HOLLYWOOD—Season 12 of “The Bachelorette” kicked off Monday night with JoJo Fletcher – a 25-year-old real estate developer from Dallas, TX, searching to find love in light of a recent heartbreak.
JoJo was originally featured on season 20 of “The Bachelor,” where she pursued 28-year-old heartthrob Ben Higgins, an account analyst from Denver, CO, and challenged 26-year-old Lauren Bushnell of Marina Del Rey, CA for his heart in the finale.
Ben told both finalists he loved them – somehow managing to even further complicate the already emotionally complex situation that the three of them were in. Ben’s profession of love blindsided JoJo, leaving her devastated when he broke it off in the season finale, telling her, “I found [love] with you – but I found it with someone else more,” – he proposed to Lauren within the hour.
Although Ben didn’t fall in love with JoJo, America certainly did, and ABC appointed her to be the next Bachelorette as a result.
Monday’s episode introduced viewers to this season’s contestants and then allowed fans to watch the relationships blossom as JoJo got to know the guys more personally at the cocktail party – all eventually leading to the rose ceremony, which left six contestants eliminated.
“Bachelorette” fans familiarized themselves with 26 contestants tonight – per usual, it was an eclectic medley of wackos mixed with a handful of gems.
The men arrived split between two limos and one-by-one, stepped out and introduced themselves to JoJo in a manner that would be memorable – some were more elaborate than others.
Before the introductions began, however, viewers were offered some insight into the backgrounds of a few contestants in particular.
We know Grant is a firefighter; we know Christian wakes up at 3:30 a.m. every morning to work out and we know he takes care of his two little brothers on his own; we know James S. is a self-proclaimed “Bachelor” fan and we know he’s creepy – we know he hosts viewing parties and runs a “Bachelor” bracket; we know Evan is the director of a chain of medical practices that help men with erectile dysfunction; we know Luke is a cowboy at heart and served in the military for nine years as a platoon leader; and we definitely know that Jordan, a former professional football player and little brother to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, has a great shot with JoJo – making a remarkable first impression and sweeping her off her feet.
Standout entrances upon the limo arrivals include, but are not limited to: Robby, who showed up with a bottle of wine, taking a swig; Nick B., who came dressed as Santa Claus; Jonathan, who is half-Scottish, half-Chinese, arrived wearing a kilt; James Taylor, who serenaded JoJo with a guitar and cheesy love ballad; and Wells showed up with the acappella group All-4-One, who also did some serenading.
JoJo meets the men inside the mansion for the cocktail party – she gives a pep talk, encouraging that they be open hearted. When her spiel came to an end, Alex didn’t waste a breath – greeting her immediately, prompting her to join him on the deck to get to know each other.
Alex is handsome but knows it, and JoJo seems unimpressed. The conversation opened upon Alex disclosing he’s a marine – the discussion transitioned into him boasting about his strength and next thing we know, he’s doing push ups with JoJo on his back.
The beginning of the cocktail party and first few interactions left JoJo discouraged and craving that “connection” she keeps talking about – sure enough, former professional football player, Jordan Rogers’, swagger compensated for some of the deficit, blowing JoJo away with effortless conversation and by being what she described as, “confident and sexy” – they even share a kiss towards the end of the night which JoJo explains was, “perfect and right.”
JoJo meets with Chad, a 28-year-old luxury real estate agent from Tulsa, OK – he tells her he likes her confidence and JoJo is intrigued by him. Chad carries on to explain how he’s like a “manlier, more rugged version of Ben,” which of course shatters the cool guys façade he’s working so hard to radiate – he also spends a large chunk of the episode complaining and smack-talking the other contestants – JoJo seems to like him for whatever reason, though.
Yet, Chad’s bad attitude was easy to overlook because at least half of the contestants got hammered at the cocktail party, trying to calm their nerves with some liquid courage, and were making fools of themselves – like Daniel, who stripped practically naked and dove into the pool – but by some miracle still received a rose.
The chaos of the evening came to a halt as the rose ceremony commenced – the 26 contestants gathered in the mansion where 19 of the men received roses (one already went to Jordan – he received the impression rose earlier in the night, of course), while six did not, sending home Coley, Peter, Jake, Nick S., Sal, and Jonathan.
Monday night’s episode was just a taste of a season that will be filled with heartbreak, drama, and complicated love triangles. “The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC.