Who Will Be 'The Bachelor' Next Season?

I'm fully aware that we only have one episode of the new season of The Bachelorette to go off of so far, so we've had precious little time to get to know JoJo Fletcher's suitors, but I'm still ready to ask the question — who will be The Bachelor next season? I see you trying to throw me shade with your eyes while they are still a full 20 men still vying for JoJo's heart, but hey, I know what I'm doing, OK? This isn't my first rodeo. I watch the show enough to be able to provide you with tips and tricks for winning your Bachelorette bracket, after all, so if anyone can predict the dude who succeeds Ben Higgins, it's gonna be me. (It's about time all this useless knowledge I've stored up in my head went to some productive use!)

So based on what I saw during the May 23 premiere, there are two guys who I feel could make the leap to The Bachelor after this season ends, and they are Luke Pell and James Taylor. It really depends on how far each of them goes, but there have already been a couple little clues that suggest to me that, A: either would be a fine pick, and B: that the producers are already setting us up to think that way. Remember, they already know who goes to the end, and who JoJo picks, so we're really at the mercy of their edit as far as which guys we like and which we don't. And James T. and Luke were two who came out looking real likable right out of the gate.

Let's talk James first. I mean, baby boy came in with a guitar and a huge grin, which made him immediately one of my favorite guys in the house, and JoJo was obviously very into him as a person, but I didn't feel a ton of attraction. He seems like a goofy, charismatic guy who felt comfortable in a situation that most of the guys didn't — I mean, look at how many of them got tanked — which is a suggestion that the singer-songwriter could hold his own if he was at the center of all this. I'm sure it's something producers noticed, and since JoJo wasn't enamored with him right away, it could mean that they never quite make the romantic connection, putting James in a good position to make a clean break and strike out on his own. The only question is whether he makes it far enough to be a viable option — typically the producers seem to favor someone who makes at least top four, and I'm not sure James T. has it in him.

But Luke, on the other hand, I'm almost certain will make it to Hometowns. I didn't totally get his allure — for as handsome as he is, the war veteran is clearly guarded, which makes sense this early — but JoJo was aaaall about it. She gushed about his appearance in their interactions and seemed very attracted, just sliiiiiightly less than her attraction to Jordan. Luke didn't get the kiss or the First Impression Rose, sure, but I feel he's a close second to Jordan. And what do we typically do with the close second? We give them their own franchise! That's how it happened with JoJo, after all, so I could see it going that way again with Luke. Once again, I do have one hesitation, though, and it's that Luke could either be too reserved or could go too far and fall too hard for JoJo. (And again, this is all assuming he doesn't win, which is a crazy declaration to be making after just one episode.) Nobody wants to see a full season of a Bachelor or Bachelorette just straight pining over the one that got away instead of trying to find new love, so it's a tricky line to walk.

At the end of the day, I know it's soon, but I feel ready to commit myself to both of these men. Or wait, sorry, was that phrasing confusing? I feel ready to commit to my theory that either one of these men could be the next Bachelor. There we go.

For more of The Bachelor, check out Bustle's very own Bachelor podcast, Will You Accept This Podcast:

Images: ABC (3)