By Lia Beck
Updated Mar 11, 2019 @ 3:30 pm
Carly Waddell 
Credit: carlywad/Instagram

During The Bachelor season 23, every fan waited for the moment when Colton Underwood would finally jump over a fence (technically, a gate), as shown over and over again in previews for the season. And on March 4, it happened. After a devastating breakup with frontrunner Cassie Randolph, Underwood, fueled by pure emotion, hopped over the gate-fence into the Portuguese countryside.

Bachelor alum Carly Waddell would have jumped the fence, too.

“I, like, everyone else had waited for it all season,” one-time Bachelor contestant and two-time Bachelor in Paradise star Waddell tells InStyle ahead of the season 23 finale. “I posted videos of myself on social media fence-jumping that day to get myself prepared for it. I was so sad right before that fence-jump for Colton. If I was Colton, I would have jumped that fence, too. I would have had the momentum to do it, I think.”

Like the everyone else watching the episode, Waddell found Underwood and Randolph’s breakup conversation frustrating. In particular, she thought that Randolph was confused by her dad’s advice (yep, he showed up in Portugal), and that it only made things worse. “Her dad said, basically, if you don’t like him right now, then he’s not the one,” Waddell explains. “Well, to me, that’s ridiculous, because I met my husband and weeks went by before I knew he was the one.”

Waddell likes that Underwood was willing to go against the convention of the show and say that he’d be fine with he and Cassie just dating, but Randolph decided to go home anyway, leaving things very uncertain going into the finale.

“This reminds me a lot of Desiree [Hartsock]’s season where she kicked off somebody and then the guy she liked, Brooks [Forester], left, and then she had Chris [Siegfried] left,” Waddell says. “Everyone was wondering, is she going to kick off Chris because she just said she likes Brooks, or is she going to keep Chris and make that work? I’m kind of wondering is [Colton] going to kick off the other girls and just say screw the whole thing, or is there another girl that he likes just as much or wanted to date her for a while and see. There’s so many different possibilities and ways it could go that I’m curious.”

Waddell recognizes that if Randolph appears on the show again, there’s a difference between her returning on her own and Underwood going after her for one last shot. “I just hope, if they get together in the end that she’s ready to be in the relationship with Colton whatever that means.”

The Bachelor has long wrapped filming by now, but if Waddell could have talked to Underwood at this point in the season, her advice would have, naturally, been colored by her own experience with the franchise. The 33-year-old reality star is part of the most unlikely Bachelor success story of all time. After leaving during week 7 on Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor, Waddell got her heart broken on season 2 of Bachelor in Paradise before meeting her husband, Evan Bass, on season 3. Their wedding was officiated by Chris Harrison himself, and they now have a daughter, Bella, together.

“Evan pursued me so hard, you know. Like pursued and pursued and pursued, and finally, I was like, Oh my gosh, I have seen the light!” she says. “But, there’s also the other side of that where if someone pursues and pursues and pursues, a girl could be like, Oh my gosh, you have to stop. It depends on the girl and it depends on her feelings. I would say, if that’s the love of his life, then go talk to her one last time and see, but if not, then maybe Bachelor number two. Round two!”

Underwood probably won’t be the Bachelor again (although, there is precedent for that happening), but fans will be watching someone else search for love when The Bachelorette premieres this spring. “Evan and I have always said that we wanted either Tayshia [Adams] or one of the Hannahs to be Bachelorette. I think they all seem like real people. Not clouded by anything else, not drama, they just seem real.”

Waddell didn’t watch The Women Tell All (too much of it involves women yelling at each other for her), but after the episode aired, many fans thought the special was priming Hannah Brown to take on the Bachelorette role. “We love her,” Waddell says. “I think if it is her, it will be one of the first seasons of The Bachelorette that I’ve been excited about for a while. I think she’ll be fun and funny and challenge the guys.”

Outside of her Bachelor viewing and fence-jumping, Waddell has been getting back into singing. (If you recall, she was a cruise ship singer when she was cast on The Bachelor) In February, she released an album of lullabies titled Dream Train, and she’s been overwhelmed by the reception.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what that response would be because lullaby is such a niche market,” she says with a laugh. “And the response has been so amazing.” Parents have sent her videos of their children falling asleep to her music and teachers have told her they play the album in their classrooms. “I’m like, Wow! I’m in schools! That’s so cool!”

Waddell is also getting ready for the second season of her podcast with her Bachelor best friend Jade Roper, who was also on Soules’ season and Bachelor in Paradise 2. “We’ll be launching our first episode March 17, and it will have Evan and Tanner [Tolbert, Roper’s husband] on it talking about babies and pregnancies and sex and all the things.”

Of course, you can also catch her tweeting about The Bachelor and Bachelorette. This Monday and Tuesday night, she’s sure to share her thoughts no matter what ends up happening. Who knows, she might even hop over another fence.