This year will feature TWO seasons of ‘The Bachelorette’ for the first time ever! Katie Thurston and Michelle Young will each get their own season of the show in 2021.
The Bachelorette is set to return for its 17th season this spring. However, during After The Final Rose on March 15, it was revealed that there will actually be TWO seasons of the show in 2021! Katie Thurston will star as the Bachelorette for season 17, while Michelle Young will return for another shot to find love for season 18, which will air later this year. Both ladies were introduced to Bachelor Nation viewers as contestants on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor. After being dumped by Matt, both Katie and Michelle are ready to find their soulmates. Here’s everything to know about the new Bachelorettes!
Recap Of Matt James’ Season
The latest season of The Bachelor featured Matt James, who had never appeared in the franchise before. He was introduced to Bachelor Nation via his friend Tyler Cameron, who was a contestant on season 15 of The Bachelorette. Matt was originally cast on season 16 of The Bachelorette in 2020. However, when production was delayed due to the coronavirus, and amidst increased demand for ABC to have a Black Bachelor for the first time in the show’s history, the network decided to make Matt the Bachelor instead.
During the March 15 finale of Matt’s season, he began having doubts about whether or not he wanted to get engaged at the end of the show. With two women left — Michelle and Rachael Kirkconnell — Matt struggled to make his final decision. He completely blindsided Michelle by ending their relationship on their final date together. Then, he cancelled his last date with Rachael as he sorted through his feelings.
At the final rose ceremony, Matt told Rachael that he wanted to pursue a relationship with her, even if he wasn’t ready to get engaged. They left the show as a happy couple, but the honeymoon period didn’t last long. Matt and Rachael split in mid-February, after she admitted to racist behavior in her past. On After The Final Rose, Matt confirmed that he was no longer with Rachael, as she committed to doing the work to learn from her past mistakes and be better in the future. At the end of the episode, Katie and Michelle were announced as the new 2021 Bachelorettes.
Katie Thurston made an impression on Bachelor viewers from the very first episode of season 25. She brought a sex toy with her to meet Matt for the first time, and told him that she had been using it during the lonely days of the coronavirus quarantine. However, she presented Matt with the vibrator and let him know that she wanted to pass the torch to him now that they were beginning a relationship. The racy stunt received mixed reviews from viewers, but it quickly set Katie apart from the others.
Throughout her time on the show, Katie continued to show her carefree, but no-nonsense attitude. She began winning viewers over when she had an emotional conversation with Sarah Trott, who was having issues with other women in the house. Sarah opened up about her dad’s struggle with MS, and Katie revealed that she could relate because she had previously lost her own father. Then, Katie took it upon herself to let Matt know about some of the ‘toxic’ behavior that was happening in the house due to ‘bullying’ amongst the other women. Although she was called out by several of the other ladies for meddling, Katie stood by her actions, and insisted that she simply could not sit back and let the bad behavior continue without saying something.
Matt wound up sending Katie home on her one-on-one date, and rumors began spreading fast that she had been chosen as the next Bachelorette. She played coy about the speculation on Instagram. However, this was all before the Chris Harrison/Rachael Kirkconnell controversy blew up. ABC never commented on the rumor that Katie would be the next Bachelorette, but clearly, a lot has changed in the franchise since the buzz about Katie first began. Regardless, Katie’s relatable behavior and ability to tell it like it is have made her a solid contender.
With Michelle being the runner-up on Matt’s season of The Bachelor, it was only fitting that she be chosen as the next Bachelorette. Michelle was actually a late arrival on season 25 — she didn’t show up until just before the third rose ceremony. Four other women also came to the show at that time, but it was clear that Matt had a strong connection with Michelle from the start. He even asked her on a one-on-one date the very next day.
Although Matt and Michelle’s relationship progressed nicely throughout the season, he admittedly did not see her as his “person” at the end of his journey. While Matt admitted that he was in love with Rachael, he never expressed those sentiments to Michelle on the show. Due to Rachael’s controversy, viewers were even more upset to see Matt end things with Michelle when he did.
Michelle is an elementary school teacher, and won over both Matt and Bachelor fans with her sweet nature and relationship with her students. She will be the third Black Bachelorette in the show’s history, following Rachel Lindsay and Tayshia Adams. “Once I found out there were two different seasons, I was here for it,” Michelle gushed, regarding Katie also being chosen as the Bachelorette. “I’m excited to have someone to bond with over this and share notes as we go.”
When Will Filming For ‘The Bachelorette’ Begin?
Normally, filming for The Bachelorette begins shortly after the previous season of The Bachelor ends. This season of The Bachelor concluded on March 15. That means that, during a normal year, production on The Bachelorette would start before the end of March, and the show would premiere at the end of May.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and recent Bachelor Nation scandal/controversy, it’s believed that filming began as planned. One thing that will look different on season 17 of The Bachelorette, though, is that Chris Harrison will not be returning as host. After defending Rachael’s past racist behavior during an interview in February, Chris received major backlash, and announced that he would be ‘stepping aside’ from the franchise. He did not host After The Final Rose for Matt’s season of The Bachelor, and he will be replaced by Tayshia and Kaitlyn Bristowe on season 17 of The Bachelorette. His future with the franchise after that is still unclear.
With filming apparently on-schedule, it’s expected that Katie’s season of The Bachelorette will premiere in May, as usual, and air throughout the summer. Michelle’s season will film some time later this year, and is expected to air during the fall, just like last season of The Bachelorette. This post will be updated with any updates that are given in the coming months.