By Marie Claire
If you watched Matt James's Bachelor season, you're likely familiar with Michelle Young—the 28-year-old elementary school teacher and college basketball star from Minnesota who was the runner-up to season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell. Fans were thrilled to learn during the After the Final Rose special that Young would be the lead of season 18 of The Bachelorette. Her season premiered on Tuesday, October 19, following Katie Thurston's season (which aired in the spring and early summer) and after Bachelor in Paradise (which ended in early October).
Notably, Michelle's season is airing on Tuesdays, rather than the Monday slot traditionally occupied by The Bachelor franchise. Ahead, everything we know so far about Young's Bachelorette season, including the premiere date, Michelle's contestants, filming location, and more. (If you're looking to find out who wins Michelle's season, here's our guide to Bachelorette spoilers.)
When did Michelle's season premiere?
Young's season premiered on Tuesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Filming began at the end of July and wrapped in early September. Apparently, ABC and Young coordinated this schedule so Young could film during summer vacation and wouldn't miss out on time with her students when school went back into session in the fall.
Who hosts Michelle's Bachelorette season?
Michelle's hosts are Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, the former Bachelorette duo also hosted Katie's season earlier this year.
No long-term host for the franchise has yet been announced following the departure of Chris Harrison. For the 2022 season of The Bachelor, former Bachelor and sports commentator Jesse Palmer will host—a role we can consider an audition, in a way, for the role of permanent host. Reality Steve reports that there will be two seasons of The Bachelor next year, so it's not clear whether Palmer will reprise his role.
What happens on Michelle's Bachelorette season?
No spoilers here, but this season is expected to have tears, drama, and plenty of accusations about the "wrong reasons." Speaking to E!, Michelle said: "I am very happy just how this entire experience went. I have learned so much about myself, about what I'm looking for."
Meanwhile, co-host Kaitlyn Bristowe told E!: "I feel like Michelle is so authentic in what she was looking for. I feel like she wasn't there for the wrong reasons. She wanted to go right back to her students after filming, and that's who she is," Kaitlyn said. "[There is] a lot of authenticity, romance, and some really heartbreaking heartbreaks. I cried a few times."
Her co-host Tayshia Adams added: "It's like a fairy tale, which is different, I think...You guys will understand that word at the end. It unfolds beautifully."
Where will Michelle's season be filmed?
The show slightly relaxed its COVID-19 protocols for Michelle's season, meaning Young's Bachelorette season was able to film in multiple locations. Her season initially filmed at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, California, followed by the Marquette Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Towards the end of the season, Michelle and her final contestants were able to leave the United States and visit Punta de Mita, Mexico.
Who are the Bachelorette contestants for Michelle's season?
ABC dropped the full list of Young's 35 contestants earlier this month. Though most of the men look like typical Bachelor contestants, the roster does skew older, with most of the men in their late 20s to early 30s.
One thing we do know: One of Michelle's contestants is our next Bachelor. The Hollywood Reporter reported on September 9: "The star for season 26 is a contestant who will compete on the upcoming season." The man in question is named Clayton Echard, a former Seattle Seahawks tight end. In her interview with Entertainment Tonight, Young described Clayton as a "sweetheart."
What about the rest of the controversy with the franchise?
The Bachelor franchise is attempting to work on its diversity problem both behind the scenes and on camera; Variety reported that The Bachelor has named Jodi Baskerville its first Black executive producer. Baskerville has been with the franchise for a decade and will begin her new role during Young's season.
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter about her season, Young replied: "Having Jodi there, having another woman of color, if there’s any time something was concerning or I just wanted to talk about something, she was right there to do that with me, who can make me feel heard, as well as to sit down and have conversations and bring everybody else into those conversations as well."
Asked about her goal in taking the lead, Young told THR: "Number one, yes, to find my person. But number two, to just showcase diverse love stories. Walking into it, I didn’t have this type of “this is what my person physically has to look like.” And being able to have other young women of color, girls of color, be able to turn on their TV screens and be able to see somebody who looks like them is not something that happens often whatsoever. And so to give them that opportunity, to be that for even just one other person, I think is incredibly important."
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