Warning: Spoilers from the hometowns episode of The Bachelorette.
Typically, the Bachelorette is pulled from the final three or so women (Kelsey went home fourth), because they have the longest journeys on the show and are the freshest in fans' minds compared to someone who went home weeks ago. However, Hannah Brown was picked for Bachelorette even though she went home seventh, likely due to how popular she was with fans and that fantastic exit speech she made when Colton Underwood eliminated her. On the limo ride home, Hannah declared, "The desire of my heart is to be loved so fearlessly by somebody. I will not allow myself to not feel chosen every single day. And I'll wait 'til whenever that is." Fans were so invested in seeing Hannah finally find that person to choose her every day.
People may also be just as invested in Kelsey after seeing her open her heart up to Peter only to get it broken, which she revealed was her biggest fear in all this. During her hometown date, Kelsey told Peter she was in love with him and got emotional with her family about the possibility of getting hurt after being so vulnerable. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
Peter eliminated Kelsey at the rose ceremony and explained that when she said she loved him, he realized he just wasn't there. Kelsey didn't have a grand Hannah B. speech on her own limo ride home, but she was really heartbroken and blindsided. "I'm just still in shock and like confused," she said. "I just honestly didn't expect to fall for him as hard as I did … I fell and he didn't. It hurts really bad." Fans online are already rooting for her to have her second chance at love as the Bachelorette.
The Bachelorette race is really between Kelsey, Madison Prewett, and Hannah Ann Sluss. Victoria Fuller has probably been part of too much drama on the show and off to attract viewers. And since either Madison or Hannah is likely to win (with Madison seeming to be the frontrunner), Kelsey really has a 50-50 chance of becoming the next Bachelorette. It's possible that the show could go with an earlier eliminated wildcard, but frankly this season was filled with a lot of pot stirrers, and fans haven't really connected with most of the contestants enough to give them a real shot at leading the show.
However, Kelsey has had a real turnaround as the season went on. Early on, she had some drama with Hannah Ann after Hannah opened a bottle of champagne that Kelsey had been saving for Peter. But the #ChampagneGate was over almost as soon as it started, with Kelsey and Hannah soon becoming friends both on the show — chatting away while other ladies were on dates — and in real life after filming. It's all champagne under the bridge for them now. And Kelsey has been joking about the whole situation on her Instagram, frequently making funny references to champagne and popping bottles to show that it doesn't mean anything to her anymore. Fans love a contestant who can poke a little fun at themselves.
Podcast host Arden Myrin of Will You Accept This Rose? recently spoke to comedian Michelle Collins about Kelsey's Bachelorette chances and they both seemed optimistic and excited about the potential. For two celebs to be rallying behind Kelsey, plus lots of regular fans online, that could mean something to the producers who want to pick someone the audience will tune in to see — and, let's face it, after Peter's season we need someone with more personality like Kelsey has.
Myrin also brought up a good point, that Kelsey seems to be a pretty mature, balanced person. The 28-year-old was open with Peter about how she wanted to be a mom but also work a couple of days a week at a job so she could still have something for her. To feel that and be confident about expressing it is refreshing. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a stay-at-home mom or leaving the show to become an influencer, but it is important to have a sense of what you want (looking at you, Peter, who doesn't seem to know what he wants at all) when you're leading a show about choosing what your future is going to look like. It doesn't hurt that she had her heart broken on national television. Fans are gonna want a comeback story for her after that.
Really one of the only things standing in Kelsey's way is if the producers decide to do another season with Hannah Brown. After her happy ending became a personal nightmare and she had to watch Tyler Cameron date model GiGi Hadid and Peter go off and date a bunch of other women on national television, she does deserve a win on the romance front. ABC seems to love her — which is part of why she kept showing up on Peter's season and also why she was cast on Dancing with the Stars. Fans love her too, and want to see her happy. Hannah may not want to go through all this again in a public setting though, and could turn such an offer down. But it does seem to be on the table as of now.
However, if the position doesn't go to Hannah B., Kelsey has a real shot of becoming a balanced, fun, quirky, unapologetic Bachelorette. Just expect a lot of champagne references if she does.