Matt James is a newbie to The Bachelor franchise, being first introduced to fans as the best friend of Tyler Cameron–a fan favorite and the runner-up on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette. He was originally selected to be a contestant on Clare Crawley’s (short-lived) season of the show, but once production got halted due to COVID-19 and everything was up in the air, ABC announced Matt as their next Bachelor–and the show’s first Black Bachelor–without ever seeing him onscreen.
Following Monday night’s highly-anticipated premiere, Matt called into Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about his experience on the show. The 29-year-old real estate broker noted that he was actually supposed to be a contest on Claire Crawley’s season, but shortly after, the bubbling bachelor was shocked when he received a call from the series asking him to take on the show’s lead role.
“I thought they were pulling my leg and here we are eight months later,” James shared. “I honestly thought it was a joke because I was like this is too far out of left field. That was the last thing I was expecting to get on my phone … I really downplayed it and then they called back and they were like, ‘No, seriously,’ and I kind of sat down for a second and I was like, ‘I’m in, I’m honored.'”
Matt also shared his thoughts on the first night’s standout contestant Victoria Larsen who made her grand entrance to the show by being carried in lavishly by four masked men while deeming herself “The Queen.”
“To be honest with you, I appreciated everything about Victoria’s entrance and who she was because whatever you need to do to stand out, she did it,” he said. “And I remembered her name and it was lighthearted and it broke the ice. It’s such a tense situation and I was nervous and then when she comes out with everything she is, it put a smile on my face and it brought less tension to the night.”
Later in the interview, Matt talks about what it’s like being the lead without any prior Bachelor experience, and of course, Jimmy (and his wife) predict his final three.
Check out Matt James’ interview with Jimmy Kimmel down below to see what he has to say about everything that happens this season.