Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette was already making history for having the oldest Bachelorette in franchise history and becoming the first season to be delayed due to a worldwide pandemic, but not two weeks into filming, the lead made headlines for another reason. In August, Vulture reported that Clare, who was filming her season in a quarantine bubble at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs under COVID-19 guidelines, quit the show after only 12 days of filming because she had fallen for then 31-year-old contestant Dale Moss.
Shortly after, rumors swirled that ABC had nabbed former Bachelor contestant Tayshia Adams to step in as the new Bachelorette. According to E! News, an insider reported that Tayshia joined production after undergoing quarantine, and that she was told ABC would "lead with Clare and her short-lived journey" and announce Tayshia as the lead later on.
As season 16 went on, everything from promotional videos to in-show interactions teased a dramatic disruption that shakes production. In the teaser for the season, Chris Harrison congratulates Clare, telling her that she "blew up" The Bachelorette. There are references to the season being cut short, a new Bachelorette potentially coming in, and the path Clare was on not ending well. When viewers finally got to see Clare and Dale's first meeting on screen during the Oct. 13 premiere, it's safe to say the sparks were flying! Dale ended the night snagging the coveted first impression rose, solidifying the fact that Clare is already invested in their connection.
By Clare's fourth episode, it was obvious that the Bachelorette only had her eye on one contestant, and the other men were quickly losing patience playing second fiddle for Clare's attention. In the Nov. 5 episode, Chris had a heart-to-heart with Clare where she admitted that she had fallen in love with Dale. The host explained that if Clare wanted to pursue a relationship with the former NFL player, she would have to break up with her other contestants. She was given an overnight date with Dale to make sure that he returned her feelings before she broke the news to her other suitors, officially ending her reign as the season's lead. Dale proposed to Clare, and the two went off to have their private couple time as Tayshia made her entry as the new Bachelorette.
Tayshia previously competed for Colton Underwood's heart during season 23 of The Bachelor and made it to the final three before he quit the show to pursue Cassie Randolph, and she also appeared on Bachelor in Paradise. It's the first time a lead has ever left in the middle of production — though, considering the circumstances, Clare's accomplished exactly what she came on the show to do! The added drama definitely livened up the franchise like never before, actually making it the most dramatic season of them all.