Earlier this week, I hesitated to write about the rampant rumors that former Bachelorette contestant Roberto Martinez had signed on as the next Bachelor, because the news — and the alleged contract — seemed premature. I mean, let’s not mince words: What about Arie? Emily Maynard’s shiny new racecar driver  is currently wooing her, my and your pants off on The Bachelorette. Wasn’t he going to at least get a shot at the job?

But I probably should have learned my lesson back when those same sorts of rumors swirled about another final choice/ex-fiance from a previous season: Emily Maynard. Brad chose Emily, they broke up, Emily said she never wanted to do The Bachelorette, and now here she is — doing The Bachelorette.

According to (newly legally settled) spoiler king Reality Steve, ABC is going for a similar story arc with sexy Latino insurance agent Roberto, who ended The Bachelorette season 6 engaged to Ali Fedotowsky, then broke it off after 18 months, amid rumors that — what else? — Ali wanted to continue playing the fame game, and Roberto wanted a normal, non-famous life.

Not so — at least not anymore, reports Steve, who says that Roberto is headed straight back into the public eye as the next Bachelor:

“Roberto is absolutely going to be the next Bachelor. Mark it down. I had heard a few weeks ago they were after him hard but that he hadn’t made up his mind yet. So when L&S’ story broke on Tuesday, I wanted to see if it was legit. It was. ABC won’t comment, and I’m guessing the earliest we’ll hear anything about the announcement of the next “Bachelor” is Emily’s finale on July 16th, but rest assured, it’s 1000% signed, sealed, delivered that Roberto will be the next Bachelor.”

So take that as you will. Steve also says that over the next couple months, we’ll see this story upgraded from “rumor” to “exclusive!” confirmation in the tabloids. Right now, the status of the rumor in the major publications can be summed up by this quote from an uncited source to People: “It’s far too soon to say who the next Bachelor will be, but Roberto is definitely someone producers are considering.” (US Weekly claims he’s “not interested … as of right now.”)

It’s definitely NOT too soon to say what you think about Roberto as the next Bachelor — so vote and comment down below! But before you do, here’s the rest of what’s coming out of the Bachelor/ette rumor mill this week:

Bachelor Pad 3 Casting:
RS says these members of Bachelor Nation are “definitely in” for the third season, which he says begins filming next week: Reid Rosenthal, Ed Swiderski, Blakeley Shea, Jaclyn Schwartz, Nick Peterson, Kalon McMahon, and Michael Stagliano. Yes, apparently even winners can return to the Pad for another shot. Other names swirling in the unconfirmed category: Ames Brown (again), Erica Rose (again), Ryan Park, Rozlyn Papa, Craig Robinson. Definitely NOT in? Courtney Robertson and Ben Flajnik.

“What Emily’s Hiding”:
Us Weekly‘s newest cover story makes some familiar, unproven claims about the current Bachelorette, and the Hollywood Gossip was kind enough to lay out the unkind claims for us thusly:

1. Nose job, breast implants, fake teeth, etc. “Sources” say she went under the knife prior to taping Brad Womack’s season of The Bachelor in 2010.
2. She’s a temperamental b!tch: “Maynard has admitted that her relationship with Brad post-Bachelor was marred by ‘knock-down, drag-out fights.'”
3. She and Ricki’s grandparents hate each other: The late Ricky Hen­drick’s parents are “livid” Maynard decided to do a second round of reality TV.
4. She’s kind of a social-climbing snob: “Emily is a bit of a social climber” who’s dated “some heavy hitters” and enjoys the finer things in life.

Jef Had a Leg Up: Us also ran a story that sounds slightly more realistic — that Emily Maynard received a pre-show hint through her old pal Michelle Money that one of her contestants, Jef Holm, was a quality guy. The connection? They’re all from Utah, and it seems that Michelle’s brother Doug is good friends with Jef. “When Doug found out that Jef was going on the show, he called Emily and told her what a good guy Jef is,” a source tells Us Weekly. “Doug said to keep Jef around. He really thought they would get along.”

One reason Emily might be keeping Jef around? He’s so giving … with his croquet knowledge:

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.