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Will Katie Thurston Be The Next Bachelorette? Her 'Bachelor' Exit May Be A Hint

Matt James might be in the midst of finding his ~one true love,~ but fans are already looking ahead to the next chapter of the Bachelor franchise. While there's still time before the new lead is crowned, a recently eliminated fan-favorite from Season 25 has viewers seriously smitten. So, will Katie Thurston be the next Bachelorette? The contestant has already shown she's capable of thriving in the spotlight.

Heading into the Feb. 8 episode, Katie was a frontrunner for stealing Matt's heart, just like she stole the hearts of viewers. The 30-year-old from Washington had fans buzzing from her very first moments on the show, when she walked out of the limo on Night 1 and gave Matt a vibrator by way of first impression.

While she's clearly hilarious (her TikTok is full of videos that'll make you legit LOL), she also proved to be a contestant who's as kind and level-headed as she is humorous. Not only did she stand up for Sarah Trott after she self-eliminated, but she was also a voice of reason when welcoming the new contestants to the resort as well. To recap: Katie is refreshingly funny, relatable, sex-positive, warm-hearted, and not totally evil — all qualities that would make for a perfect Bachelorette.

As for whether Katie will be the next Bachelorette, that is a whole other question. As of the Feb. 8 episode of Matt's Bachelor season, it seems she's free for the gig. During Katie's 1-on-1 date with Matt, he said that despite how much he liked her as a person, he was further along with other relationships and ended up sending her home. So, if she's not with Matt, could she be the next franchise lead? Fans seem to think so.

But just because many viewers want Katie to be the next Bachelorette, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll happen. Traditionally, the lead is one of the final few contestants of a previous season. For example, Clare Crawley was the runner-up on Season 18, Rachel Lindsay made it to the top three of Season 21, and Tayshia Adams was in the final two of Season 23. Katie only made it about halfway through the season, a far cry from finalist territory.

That said, ABC has been mixing things up lately. Clare was given the lead role six years after being a contestant and Tayshia stepped in as the Bachelorette after Clare left mid-season, a move that had never happened before. Additionally, Matt himself was never actually on the show before being cast as the lead, so it's clear the execs aren't afraid to break the mold.

As of Feb. 8, ABC hasn't spilled the beans on who will be the next lead, but Variety has reported (citing an anonymous source) that Katie will likely get the crown. However, until an official announcement from ABC comes, nothing is set in stone.

Season 25 of The Bachelor continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.