If this season of The Bachelor has taught us anything, it's that Peter Weber is not great at making decisions.
Let's hope that the franchise's producers are better in that department, because it's down to the final days of casting for The Bachelorette, scheduled to return for a 16th season this spring.
With an announcement expected soon, everyone is eager - and nervous - to hear the name of the next leading lady. Will it be one of Peter's final hopefuls, in keeping with recent tradition?
Reality Steve has reported some names to help narrow things down, and another report that caught even him by surprise has fans hopeful for season like none that we've seen before.
Seriously, we didn't see this one coming.
Take a look at everything that we know and chime in: Who do you want to become the next Bachelorette?
UPDATED: Guess who got the nod?!
Who is the next Bachelorette?
The Bachelorette. It's a huge responsibility, and not everyone is cut out for it. Who will be next in line to succeed Hannah Brown (above)? An announcement from ABC will allegedly be coming very soon, but reports and rumors alike have narrowed down the list of who is expected to fill these shoes come spring. One thing we know for sure: Hannah Beast will not be running it back a second time.
We can rule out some usual prospects
It seems pretty safe to say that the Bachelor Nation as a whole is not eager to see most of Peter's ladies as The Bachelorette. Sure, Victoria Fuller is ... interesting (as delicately as we can put it) and Hannah Ann Sluss is one of the most beautiful women to ever appear in the franchise, or the planet. But Victoria has some real baggage, and Hannah Ann is frankly way too young to get married. It doesn't matter how genuine she is. So ... who's left?
There is one notable exception
A number of very vocal fans have suggested that Kelsey Weier, who finished fourth this season following her elimination after a hometown date with Peter Weber, has the chops to be the leading lady of her own season.
She was (mostly) drama-free
With the exception of some very memorable champagne-related drama, Kelsey seemed there to win Peter's heart, not to get into petty squabbles with her fellow contestants.
And she made it pretty far
As we said, Kelsey made it all the way to hometown dates, but didn't quite make it to the fantasy suites. Given the turmoil that arose from Peter's suite dates, that puts her in a sweet spot with Bachelor fans no matter what they thought of Peter's general horniness.
That's great, but ...
Our opinions don't mean much. ABC demonstrated that when they pulled Arie Luyendyk Jr. out of a hat five years after his runner-up finish on The Bachelorette and totally blindsided the fandom. So what does ABC think about the next leading lady?
Well, According to Reality Steve ...
The blogger and widely respected source of leaks and spoilers says that three women recently had formal interviews with production about becoming The Bachelorette in L.A.
One of them was Kelsey
She lives in Iowa, as Bachelor Nation members know, but on Tuesday, February 25, she shared a photo of herself in L.A.
Another is Tia Booth!
According to Reality Steve, she also had a formal chat with producers. This Bachelor Nation veteran lives in Nashville and, unlike Kelsey, has not dropped any hints on social media about making the journey to L.A.
Fans know Tia well
She and Colton Underwood tried to make it work more than once. And before that, she was a favorite on Arie's season and might have been the next Bachelorette ... if Arie hadn't pulled that ridiculous stunt on Becca Kufrin.
They even tried to make the connection in Paradise
Despite some clear and intense emotions, things fizzled out. Colton went on to become The Bachelor and, it is widely believed, popped his cork in Fantasy Suites with Cassie Randolph and never looked back.
Sure, Tia has baggage
If Tia were The Bachelorette, we might here what she thought and felt watching Colton's quest to swipe his V-card. And if contestants weren't routinely cast before the lead for these seasons, we could expect producers to include an above-average number of jocks in the running. Maybe she has a type, right?
Tia would make a lot of sense
She is gorgeous, she's familiar, she's sympathetic, and perhaps most importantly from a production standpoint, she isn't over-exposed to fans. Someone can be amazing and well-liked, but if fans feel that they've seen too much of them lately, some of the intrigue is gone and with it, enthusiasm.
No one doubts Tia's intentions
She was looking for real love and companionship with Colton. Either that or she's an amazing actress. Either way, she'd be a smart candidate for The Bachelorette.
Tayshia Adams is also in the running
Reality Steve also lists Tayshia Adams as one of the frontrunners for The Bachelorette. Notably, since she lives in L.A., she didn't need to find any special excuses to take a production meeting.
Now, Tayshia was in a relationship
She and John Paul Jones were one of the Bachelor Nation's hottest couples for a hot minute there.
But it didn't last
In late October of 2019, Tayshia and JPJ went their separate ways. It was an amicable breakup, brought on by their very different schedules that kept them apart too often. It's a shame.
And yet ...
That puts Tayshia in a perfect position to be The Bachelorette (without pulling an Arie and breaking up with her partner just three days before being announced for the role). She and JPJ broke up four months ago, which makes considering her for leading lady very appropriate. She's looking for a husband, not a rebound.
That's not all!
"I’m sure there were more, but those three definitely did," Steve reports. So others, like Sydney Hightower, may have been considered.
There's another name out there
In this case, Reality Steve is just discussing a rumor rather than reporting it himself, but as you can see in this screenshot (please charge your phone), it is being claimed that Clare Crawley will be The Bachelorette.
Wait ... who?
If you're wondering who the heck that is, you're not alone within the Bachelor Nation. It's been a while.
She was on Juan Pablo's season
Juan Pablo Galavis' season of The Bachelor was pretty good television, but he is almost universally regarded as the worst Bachelor, ever. (Even Chris Harrison says as much). And Clare had the misfortune of vying for his affections.
She dodged a bullet
In contrast to the ultra-young women whom viewers have recently seen, Clare is a 38-year-old woman. People have been asking for an older Bachelorette for a while, and while some of us might not consider 38 "old" ... compared to 23-year-old Hannah Ann it would make for a change in tone.
Clare is legit
With Clare, you would know that she's looking for an actual partner. She's not old old, but as an older millennial, she's not one of those folks who are borderline Gen Z and suspected of just seeking fame.
In some ways, this would make a lot of sense
Again, he's not hearing about Clare from his various inside sources, but he is thinking aloud about the idea of casting her. He compares her to Nick, who had multiple chances at love, and to Arie, who was a random choice who hadn't appeared on the show for years. (Incidentally, Arie is also currently 38, though - no shade - he does look older than that.)
Clare is also more recent than Arie
Remember, she appeared on The Bachelor: Winter Games back in 2018. She didn't find her soulmate there, though things looked promising for a time. Maybe having her own season would change that?
Kelsey is the most fresh on people's minds, but is that even a good thing?
Without a doubt, Kelsey would be the most topical right now. But there wasn't a groundswell of support for her, and Peter's season as a whole has been somewhat maligned with problems.
Even if Clare's name is just a rumor ...
... That really has us thinking about how she could be a solid candidate. A woman who knows what she wants. And we could have some real conversations about sexist double-standards when it comes to women dating younger men vs. how it's seen when older men date younger women. What do you think?
... Told You So! It's Confirmed!
Clare got the nod from producers and was announced as The Bachelorette on Good Morning America March 2. Wow. Did not see that coming two weeks ago, but as we said, her season should be a refreshing break from the norm and very entertaining.
Age is just a number
"I feel like a lot of people put it out there as this negative thing," explained Crawley, 38. "For me, it’s just more years under my belt. More years learning and knowing what I want and what I won’t settle for. I want a man who is strong, who is willing to take off the body armor, open himself up and be vulnerable. I think that [shows] some serious strength right there, so I want a man who can do that." Your move, gentlemen.