Skip to Content

The Bachelorette will look very different in 2021.

First, as previously announced, Chris Harrison will not serve as host when the series returns with new episodes.

Late last week, ABC announced that Harrison will remain sidelined – due to some racially-insensitive remarks made in the wake of the Rachael Kirkconnell scandal this winter — for Season 17.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

In his place, former franchise leading ladies Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams have been named co-hosts.

Exactly who will they be advising this spring?

The network confirmed a long-gestating rumor on Monday evening, bringing out Katie Thurston toward the end of the After the Final Rose special.

But she didn’t do so alone.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Michelle Young, who finished in second place on Matt James’ very recent season of The Bachelor, will also be The Bachelorette this year!

"We’re the Bachelorettes," Young and Thurston said in unison on stage last night.

How will this work?

The women will NOT split a single season, as Clare Crawley and Adams did in 2020 after the former got engaged after mere weeks of filming and then peaced out, with Tayshia flying in as her replacement.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Instead, Thurston will have Season 17 to herself.

We met the 30-year-old bank marketing manager during the January 4 premiere of Matt’s season … when she got out of the limo with a sparkling dildo in hand.

“It was the perfect statement for 2020,” Katie told Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast about her entrance.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

“It actually summarized me perfectly … and I could do nothing but be myself. I knew Matt is religious, I know I don’t know him personally, so I knew it could very well send me home night one.

"And I would have no regrets.”

There’s since been some concern that Katie Thurston might be too racy to be The Bachelorette – but we’re guessing no male viewers out there will mind.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Thurston also made a positive impression on female viewers this past season, though, standing up against bullies in the house and being unafraid to speak her mind.

On the Women Tell All special, Katie said remained optimistic about still finding love.

"Matt was the first person I was able to be 110 percent myself with and it didn’t work out, so that’s tough," she said.

"But I just have to remain hopeful that my person’s still out there."

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette will premiere this summer.

Sometime this fall, meanwhile, Michelle Young will step into the role on Season 18.

If we had to guess, we’d say Harrison will return as host by then … just in time to redeem himself as the emcee of a season led by a Black woman. But that’s just our speculation at this point.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Young, of course, lost (or won, in retrospect?) on last night’s Bachelor finale, when Rachael Kirkconnell won Matt’s final rose.

She confronted James on the After the Final Rose special Monday, admitting that he broke her heart on the Season 25 finale and didn’t appreciate Matt refusing to talk in detail about their breakup before sending her home.

"It caught me very off guard," Young told Emmanuel Acho of the split. "It really just felt like one of those moments where all of your blood, everything leaves your body."

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Aware during this conversation that she was about to be named The Bachelorette, Young opened up to James, while also making a point of sounding diplomatic and understanding.

"I care about you," she told The Bachelor. "I’m a very forgiving person."

"You and me talking about it right now, I’ve honestly already put it down."

"I’m not in love, like I was leaving the show, but it does help hearing that what you felt for me was real."

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Looking forward, Young said she’s "ready" to take another shot at finding love.

"I am ready. I really do think this process works," she said on air.

"When you get to set down all the 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."

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

As for being named The Bachelorette… along with Thurston?

“I was a little nervous, but once I found out that it was two different seasons, I was here for it,” Michelle said.

“I’m excited that I get to have somebody to bond over with this and share notes as we go.”

Katie Thurston on The Bachelor

They’re all saying the right things and talking a good game, but whether this franchise can be redeemed is still an open question.

Can the damage done in these past few months be overcome? Or after two decades, is America ready to simply move on?