He's Juan-In-a-Million! These girls are looking for the Juan! The wait has been imposs-Pablo! That's right, straight guys... o, wait, that's not my target audience... that's right girls! On Juan-uary 6th, The Bachelor is finally here!
If you didn't know that America was crazy excited about the debut of Juan Pablo as the Bachelor, then Chris Harrison is here to remind you a thousand times. In Chris Harrison's words, "Back by extremely popular demand, Juan Pablo!" The spanish-speaking, salsa-dancing, sports-consultant single dad has had Bachelor fans swooning ever since he kicked the soccer ball with Des last season. Now, he's here for... what else?... lots of shirtless pensive stares into gorgeous scenery waiting for a shot at forever love!
We start by learning a little more about the most eligible bachelor since James Bond. You may have heard, but he has a daughter. After taking his soccer career to the pros, he retired after the birth of his daughter on Valentine's Day 2009, naming her thusly Camila Valentina.
But just because you've made thousands of tweens melt doesn't mean you know jack about being the Bachelor. So enter every promise-ring manufacturer's favorite contestant... Sean! He gives some advice to Juan Pablo, such as have fun, tell all 27 girls that he'll forget their names, and kiss as many girls as he possibly can as long as he doesn't do it in front of anybody else. JP worries that none of the feelings in the extravagantly produced ABC-dates are real, when Sean tells him a fun story. Two months after he and Catherine got engaged in Thailand and rode off into the sunset on an elephant back, they found themselves outside cleaning off Sean's dog with a hose after it was sprayed by a skunk. Which made me think... how great would it be if that were a planned date on the show? Forget gondola rides and sunsets on the Pacific, get a dose of real life. The date card could read, "Before I can give you a rose, let's see if 'true love' includes spraying my $***-smelling dog with a hose."
Now it's time to meet the ladies who are more desperate for a soulmate than Joaquin Phoenix in "Her." Although JP may have as much trouble understanding English as Siri, these girls couldn't be more driven to make a good impression. "Mi amor," rehearses Chelsie from Columbus, the Science Educator that is practicing Spanish to impress. Renee is a sporty stand-up paddle boarder from Sarasota, FL who shares perspective as a single parent. And Amy J is a massage therapist who thinks her competitive advantage is that "everyone wants to be rubbed by me." I think some ABC intern got fired for not editing that out.
Other early contenders included Nikki the pediatric nurse from the Midwest. Lauren H was the mineral coordinator with the mandatory sob story of a fiance dumping her mid-engagement. And Valerie is the small town personal trainer that describes herself as "pretty. I'm a pretty girl." Right off the bat, Valerie seems like the type to throw out her man's favorite t-shirts for new digs and tell him he can't watch football because he has to go to church with her parents.
This is always my favorite part. Back when I would approach girls at the bar, there was a good 5-10 minutes of brain-storming before perfecting my move. This part is what would have happened if I would have had five months of preparation and a DVR full of intel on my prey. So with plenty of footage, these ladies played to his subtle nuances: he's Spanish, a dad, and plays soccer.
We start with a very plain intro with Amy L, the Orlando News Reporter. They compliment each other and go about their way. Next comes an ex-NBA dancer, Cassandra whose introduction goes:
- "I'm so nervous, I couldn't wait for tonight." - Cassandra
- "O don't be nervous. Now you're here, so we're good." - Juan Pablo
- "We're good." - Cassandra
Beat. Beat. Beat. Pause and stare blankly.
- "Ok, well, see ya in side." - Cassandra
Dialogue not exactly written by Nicholas Sparks.
Cassandra held the crown for most awkward introduction for a little while longer until Lucy arrived. Lucy lists her occupation as "Free Spirit," was wearing a flower headdress, and no shoes because she didn't want to look too tall. Automatically, I assume Lucy is going to be the one to bring her own hookah and be naked the entire time.
Then, we got on a hot streak of pretty good moves. Nikki, the pediatric nurse, brought a stethoscope so JP could listen to her nervously rapid heartbeat. Christine brought a bracelet for his daughter. Kat salsa danced. Then Lauren S, the composer, pulled the biggest stunt when she wheeled up a piano and played a beautiful song with one obvious screw up from being so nervous. It must have had an impression, because he ran inside to make sure he knew her name.
