As The Bachelor winds down, it's time to start looking toward The Bachelorette. Who will be the next lady to hand out roses? Who do you want it to be? And more importantly, do any of Colton Underwood's final four seem like they can carry a season? Is it time for The Bachelorette to take a page from The Bachelor's book and look outside the final four?
That's a pretty overwhelming string of questions in a row, so let's look at the facts. (And by facts, I mean conclusions I've drawn from watching the show ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Traditionally, the next lead is selected from the previous season's final four. Colton's final four was Caelynn, Cassie, Hannah G., and Tayshia, the latter three of whom are still in the running as of publication. None of them so far have the compelling break-up narrative of a JoJo Fletcher or a Becca Kufrin, which would make their selection obvious, but there are still two episodes and a Women Tell All left for a hook to emerge. A lot can still happen!
Caelynn seems to have the strongest case. She has the right kind of poised personality to be the Bachelorette, and has overcome trauma to put together a good life for herself, which makes her easy to root for. On the other hand, we've seen flashes of meanness (seeing her call Tayshia a "stupid bitch" in an ITM makes me think Hannah B. wasn't exaggerating much when she said Caelynn turned on her during their pageant days), and there's the issue of her talking about wanting to be the Bachelorette, which is a breach of show etiquette. Transparently wanting to be the lead means you're Not Here for the Right Reasons. Plus, she's only 23. How many 23 year olds do you know who are ready to get married?
Cassie is too immature to be considered for The Bachelorette, and Hannah G. doesn't have enough personality.
That leaves Tayshia, who on paper is the best candidate. She's charismatic and has a Bachelorette personality. She's 28 and has been married before, so she has a better idea of what she is and isn't looking for than the 23 year olds. And she would be the first divorced Bachelorette, which could be an interesting narrative.
Unfortunately, the last time there was a black Bachelorette, 2017 lead Rachel Lindsay, ratings were substantially lower. "I found it incredibly disturbing in a Trumpish kind of way," creator Mike Fleiss told the New York Times last year about the low ratings. "How else are you going to explain the fact that she's down in the ratings, when — black or white — she was an unbelievable Bachelorette? It revealed something about our fans." Producers may cast Tayshia as the lead anyway, but in the end, ratings are the ultimate arbiter. And Tayshia is less popular than the other three, with only 120k Instagram followers (Cassie has over 750k).
Without an obvious standout among the final four, The Bachelorette may have to cast a wider net. Hannah B., aka Alabama Hannah, may be the outside-the-box best choice (but not too far outside the box, since she's a blond Southern girl). The self-described "hot mess express" would be a very entertaining Bachelorette. She's goofy and wears her emotions on her sleeve. She got an in-season redemption story when she talked out her issues with Caelynn and they moved on with their lives. And she got dumped by Colton after he took her to meet his parents, which will make for a funny night one talking point. With around 340k Instagram followers, she's not the most popular contestant from Colton's season, but she's doing fine. And the hard-to-please fans on Reddit are on her side (for now). If she's popular there, she's popular everywhere.
If you think the next Bachelorette should be someone not included here, let us know in the comments!
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Episodes are available to stream on Hulu.