The Bachelor Fans Are At Last Rallying Behind Clayton Echard After Surprise Elimination

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the February 21 episode of The Bachelor

Clayton Echard finally — finally — seems to be winning over Bachelor Nation, after a season of The Bachelor that’s been full of manipulative bullies, as well as social media roasting and questionable fashion. Echard’s journey — not just to find love but also of self-discovery — seems to be playing out in real time, and with the latest episode, fans saw the Season 26 lead directly confront one of the contestants for manipulating him and send her packing in a surprise elimination.

Sarah Hamrick, who at 23 years old was the youngest of the women competing in Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor, had been rubbing the other women in the house the wrong way, and it all came to a head during a group couple’s therapy date. After the psychologist accused one of the women (without saying who) of being “performative,” the former football player seemed to pretty easily suss out she was talking about Hamrick, and then pretty easily called her out on it.

The wealth management advisor tried to save herself by crying to Clayton Echard about how hard the show had been for her…except no actual tears came around. Echard was just over it, and who could blame him after suffering through weeks of Shanae Ankney’s very present alligator tears? He bluntly called out Sarah Hamrick for “trying to fake cry,” and then sent her home immediately. Bachelor Nation was here for it, too, with many wondering where this take-no-shit attitude was for the first part of the season.

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Jaws dropped as Clayton Echard told Sarah Hamrick multiple times that he wasn’t buying what she was tearlessly selling. She tried to rebound by saying she had no tears left to cry, which was an admirable maneuver, but he didn’t back down. It was shocking to some fans that he was so easily able to see through Hamrick after weeks of seeing the Season 26 bachelor get manipulated.

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Even former contestants weighed in, with Bachelor in Paradise’s Tammy Ly saying that the surprise elimination earned back some points for the Missouri native.

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Other Twitter users had a field day with Sarah Hamrick’s performance, especially with her attempts to appear as if she was crying only happening until Clayton Echard called her out, at which point she immediately stopped. 

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We’ve seen this fake crying tactic before already this season, from villain Shanae Ankney. However, Ankney was indeed able to produce real tears, prompting her to brag to producers that she was a better actress than Meryl Streep (as if). Sarah Hamrick just couldn’t make the waterworks flow, prompting fans to invoke Ariana Grande in Hamrick’s response that she had “no tears left.” 

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It’s been a tough road for Clayton Echard this season, so bad that he admitted that for the first few weeks, he even regretted becoming The Bachelor. It’s hard to win Bachelor Nation over, but hopefully now that we’ve seen this new side of him, the tide has turned for good.  Who would have thought that merely being assertive would have people actually proclaiming that they stan Echard now? 

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Let’s just hope the fans' good will lasts! Next week will take us to the finalists’ hometowns, and we’re fast approaching not just the dramatic admissions from Clayton Echard that he fell in love and was intimate with multiple women, but also what is sure to be a ridiculously dramatic “Women Tell All.” 

The Bachelor airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see the premiere and return dates for your favorite shows. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.