move
Typically, this is a move we see on The Bachelorette - the lead sends one of the two guys home in order to spare him the embarrassment of standing there for a final rose ceremony. It seems Matt may have taken a page from the ladies' book. We respect that.

26. Twists and Turns ...

Twists and Turns ...
So we have a pretty good sense of how the remainder of this season will play out. But don't worry, there are more surprises to come. Like this one:

27. Will There Be a Proposal?

Will There Be a Proposal?
Matt did not propose to Rachael. They are still together as of February, but he does not propose at the end of the show, and has not done so since. Is that a sign of trouble brewing?

28. Think About It

Think About It
Does an engagement really matter when only one man's proposal (Sean Lowe's) on the show ended in marriage? (Yes, we know Jason Mesnick and Arie Luyendyk went on to date their respective runners-up and married them, but neither Molly or Lauren received the actual Bachelor Neil Lane special.) If anything, Matt might be going about things differently for that reason, and not wanting to cheapen something like an engagement - a charge Hannah Ann Sluss made re: Peter Weber last season.

29. On the Flip Side ...

On the Flip Side ...
The odds still aren't good that these two will last. Not because of whether or not he proposed on the finale, just because, period. It rarely works out, and while it's possible Matt is more ready for a serious relationship than he lets on, it just doesn't seem likely, and perhaps we will have to eat our words one day if he proves us wrong.

30. Then There's the Racism Scandal

Then There's the Racism Scandal
It all started when an Instagram user accused frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell of racist behavior. The whistle-blower claimed that Kirkconnell had bullied her for dating black men while the two were in high school.

31. It Got Worse in a Hurry

It Got Worse in a Hurry
The controversy escalated when photos of Kirkconnell attending a plantation-themed party in 2018 began to make the rounds on social media. The Georgia native remained silent longer than many viewers thought was appropriate, and when Kirkconnell did apologize, she was widely criticized for sounding forced and insincere.

32. Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Open Mouth, Insert Foot
Chris Harrison then made matters much worse for the entire franchise. In an interview with Rachel Lindsay (pictured), Harrison defended Kirkconnell, criticized the "woke police" for coming after her, said 2018 was a lot different than 2021, and other insensitive things. He quickly issued an apology and took a leave of absence from the franchise.

33. This is Going to Get Weird

This is Going to Get Weird
Obviously, this puts producers in a very difficult position. The franchise relies upon happy, functional couples who stay together After the Final Rose (at least for awhile). This year the guests of honor will likely be Matt and a woman whose racially insensitive behavior has made her the most controversial Bachelor contestant in the show's history. How does Matt himself feel about it, having watched this unfold in real time?

34. Matt Breaks His Silence

Matt Breaks His Silence
On February 23, James finally spoke out about this, telling everyone how he feels - and also suggesting that he's still figuring out how he feels (not good, to say the least) and that he will have more to say after some more time passes. He writes: "The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison. Chris' failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch. This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home. As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years. I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better."

35. Anyone's Guess

Anyone's Guess
Where do these events and Matt's statement leave us heading into the finale? This might be the rare case in which producers are actually rooting for the couple to break up before the finale so that they can dodge what's sure to be an intensely awkward situation and attempt to wash their hands of it all. Of course, only Matt and Rachael can speak for their relationship. Alternately, producers can choose to ban her from the ATFR special and have Matt on by himself, but that might do more harm than good. Whatever the case, it's rather ironic that it should happen in Chris Harrison's absence, but this the Most Dramatic Season in Bachelor History!!

36. UPDATE, 2/23/21: It's Over

UPDATE, 2/23/21: It's Over
Well, that was fast. In his tweet confirming the news, Reality Steve wrote: "Not that Matt’s statement wasn’t pretty clear itself, but I can confirm that Matt and Rachael have broken up."

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