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Katie Thurston and Michelle Young Will Be the Next (2!) Bachelorettes for Seasons 17 and 18

We’re ready! Katie Thurston and Michelle Young were announced as the 2021 Bachelorettes for seasons 17 and 18. The Bachelor Nation stars, who are known for their appearances on Matt James’ season, were revealed as the new leading ladies on Monday, March 15, during After the Final Rose

Katie is a popular choice to lead up the new season. She quickly became a fan-favorite after gifting a vibrator to Matt during her limo entrance. However, she also showed her serious side while defending the girls getting bullied in the house and eventually telling Matt about the “toxicity.” Unfortunately, all of the drama seemed to distract from her romance, and Matt ended up shocking Katie by sending her home after her one-on-one date.

“Matt was the first person I was able to be 110 percent myself with,” Katie said on the Women Tell All special. Still, she has her eyes set on a “forever kind of love” and she’s trying to “remain hopeful my person is still out there.”

It looks like she’ll finally get the chance to find him — but that’s not all! On the After the Rose special, it was announced that Matt’s runner-up Michelle would *also* become the Bachelorette … of her own season! That’s right, we have two Bachelorettes for seasons 17 and 18 lined up. Talk about a twist!

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Although the season 17 and season 18 premiere dates were not yet announced, production seems to be on schedule for May, which is when The Bachelorette usually premieres. In another surprising twist, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will replace Chris Harrison as cohosts for the next season. 

It’s always extremely exciting waiting for a new lead to be announced, especially since the reality dating show broke away from the norm with season 16. Instead of choosing a woman from the previous season of The Bachelor starring Peter Weber, they pulled franchise alum Clare Crawley, who first appeared during Juan Pablo Galavis’ season in 2014.

Life & Style exclusively broke the news in August 2020 Clare, 39, got engaged midseason to contestant Dale Moss after she had “[fallen] in love” with the former football player, 32, after just 12 days of filming. They announced their split in January 2021 after five months together. Following the Sacramento native’s exit from season 16, Tayshia Adams, who was a contestant on Colton Underwood’s season, stepped in as the new Bachelorette. The 30-year-old reality star is now engaged to Zac Clark, 36. 

It turns out, the surprising twist made the producers think on their feet. Chris Harrison told Life & Style there was “nobody on deck” to replace Clare

“There [was] no backup … We’ve never done this before,” the ABC personality, 49, said in November 2020. “We never go into a season ever thinking, ‘OK, if Clare doesn’t work out all the way through, who’s next?’ That’s just never been a possibility.”

That being said, the franchise has kept fans guessing with their Bachelors and Bachelorettes. “There’s no such thing as a door closing … Ask Nick Viall, ask Arie [Luyendyk Jr.], ask Clare,” the longtime host previously told Life & Style about each contestant’s possibility of becoming the lead of a season. He added that the uncertainty is the “beautiful thing” about the reality TV franchise.

We can’t wait to watch Katie and Michelle’s journeys to find love unfold!