He had an open bar. He had many beautiful women angling to spend time with him. And he had the eyes of a nation interested in his every move.
And yet: Clayton Echard entered the cocktail party on The Bachelor on Monday night in a “somber mood,” as the former football player explained in a confessional.
“The drama that’s unfolding between Shanae and Elizabeth is starting to affect time that I get to spend with other women,” Clayton said.
“And I need to address it.”
As a result, Echard let the ladies know he couldn’t go on until he sorted out the situation.
“There were a lot of disturbing things brought to my attention this week and so I really don’t feel that I can move forward with the cocktail party until I address it first,” the handsome brunette said to the group.
“And so Shanae and Elizabeth, can I talk to you two outside please?”
Once the trio was alone, Clayton laid it all out, telling the feuding suitors:
“I do feel a connection with both of you. The frustrating part is, I can’t build a relationship with either of you when we are having this conflict.”
From there, Shanae accused Elizabeth of being “fake,” “toxic” and a “bully,” and also of turning all the other contestants against her.
With no conflict resolved, Echard canceled the rest of thhe gathering and went straight to the Rose Ceremony.
At the ceremony, Clayton gave roses to Marlena, Teddi, Rachel, Mara, Sierra, Susie, Jill, Serene, Genevieve, Hunter, Lyndsey, and yes, awful villain Shanae.
That meant Elizabeth, Melina and Kira were sent home.
The remaining women traveled to Houston for the next leg of their journey with Clayton, where Rachel, went on a one-on-one date that started with a horseback ride.
After seemingly crashing a family’s barbecue and drinking some beers, Clayton told Rachel he did have one concern about her.
“The more I talk to you, the more confused I get and the more questions I have and I’m trying to make sense of it, but it just doesn’t make sense,” he explained.
“I’m wondering how a woman as beautiful as you, with a badass job, that is just so kind, I’m wondering how you’re here.”
After Rachel said her previous boyfriend didn’t support her career and Clayton said he always would, the pair ended their evening by taking in a private performance by country group Restless Road.
“I’ll never dim your light,” Clayton whispered to Rachel as they danced.
Rachel, for her part, said she could absolutely see herself falling in love with Echard.
On the group date (with Sarah, Eliza, Teddi, Marlena, Jill, Susie, Mara, Sierra, Hunter, Lynsey, Genevieve, Gabby and Shanae), the group went to NRG Stadium for some cornhole and some football.
Afterward, Marlena challenged Clayton over his Rose Ceremony decision.
“When you decided to keep Shanae, a lot of the women in the house were shocked. Okay?” she told the Missouri native.
“And it’s because, based off the character that we know of you to be, we believe that if you have a full story, you wouldn’t want somebody like that to be your wife.”
Clayton told Marlena he appreciated her opinion, yet admitted to the cameras:
“I was absolutely shocked to hear her talk about Shanae still. Like, I thought we were done with this.”
Genevieve later emphasized similar concerns about Shanae to Clayton, the former of whom got word that her fellow contestants were trashing her to The Bachelor.
“I deserve to be here so I wanted to come see you,” she told Clayton after she crashed the winning team’s party.
“I overheard them literally saying what they were plotting,” Shanae added of Sierra, Gabby and Genevieve.
“They were like, ‘We need to get the 14 girls together to gang up on Shanae’ to send me home.”
When Shanae finished this talk with Clayton, she went over to the group of women and shouted:
“Genevieve and Sierra, keep my name out of your f—ing mouth!”
She then threw the winning team’s trophy into the bushes, asserting to the cameras: It’s Shanae Show and not The Bachelor.
The Bachelor airs at 8/7c on ABC on Monday nights.
To see what may happen next, visit our section of The Bachelor spoilers!