Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Ben and His Ladies Do a Silly Picture in the Bachelor Season 16 Premiere

Emily Maynard is probably going to be the Season 8 Bachelorette, but until someone connected with the show uses their actual name in a statement of confirmation, it won’t be “official.” As a “source” recently told RumorFix, “Emily definitely wants to be the next Bachelorette. She filled out the paperwork, but that doesn’t 100% mean she’ll be chosen. ABC won’t decide until [The Bachelor Season 16] is over because they want to see how the audience reacts to the current group of girls.”

Sounds fair. Bank on Emily (the source gave her a “90% chance”) but keep the door open in case there’s a mad rush in favor of one of Ben Flajnik’s beauties. In that vein, here are our top five pics from The Bachelor Season 16 that we’d like ABC to consider if they do change their minds.

1. Kacie Boguskie

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Kacie Boguskie on The Bachelor Season 16

She’s already getting the pre-Bachelorette treatment, from the first date of the season to the first date of the season jealousy syndrome (see: Ashley Hebert in Season 15). If Ben doesn’t pick Kacie, it’ll be Heartbreak City followed by Sympathy City. Plus, she’s arguably the most lovable of Ben’s not-so-sweet bachelorettes, which makes her (Bachelorette) star shine even brighter. She’s already a fan favorite and the idea of Emily “stealing her thunder” is almost a shame.

2. Lindzi Cox

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Lindzi on The Bachelor Season 16

Ben gave the sexy-voiced horse whisperer the first impression rose, and it’s possible she’ll be the one with a ring on her finger in the end. If not, Lindzi’s another one of the rare contestants who has so far managed to stay out of the most negative drama. She’s witty and feisty and ready to roll with anything. In his most recent blog, Michael Stagliano gushed with love for Lindzi, adding “(Ben, please don’t pick her. Lindzi, call me.)” And here we thought he was in love with are next lovely contender...

3. Nicki Sterling

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Nicki Sterling on The Bachelor Season 16

OK, so, Michael does love Nicki. He’s a “one-woman guy” and she was his first choice right after the premiere. He liked a lot of the other girls but gushed most about Nicki. His fellow Bachelor Pad 2 contestant Ames Brown also picked Nicki as one of his favorites on the premiere. She is a bright-eyed beauty who is “nicely bubbly,” as Ben put it. She’s also a fun-loving divorcee who knows what she wants this time. A lot of guys seem to be into her, and the only reason she’s not getting even more attention from our Bachelor is ‘cause she hasn’t had a first date with Ben yet. Expect the Nicki train to run full steam after that point.

4. Emily O’Brien

Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Emily on The Bachelor Season 16

Sweet, gangsta rappin’ Emily is definitely running head-first into The Drama Zone, especially in Episode 4 when she talks to Ben about Courtney Robertson. It didn’t work for Ali Fedotowsky when she went after Vienna Girardi in Season 14 — although, you could argue it did work because that kind of in-your-face honesty helped get Ali the Bachelorette 6 gig. A lot of viewers seem not too fond of Courtney, so to have Emily leading the anti-Courtney charge on TV will probably give her a bigger fan boost.

5. Shawntel Newton

Credit: Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney Photo: The Bachelor's Shawntel Newton

Sympathizing with Shawntel is a big trend this week because of what just happened in Episode 3, but will Team Shawntel still have strength two months from now when the show is over? She seems to fall hard pretty fast, and she’s not afraid to show her feelings. She’d be a mature, emotionally open Bachelorette. We had her on our Bachelorette list last year, so for us Team Shawntel is never over, but will America feel the same —  especially when the #1 competition is her old Bachelor buddy, Emily Maynard? 

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