Bachelor Premiere Recap: Juan Pablo Eliminates Nine Ladies, Lauren H. Has a Breakdown
No offense to T.S. Eliot, but it looks like he may have been wrong about April being the cruelest month. ABC's Juan-uary -- named for the star of The Bachelor's 18th season, Juan Pablo Galavis -- got off to an awkward, tear-filled start on Monday, Jan. 6, and judging by the previews, things are going to get much, much worse in the coming weeks. But we'll get to that later. Click here for 5 sexy facts about Juan Pablo.
The two-hour premiere of The Bachelor's brand-new season got off to a promising start, with footage of a shirtless Juan Pablo posing for the cameras with a rose, playing beach volleyball, and just generally looking hot. There are also a few clips of him working -- he's a "sports and entertainment consultant" -- but the majority of the intro is him either showing off his abs or playing with his adorable 4-year-old daughter, Camila.
"It's very important for me to find true love. It's what I'm missing right now," he says in a voiceover. "I'm the first 'el Bachelor Latino.' I speak the language of love."
And on that note, we're off to Los Angeles, where Juan Pablo seeks out the advice of the most recent Bachelor, Sean Lowe. Sean -- who found love with Catherine Giudici on season 17 of the ABC series and is set to marry his fiancee on TV this month -- offers Juan Pablo some hard-won wisdom, mostly about kissing. ("At all costs, make sure if you kiss someone, the other girls don't see," Sean warns ominously.)
The soon-to-be-wed Texan also advises Juan Pablo to keep an open mind about all the women. "You're gonna be tempted to really latch on to certain women...and if you do that, if you think that way, you close off a lot of potential relationships," Sean says, noting that Catherine wasn't even on his radar until the third or fourth week.
From there, we head to Bachelor Mansion, where Chris Harrison talks about the "epidemic proportions" of Juan Pablo fever and then introduces some of the "ladies" who will be competing for the former pro soccer player's heart (and hand in marriage).
First up is Chelsie, 24, a super-perky science "educator" who describes herself as "very silly, fun, and outgoing." She's really excited to meet the Bachelor -- and to give him a hug -- and is practicing basic Spanish phrases (such as, "Me llamo Chelsie") to impress him.
Next is Renee, 32, who -- like Juan Pablo -- is a single parent. Renee has an 8-year-old son, Ben, and says she's "been in love, just not a love that lasts forever." She's hoping The Bachelor can change that, despite the show's not-so-great track record.
Bachelorette No. 3 is assistant district attorney Andi, 24, who shows off her skills in the courtroom and then laments the idea of dating someone who is also dating several other women. (She knows what this show is about, right?) Fourth is massage therapist Amy J., 31, who says she considers herself "an artist when it comes to the human body" and then complains that none of the men she dates want her to massage them. "I want a man who wants to be rubbed by me!" she squeals.
Pediatric nurse Nikki, 26, is next, followed by Lauren H., 25. Lauren's love life "just totally sucks" -- she was engaged up until a few months ago, when her fiance called her at work and broke things off suddenly, taking his son with him. She swears she's over it and ready to find love again, but there's almost certainly a breakdown in her future.
The last three Bachelorettes in this little segment are personal trainer Valerie, 26, a self-described "pretty girl" who isn't afraid to claw a few eyes out; Lacy, 25, who grew up with special-needs siblings and then selflessly opened an elder-care home; and Clare, 32, whose father recorded a DVD to be watched by her future husband before he died of brain cancer.
After Clare's reel, we head back to Bachelor Mansion, where Chris Harrison is waiting to greet Juan Pablo with some news. Chris tells el Bachelor Latino that the response to his casting was so overwhelming that the producers decided to pick 27 women instead of the usual 25. Which means Juan Pablo gets to break even more hearts than his predecessors.
Speaking of which, let's get this show on the road! The first lady out of the limo is Amy L., who greets Juan Pablo with an enthusiastic hug. Former NBA dancer Cassandra follows and manages to choke out her name -- but not much else -- leading to the first awkward silence of the night. (That didn't take long!)
