Bachelorette fans are buzzing that the star of season 16 of the ABC dating series is an older woman.
The speculation comes ahead of the announcement scheduled for Monday, March 2, on Good Morning America, with a source telling Us Weekly exclusively that “the Bachelorette casting team turned away numerous guys in their early 20s for the upcoming season solely because of their ages.”
An insider previously told Us that this season’s pick “will be a huge surprise to fans” and is “a complete dark horse.”
“We really do have this massive debate where people from this season, people from prior seasons, people you don’t even know are in the mix,” Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison told Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, February 25.
Current Bachelor star Peter Weber told E! News that Kelsey Weier, 28, who was most recently eliminated from his season, would make a good choice for the coveted role.
Tia Booth, 28, who appeared on Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor in 2018, is also a contender, as is Tayshia Adams, 29, who vied for Colton Underwood’s heart last year.
Fan favorite Clare Crawley, who joined the ranks of Bachelor Nation in 2014 on Juan Pablo Galavis’ season and appeared on Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games, is also in the running to be the next Bachelorette, and if chosen, would be the oldest star, at 38.
Up till now, the oldest star of The Bachelorette was Rachel Lindsay, who was 32 during her season in 2017. At 24, last year’s Bachelorette, Hannah Brown, was the youngest.
On the men’s side, the franchise has seen several older leads, including Luyendyk, who was 36 when season 22 aired in 2018. Brad Womack was 38 when he returned for a second time as the Bachelor for season 15 in 2011, while the most senior Bachelor was Byron Velvick, who was 40 when he starred on season 6 in 2004.
If producers decide to go with a younger woman for this season, leading contenders include some other women from Weber’s season, including Victoria Fuller, who is 22, Hannah Ann Sluss, 23, and Madison Prewett, 23.
There were also whispers that Brown could return for another chance at love after her 2019 season ended with a broken engagement to Jed Wyatt. An insider confirmed to Us that the Alabama native had discussions about the role, but she was never officially offered the spot and the producers decided to go in a different direction.
“There’s always an opportunity for a curveball,” Harrison told Us exclusively last month. “Even when there’s somebody who’s really, really obvious from the prior season. There’s always an opportunity for something crazy from left field.”
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With reporting by Nicholas Hautman
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