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Who Will Be the Next Bachelorette? Top Picks and What We Know So Far!

If you’re a fan of The Bachelorette, then you already know season 16 was completely unprecedented … and dramatic, to say the least! With that, viewers have high hopes for season 17. As it stands, the next Bachelorette has yet to be announced. However, that doesn’t mean Bachelor Nation hasn’t come up with some suitable top picks from Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor, as well as women from previous seasons.

In fact, after Clare Crawley and fiancé Dale Moss announced their split on January 19 before reconciling a month later, rumors began to circulate that ABC might ask her to be the Bachelorette again! While the network loves to surprise audiences, it’s highly unlikely that will happen. OK, so what do we know for sure?

On February 7, Reality Steve reported Matt’s contestant Katie Thurston will be season 17’s leading lady. “At the Women Tell All taping this past Thursday, Katie Thurston was announced as the next Bachelorette. Katie gets eliminated on Monday’s episode during her one-on-one with Matt,” the popular blogger tweeted.

However, hours later, Katie took to her Instagram Story to seemingly shut down the speculation. “Reading my texts this morning like news to me,” the Seattle resident captioned a selfie. Moreover, contestant Mariela Pepin, who was eliminated by Matt in week four, replied “false” to Reality Steve’s report. Hmm … is Katie just trying to throw fans off her trail with the help of her Bachelor Nation friends?

Overall, the reaction to Reality Steve’s speculation was extremely positive. “The best thing to come out of this entire season,” one user commented. “Love it,” added another. “AS SHE SHOULD,” a third person chimed in, while a fourth echoed, “Finally! They’re giving us fans who we want!”

Clearly, Katie made a strong impression on viewers. After all, her limo entrance wasn’t exactly conventional. While introducing herself to Matt, Katie hid a vibrator behind her back. Eventually, she revealed the sex toy, and the pair had a good laugh.

“It was a great icebreaker!” Matt told Refinery29 following the season 25 premiere on Monday, January 4. “It takes a lot of balls to do something like that. She’s super confident and I respected it. I wasn’t upset about it.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see the top picks for the next Bachelorette.