Paradise is a tough place to garner sympathy votes, but no one is emerging from Season 4 more beloved than Kristina Schulman, who got royally screwed over in Mexico. From the start, Dean Unglert, who just so happened to be one of the most sought-after guys this season, had his sights set on Kristina. He was really drawn to the fact that they'd both suffered childhood trauma, but unfortunately, he just wasn't ready for what he claimed to want: a similarly complex woman on his level. So fans are wondering: will Kristina be The Bachelorette after Bachelor in Paradise? It's still a long ways off, but it could happen.
Traditionally, the new Bachelor or Bachelorette is chosen from the pool of contestants on the previous season. Sometimes it's the runner up, sometimes it's a fan favorite, and sometimes it's just an intriguing middle-of-the-pack guy with a seemingly good gimmick that blows up in everyone's face (ahem, Juan Pablo). But this year, producers broke the mold by casting Nick Viall as the Bachelor instead of anyone from JoJo Fletcher's season of The Bachelorette.
Nick competed on The Bachelorette twice before and both times was the runner-up, getting rejected just as he was about to propose to Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe. He then appeared on Bachelor in Paradise Season 3 with a renewed image, got rejected yet again, and earned so much fan support that he got himself cast as the Bachelor despite not even really being in the running.
So there is precedent for Kristina to be chosen as the Bachelorette, even if she doesn't come from the pool of rejected contestants on the upcoming season of The Bachelor. Support for her is strong after an early connection with Dean — who, again, pursued her — crashed and burned, due largely to his immaturity. They even spent the season's two-week filming hiatus road-tripping to Kristina's hometown together. But after deeply bonding off-camera, Dean self-sabotaged. He felt a spark with a new arrival, Danielle Lombard, and after leading both of them on for too long, Dean eventually picked Danielle, even though he admitted that Kristina was the "right choice" and the decision made him "hate [himself]."
Kristina was super patient with Dean and got burned for it, so fans obviously want to see her get a redemption storyline. Another clue that points to her Bachelorette potential comes from series creator Mike Fleiss, who teased the following "power rankings" for the next Bachelor:
As you can see, most of those guys aren't rejects from Rachel Lindsay's season. It may simply be time to do away with the show's old format and cast people with whom fans feel a deeper connection. Kristina definitely fits that bill.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries: