Anyone watching this season of The Bachelorette can confirm that it’s been harder than ever to determine a clear frontrunner: lead Tayshia Adams has chemistry with so many of her suitors that Bachelor Nation seems to switch teams with every group date. But after last week’s episode, one contestant has emerged as the season’s clear fan favorite: Ivan Hall, a 28-year-old engineer from Dallas, Texas.
Ivan has been smitten from night one: after his first conversation with Tayshia, he told the rest of the guys that he was already more interested in Tayshia than former lead Clare Crawley. In episode 7, Ivan finally won a one-on-one date (and thousands of hearts) after putting his all into a thoughtful spoken-word performance during an impromptu talent competition. And my apologies to Tyler C., The Bachelorette’s reigning king of romance, but Ivan’s evening with Tayshia turned into the best date we’ve seen on the show yet.
Ivan and Tayshia kicked off the date with a game of The Floor Is Lava and a disgustingly massive ice cream sundae. Afterwards, when they started discussing their families, Ivan opened up about his younger brother, who struggled with drugs and alcohol and ended up incarcerated for four years.
“Especially with George Floyd, and that’s police brutality, that’s something that really hit home for me,” he told Tayshia, adding that his brother had stories about correctional officers “beating him up” in prison. “I felt so bad because my first question was, ‘Well, Gabe, what did you do?’ But it doesn’t matter. No matter what George Floyd did either way, or what my brother did, these people have a job to do, and they need to do it right. They can’t just be hurting people.”
The story made way for a conversation unlike any other we’ve seen on the show: Tayshia and Ivan discussed their thoughts on this year’s Black Lives Matter protests and Tayshia’s experience as a Black and Mexican woman living in Orange County, California. Not only was the conversation groundbreaking for The Bachelorette, but many viewers noted that it felt more natural than heavy, personal conversations on the show usually do. Tayshia’s night with Ivan also felt like a genuine, normal date — and one that went really, really well. So well, in fact, that Ivan's name trended on Twitter in the U.S.
After the episode aired, Ivan wrote on Instagram that the date was "special." His other posts, which include lots of throwback pictures and sweet snapshots with his niece, only further emphasize his close relationship with his family. Like every Bach contestant, he also appears to be a big proponent of the shirtless thirst trap (and, evidently, white wine).
On Twitter, he thanked viewers for their support and added that he's proud to be the first Black and Asian contestant on The Bachelorette.
Ivan’s vulnerability, maturity, and clear feelings for Tayshia have landed him a spot among fan favorites like Mike Johnson and Peter Kraus, and now, fans are just hoping he doesn’t get his heart broken like they did. “Tayshia, please don’t break Ivan’s heart. I’m gonna be so hurt,” wrote one Twitter user. Others are preparing to protect him at all costs.