Matt James’ season of The Bachelor may have come to an end, but his After the Final Rose special featured the exciting announcement of who will take over the role for the next season of the dating franchise. Which of his contestants will soon be the one handing out roses? Here’s what you need to know:
STOP! Spoilers on season 17 and season 18 of The Bachelorette below.
‘The Bachelorette’ Season 17 and Season 18 Leads
During The Bachelor‘s After the Final Rose special, Emmanuel Acho announced a “curveball.” This year will have two seasons of The Bachelorette, with Katie Thurston as the lead of season 17 and Michelle Young as the lead of season 18.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say when they first told me, I thought we were going to be the Bachelorette at the same time,” Young revealed to Acho. “And so I was a little nervous, but once I found out it was two different seasons, I was here for it. I’m excited I get to have somebody to bond over with this and share notes as we go.”
Both women appeared on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, with Young finishing the season as the runner-up.
Acho asked the 29-year-old bank marketing manager what made her the most excited. Thurston said, “I mean, I’m ready to find love and not just like the temporary kind. I’m talking forever, my husband. And I’m in a place in my life where I feel like I’m the best version of me. Honestly, I’ve seen it work before, why can’t it work for me?”
Agreeing, Young added, “I am ready and like Katie said, I really do think that this process works. When you can set down all these outside distractions and really dive in, I think you can learn a lot about somebody. I’m just excited. I’m ready to get started.”
This news did not come as much of a surprise. Reality Steve first reported Thurston’s casting, tweeting, “The more things change, the more they stay the same. The original spoiler I reported seems to be correct. Katie Thurston is set to be announced as the ‘Bachelorette’ in the coming days.”
He later revealed on his website the twist featuring Young. “I’m sure some are asking, ‘If they wanted Michelle, why didn’t they just give her the season about to be filmed? Why have Katie?” wrote Reality Steve. “Michelle did not want to leave her class again to start filming in a few weeks, hence the reason she is getting her own season this summer when she’s out of school.”
‘The Bachelorette’ Season 17 Host
“Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of ‘The Bachelorette,’” read a statement signed by Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment. “We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season.”
The statement continued, “As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
While he will not be on deck for Thurston, it is unclear if he will return for Bachelor in Paradise or Young’s season of The Bachelorette.
‘The Bachelorette’ Season 17 Contestants
Bachelor Nation released the first names, ages and hometowns of 34 men currently quarantining in New Mexico. Typically, a few of the contestants announced before filming do not make it to night one, though those who did not make the cut will not be revealed until shortly before the premiere.
‘The Bachelorette’ Season 17 Location
As with the last two seasons of the dating competition, The Bachelorette will be filmed at a resort in a quarantined bubble to maintain safety protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite reports from Reality Steve the season would be filmed in Canada, the country’s updated pandemic protocol forced production to look in the United States. He has since reported the upcoming season will film at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
ABC has yet to confirm this news, but Reality Steve is reporting the cast and crew are already quarantining. There are no reports on where the future seasons will film.
‘The Bachelorette’ Season 17 Premiere
While the premiere date is currently unknown for the new season of The Bachelorette, James’ season of The Bachelor has restored the franchise to its typical filming schedule.
As the promo teases, fans can expect “Summer Romance” with Thurston and to “Fall Back in Love” with Young.
Reality Steve wrote on Twitter that, “Katie’s season begins filming next wknd.” Her possible contestants are expected to be announced soon.
The Bachelor finale begins at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.