Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group ©2010 Disney Photo: The Bachelor Rose Ceremony Roses

You tell us! Actually, tell ABC. It’s time to start backing your favorite candidate, because the race for the Season 7 Bachelorette may not be as open-and-shut as we thought.

Rosemaster Chris Harrison answered some fan Q’s in Entertainment Weekly recently, and he said “maybe, maybe not” when asked if they’ve already chosen the next Bachelorette. He explained to EW, “There’s really no reason for us to paint ourselves into a corner if we don’t have to. We’re in production for a while so why not wait and see what the fallout is from this Bachelor or maybe we meet somebody who everyone just falls in love with. There’s really no reason to nail it down yet.”

It could be that they want to know how we feel about Ashley Hebert, whom Reality Steve insists is all set to be the next Bachelorette.

On the other hand, ABC may want to gauge our reactions to whichever lady Brad doesn’t pick to see if we’d want to watch her find love. They could be considering other ladies from Brad’s season, or women from previous seasons. It’s highly doubtful they would go with an unknown — the show has done much better ratings-wise since they began casting a leading guy or gal the fans already know.

Face it: Whatever decision ABC makes, many fans are going to be unhappy about it. Whoever gets chosen will inevitably face calls of “No, not her!” We just have to hope they pick someone a majority of us like. There’s no holding out for universal popularity.

Who are the leading candidates? Here’s how we see it:

CHANTAL O’BRIEN
Reasons why she could be the one: If Brad doesn’t pick her, she’ll be the heartbroken runner-up America pities and wants to support.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: She can have an abrasive personality, and she cries too much. How much of that do we want to see?

EMILY MAYNARD
Reasons why she could be the one: Viewers adore her, and if Brad doesn’t propose she’d be the number one fan pick. She was originally the front-runner for the Bachelorette, but Reality Steve’s spoilers now claim she won’t be doing it.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: She’d have to put Ricki through all of this again. She’s also hesitant about everything, she wouldn’t make for a very dramatic (or fun) season. Steve’s spoilers are likely right that she isn’t doing it — because Brad probably picks her.

ASHLEY HEBERT
Reasons why she could be the one: When the runner-up says no or is just a not-so-good candidate, producers usually ask the third lady in line. (Just like they did with Jillian Harris.) Ashley is cute and bubbly and full of life. She would have a lively season, and she’s already been “spoiled” as landing the gig.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: She doesn’t have a large fan base, especially after her awkward farewell. Judging by her edit, she has major communication issues, as well as a constant need for emotional reassurance. Do we really want to see her back?

MICHELLE MONEY
Reasons why she could be the one: Speak of the devil! So much depends on what happens during the “Women Tell All.” We know the women go after Michelle, but Reality Steve’s sources (who have been correct about all non-finale things) claim the studio audience starts to sympathize with her. So if we all leave the WTA feeling pro-Michelle, could the tide turn in her favor? We still love the idea of having a funny, crazy-dramatic person in the hot seat for once. Why shouldn’t the Bachelorette be as exciting as her bachelors? Besides, she’s a single mom just like Emily, and she would be able to show America the softer side of her personality.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: Because fans HATE her. Hate. As in, when we asked if she deserved to be called shady and a bad mother — as the other ladies are rumored to call her during the “Women Tell All” — many people voted yes. It seems pretty harsh to us that just because she was aggressive on a dating show she would then deserve to be called a bad mother. But once fans make up their minds about someone, they tend to dig in and refuse to allow for shades of gray. She was just joking around!

SHAWNTEL NEWTON
Reasons why she could be the one: Shawntel is everyone’s happy medium. She may not be anyone’s first choice, but whether you really want Emily or Michelle or even Chantal as the next Bachelorette, chances are you’d be OK with Shawntel. Arguably the most emotionally mature and stable of all the women on Brad’s season, she’d be a breath of fresh air.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: Not terribly dramatic, she would need extra crazy guys to bring the drama. That seems to be what happened with Brad: The redux Bachelor is not the most exciting guy in the world, so ABC had to dig up ladies like Michelle Money and Madison “Fang Girl” Garton to compensate.

ASHLEY SPIVEY
Reasons why she could be the one: She went from winning the first-impression rose to getting dumped in Week 5. Ashley took that fateful two-on-one in Vegas especially hard, sobbing because not getting a rose made her feel like there was something wrong with her. During her conference call, she talked about how she wants to find a man who’ll only have eyes for her, since she tends to end up with guys who are always on the lookout for the next best thing. She’s cute and sweet, and she got huge sympathy votes early in the season.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: She was dumped so long ago, we didn’t get much of a chance to get to know her. Also, the cutesy little girl crying gets old fast. There’s only so much of that we can take.

MADISON GARTON
Reasons why she could be the one: Why not? She certainly made an impression with the fangs. Plus, she’s undeniably gorgeous and mysterious, and when it was time to get serious she proved herself to be more mature, sensitive, and genuine than most of the women on the show. She wasn’t feeling it with Brad and she was moved by Emily’s story, so she got out of the way. Good for her.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: A lot of people think she’s a joke. She may have made an impression with the fangs, but for a lot of people that impression was “I’m an actress and I want my 15 minutes of fame on primetime TV.” She quit the show early on, so some fans may prefer to watch a woman they’ve spent more time getting to know.

VIENNA GIRARDI
Reasons why she could be the one: She seems to really want the gig — and she got an endorsement from Season 4 winner Jesse Csincsak. Folks also supported her (to an extent) after her televised breakup with Bachelor Jake Pavelka. Whenever we do a poll asking if Vienna should be the next Bachelorette, she gets thousands of votes. Are her friends and family doing all the voting, or do fans really want her?

Reasons why she won’t be the one: Vienna may get a lot of votes, but she also gets a lot of “hell no!” comments from our readers. Many Bachelor-loving folks don’t want to see Vienna again: They were firmly anti-Vienna during The Bachelor 14, and now they’ve dug in and decided that’s it. Others are Team Gia, so when Gia is anti-Vienna, they are anti-Vienna.


GIA ALLEMAND
Reasons why she could be the one: Fans love her. She’s gorgeous and sweet and very popular within the Bachelor universe. She didn’t come off too well on Bachelor Pad, but now that she regrets ignoring everyone’s warnings about Wes Hayden, she seems to have earned herself more sympathy.

Reasons why she won’t be the one: She wants to try and win back her ex, Chris Campoli, after she lost him in the Wes/Bachelor Pad aftermath. She also took her name out of the running to be the Bachelorette, but then told fans on Twitter, “Is not that i wouldnt want to be bachette i sometimes just dont think im good enough, and wouldnt want to let anyone down!” She goes back and forth on it. If enough fans want her to do it and the producers ask her, we have a feeling she’d say yes.