The breakout star of Season 1 of “Bachelor in Paradise Canada” — a homemade version of the U.S. reality romp that throws eligible singles together on a beach — wasn’t one of the Americans parachuted into the cast but a cowboy-hat-and-pink-Speedo-wearing Albertan whom nobody had heard of before October 2021.
Joey Kirchner was recruited as a “Bachelor Nation” fan of the series but quickly turned to fan favourite with his colourful quips and insights.
For the uninitiated, “Bachelor in Paradise” puts men and women together at a resort for a number of weeks — in Mexico for the U.S. show, Ontario for the Canadian — where they go on dates, hang out and hand out roses. Contestants have to be coupled up to stay in “Paradise,” with the end goal that some of those couples get engaged.
There were no proposals in the first season of the Canadian show although one couple — Canadian ex-CFL player Brendan Morgan and American “Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” alum Angela Amezcua — moved in together in Toronto. (The fact they no longer appear on each other’s Instagram accounts suggests they didn’t last.)
Kirchner, a 32-year-old actor and model, appeared to also find love that first year, but it didn’t work out, so he’s back for Season 2 when “Bachelor in Paradise Canada” debuts May 8.
He joins another Season 1 fan favourite in the cast, St. Catharines, Ont., cosplay artist Lisa Mancini, who also appeared in Season 3 of “The Bachelor Canada.”
There are also a couple of notable American franchise alumni on board: Connor Brennan, 30, who appeared on “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” and Chelsea Vaughn, 29, from “The Bachelor” and “Paradise.”
The mix of unknown fans with familiar faces has turned out to be a welcome change from the U.S. version of the series, which is cast exclusively with folks who have appeared on other “Bachelor” shows.
Adding fans to the cast is also a necessity since the Canadian “Paradise” doesn’t have a deep bench of past contestants to draw on.
Whereas “The Bachelor” has been airing in the States for 27 seasons, “The Bachelorette” for 19 and “Bachelor in Paradise” for eight, there were just three seasons of “Bachelor Canada” and one of “The Bachelorette Canada.”
Nor does familiarity guarantee a big presence on the show. Last year’s marquee Canadian cast member, Season 1 “Bachelor Canada” winner Bianka Kamber, got next to no screen time.
Speaking of familiar faces, Sharleen Joynt, an Ottawa-born opera singer and podcaster who became a fan favourite on the infamous Juan Pablo Galavis season of “The Bachelor,” is taking over as host. Toronto firefighter Kevin Wendt, who met his wife on the American “Bachelor in Paradise” after appearing on “The Bachelorette Canada,” returns as resident bartender.
Citytv says there will also be guest appearances by “Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” alum Demi Burnett; “Paradise” couple Abigail Heringer and Noah Erb; Wendt’s wife, Astrid Loch; singer-songwriters Lindsay Ell and Tyler Shaw; and drag artist Priyanka, winner of Season 1 of “Canada’s Drag Race.”
Here’s a look at who else will join Season 2:
The familiar Canadian faces
All of the Canuck alumnni in the cast, aside from Mancini, 29, made their only “Bachelor” appearances in the first season of “Paradise Canada.” They include Maria Garcia-Sanchez, a 30-year-old Colombian-Canadian clothing and textile designer who found herself involved in a couple of love triangles last season.
Also rejoining the cast alongside Mancini and Kirchner are Ana Cruz, a 27-year-old talent agent from Montreal, and Josh Guvi, a 29-year-old filmmaker from Vancouver.
The most high profile U.S. additions to “Paradise Canada” are Connor Brennan, a math teacher and Nashville musician whose claim to fame was showing up dressed as a cat on the first night of Katie Thurston’s “Bachelorette” season, and Chelsea Vaughn, a Brooklyn model and content creator who made it to Week 6 of Matt James’ “Bachelor” season.
But you might have to do some googling to remind yourself who the other past contestants are.
Also joining from Thurston’s season are Austin Tinsley, 26, a California real estate agent, and Quartney Mixon, 28, a “supplement brand owner” from Dallas. (Fun fact: Thurston got engaged to Canadian Blake Moynes at the end of her season but — all together now — it didn’t last.)
From Bachelorette Michelle Young’s season come two men who went home the first week: Edward Naranjo, 28, a Los Angeles fitness coach, and Garrett Aida, 34, a Salt Lake City tech CEO.
From Bachelor Clayton Echard’s season come Rianna Hockaday and Tessa Tookes, both 27, the former a registered nurse from Texas; the latter an HR strategist from Brooklyn. Hockaday didn’t make it past the first week while Tookes was eliminated in Week 2.
Producers have stacked this part of the cast with a few ringers who know their way around a reality TV contest. Toronto boxing trainer Godfrey Mangwiza, 29, appeared in Season 3 of “Big Brother Canada,” while Samantha Picco, 33, a St. John’s, N.L., entrepreneur, appeared in Season 7.
Meanwhile, Cole Medders, 29, a Los Angeles adventure guide, competed in Season 35 of “Survivor.”
The other fan cast members are Torontonians Paige Allen, 31; Shazeeda Gafoor, 24; Matia Marcantuoni, 28; Jake Ondrus, 22; Juan Osario, 32; and Marilyn Smith, 26; Vancouverites Krissy Kennedy, 27, and Meagan Morris, 28; Céline Paquette, 25, of Winnipeg; Linda Charlie, 23, of Yellowknife; and Nithisha Ketheeswaran, 26, of Stouffville, Ont.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
does not endorse these opinions.