Filming on the next season of The Bachelorette usually begins just days after The Bachelor finishes airing, so it's pretty unusual to find out that the cast hasn't been locked up yet. The Bachelor producers announced during the Women Tell All episode that they're still casting for Clare Crawley's Bachelorette season, likely in an attempt to round the group out with some more age-appropriate men. Of course, there's nothing wrong with an older woman dating a younger man, but it's worth giving her all the options and letting her choose.
Clare will be the franchise's oldest Bachelorette at 38. Rachel Lindsay was the previous holder of that title; she filmed her season at age 32. Recently, the casts of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have been skewing younger and younger. According to INSIDER, the average Bachelorette contestant age is 29. But since that's still almost a decade younger than Clare, the casting team seems to be looking to up that number a bit. Interested parties can apply here or nominate someone with a mail-in or online application.
Generally, the next Bachelorette is announced live during The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special. But the show changed things up for Clare for likely the same reason they changed things up for Rachel — who was announced before she'd even been eliminated from Nick Viall's season. At the time, host Chris Harrison explained to The Hollywood Reporter why Rachel was announced early. "The Bachelor runs right up to when we start taping The Bachelorette, we're talking days," he said. "We're like, 'Well we need to let everybody know that Rachel is our Bachelorette.' We would like to cast the show for her."
In another Hollywood Reporter interview, Harrison added that the show gets a better casting turnout when people already know who the lead is. "That’s the point in bringing someone back," he said. "You have their name and that built-in connection so why not take advantage of it?"
He added that the show casts 12 months a year to find people who would also just make good TV, but that it's important that some of the contestants really be there just for that specific lead. "It makes a big difference," the host said.
According to Bachelor spoiler blogger Stephen Carbone (aka Reality Steve), the casting team may have already already cut some of the younger guys. Steve reported that a 25-year-old alleged potential contestant took to Facebook to write a lengthy post about having been cast and then removed from the cast with the Bachelorette change-up. He seemed pretty broken up about it, but it's probably for the best if he wouldn't have been a good fit for Clare. She deserves the best possible cast with the best possible options for her to truly find someone. And if we get a more mature group of contestants out of it, then that's just a welcome bonus.