The new ‘Bachelor’ season will feature Miss NC USA and a woman from Raleigh

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The new season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” premiering in January, is reported to have not one but two North Carolina women vying for the affection of former NFL tight end Colton Underwood.

Caelynn Miller-Keyes, the reigning Miss North Carolina USA — until this weekend, at least — is the most well known of the NC contingent. Miller-Keyes won the Miss NC USA title last year as Miss Asheville, and she was the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in May.

Miller-Keyes is from Asheville and has a degree in broadcast journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University. During the Miss USA competition, Miller-Keyes spoke of being a survivor of sexual assault and she is an advocate for sexual assault victims and survivors.

The Miss NC USA pageant is happening this weekend in High Point, and Miller-Keyes will not be there to crown the new winner.

Ryan Miles, co-director of RPM Productions, which produces the Miss NC USA and Miss Teen NC USA pageants, confirmed her absence to The News & Observer on Thursday.

“We were aware she had been cast,” Miles said of Miller-Keyes’ “Bachelor” taping schedule, adding that there’s nothing in the rules or in Miller-Keyes’ contract to prevent her from taking part in “The Bachelor.” He did say it’s the first time a reigning titleholder will not be there to hand over the crown, but he expects Miss Teen NC USA to do the honors.

A Raleigh contestant

Blogger Reality Steve, who specializes in spoilers for all of ABC’s “Bachelor” shows, reports that Nina Bartula of Raleigh is also on the new season of “The Bachelor.” Reality Steve was also the first to report on Miller-Keyes’ participation in the show.

Bartula is listed on the professional networking site LinkedIn as a virtual sales account manager at Cisco and a 2011 graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh.

Reality Steve’s spoiler track record is pretty solid, but he is in the middle of a controversy at the moment involving former “Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant Jenna Cooper of Raleigh.

Reality Steve published allegations that Cooper had basically been cheating while on “Bachelor Paradise,” and that her relationship with and engagement to Jordan Kimball in the show finale was a sham. Reality Steve based this on text messages he said he received from someone claiming to have been in a relationship with Cooper, but refused to name the person. This week Cooper released results of a forensic investigation which she says clears her of those allegations.

The new ‘Bachelor’

Underwood, a former tight end for the San Diego Chargers, appeared in Season 14 of “The Bachelorette,” falling hard for Becca Kufrin, but being rejected by her in the season finale. He had an off-screen relationship with Tia Booth from Season 22 of “The Bachelor” and that relationship continued briefly on the most recent season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” with Underwood abruptly breaking up with Tia and leaving the show.

“The Bachelor” returns in January.