Next is Christy, and then Christine, who brings a cute little name bracelet for Juan Pablo's daughter. Nikki has a prop, too -- a stethoscope so the Bachelor can hear how fast her heart is beating. She definitely leaves him wanting more; as she walks away, he turns to look at her and bites his fist in lust.
There's no time to dwell, though. Kat quickly steals back his attention by asking him to teach her how to salsa, and then Chantel arrives in a sexy minidress. She's followed by Victoria and Lucy, the latter of whom lists her occupation as "free spirit" and goes full hippie in a flower headband, gauzy dress, and bare feet.
Next up is Danielle, and then Lauren S., who literally rolls up the driveway on a piano, which she then proceeds to play. (There are a few wrong notes, but for the most part, she sounds pretty good.) Unfortunately, she forgets to give Juan Pablo her name, so he has to run into the mansion after her to get it.
More women arrive -- Chelsie, Valerie, Elise, and Ashley, in that order -- but none of them really makes an impression until Clare, who emerges from the limo with a huge baby bump. It turns out to be fake, which sounds kind of crazy but weirdly charms Juan Pablo, who declares that she's "very cute."
Moving on! Alli plays to the Bachelor's love of sports by bringing a soccer ball, Amy attempts to speak Spanish, Renee bonds with him over their kids, Lauren H. manages not to cry over her ex-fiance, Maggie offers him a fishing hook and a joke about him being a big catch, and Kelly (the professional "dog lover") introduces him to her pooch Molly. Lacy, Alexis, Kylie, Sharleen, and Andi are the last to arrive, leaving Juan Pablo reeling in the driveway.
Once inside, Juan Pablo is even more overwhelmed. "It feels like you're a meat and they want to eat you right there," he admits. So to break the ice and loosen everyone up, he cranks up some music and gets the ladies dancing.
From there, we move on to the one-on-ones. Most of them are pretty uneventful, but a few ladies stand out from the rest, and not in a good way. Amy J. leads Juan Pablo to a massage table, where she proceeds to rub him down with essential oils -- while he's still in his suit. (His reaction? "Amy was pretty nice, but the massage was pretty awkward.")
Lauren H. makes an impression, too -- by being the first to have a complete breakdown. "I want him to see the good energy I have," she says through sobs. "My last relationship ended suddenly...Obviously it has affected me in more ways that I realized." She swears she's over it, but she spends most of her one-on-one time with Juan Pablo talking about her ex.
Sharleen is much more detached, which is a refreshing change for both the audience and Juan Pablo. But is she too detached? The Bachelor is totally smitten -- he says she's "elegant" and "has mundo," or world -- but she seems unimpressed. "I guess I thought that I would feel more of this, like, insta-chemistry than I did," she confesses. "If I'm totally honest, it just seems a little forced."
Juan Pablo clearly thinks otherwise -- because he offers her the coveted "first impression" rose, which she accepts rather reluctantly. (Her initial response: "Seriously?")
The other ladies are not happy, which obviously means it's the perfect time for a rose ceremony. The whole thing is actually pretty boring -- until Juan Pablo calls Kat's name and Kylie walks up. "Can you take both of us?" Kylie says, giggling awkwardly, after she realizes her mistake. No, Kylie. No, he cannot.
In the end, roses go to Clare, Nikki, Renee, Andi, Alli, Chantel, Lauren S., Kelly, Cassandra, Danielle, Chelsie, Kat, Victoria, Christy, Lucy, Elise, Amy L., and Sharleen. That means Amy J., Kylie, Lauren H., Christine, Ashley, Valerie, Lacy, Maggie, and Alexis are headed home.
"I expected to be here for a long time," Kylie says tearfully. "To get sent home the first night, it's really hard. I pictured my life with him, and I could picture it even more after meeting him."
Still to come on this season of The Bachelor: lots of kissing, even more fighting, and enough tears to fill a moat around the mansion. Plus, one Bachelorette wishes death upon poor Juan Pablo! See you next week, Bachelor nation.