Warning: spoilers ahead for the Season 17 premiere of The Bachelorette on ABC.
The Bachelorette is back for another season on ABC, and it would be difficult for Katie Thurston's romantic journey to take as many wild twists as when Clare Crawley's season turned into Tayshia Adams' season last year. That said, Season 17 already stands out from every other season of Bachelor Nation in one key way: Chris Harrison is nowhere to be seen, and with former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Adams hosting instead. So, now that the two-hour premiere has aired, were they the right replacements for Harrison?
It was announced months ago that Chris Harrison wouldn't be hosting The Bachelorette Season 17 due to the same racism scandal that saw him replaced in the
"After the Final Rose" special that wrapped Matt James' season of The Bachelor. As popular former Bachelorette leading ladies who know their way around the reality TV search for love, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe each made sense as a replacement host, but they were also inexperienced with the hosting position in Bachelor Nation, and fans haven't experienced a season hosted by more than one person before. So, how did they do?
Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as a hosting duo guaranteed that Season 17 felt different from all the seasons that came before right off the bat, and there was a lot more giggling with them supporting Katie Thurston than Chris Harrison. The format wasn't as organized with two hosts instead of just the one, and they didn't have the ease of Chris Harrison that can only come with nearly 20 years of hosting experience. Plus, not a ton of interaction with the men.
That said, I'm officially on Team Tayshia And Kaitlyn after the Season 17 premiere. Going into the season, my biggest question was if The Bachelorette could even work with two hosts instead of one, and I wasn't sure if it was the right call to bring in both Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe instead of just one. After watching them watch the procession of men meeting Katie Thurston from afar, however, I discovered that a twosome opened the hosts up to deliver some banter-style commentary and open up a new perspective on the season.
The commentary really worked for me, especially since meeting contestant after contestant can drag sometimes. And it also worked for me because it delivered something that I've been wanting from The Bachelorette for a long time: more of the female perspective in a season centered on a woman's emotional journey. Now, I'm well aware that the audience for Bachelor Nation is mostly comprised of women. In fact, I always have fun trying to see how many men are in the audience at the "After the Final Rose" specials. There were plenty of ladies around with Chris Harrison as host.
But I've also always wanted the Bachelorettes to have the regular input of another woman rather than just Chris Harrison when going through the struggles that inevitably arise during a season. The Season 17 premiere showed a level of comfort and understanding between Katie Thurston and Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe that isn't usually present with Chris Harrison as host of The Bachelorette. Thurston's hosts are people who can relate to her in more ways than Harrison would have been able to, as women and former Bachelorettes.
Plus, one of my hangups during the latest season of The Bachelor was that things started to feel contrived and formulaic, and two former Bachelorettes as hosts is the kind of change that will mix things up in some big ways. Whether those big ways go over well with the audience at large remains to be seen, and I could well change my mind about Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as hosts as the weeks pass, but I'm very glad that something is being done differently to potentially spice things up. This isn't more of the same, and I didn't find myself missing Chris Harrison at all during the premiere, although that's not the case for everybody.
Be sure to vote in our poll below about Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as hosts of The Bachelorette, and tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET to see what happens next for Katie Thurston in her search for love. A new season of Bachelor in Paradise will follow The Bachelorette Season 17, and Chris Harrison will remain absent, but Adams and Bristowe haven't been tapped to host. As for what else you can watch now and in the coming weeks. check out our 2021 summer TV premiere schedule.