The next season of “The Bachelorette” is going to have two bachelorettes for the first time ever, ABC announced on Monday night.
One is Britt Nilsson, who got kicked off before hometown dates after looking like the frontrunner for most of the season. The other is Kaitlyn Bristowe, who got kicked off before the finale and was rumoured to be the next bachelorette before ABC decided to switch up the format and go with two women.
While ABC hasn’t announced exactly how the two bachelorette thing is going to work, we have some clues.
In 2004, they did the same thing on a season of “The Bachelor.” During that season, the 25 women showed up on the first night and voted on which guy they wanted to be the bachelor. Here’s how it worked, as nicely summed up by the reality TV writer/spoiler purveyor Reality Steve:
Twenty five girls met both of them, then they decided who they wanted as the “Bachelor.” They were given a yellow rose (for Jay) and a white rose (for Byron), and each girl would go up and place the rose of the “Bachelor” they wanted on a tray. Jay and Byron had their backs turned to the women and didn’t see which ones voted for them. Once one “Bachelor” got to 13 roses (the majority), he was declared the “Bachelor.” Byron got to 13 first and at the time, Jay only had been given 7 roses. So they only showed 20 of the 25 votes, and Byron already had 13.
Reality Steve says this is how the Britt-Kaitlyn season is going to work:
People, there aren’t going to b 2 “Bachelorettes” the whole season. The 25 guys will choose who they want between Britt & Kaitlyn on night 1
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) March 10, 2015
ABC’s press release makes it clear that there’s only going to be one real bachelorette in the end.
“That’s right, Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, both of whom chased after Chris’s heart on Season 19 of The Bachelor, will kick off the next season of The Bachelorette. And only one of them will be around to hand out the final rose,” the press release says.
It’s easy to see this as just a ratings grab for the premiere. But if the premiere is formatted how we think it’s going to be, it could create something much more intriguing that will last all season: a villain bachelorette.
Kaitlyn is the fan favourite, and more closely fits the mould of the type of contestant who becomes the next bachelorette. Britt is a more divisive figure. She beefed with some other girls in the house, and almost got the dreaded “there for the wrong reasons” tag. She also once moved to Los Angeles to pursue a modelling career before becoming a waitress, while Kaitlyn has a normal job as a spin class instructor. When Chris Harrison asked the studio audience to cheer for who they thought the next bachelorette should be on “After the Final Rose,” Kaitlyn won in a landslide.
Past bachelorettes were mad it wasn’t Kaitlyn:
Excuse me while I shake my head all night.
— Catherine Lowe (@clmgiudici) March 10, 2015
Everyone is #TeamKaitlyn. But if it comes down to 25 guys voting after meeting them for a few hours, Britt is probably the favourite.
Britt got the first impression rose on “The Bachelor.” It felt like she was going to win halfway through the season. She was more outgoing than Kaitlyn was initially.
Reality Steve predicts Britt will be the bachelorette if it comes down to a vote. If that happens, Kaitlyn (the rightful bachelorette in the eyes of fans) will be the sympathetic figure, and Britt will go down as the one who stole her spot. She won’t be as universally despised as Juan Pablo, but she’ll have more haters than any bachelorette before her.
It’s a smart move. ABC has been careful to not antagonize the show’s fans by picking a bachelorette who is anything but well-liked and relatable to a broad segment of the audience. As a result, though, seasons of “The Bachelorette” are pretty much indistinguishable from one another. By going with the two bachelorette gimmick and having the 25 guys vote, the producers are setting it up so they have a villain bachelorette without getting any blowback from fans.