ABC said Monday that for the first time it will air two seasons of "The Bachelorette" in the same year. Katie Thurston and Michelle Young, both from the just-concluded season of "The Bachelor," are respectively set to star in the 17th and 18th seasons.
Emmanuel Acho, host of the "After the Final Rose" post-finale show Monday night, let those two women make the announcement, following interviews with runner-up Young, finalist Rachael Kirkconnell and "Bachelor" star Matt James, who after expressing commitment doubts on the season finale did not propose marriage. James and Kirkconnell did begin a relationship, which ended following revelations of racially insensitive actions in Kirkconnell's past.
Thurston, 30, is a Seattle bank marketing manager. Young, 27, is a teacher who taught at Normandale Hills Elementary School in Bloomington, Minnesota, according to Minneapolis' Star Tribune newspaper, although she is not currently listed among district staff.
"You were composed in the midst of chaos. It was a joy to share the stage with you my friend," Acho told Young in a comment on her Instagram.
The "After the Final Rose" host, a sportscaster and author of the bestseller "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man," replaced Chris Harrison as host of the after-show following Harrison's own racially insensitive on-air remarks last month.
James, 29, an associate at the New York office of the national real estate firm CBRE, had told Young on the season finale, shot months ago, that he was "having doubts" about becoming engaged. "Just having any doubt in my mind at this point for me is just scary," he told a tearful Young, adding, "I don't think I can get there with you."
After saying during a confessional segment, "I don't have the clarity that I thought I would have right now," a day before the final rose ceremony, he canceled a planned final date with Kirkconnell. At the ceremony, he explained to Kirkconnell, "I've seen what rushing into a proposal, a marriage, can do …. And that's why I can't propose to you today. But that doesn't mean I want to lose you. … And I want to leave here with you and I want to commit to you … and the truth is that I love you."
Kirkconnell, 24, apologized to James on "After the Final Rose," saying, "For you to end things, I realized that that must have been really hard for you. … And I just wanted to say I'm really sorry for not understanding that initially and that I'm really sorry that I hurt you." He responded: "The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset. … It was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Back man in America … and it broke my heart."