The announcement was made Tuesday during the live After the Final Rose
Bachelor Nation, it’s official: We have our next Bachelorette!
The announcement was made Tuesday during the live After the Final Rose conclusion to Colton Underwood‘s season.
“I feel all the emotions,” she said after sitting down with host Chris Harrison. “But honestly, I’m just really grateful for this opportunity.”
“My family has been really supportive of me and is really happy,” she continued. “They have made me who I am and so they trust me and love me and ultimately want me to have love, too.”
The show then aired footage of Brown bursting into tears after finding out the news via FaceTime with Harrison a few weeks ago.
“It didn’t happen for me with my first time around, but I do believe that it can happen,” she said, tearing up after watching the clip. “I’m just really so grateful and honored that people saw my heart and that I get to continue showing that and that somebody will hopefully share their heart with me.”
- For more on Cassie and Colton, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
And while the fact that she could be engaged in just a few months is “so surreal,” it’s ultimately what Brown wants: “I’m hopeful for it,” she said. “I”m ready.”
The surprises weren’t over yet: Harrison then revealed that Brown would meet her first five contestants live on the show. First up was Luke, who told Brown that she was the “only one” that he wanted to be the next Bachelorette.
“You are absolutely stunning,” he said. “And now that I’m here, actually holding your hands in real life, seriously, this is just blowing my mind. I can’t wait to get to know you on a deeper level and just go on this adventure with you.”
Next was Dustin, who came out holding a glass of champagne.
“I’m so nervous right now, but I wanted to do a toast,” he said. “I know sometimes nerves can get in the way of a toast and you’ve just go to go through it. Cheers to the start of a wonderful beginning, an amazing journey and for us to get to know each other. And also hopefully us choosing each other every single day.”
Third up was Cam from Austin, Texas who rapped for her, then Connor who brought out a bedazzled step stool as their “first step” to seeing “eye-to-eye.”
Last but not least was Luke S.
“I know you’re from Alabama and I don’t go down south often, but for you, I’d go down anytime,” he quipped.
The new Bachelorette then handed out her very first rose to Cam.
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Brown, 24, is the reigning Miss Alabama (Roll Tide!). She made waves early on in the show for her incredibly awkward first one-on-one with Underwood, though she charmed him once she calmed her nerves and opened up about her insecurities. She also clashed with ex-friend Caelynn Miller-Keyes; they were roommates during the Miss USA pageant but fell out for still-mysterious reasons.
“I was just in a high-stress situation with her and it was like the most hostile environment I’ve ever been in,” she told Underwood on The Bachelor. “It’s hard because it’s like, if that’s what you want, you don’t want me.”
By the time they taped Women Tell All, however, the beauty queens had agreed to disagree — and support each other’s journeys.
“I don’t want to get into our stuff. We’re like oil and water; we just don’t mix that well,” Brown said. “Ultimately, I think we’re good. I said I’m sorry for the things I said.”
Fans had considered Miller-Keyes, 24, to be another contender for Bachelorette.
After opening up about her difficult past during an especially emotional date with Undwerwood early on in the season, Miller-Keyes was believed to be an early front-runner for his final pick. But when he unexpectedly sent her home after hometowns, Miller-Keyes was left blindsided and heartbroken.
“I was just left standing there like, ‘What the hell happened?’ ” she said during the Women Tell All special. “How could we go from having the best time and an incredible relationship to nothing?
“Feeling not loved back, it sucks,” she added as she wiped away tears.
Brown’s season of The Bachelorette is expected to premiere later this year on ABC.
The Bachelor: After the Final Rose is airing live on ABC.