Katie Thurston, a 29-year-old bank marketing manager from Renton, departed ABC’s “The Bachelor” Monday night, a little over halfway through the season. She did however acquit herself well, possibly setting the stage for a future role in the “Bachelor” franchise.
Thurston made quite the first impression in the season premiere by showing off her vibrator to Matt James, the 28-year-old real estate broker and former college football player cast as the first Black Bachelor.
“This pandemic was really hard for me and this just really got me through a lot and I was hoping to pass the torch to you,” Thurston said, “But after seeing how you look and knowing the fantasy suite is so far away, I may need it a little bit longer.”
After that Thurston pivoted from raucous to responsible, calling out the show’s most bullying and backbiting contestants.
“Expressing yourself and name-calling are two different things,” Thurston told one woman who referred to another contestant as “trash.” “If you’re gonna be rude, I’m gonna call you out and tell you that’s unnecessary.”
When the badmouthing and rumor-mongering escalated with the arrival of several new contestants, Thurston went to James and asked him to address the bullying, toxic environment and mob mentality.
After bringing up Thurston’s concerns almost verbatim in the Feb. 1 episode, James booted two of the biggest troublemakers.
In the Feb. 8 episode, following an argument with contestant Serena — who came at Thurston for daring to bring up the toxicity in the house (“I cannot reason with crazy,” Thurston told her) — Thurston got her one-on-one date with James. It started with Thurston helping James play a prank on his visiting best friend, Tyler C., which went well (“She is unapologetically herself and that’s what I like about her,” James said).
But the more romantic portion of the date failed to generate fireworks, and James sent Thurston home, saying, “I’ve gotta have that connection where I’m seeing you as my wife. I’m just listening to my heart and it’s not leading me in that direction.”
Another Seattleite, 28-year-old Alaska Airlines recruiter Kimberly Courneya, was eliminated in the first episode of the current season, which was taped last fall under COVID-19 safety protocols in Western Pennsylvania.
A frequently accurate reality show spoiler specialist, who goes by @RealitySteve on Twitter, predicted Thurston’s Monday night departure from “The Bachelor” in a tweet on Saturday. He also said it won’t be the last viewers see of Thurston on ABC, tweeting this spoiler: “At the ‘Women Tell All’ taping this past Thursday, Katie Thurston was announced as the next ‘Bachelorette.’”
Thurston appeared to react in a since-deleted Instagram post, “Reading my texts this morning like, news to me.”
Late Monday, Reality Steve clarified his earlier tweet — news of Katie being the next Bachelorette came out at the reunion, but it was not announced there on camera — and Variety reported Thurston is the leading contender to star in the next season of “The Bachelorette” with an official announcement coming possibly as soon as this week. ABC publicists did not respond to a request for comment.