The Most Unexpected Fan Favorites From Matt James' Season Of The Bachelor

When Matt James' season of The Bachelor began, no one had any idea what a headline-grabbing season it would be. The 28-year-old real estate broker, per ABC, made history as the first Black bachelor on the show, but race would become an even bigger conversation this season than anyone anticipated.

The headlines off the show have competed with those playing out on screen. In particular, Chris Harrison's comments about race, which have led to him taking a step back for the foreseeable future, have caused big conversations about how The Bachelor has and has not changed in its nearly 20 years on the air.

At the heart of it all, however, is a competition about love. Though there have been a lot of spoilers out there about this season, there's also been a lot of talk about which ladies stand out. Whether they end up winning Matt James' heart, as the next star of The Bachelorette, or as our new Instagram must-follows, these ladies have definitely caught the attention of Bachelor nation.

Katie Thurston won fans over with her bold entrance

Katie Thurston made an unforgettable entrance when she whipped out a glittery purple vibrator when first meeting Matt James. It made her memorable but also put on the table that her sex-positivity stance was non-negotiable.

"I thought it was funny," Matt told Entertainment Tonight of the moment. "It's who she is, that's how she wanted to come and represent herself and I thought it was awesome. I was comfortable doing something like that and I'm not going to shame her for that. That was dope."

As for Katie, she knew she was running a risk of alienating him right off the bat. "I would have no regrets because it really summarizes who I am as a person, my sense of humor, my confidence, my sexual empowerment for females," she told the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast. "I didn't know what to expect when I did my little stunt. But, he laughed. And I just felt like this huge weight lifted off of me after that."

Her fun-loving honesty has many fans crossing their fingers she'll be the next Bachelorette.

The Bachelor fans were so upset to see Abigail Heringer go

Abigail Heringer received Matt James' first impression rose on night one, and for good reason, reported Monsters and Critics. Abigail revealed that she was born hearing-impaired, and without her cochlear implant, she is completely deaf, per Elite Daily. Her sister is also hearing-impaired. 

Matt appreciated Abigail's vulnerability. Throughout the season, she proved to be funny, relatable, and charming. Fans were rooting for her to get more time with Matt, but they never ended up on a one-on-one date. Abigail decided to ask Matt James straight up where they stood. The conversation led to her going home. She tearfully told cameras, "I feel like I make men realize what they want next, but they never want me." 

The simple sentiment resonated with a lot of people out there watching. Not only did they feel for Abigail, but many want to see her as the next Bachelorette.

Pieper James kept it real, for better or worse

Fans of Pieper James were excited to see the 23-year-old marketing professional get her first shot at a one-on-one date with Matt James. Pieper became a fan favorite because of her genuine personality and natural chemistry with Matt. Fans joked that if they did work out, a name change wouldn't even be necessary.

During their one-on-one date, it seemed like the potential was there. Pieper was raw in opening up to Matt about her feelings, which is why it went over so badly when he decided to eliminate her at the end of the same episode. Pieper was definitely angry, but when she was deemed too "aggressive," fans came to her defense.

"Not y'all calling Pieper a mean girl for having a live, raw reaction to some random girl who's not even in the house interrupting her date. It's giving micro aggression," one fan wrote on Twitter.