The countdown is on for Katie Thurston to start handing out roses. ABC released 31 potential contestants for season 17 of The Bachelorette on Thursday, March 18.
“We are giving you an early look at the men who may be on this season of The Bachelorette!” the official Facebook account for the ABC show wrote. “Leave a 🌹 for who would get your first impression rose.”
Among the potential suitors are 27-year-old Greg from Edison, New Jersey, and 33-year-old Karl from Miami, Florida, both of whom were cast to compete on Clare Crawley’s season 16 in March 2020. After production on the Bachelorette was postponed until July 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, several cast changes were made, including cutting Greg and Karl.
ABC announced Katie, who appeared on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, was set to lead the upcoming season of the show during the After the Final Rose special on Monday, March 15.
“I’m ready to find love, and not just, like, the temporary kind. I’m talking forever, my husband, and I’m in a place in my life where I feel like I’m the best version of me,” the 30-year-old reality TV personality told Emmanuel Acho, who replaced Chris Harrison after the longtime host came under fire for his defense of winner Rachael Kirkconnell’s racially insensitive past, on Monday. “Honestly, I’ve seen it work before, why can’t it work for me.”
It was also revealed on Monday that Michelle Young, Matt’s runner-up, would star on season 18 of The Bachelorette after Katie’s stint as the lead.
“I was a little nervous, but once I found out that it was two different seasons, I was here for it,” the 27-year-old teacher said as she sat next to Katie. “I’m excited that I get to have somebody to bond over with this and share notes as we go. I really do think that this process works. When you can set down all these outside distractions and really dive in, I think you can learn a lot about somebody. I’m just excited. I’m ready to get started.”
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Both women appeared on Good Morning America to tease the upcoming seasons of the show on Wednesday, March 17, with Katie calling out anyone who opts not to tune in because Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will be helping her on her journey in Harrison’s place.
“I think they’re on the wrong side of history. It’s 2021,” Katie said. “I support Chris and everything that he’s doing, and I think that this is the best decision. … I really feel like this is the big reset. There have been a ton of uncomfortable conversations, but important conversations.”
Michelle added, “They know that I’m going to push forward to make an impact in a positive way, and I think they’re kind of jumping on my train to do that with me.”
Season 17 of The Bachelorette is set to begin production in New Mexico this month and air on ABC later this year. For season 16 of the show, ABC cast additional suitors as backups in case someone tested positive for COVID-19.
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Scroll through to look at Katie’s potential suitors: