Because it was always going to come down to the two of them

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated March 09, 2015 11:05 PM
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

PEOPLE Exclusive: The Bachelor‘s Chris Soules and fiancée Whitney Bischoff open up about their small-town life together – and starting a family! Subscribe now for instant access to their plans for beating the odds and making love last.

So who’s the next Bachelorette?

Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers about Monday’s finale of The Bachelor or who will be handing out the roses on the next season of The Bachelorette.

After we learned which lady Chris Soules is now calling his "soulmate," another question remained: Who among the rest of the women would be chosen for her own journey to find love?

Well, if you’ve been wondering whether it would be Britt Nilsson or Kaitlyn Bristowe for season 11, you’ve been asking the wrong question – it’s not an either/or scenario.

Both ladies will be kicking off the next season of ABC’s hit reality romance franchise.

For the first time in Bachelorette history, the premiere of season 11 will have 25 potential suitors choosing whether they want to get to know one woman or the other.

Host Chris Harrison announced the big news during the After the Final Rose special on Monday. “See, sometimes I’m actually being honest when I say it’s a shocking moment,” he joked.

Though they’ll ultimately be opponents, Britt and Kaitlyn walked onstage hand in hand. When she learned that she wouldn’t be the sole Bachelorette, Kaitlyn said, laughing: “I think what went through my mind was, ‘That’s not ideal.’ ”

“I’m super grateful,” said Britt. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity.”

Get your applications ready, gentlemen – Britt and Kaitlyn promised to spend some time in the same hot tub together. “It will be fun,” said Britt. “It will be a lot of things,” Kaitlyn added. “Fun might be one of them.”

Ever since Britt’s departure from The Bachelor in advance of the hometown dates, she has been a polarizing figure. Love her or hate her, there’s no way you don’t have an opinion on Britt (and her fabulous array of lip colors).

Equally equipped with a dazzling collection of lipstick was Kaitlyn, whose casual beauty and absurd – sometimes dirty – sense of humor made her an easy favorite.

That said, given this dramatic new twist, it’s clear that either Britt or Kaitlyn’s next chance at Bachelorette fame will be as short as Jillian’s shorts.

This is the second time that the franchise has pulled this trick. All the way back in 2004, season 6 of The Bachelor held a “Ladies’ Choice Ceremony,” where 25 women were offered the choice between Jay Overbye and Byron Velvick.

As any Bachelor scholar knows, Velvick ended up being the ladies’ choice. He proposed to Mary Delgado in the finale, and the couple split five years later.

Now that the Bachelorettes have kind of been chosen, we’re left with the same question as before: Britt or Kaitlyn? Whom do you want to see for an entire season of The Bachelorette?

Is the New Bachelorette Series Twist Sexist?