[Update: Yancey was eliminated on the June 5 episode of The Bachelorette.]
All it took was one word to go viral: “Whaboom.” That, and a convulsive head shake to go with it.
One contestant on this season’s The Bachelorette has taken the internet by storm since making his debut on Monday night’s premiere. His name is Lucas Yancey, and the 30-year-old was labeled onscreen simply as “Whaboom.”
He explained to Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay — the historic first black lead of the long-running ABC franchise — that “Whaboom” is a lifestyle. When she asked for a demonstration, he screamed “Whaboom!” while having a near physical fit.
Thanks to Bachelor Nation, a catchphrase was born.
It didn’t take long, however, for viewers to question whether Yancey, who rocked his own “Whaboom” merchandise throughout the premiere, is on the show for “the right reasons” — a phrase often used to describe contestants who appear to be more interested in fame than love.
Most of Lindsay’s castmembers — who make up the most diverse grouping in the history of the long-running franchise — boast successful careers as lawyers, medical professionals, consultants, etc. But Yancey’s official occupation on the ABC website is also listed only as “a whaboom,” with no further details. He also describes himself as a fan of the “good old bump and grind” and names his best one-night stand as having a threesome at a wedding.
Yancey quickly emerged as the eyebrow-raising star of season 13, becoming fodder for late-night television — the focus of two Tonight Show segments — and dominating the social conversation: Yancey’s arrival was the most tweeted moment of the night, according to Twitter, and he accounted for 14 percent of The Bachelorette‘s social conversation across platforms, according to audience-insights firm Fizziology.
The “Whaboom” guy is far from the first gimmicky contestant to be featured during the traditional Night One limousine entrances. (Last season’s talker was a contestant who dressed in costume as a shark but thought she was a dolphin.) Before the debut of Bachelor spinoff series Bachelor in Paradise in 2014, the jokers usually got the boot after the first night. Now, however, the ones who are able to make a name for themselves go on to compete in the summer challenge, often becoming a star of the franchise — and often furthering their brand in the process.
Ahead of Monday’s episode, The Hollywood Reporter did a little digging and discovered Yancey has an acting background that calls into question the intentions of “Whaboom’s” ventures on The Bachelorette. Here’s how Yancey is taking advantage of his 15 minutes of TV fame.
He already has a website where fans can shop the wearable catchphrase.
The site sells T-shirts, bro tanks and V-necks with the same logo Yancey wore on Lindsay’s Bachelorette premiere. A marketing strategy already seems in place. “If you take a picture of you wearing the shirt and post it on Instagram and tag me,” he instructs, “we will send you another shirt for free! Any size.”
This is not the first time someone from the show has marketed off of their reality TV fame. Just a few months ago, Corinne Olympios, the “villain” of Nick Viall’s 21st season of The Bachelor, launched “Team Corn Shop,” where fans could buy products featuring her Bachelor catchphrases, such as “I need a Raquel,” “Make America Corinne Again” and “cheese pasta.”
Mr. Whaboom will likely stick around on Lindsay’s season — for a little while.
For better or for worse, the ABC reality series has a history of keeping the cringeworthy contestants in the game for at least a few weeks. Even when it is clear the troublemaker isn’t marriage material, roses continue to be doled out his or her way. For reference: The “dolphin/shark,” Alexis Waters, lingered in the friend zone until Viall dumped her in the sixth week; and the violent Chad Johnson stuck around until week four of Jojo Fletcher’s Bachelorette bow. Waters, along with Olympios, made an appearance on Lindsay’s premiere, and Johnson went on to compete on Bachelor in Paradise.
When (if?) Yancey gets the boot from Lindsay (he’s conspicuously missing from the season preview), do not be surprised if he returns to the franchise in some way, shape or form.
This is not Yancey’s first reality TV rodeo — and he and Blake E. have history.
Yancey has an IMDb page with acting credits for several unscripted and scripted gigs.
It appears he began his journey to the Bachelor franchise with a Spanish-language dating game show in 2012, Telemundo’s 12 Corazones. Then, he took an acting gig in a 2012 drama film, 8 Reels of Sewage, about an adult-film editor, followed by two Doritos video shorts.
One of his acting gigs, however, brings everything full circle.
After appearing on Fox game show Bullseye in 2015, hosted by Twilight star Kellan Lutz, Yancey had a stint on WE tv’s Ex Isle, in which on-again, off-again couples escape to an island retreat to experience conscious uncoupling in a reality TV format. On the Carmen Electra-hosted series, Yancey and his ex parted ways, as a new beef between him and a different contestant was born.
Enter: Blake E.
Yes, the same Blake E. whom Yancey bickered with on Lindsay’s Bachelorette premiere. Both Lucas Yancey and Blake Elarbee (who entered The Bachelorette with a marching band) competed together on Ex Isle, where Elarbee apparently hooked up with Yancey’s ex. Elarbee joins the cast on the island as one of the “sexy new singles” to swoop in and land a date. No wonder there’s bad blood on the Bachelorette between these two — though they seemed amicable in this 2016 Instagram post. (ABC had no comment.)
Yancey has been working toward this big TV break for years, and he likely won’t let it fade quickly.
The reality star has a clear strategy to keep the cameras on him and his head-shaking routine: Be the center of attention — gimmicky T-shirt, megaphone and all — even if that means stirring up bad blood with a former reality TV foe, getting dumped and then making his heroic return on this summer’s Bachelor in Paradise or upcoming Bachelor Winter Games.
What’s your take on the Whaboom guy: Love him or hate him? Are you hoping Blake will call him out? Share your thoughts in the comments below and keep up with THR‘s Bachelorette coverage on Live Feed.