ABC surprised its next “Bachelorette” during the season finale of “The Bachelor” Monday night by trotting out four of the men who will compete for her final rose, two of whom were African American.

The unprecedented move of beginning the next season on the previous season finale kicks off the show’s unprecedented casting of its first African American in the driver’s seat in 33 seasons.

It all went down during Monday’s “After the Final Rose” special. After spending time with Bachelor Nick Viall and his winner, Vanessa Grimaldi, host Chris Harrison said he had a surprise for Rachel Lindsay when she joined him on stage.

“I’ve been talking about this epic surprise for Bachelor Nation. The truth is, it’s actually an epic surprise for you,” he said to Lindsay, who appeared to have no idea what he had planned. “We’ve never done this before. You know, obviously, you’re the Bachelorette. What you don’t know is The Bachelorette starts right now.”

He then screamed, “Come on out!”

Harrison had the backdrop showing the Bachelor mansion rolled onto the stage, while Lindsay continued to respond in disbelief.

“You ready to meet your first guy?” he asked.

“I’m normally not at a loss of words — I don’t even know what to say right now,” she said as a limo of her contestants pulled up outside. “I wasn’t ready!”

One-by-one, four of the men who will appear on Lindsay’s season then introduced themselves in typical premiere-night fashion. Two of the contestants were African-American (Demario, who brought along plane tickets and a ring to elope in Las Vegas; and Eric, who engaged her with dance moves) and two were white (Blake, who kissed her hand; and Dean who said: “I’m ready to go black and I’m never going to go back.”)

When Harrison asked her if she’d met the man of her dreams, Lindsay said, “I don’t want to jump the gun!”

 

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