Bachelor Nick Viall is ready to fall in love for the final time. In a call earlier this month with The Knot and other reporters, the season 21 lead revealed what Bachelor Nation can expect from the upcoming season, which kicks off Monday, January 2.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated premiere, here are the top 10 things to know about the dramatic season ahead.
1. Viall Was on the Fence about Becoming The Bachelor
Although he had become a familiar face on the hit ABC franchise, the Wisconsin native wasn’t initially drawn to the idea of taking the lead.
“When I was asked to be The Bachelor, I didn’t immediately say yes,” Viall, 36, explained. “It’s a huge responsibility; it’s obviously an incredible opportunity, but a lot goes into it–and there are no guarantees.”
2. It Was an Emotional Roller Coaster
With 30 beautiful women vying for his heart, Viall may have underestimated just how exhausting the process would be.
“There are obviously a lot of amazing things that come with being The Bachelor. It’s fun and cool, but it’s also a lot,” he admitted. “It’s a big commitment, and if you’re serious about it, it can be very difficult at times. It’s very personal; there’s a lot of feelings. The hopes of meeting the right person can be kind of a terrifying feeling. Every day you face those challenges, and it’s very easy to question those things. I’m a one woman guy, so dating multiple women is hard. I certainly felt fortunate for the opportunity, but it can be very difficult.
3. He Knew What He Wanted
While the first night at the Bachelor mansion can be an overwhelming experience, Viall knew what traits he was looking for when he met his suitors.
“I like confidence in people and confidence in women,” he shared in the interview. “I think it takes a lot of confidence for people to show their vulnerabilities and be expressive and open up. I think that shows a lot about someone.”
As for first impressions, Viall was particularly fascinated by the women who were willing to be themselves. “They’re not trying to be perfect; they’re not trying to be someone they’re not, and they’re willing to show their vulnerabilities,” he explained. “To me, I think that’s an amazing first impression.”
4. He Made an Effort to Remain Humble
When asked how his daily life has changed since becoming the season 21 lead, Viall said, “Not too much.”
He admitted to being a “big believer in not forgetting where you come from,” and it was important to him not to let the experience change his life. “I don’t take myself any more serious than I did before,” he acknowledged. “I don’t think I’m any more special than I ever did before, and it’s important to me to stay grounded.”
5. He’s Aware of His Reputation
Not everyone was thrilled when Viall was announced as the next Bachelor. He’s well-aware of the mixed opinions–even among his suitors.
“I’ve been pretty used to being a part of Bachelor Nation and people [having] a variety of opinions about me,”he said, “ and I was certainly aware of the fact that some of the women could have a variety of opinions about me [on] night one. I’m someone who likes transparency, and I want to be in a relationship where people are upfront and open about any questions and concerns that they have, and so I always invited that throughout the season.”
6. One of His Exes Wished Him Luck
Although Viall’s relationship with season 10 Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, didn’t work out, the brunette beauty wished him luck before he began his own season.
“Andi did reach out [with] a simple text to wish me luck, and it was a very gracious text,” he shared, “but certainly no advice was given, and no advice was asked [for], and I haven’t had any contact with Kaitlyn [Bristowe] at all.”
7. He Is Thankful His Previous Relationships Ended
Viall may have been heartbroken when his relationships with Dorfman and Bristowe ended, but time and distance have given him new perspective.
“As far as Andi and Kaitlyn, I mean, [they’re] both great women and they certainly have a lot of great qualities,” Viall acknowledged. “And as much as I did care for those women in the past, I was also very thankful that it didn’t work out, having removed myself from the situation. I want to be with a woman who feels empowered and feels like they’re my partner and part of a relationship. In terms of those core qualities that I’m looking for in women, that has never changed and never will.”
8. He’s an Unconventional Bachelor
Viewers can expect some deviation from the show’s typical format. Viall revealed that there are plenty of surprises in store this season.
“I think me being asked to be the Bachelor was viewed as an unconventional choice, and I think relative to me and my peers in the past, I’m probably a bit more unconventional and that might be a theme that you will continue to see with me as The Bachelor,” he teased. “I’m not afraid to not necessarily play by [my] own rules, but [I] follow my heart and do what I think is best regardless of the majority opinion.”
9. His Family Was Fully Supportive of the Process
Viall’s family has been supportive throughout his Bachelor journey. He’s particularly inspired by his parents–who got engaged after only six months of dating.
“I have 10 siblings, a lot of them are younger than me,” the heartthrob explained, “and so my parents are as much my friends as my parents, and they’ve always been very supportive, and I’m very thankful to continue to have their support. They’ve been married for 38 years, have 11 kids and a wonderful marriage. I think that’s pretty great.”
10. He Received Expert Advice (Really!)
To kick-off his on-screen adventure, Viall sought guidance from three former Bachelors. “I do get advice from some former Bachelors: Ben [Higgins], Chris [Soules]… two of my good buddies, and the one and only [Sean Lowe],” he said. “They gave me some advice, and I’m very thankful for it.”
While Viall looked forward to starting his Bachelor journey with a “clean slate,” he admitted that the first night didn’t go quite as planned. “I didn’t know that someone from my past would show up, and when that happens I think anyone would be shocked. As far as how it all plays out or what I thought about it, I think that will be a very compelling part of the first episode, and I look forward to you all checking it out.”
Watch the two-hour season 21 premiere of The Bachelor, airing Monday, January 2, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.