Overall, Juan Pablo whistled, wiped his brow, and bit his knuckles while observing every inch and curve on every entrant. He's clearly out to be the friskiest Bachelor in the show's history. After a striking va-va-voom blonde concludes the first car, he couldn't help but admit, "Ooo, I like that first limo."
Then things got weird...
Clare is the California hair stylist claiming to be part Mexican, but looks like her only Mexican heritage is that she ate two tacos last week. And she's pregnant... We have a pregnant girl. Although a one-armed girl was on Sean's season, JP was flabbergasted at this aberration. With huge eyes, he exclaimed "O My God." Luckily, it was all a prank. Great! Laughs all around! I haven't seen a joke that funny since Michael Richards performed at the Laugh Factory.
If the limo intros didn't prove it, the cocktail party showed Juan Pablo's out to be the friskiest Bachelor in show history. After complimenting the ladies, "Everytime you came out of the limo, I was like, 'Ay yi yiiiiii!'" he gets a little nervous from being drooled over by 27 women at once, "It feels like you're a piece of meat and they want to eat you right there." So to loosen things up, JP brought a photo booth and salsa music through his speaker. Personally, I loved the move. You aren't going to get to know someone in your three minutes anyway, so why not just wear funny masks and shake it?
The battle for the "First Impression Rose" occassionally resembles the battles in "Lord of the Rings." These girls can turn to Smeagle when they catch a whiff that rose is up for grabs. The strategies were varied.
Nikke the nurse giggled happily when Juan Pablo remembered her intro, "Yes, your heart... Boom. Boom." Renee bonded over their shared experience in single-parenthood. Lauren H starts to cry privately about her ex-fiance. Well, that last one could have gone better. It was time to up the ante.
Lucy, the free spirit, jumped right into JP's personal space, purring, "Do you get nervous when I get close to you?" Probably yes, especially because she rested her gross bare feet on his legs. Speaking of putting gross things on his clothes, Amy J. thought it would be a great idea to show off her profession and slam Juan onto a massage table, then rub oil all over his nice suit. While forcibly shoving his head into a pillow, she tried to explain why they were meant for each other, but I think this strategy only works on Jordan Belfort.
Some ladies weren't getting their time, so they had to be aggressive. Chantel ignored the gown norm for a tight-fitting cocktail dress. Danielle gave him a Teddy Bear. Lacy put together a picture puzzle. And, o no, o my, surprise, Lauren H is crying again.
In the end, the First Impression Rose goes to Sharleen, the Quebecian from Germany who likes pea soup and culture. Her reluctance is obvious, "I guess I thought that I would feel more of this, like, insta-chemistry than I did." After two minutes, you didn't? Really? Either way, JP explains, "I think you're very elegant, I like the way you are, and um, will you accept this rose?" Sharleen beems with everything but excitement. "Seriously? Sure. Yea, sure. Thank you, sir." Look, I know you live in Germany, but you aren't addressing the fuehrer here. You can drop the formality of sir.
Finally, time for the execution chamber, er uh, Rose Ceremony. Not-Pregnant Clare gets the first rose, followed by all the obvious choices, Andi the Attorney, Renee the mom, Nikki the nurse, and Chicago hometown heros, Christy and Alli. Then, Juan Pablo calls "Kat" which despite not even vaguely sounding like Kylie, sent anxious Kylie off stage to awkwardly try to accept what wasn't her rose. Kylie was the redhead who looked like she went for Jessica Rabbit, but missed the mark after using a paint roller to apply lipstick and turning a flamingo Halloween costume into a dress. Juan panicked, put the rose to his face and alerted, "KAT! KAT! No, Kat." An embarassed Kylie could only return to her spot and beg, "Coud you take both of us?" But the writing was on the wall...
We said goodbye to nine ladies, including Amy J. the masseuse, Kylie the coked up Jessica Rabbit and Lauren H who I assume is still crying. Better luck next time. Surprisingly we still have Fairy Princess Free Spirit Lucy, Kelly the Dog Lover, and Elise from Forty Fort, PA which I assume she called her hometown as she sat beneath her "forty fort" of couch pillows in PA. Anyway, we're in for, you guessed it, a lot of romance and a lot of drama. Judging from the preview's quotes like "Three shots of patron and I'll be topless," "You think I'm being loud now?" and "JUAN PABLO, I HOPE HE DIES!" this is going to be a fantastic season.
Episode 1 Power Rankings:
1. Nikki the Nurse
2. Renee the Single Mom
3. Andi the Attorney