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Kaitlyn Bristowe Sounds Off On The Bachelorette For Naming Two Leads In Season 19

Kaitlyn Bristowe on The Bachelorette.
(Image credit: ABC)

It was a huge surprise for Bachelor Nation when Jesse Palmer announced that both Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey — the runners-up from Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor — would take the reins to lead The Bachelorette for its 19th season. However, it’s likely that nobody in Bachelor Nation had a stronger reaction to the news than Kaitlyn Bristowe, the former Bachelorette who was one half of the franchise’s previous two-Bachelorette disaster back in Season 11. Following the announcement, the alum had no problem calling out the franchise.

Much of Clayton Echard’s Season 26 finale featured “The Rose Ceremony From Hell,” in which the leading man confessed to Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey that he was in love with both of them and had slept with both of them. He convinced them to stay, only to flip-flop and decide his heart was still with Susie Evans, who he’d sent home after the controversial Fantasy Suite dates. The support Recchia and Windey showed each other was apparently what led to the co-lead situation. Kaitlyn Bristowe was upset by the decision, as she told fiancé Jason Tartick in an interview with E! News

I was triggered. Because I was like, Oh my gosh, can't a woman have her own season? It feels like it was Clare [Crawley] and then she was gone. And then it had to be Tayshia [Adams]. And then it was Katie [Thurston] and then, back-to-back, Michelle [Young]. And now it's the two Bachelorettes again. And I just want somebody to have their own season and I just don't want it to be them pitted against each other. I don't know how the format is going to work. I don't know what their little system is going to be, but I know how two Bachelorettes felt and it felt like we were being pitted against each other for the men to decide.

To be fair, of all those situations, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson actually were pitted against each other, so there’s no question why that situation hit a little close to home for Bristowe. In that season, the men arriving in limos met both women, but at the end of the night, they had to vote on which woman they wanted to keep. The men chose Bristowe, and Nilsson was sent home. 

Jesse Palmer assured the audience that Season 19 would feature both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia for the full season, thus not repeating the obvious Season 11 snafu, but Kaitlyn Bristowe’s comment pointed at just how common it is for The Bachelorette to force women to share the spotlight. Season 16 saw Clare Crawley leave the show early with now-former fiance Dale Moss, resulting in Tayshia Adams coming in as a replacement for the rest of the season.

Katie Thurston and Michelle Young at least got their own seasons (17 and 18, respectively), but they were announced at the same time, and their seasons ran back-to-back, forever solidifying their journeys as two parts of a whole.

What probably didn’t help Kaitlyn Bristowe stomach the recent announcement was that it came at the same time that Jesse Palmer revealed he would be replacing her and Tayshia Adams as hosts of The Bachelorette for the start of the new season.

It hasn’t been explained how The Bachelorette process will work with two leads, but I was hoping all along for Gabby Windey to nab the role, and I would love it if she and Rachel Recchia really could work together rather than against each other — like a Joe Millionaire bromance situation! Filming is underway now, but the July 11 return is pretty far off. In the meantime, check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see when new and returning shows are premiering.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.