In an unprecedented move for ABC's "The Bachelorette," the show will open its 11th season May 18 with not one but two stars: Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who were contestants on the just-concluded season of companion show "The Bachelor."
The twist -- which had been done on 2004's "The Bachelor" Season 6 with Jay Overbye and eventual star Byron Velvick -- allows the season's 25 competing men to select on the first night which woman will be "The Bachelorette."
Some initial responses to the announcement have been critical. Martha Sorren on the women's website Bustle.com wrote, "This show is turning a sweet journey of love for one woman into a gross male fantasy where two pretty ladies depend on the men's attention to stay in the house. . . . Both women deserve better than this."
Michael Slezak of TVLine.com said, "Feminism suffered another sucker-punch at the hands of ABC's reality-dating franchise."
The most recent previous "Bachelorette" star, Andi Dorfman, 27, tweeted, "I'm gonna keep my mouth shut right now," later adding, "I'm just going to be politically incorrect and mean no offense by this but I'm #TeamKaitlyn."
The stars themselves appeared sanguine during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Monday, with Bristowe, 29, telling the late-night talk-show host, "I mean, it's probably not ideal, but I think we're handling it well," to which Nilsson, 27, agreed, "Yeah."
Meanwhile, "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules, 33, called Whitney Bischoff, 29, to whom he became engaged on Monday's season finale, "my soul mate." "She was the person I could see myself with. . . . It became even more clear at the end. It just felt right," he told People magazine.
Soules confirmed Tuesday on "Good Morning America" that he would be competing on the next season of "Dancing With the Stars," premiering Monday, paired with professional dancer Witney Carson.