‘The Bachelor of Provo’ contestants form friendships, hope to snag a relationship

From left: Sarah Bradshaw, Kate Hendrickson, Annali Crandall, McKenna Wright, Annalee Ross, Aubrey Gooch and Elena Deighton pose for a picture on set of the third episode at Wadley Farms (Annali Crandall)

See also “Provo’s own ‘The Bachelor’ surpasses expectations

Many women on BYU campus thought it was a joke when they saw a flier advertising Colin Ross as the Bachelor of Provo. Others thought it would be a fun way to meet and make new friends.

Whatever their intentions were in the beginning, the women interviewed in this article had expectations and intentions that changed the night they showed up to meet Ross the first day of filming.

The show started as a joke between two roommates as a way to find Ross a girlfriend. However, the majority of those who were involved began to take it more seriously as the filming process began.

Contestant Annalee Ross is a freshman at BYU who saw one of the fliers with Ross’ face on it at Helaman Halls.

Show host Remington Butler holds one of the fliers advertising ‘The Bachelor of Provo.’ (Remington Butler)

“I have grown up watching ‘The Bachelor,’” Ross said. “I saw the flier and thought, ‘Oh, I am bred to be on this show. I have to be on it.’ Going into it, it was more something that I thought would be funny to look back on.”

Many of the contestants expressed the same initial intentions of simply wanting to try something different and thought it would be a funny experience.

Elena Deighton is also a BYU freshman and saw the flier at Heritage Halls. Deighton is from London and had actually never seen “The Bachelor” but was familiar with the premise.

“I figured it was a good way to make new friends and meet new people,” Deighton said. “I didn’t realize it would blow up this big, but I applied just thinking that it would be a bit of fun. I also thought it was really funny, the idea of it.”

Annali Crandall, a freshman at BYU, saw the flier that one of her roommates had stuck to her fridge in their dorm.

“I thought it was a joke,” Crandall said. “So, I applied for it the night before the application was due and the next morning I got an email saying, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been accepted.’”

Crandall said she doesn’t remember the flier having any indication that the “Bachelor of Provo” was going to be filmed.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to find an eternal companion,’” Crandall said. “I was like, ‘Let’s just see if I could date this kid, let’s see if we are compatible.’”

BYU junior McKenna Wright had a different experience from many of the contestants.

Wright said her cousin applied in her stead telling the producers she would be the perfect fit for the show. Eventually, when Wright made it past the initial selection process, she got on board with the idea.

“At that point I was like, ‘Might as well,’” Wright said. “And because I hadn’t seen a flier, I didn’t know how broadly they had been advertising so I figured when I got in, I thought that they must not have gotten a lot of applicants.”

The fliers created quite a buzz and received over 200 responses.

Contestants pose for a selfie together in-between filming the second episode. (Annali Crandall)

“I thought it would be really fun to see the people I would be meeting,” Wright said. “I didn’t know what the bachelor looked like. I didn’t know who was behind the whole thing. I was like, ‘This could be fun to see where this goes.’”

Although the contestants said they thought it would be a fun experience, their intentions shifted at some point after the first night of filming.

Crandall said her intentions shifted when she met Ross in person after seeing him face to face.

“I’ve gotten a little more serious about it,” Crandall said. “He is a really nice guy, and I do want to see if I could date him. I’m still not like set on getting married at the end of this but more like, ‘Let’s see if we can date.’”

Deighton said meeting and talking to Ross changed her perspective about the show.

“After the first episode, once I got to meet Colin, I think I became a bit more interested in him and less about the social aspect of it,” Deighton said.

Wright said her intentions changed the first night when she arrived and saw how seriously everyone was taking the filming process. Wright is the oldest contestant on the show at age 23. She said she wanted to represent the demographic of Provo women who aren’t freshman.

“I’m competitive, but I also wanted to see where my relationship would go with the girls and with Colin,” Wright said.

None of the contestants knew what to expect that night after a brief info meeting prior to filming.

“When I showed up there were professional lights everywhere,” Ross said. “I was a little overwhelmed because I realized that, ‘Oh, this is serious.’”

The contestants interviewed said they are starting to be recognized on and off campus. Deighton said she was on her way back from a devotional and could hear girls whispering behind her. When she turned around, they had their phone out taking pictures of her.

The show features many contestants who attend BYU — even the bachelor himself attends.

“All us girls went to have lunch and we were in the line at Chick-fil-A and this boy comes up to us with a notepad and was like, ‘Hey, can I have your autograph?’” Deighton said. “Which is kind of funny.”

The interviewed contestants agreed it can be strange at times, but for the most part they enjoy being recognized and see it as an opportunity to meet and talk to new people.

McKenna Wright and Annali Crandall pose for a picture together during the production of the second episode of “The Bachelor of Provo.” (Annali Crandall)

Wright, Ross, Crandall and Deighton all said they have enjoyed creating friendships with the other contestants. Because filming can take so long they have the opportunity to talk and get to know each other and have formed close bonds fairly quickly, they said.

“As it’s progressively gotten to be less and less girls, us girls get more closely tight knit, but we also realize that this will be less about each other now and more about him,” Wright said.

Only two episodes have been released and there is currently a third in production. Because of the nature of the show, contestants only get minutes of one-on-one time with the Bachelor which poses a question for viewers if this format actually lets a person get to know another person.

“Honestly, I feel like I don’t know him,” Crandall said. “There’s so much I don’t know about him and we haven’t gotten that connection yet, so I kind of wish that we had more time to actually go on dates and get to know each other.”

Crandall said there is an unspoken rule to not have much interaction with the bachelor outside of filming as to not give anyone an unfair chance at winning his affection. However, as there are fewer contestants they have started talking outside of filming more and more.

“I feel like I do know him and have a connection,” Wright said.

At the end of the original “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” viewers typically expect a proposal to the final contestant. However, the Provo Bachelor said there won’t be a ring at the end of this series. The contestants have their own opinion about what they think will happen and what they want to happen.

“I don’t want to be getting myself into an engagement my second semester at college,” Deighton said. “Me personally, I would be interested in a boyfriend. We’ll see if it gets that far.”

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