The wait is over! Season 12 of The Bachelorette began Monday, May 23. The highly anticipated premiere served up plenty of eligible bachelors and just as many laughs. JoJo Fletcher is officially over former Bachelor Ben Higgins, and she’s ready to tie the knot. First, of course, she must find the man of her dreams and fall in love on-camera. JoJo’s ultimate goal? She wants a ring on her finger by the Bachelorette season finale. Before we jump too far ahead, let’s take a look at what happened on the premiere that’s sure to have America talking.
Prior to meeting her 26 suitors, The Bachelorette is reflecting on the past few months. Her breakup with Ben was difficult, and she is confused how her Bachelor boyfriend was able to fall in love with two women at once. But along with JoJo’s heartache came wisdom and understanding. She admits that the experience taught her a lot, and she now knows what she deserves.
After arriving at the Bachelorette mansion, JoJo is met with a surprise. Three former Bachelorettes are waiting for her, ready to share their advice. They assure JoJo her nerves will be calmed once the men begin to arrive, as they will be looking to her for reassurance. The Bachelorette alums also explain that sometimes it’s difficult to decipher feelings of love and lust. It was even suggested that JoJo put the guys she really likes “on the back burner” for a week or two while she’s getting to know the rest of the men.
Bachelorette viewers get a sneak peek of a handful of the suitors before they meet JoJo for the very first time. One unforgettable introduction is to Evan, a 33-year old former pastor turned erectile dysfunction specialist. Evan tells viewers that he enjoys pumping his clients up which gives them a “pep in their step.” He’s “got mojo for JoJo,” but is The Bachelorette likely to fall for this interesting lad?
JoJo arrives in her limo, donning a drop dead gorgeous gold dress. Bachelorette host Chris Harrison meets her, and JoJo admits she’s nervous. But her nerves are forgotten when the first limo pulls up and the first of her admirers step out. Jordan, a former NFL player, makes an excellent first impression. He tells JoJo that his parents have been married for 36 years and counting.
The Bachelorette appears to be in her element as her guys continue to greet her before entering their mansion. At one point, she even drinks wine from the bottle with former competitive swimmer, Robby. Will, a self-described “train wreck,” brought cue cards to help him make it through his greeting, but he drops them stepping out of the limo. In a humorous moment, he reads the cards anyway. His thoughts are mixed up and funny.
In true Bachelorette fashion, the gents become more creative and comical as the evening goes on. James Taylor, a country singer from Katy, Texas, serenades JoJo while playing his guitar.
Nothing could have prepared The Bachelorette for what she’d be standing face-to-face with next. John, a half Chinese, half Scottish suitor, assures her he is Scottish beneath his kilt.
Despite it not being Christmas, Santa Claus steps out of his limo donning a full beard and Santa suit. “Jo Jo Jo,” he repeats, giving JoJo another reason to laugh.
Christian, a 26-year old telecom consultant, skips the limo and pulls up on his motorcycle. Luke, a war veteran, takes a unique approach by making his entrance on a unicorn.
Some of the gentlemen are positive JoJo won’t be impressed with the men who dressed up in costume or manage to pull-off peculiar entrances. But JoJo herself met Bachelor Ben Higgins donning a unicorn head last season.
During a memorable moment, Wells, a radio DJ from Nashville, shows up with pop group All-4-One. They sing their hit, “I Swear,” which is Wells’ attempt to impress the lovely JoJo.
Following the whirlwind meet and greet, The Bachelorette joins the guys inside and thanks them for being there. Alex, a 26-year old Marine, approaches her first, just moments after the group toast. The other gents are less-than-impressed with Alex’s move. One fellow suitor even says Alex has a “napoleon complex” due to his shorter-than-average stature. Although sparks don’t fly between JoJo and Alex, he certainly makes an impression. JoJo sits on his back as he does push-ups to impress her.
As she talks to the men one by one, JoJo is clearly annoyed they’re nervous. She wants to feel a “natural ease,” the way she did with Bachelor Ben.
Jordan saves the day! JoJo feels their conversation is relaxed and easy. She finds Jordan “confident and sexy.” Jordan is also feeling the connection, but he regrets not kissing JoJo.
Will, a civil engineer from New Jersey, doesn’t hesitate to make a move. He uses a handmade fortune teller to predict their first kiss. In an awkward moment, JoJo gives Will a quick peck on the lips.
After thinking about their time together, Jordan approaches JoJo again. He explains that he was nervous and kisses her. “Now that is a kiss,” JoJo tells Bachelorette viewers. They dance outside, and JoJo admits it feels “perfect and right” with him.
Chad, a real estate agent from Oklahoma, impresses JoJo by being “surprisingly vulnerable.” He looks rugged and tough, and he likes that she is comfortable in her own skin. Chad tells Bachelorette viewers that he believes Ben Higgins is a “softy.”
The night drags on, and some of JoJo’s admirers consume way too much alcohol. Canadian suitor, Daniel takes it too far by stripping down to his briefs. Although JoJo encourages him to put his clothes back on, Daniel dives into the pool. More drunk men interrupt The Bachelorette as she’s trying to have a solo moment in the interview room. The men are exhausting her, and the process has just begun!
Later, Ali, a bartender from Santa Monica, California, plays Beethoven for JoJo on the piano. Afterward, she sits on Santa’s lap, and viewers learn Santa’s a cutie!
James Taylor makes an impression on JoJo; she thinks he’s a gentleman. He has a “kind soul.” She admits, “he’s the type of person you wanna spend every day with.”
JoJo and Luke have instant chemistry. He gifts The Bachelorette a beautiful pair of cowboy boots. JoJo believes he has a “silent, sexy confidence.”
It’s no real surprise when JoJo asks Jordan to go outside and gives him the first impression rose. She tells Jordan she feels comfortable with him, and the feeling is mutual. The other men are disappointed.
JoJo is feeling unsure before the rose ceremony. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Little does she know the tables are about to turn. Just as she’s about to announce the first rose participant, former Bachelor and friend of JoJo, Jake, shows up and steals her away. After an awkward moment, he tells her to stay open to falling in love. The men are reeling, worried Jake will become a candidate, too. Their relief is apparent when JoJo comes back without the former Bachelor at her side.
Luke is the first of JoJo’s admirers to receive a rose. Wells is next, followed by James Taylor. Grant the firefighter is JoJo’s next pick. He admits to viewers that he’d be devastated to lose to Santa Claus or “the guy in the kilt.” Then Derek is called; Chad comments that he forgot Derek was a contestant, stating he “blended into the walls.” Ironically, Chad’s up next. He was certain he would be among the chosen.
JoJo calls Chase up to accept a rose, followed by a very confident Alex. Robby is called next; he admits the situation is “nerve wracking.” Brandon is unshaken as he accepts JoJo’s next rose. James F, a boxing club owner from Nashville, Tennessee makes the cut, and then an astounded Ali.
“St. Nick” is up next and then a self-assured Will. James S. looks pleased as he accepts a rose, followed by Vinny, a barber from Florida. Evan appears relieved when JoJo calls his name.
At this point, Chris Harrison announces the last rose of the night, and there’s tension in the room. Finally, JoJo calls Daniel’s name to the shock of the unchosen singles. After The Bachelorette says goodbye to the men who didn’t make the cut, she toasts the remaining gents.
In a sneak peek of season 12, we learn that men can be downright catty. Several of the guys fall in love with JoJo, and there will be no shortage of fights and drama.
Have you chosen a favorite? Who gets your vote for JoJo’s perfect match? We’d love to know!