Thanks to the current Bachelor season doubling as a celebration of male mediocrity with its contestant pool of aspiring young influencers, it’s hard to get truly jazzed about what a new season of The Bachelorette could look like. Do we really want a serial adulterer with a penchant for White Lives Matter leanings as our next lead? Another pageant queen? Someone who’s too young to legally rent a car in the United States? Not on our watch! So, as the franchise’s producers contemplate the casting for Bachelorette Number 16, Vulture has analyzed a small group of contenders who we can reasonably see being offered the role, factoring in likability, screen time, off-camera exploits, and, yes, what forces could be working against them. To literally everyone else, see you in Paradise.
Kelsey Weier (Peter Weber’s season)
Why it could be her: Given that the final three contestants on Weber’s season have either been marred by controversy or are years younger than every previous Bachelorette, Weier is in the optimal position, with her fourth-place standing, to ascend with the classic my-heart-is-broken angle. (Especially since she told Weber that she loved him before being sent home.) Notable Bachelor Nation contestants have also voiced their support for Weier, who, at 28 years old, would boomerang the show back to older leads.
Why it won’t: Aside from a former Miss USA contestant as Bachelorette being an uninspired repeat (you’ll recall Hannah Brown was Miss Alabama), Weier, a.k.a. Miss Iowa, had a turbulent season while competing for Weber. While one could defend her explosive Champagne-in-face fiasco as an amusing overreaction, Weier was actually quite cruel and mean-spirited to many contestants during the first half of the season: She referred to numerous other women as bitches, liars, “snakey,” and crazy, and was quick to turn to cheap insults and excessive drinking to cope with the harsh realities of, well, reality television. While she definitely mellowed out by her elimination (and reconciled with a lot of the women), one could reasonably argue that a Weier Bachelorette season would be more aligned with a hot mess than a cool and confident boss. And right on the heels of a season with a self-professed hot mess, do we really want to see that again?
Kendall Long (Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season)
Why it could be her: Long, an eccentric fan favorite ever since she showed up in the franchise in 2018 (she loves taxidermy!), is also currently fueled by heartbreak: She and her boyfriend of a year and a half, fellow Bachelor Nation fan favorite Grocery Store Joe, broke up earlier this year after meeting and falling in love on Bachelor in Paradise. She also confirmed in the past that, if offered the Bachelorette gig, she’d accept it. “Yeah, I think so. I believe in it,” she told us. “You definitely can find love in that situation.”
Why it won’t: Compared to Weier’s two-month whirlwind romance with Weber, Long is coming off a significantly longer relationship, to the point where she and GSJ were living together in Los Angeles and discussing marriage. While Long has alluded to the breakup on social media and appears to be moving on in a positive and healthy way (“one thing I always try to remember,” she wrote on Instagram, “is that the end of something never means that it was not beautiful and worth experiencing”), it wouldn’t be surprising if she isn’t ready to move on just yet, and passes.
Hannah Brown (Colton Underwood’s season)
Why it could be her: You may recall that Brown’s Bachelorette tenure in 2019 was one clusterfuck of an episode after another, which culminated in a broken engagement upon the discovery that the man she picked, a failed musician named Jed, only went on the show to gain publicity for his career. (There was also that gaslighting born-again virgin.) A redemption season would both be warranted and historic, given that Brown has somehow continued to support the franchise despite the mortifying circumstances that unfolded against her in real time. For what it’s worth, Chris Harrison thinks she should have a do-over season, too.
Why it wont: Put simply, logistics. Brown has already committed herself to Dancing With the Stars’ spring ballroom tour, which is in direct conflict with The Bachelorette’s filming schedule. Brown has also stated that the idea of returning to the show isn’t appealing, despite still wanting a romantic partner in her life. “There is that weird desire in my heart to find somebody,” she explained earlier this year. “Do I have to do that as being the Bachelorette? No. But it is I think something that can work and has worked for other people.” Instead, she wants to focus on “seizing” career opportunities now that she lives full-time in Los Angeles.
Kelley Flanagan (Peter Weber’s season)
Why it could be her: As the counterbalance to the craziness of Weber’s season, Flanagan, an attorney from Chicago, quickly became a social media sensation thanks to her healthy resistance to being shaped as a normal Bachelor contestant. (For starters, she refused give a sob story during her one-on-one date, eschewed any and all drama, and flat-out told Weber that they should simply lean into the fun of their relationship as opposed to rushing to an engagement.) “If he’s not able to sit there and make decisive decisions and stuff like that, that’s on him,” she huffed about Weber upon her eventual elimination. “I don’t want him to waste my time either. Thank you for not coming and meeting my family.” But there are no hard feelings: Weber said Flanagan would “make an amazing Bachelorette” and “kill it.”
Why it won’t: While a breath of no-bullshit fresh air to viewers, Flanagan’s behavior allegedly made her extremely unpopular with the show’s production team, so much so that she apparently wasn’t invited to attend the upcoming “Women Tell All” special. (It’s particularly unprecedented given that she finished in the top six.) As WTA often doubles as a Bachelorette audition, having Flanagan sidelined is pretty much the reality TV kiss of death.
Tayshia Adams (Colton Underwood’s season)
Why it could be her: ABC confirmed that Adams, a phlebotomist turned influencer, was one of the women being considered for the Bachelorette season that ultimately went to Brown last year. (As a reminder, Adams was the second runner-up from Underwood’s very aerobic season.) “I might be more tough on the guys, in the sense I’d need them to stand up a little bit more than Hannah,” she previously told us about what her season would’ve looked like, also admitting that she was bummed she wasn’t offered the gig. “The guys would definitely have to be much older, I’d tell you that much. I require a little bit more life experience, someone who really knows who they are and still aren’t trying to figure themselves out.” Many Bachelor Nation alumni have also voiced their support for an Adams–led season.
Why it won’t: Paradise, which sometimes acts as an incubator to test potential franchise leads (see: Underwood), wasn’t particularly kind to Adams. A mean-girl reputation stuck with her throughout the season, thanks to her penchant for making derisive comments about other female contestants behind their backs. Questions of authenticity also plagued her after filming ended, when she was spotted on dates with other men while still dating her Paradise boyfriend John Paul Jones.