What makes Floridians so perfect for reality TV? Of the initial 31 suitors vying to win over attorney Rachel Lindsay’s heart on the current season of The Bachelorette, a lucky seven have connections to the Sunshine State. And they're not all nutjobs either. All of them made it past the shameful first round of cuts where eight men are dismissed from the competition, proving that Florida men can at least make a great first impression. Fortunately, most of these gentleman paint our state in a positive light. But who has the potential to snag a Bachelor season of his own? We've ranked the Florida contestants so you don't have to.
7. Blake Elarbee
Originally from Jacksonville, this “aspiring drummer” couldn't make it past the second rose ceremony. But don't blame Florida: Blake relocated to Marina del Rey, California, to pursue his career as a private trainer and part-time fitness model before joining the show. Maybe California turned this Florida State University grad into a bitter Bachelorette competitor more focused on taking down his rival, Lucas Yancey (better known as “Whaboom”), than winning Rachel’s heart. Blake was on this season for only a short time, so there could be layers to him that we never got to see. But he didn't play this game well. He should have realized that the moment a suitor allows himself to be defined by a rivalry, he has already lost. Sorry, Blake — you’ve always got your drumming career to look forward to.
6. Jonathan Treece
Originally from Arkansas, this New Smyrna Beach dweller is infamous as the show’s self-proclaimed “tickle monster.” Way to cultivate that creepy-uncle vibe, Jonathan. He actually seems like a nice guy, but the tickling is pretty much a deal-breaker. Word to the wise, Jonathan: try playing up the fact that you’re an MD. You’re a practicing doctor living in Florida! Focus on that and use it to mask your gross inclination inclination to tickle with little to no consent.
5. Bryce Powers
The internet is not in a good place for dear Bryce. In his official bio on the Bachelorette site, Powers answers that his “biggest date fear” would be finding out that “the chick is actually a dude.” The thoughtless comment put this 30-year-old from Orlando under fire, particularly from the LGBT community, before he really got a chance to make an impression on the show. There's nowhere to go from there but up, and on the show he has recovered momentum as a charismatic and seemingly honest firefighter who literally swept Rachel off her feet during their first encounter. Still, this elfish-looking man hasn’t had enough screen time to really distinguish himself from the other contestants — or to explain his apparently homophobic comment.
4. Bryan Abasolo
Leave it to a Miami boy to swoop in for the first kiss of the season, and a passionate one on the very first night at that. This tall, suave chiropractor is a University of Florida graduate. He has a very clear chemistry with Rachel and doesn’t seem to be shying away from it. Abasolo used that typical South Florida charm, saying he’s “the good kind of trouble" and whispering sweet nothings to Rachel in Spanish, to claim a kiss and the “first impression rose." Though Abasolo might not be engaged by the end of this season, he certainly has a shot at becoming the next Bachelor. We’ll just have to keep an eye on this charmer until then — and maybe take a trip west on Sunset Drive just to get a firsthand account of his massage skills.
3. Kenny “King” Layne
Originally from Orlando, Kenny Layne currently resides in Las Vegas with his daughter. Layne is a professional wrestler known as Kenny King who attended Florida State University and University of South Florida before moving to the West Coast. There, he’s also dabbled in dancing for Chippendales. But because of his unusual career choices, he might be able to break out of the typical role that parents play as contestants. Patterns indicate that although contestants with children make it to the top four to go on a hometown date, the road generally ends shortly thereafter, when the Bachelor/Bachelorette realizes an established family dynamic might not be right for them. Still, Kenny appears to be one of the sweetest and most genuine contestants of the season. Let's hope he can make it out of the parent trap and dodge any aggressive-black-man tropes, which teasers claim will stir up trouble in future episodes.
2. Josiah Graham
This lawyer practicing in Broward County hasn’t seen a ton of screen time thus far, but he’s made a lasting impression as a frontrunner. Josiah is a native Floridian, having attended South Plantation High School, University of Central Florida, and Florida State University School of Law. In one of his first interviews on the show, he explained his tragic backstory and path to redemption. At the age of 7, he lost his older brother, which led him down a troubled path. When he was 12, he was arrested for burglary and given a second chance by the same attorney’s office for which he now works. Can he win over a fellow lawyer’s heart? If not, could he become the first black Bachelor? Josiah is confident, charismatic, successful, and multifaceted. He’s the ideal contestant on a show like The Bachelorette.
1. Will Gaskins
Originally from White Plains, New York, Will works and lives in Miami as a sales manager at Herman Miller. Based on the previews for the season's upcoming shows, he'll take on the role of peacemaker among the contestants. Whenever Will is shown spending time with Rachel, he seems to be charming her with poetry or humor. Que fancy. The Miamian had very little screen time in the first three episodes. Some viewers might say that fact is a bad sign, but it might actually bode well for him. Often, when a handsome and sweet suitor is only lightly featured, the show is setting up the arc for the winner. Who doesn’t like a good twist? Keep an eye out for Will as the season progresses. A Floridian might be engaged to Rachel Lindsay after all is said and done.
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