Monday night, The Bachelorette, for the first time ever, will have two women vying to get the “honor” of passing out roses each week. Is it problematic? Some people think so. But this is also The Bachelor franchise, so we are just going to lean in and appreciate the twist for what it will ultimately be: good drama.
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson came to reality show fame on Farmer Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor. Britt started out looking like a frontrunner (they kissed on the first night!), but was sent home in week 7 after another contestant voiced concerns to Chris that Britt was not being truthful with him. (At the Women Tell All, Chris said that wasn’t the reason why—but we all know better.) Kaitlyn made it all the way to final three, but was sent home in Bali; Chris couldn’t really tell her why—he was very good with words, if you recall.
So at After the Final Rose, Chris Harrison announced that these two “fan favorites” would be vying for the title of The Bachelorette. Apparently, how it will work is the men will vote on the first night for whom they want to stay. You can come back to EW Monday night to read the full recap of how it went down. But for now, Samantha Highfill, Bachelor/Bachelorette recapper extraordinaire, and Dalene Rovenstine, 13-year Bachelor/Bachelorette watcher, will discuss what we’re all thinking: who would be a better bachelorette.
DALENE ROVENSTINE: Okay, let’s get one thing straight first: We don’t need to argue about who would be the better girlfriend/wife—I think we both would agree on that one (*cough* Kaitlyn *cough*).
SAMANTHA HIGHFILL: Agreed. I’d probably marry her.
DALENE: But I don’t watch this show because I want to see perfect romantic matches. I watch it for one word: entertainment. And the best seasons are the ones that have the most drama. (I think most of America is probably with me on that?) For that reason alone, I would love for the men to choose Britt to be this season’s Bachelorette. Can we agree on that, too?
SAM: That’s where you lose me, Dalene. Because with that reasoning, you could also have made the argument that Vienna Girardi should’ve been a Bachelorette—need I say more? For me, the craziness and the entertainment needs to come from the contestants. Your base—meaning your Bachelorette—needs to be a bit more stable, which is where I think Kaitlyn’s sense of humor makes her the best candidate. Do you remember her comments about Ashley S? That is a woman I want to watch.
DALENE: Well, I want crazy contestants, too. But I should clarify: I want a Bachelorette who is dramatic and emotional, not one that has a borderline personality disorder—which I do think happens way too often on this show and makes me question the doctor they use for clearing contestants. Anyway, I think Britt is that perfect balance. I don’t think she is “crazy,” but I think she questions and doubts her decisions enough that it would make for an interesting season. Think about it: The seasons where we have had a Bachelorette who is well-spoken, knows what she wants, and doesn’t “deal with the drama” are the most boring to watch (sorry, but I’m looking at you Andi). I want someone who can’t make up her mind, keeps around some of the poor choices longer than she should, and is such an emotional wreck at the end that we don’t know who the clear frontrunner is. I feel I can get that from Britt. Can your Kaitlyn offer us that? Can she go full-on Mesnick? As much as I loved her on Chris’ season, she held it together too well for me to think she can bring as much drama as I’d like.
SAM: Do you remember Kaitlyn’s goodbye?! It was heartbreaking. I don’t think she necessarily held it together as much as she spent a lot of the season putting up a wall to protect herself. But when the role is reversed, and she’s the one making the choices, I think she’ll allow herself to feel more. Plus, she was basically the narrator of the show last year, and her comments were always the best part. She’s smart enough to make good choices–otherwise known as something we can root for—but I also think she’ll let herself have some fun along the way. I like a Bachelorette who knows what she wants—Ali, anyone?—but I also am not entirely sure that Kaitlyn does know. I mean, she nearly offered to move to Arlington, Iowa: Population (maybe) 500. I think she still has a lot of soul searching to do, and she’ll be funny along the way. Plus, Jimmy Kimmel will probably show up at some point. Isn’t there a part of you that wonders how genuine Britt is with the whole “actress” aspect of it all?
DALENE: Okay, first I want to address the “Britt’s a good actress” idea. I know it’s popular among Bachelor fans, but I don’t fully buy it. I think Britt is someone who feels things really strongly and very quickly, so it actually does make sense to me that she might hate Arlington, Iowa, as her gut reaction and then come around to the idea later; also, isn’t a woman allowed to change her mind!?
But next I want to address the “someone to root for” idea. I was secretly hoping you would mention it because I had this locked and loaded: I think everyone assumes Kaitlyn will be a person to root for as the Bachelorette and Britt won’t because of our feelings about them as bachelorettes on Chris’ season. But here’s the thing: There’s a long history of people being well-liked on their original season and then being terrible as the main event. Juan Pablo of course comes to mind, but I won’t use him as an example because I think ABC probably does CIA-level background checks now to make sure THAT never happens again (and I actually do like Kaitlyn and there’s no way I’m going to compare her to that animal). So I’ll use someone like Desiree—she was fun in her Bachelor season and kind of a dud in her own Bachelorette. So if that could happen, why couldn’t the reverse happen for Britt?
SAM: To be clear: I wasn’t calling Britt an actress. I actually defended her a lot last season as well. I meant that she’s literally an actress. Like, her job was listed as something along the lines of waitress/actress last season.
As for Britt becoming more likable on The Bachelorette, I’m not going to say it’s impossible. I’m just also not going to say it’s possible. You’re right that becoming the center of attention has taken people we liked and turned them into people we, well, don’t like anymore. But the reverse has never happened, and in a show that’s been going on for as long as this one, I feel like it would have by now. Here’s my main thing: It’s not that I think Britt would be a bad Bachelorette. It’s that I think she’d be fine. If they had chosen Britt as Bachelorette flat-out, I could’ve handled it. Trust me, I have so many shower jokes up my sleeve it’s ridiculous. But it’s in the comparison, in the choice—Kaitlyn or Britt—that Britt falls short.
DALENE: Isn’t this the first time we’ve had someone who’s so widely disliked on his or her season even get a chance to lead the show, though? Britt could change Bachelor/Bachelorette history as we know it!
But I’m going to be honest with you Sam (and EW readers), really I’ve just been waiting for a Jen Schefft season repeat for far too long. For those of you whose Bachelor/Bachelorette history doesn’t stretch, or last, that far back, here’s the highlight: Jen Schefft, season 3 bachelorette, rejected both of her final two suitors. And one of them was so clueless that he got down on one knee as she was telling him she just wanted to be friends. It was sad and amazing at the same time. These happy endings (followed by breakups six months later) have gone on for long enough—it’s time for a really shocking ending. (And no, even if it happens this season, I still won’t believe Chris Harrison when he says it in the promos.) I don’t know why, but I think Britt can provide this kind of ending for us.
So bachelors of season 11, if you are reading this from the past, please vote for Britt. It’s a vote for the kind of season we want—NO—the kind of season we need in Bachelor nation. I rest my case.
SAM: Wow. That’s quite the argument, and I do think that Britt would keep things interesting with the evolution of her lipstick color. But I simply think that after three back-to-back seasons of “fine” people winning the title of Bachelor or Bachelorette and then slowly growing less likable by the week, we need someone who’s consistent. Someone who’s lovable. Someone who can give us a story to root for: Kaitlyn finally let her walls down, only to have Chris dump her. Now, it’s time for her to get her happy ending. Now that’s a narrative!
But more than anything, we need someone who doesn’t reapply her makeup before going to bed.