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Spoilers ahead for the August 19 episode of Bachelor in Paradise on ABC.
The plot is thickening on Bachelor in Paradise, despite the thinning of the ranks in the latest episode. Thanks to the throwdown between Jordan Kimball and Christian Estrada, the rose ceremony, and the shocking voluntary departure of one of the ladies, there are fewer singles looking to mingle in Paradise. That said, one man emerged from the pack to become a frontrunner as the next Bachelor, in my opinion. And that man is Derek Peth.
What happened in this episode that has me on Team Derek for Bachelor 2020? Well, a bunch of people left. Jordan and Christian got the boot, sadly before the reveal of what was inside the piñata. Onyeka Ehie, upset that none of the guys had gone the extra mile to woo her, decided to leave herself without distributing a rose.
Finally, Wills, Always Be Cam, and Kevin Fortenberry had to leave after failing to earn a rose from one of the remaining ladies. Caitlin Clemmens arrived to keep Blake busy after he got to stick around by somehow winning a rose from Kristina, and Hannah stuck with Dylan. By this point, the most solid couple in Paradise seemed to be Derek and Demi Burnett.
Unfortunately for fans hoping for a happily-ever-after between Derek and Demi, that might not be in the stars for them. Demi has been conflicted over her new feelings for Derek in Paradise on top of her lingering feelings for the woman she'd been seeing back home, and this episode saw Demi wondering if there would be any contest between the two if she had them both in front of her.
She opened up to Derek about how much she's been thinking about the woman she'd been seeing, and missing her. This was huge for Demi to come out and share as well as for Derek to hear from the woman he's been all-in on in Paradise.
For his part, Derek was completely understanding when Demi needed some space away from him, and is seemingly devoted to her and hope for their future together. Derek is really doing everything right at this point, in my book, but Demi seems like the more time she spends in Paradise, the more she misses the woman she left behind, and the episodes so far seem to suggest that Demi and her lady love will win the day rather than Demi and Derek.
If Demi does choose what she left behind over what she found in Paradise, that leaves Derek with his yearning for a relationship, his patience, and his baby blues without a partner. Unlike Blake, he's not the center of a love pentagram, and most of the guys weren't as ready to settle on one woman right out of the gate. If you ask me, Derek has proven that he has the temperament to be a good Bachelor, and would totally be there for the right reasons.
But does Derek stand a chance at becoming the next Bachelor? New Bachelor and Bachelorette leads are generally pulled from the previous season of The Bachelor and Bachelorette, and Derek made his Bachelor franchise debut back in 2016 with Season 12 of The Bachelorette. He then appeared in Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, which he actually won and then proposed to Taylor Nolan at the reunion show. That relationship fell apart, opening Derek to return to Paradise for Season 6.
Has Derek been around the Bachelor block a few too many times to get the top Bachelor spot in 2020? Is the franchise looking for somebody fresher, from Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, to star? Tyler Cameron was hugely popular after Hannah turned him down in favor of Jed, but getting asked out by Hannah live on TV after she dumped Jed and then going out on a public date with somebody else may have knocked him out of the running.
Mike is another contender, and I'm actually astonished more women weren't chasing after Mike after he arrived in Paradise. Maybe even John Paul Jones has a shot, for all that he seems set on Tayshia Adams at the moment. All these gents are fresher faces in the franchise than Derek, and both Mike and JPJ are present in Paradise. So does Derek have a shot?
I'd say yes. The delay in the announcement of the next Bachelor leading man had everything to do with Bachelor in Paradise, according to Chris Harrison, so my money is on one of the guys there becoming the next Bachelor. That's what happened with Colton Underwood last season, after all.
Blake Horstmann is probably the biggest name of the guys in Paradise at the moment, much like Colton had been, but Blake isn't exactly winning himself lots of fans due to his treatment of pretty much everybody except Hannah. Dylan Barbour and Derek are the only two guys who really seem to be painted with a positive brush at this point, and I can't see Dylan as the next Bachelor.
Bachelor in Paradise is always kind of a wild mess, but the franchise may be looking to clean itself up for the next season of The Bachelor. The news about Jed's duplicity became very public for a lot of Hannah's season of The Bachelorette, and Luke P. was irritating at best and downright alarming at worst. He was called "psychopath" for a reason, after all! A bunch of Hannah's guys seemed to be competing for her heart for the wrong reasons.
Couldn't The Bachelor use a leading man who has proved that he can work with a partner, hasn't wavered from his desire to get married, and managed to go through 2.5 seasons of the franchise so far without any skeletons being unearthed from his closets?