The Bachelor, Season 18, Episode 1 Recap: The Beginning of Juan-uary

Juan Pablo is back (ladies, you can exhale now)! After his appearance on the ninth season of The Bachelorette with Desiree, he was chosen to be this season's hunky Bachelor and he's been brushing up on his English and training a little harder to look good for the ladies (as if he needs to). The season premiere opened with a little background on Juan Pablo's life as a (super hunky) former professional soccer player, family man and single father to four-year-old Camila, whom he wants to find a stepmom for. Former Bachelor Sean Lowe came to impart his Bachelor-ly wisdom on Juan Pablo, telling him how many women to smooch (or not smooch, for that matter) and how difficult it was to pick "the one" from a pack of 25 females. 

After getting a mini background look at nine of the Bachelorettes, Juan Pablo met up with host Chris Harrison at the mansion to wait for the 25 ladies all vying for his heart. True to Bachelor form, there's always a surprise, and Chris drops the news that since the demand for Juan Pablo's love was so high, he'll actually have to choose between 27 Bachelorettes, which naturally worries the sweet-talking Venezuelan that he'll have to hurt so many women when he has to say goodbye (swoon). 

The first limo pulled up and out came Amy L., followed by Cassandra (and a super awkward silence), Christy, Christine (who tried to earn brownie points by bringing a gift for Camila) and Nikki (who brought a stethoscope and told Juan Pablo to check her heartbeat). In the second limo we met Kat (who asked for a salsa dancing lesson and apparently smelled very good), Chantel, Victoria (the Brazilian), Lucy (the "free spirit") and Danielle. Not to be outdone, of course, by Lauren S. who appeared rolling a piano up the driveway and made a lasting impression on Juan Pablo who was compelled to run into the house and ask her for her name which she forgot to tell him. The third limo had Chelsie (who amped up the cheese factor with science experiments), Valerie, Elise, Ashley (the teacher who brought the gold star sticker), Clare (who showed up with a fake pregnant belly to let JP know she's on board with more kids), Alli (who won his attention by showing up with cleats and a soccer ball), Amy J., Renee (the single mom), Lauren H. (the jilted mineral coordinator), Maggie (who brought a fishing hook hoping Juan Pablo will be a "good catch") and Kelly (the "dog lover" who brought her pooch Molly). The final limo had Lacy (who brought a love potion), Alexis, Kylie, Sharleen (the Canadian opera singer whose dress stood out to JP) and Andie (who quite literally took Juan Pablo's breath away at first glimpse). And, of course, the general consensus from the ladies on their Bachelor: He's gorgeous and it doesn't matter what he says, as long as he keeps talking in his sexy accent. 

After meeting all the ladies, the slightly overwhelmed Juan Pablo broke the ice with a dance party before having a little one-on-one time. Juan Pablo had an instant connection with Renee who is also a single parent, but was slightly put off by "free spirit" Lucy and her bare feet on his legs, but shook it off with a resigned comment, "It's the first night; there are a lot of strange things going on the first night." Amy J. gave JP a massage and tried to get him naked (can't blame her), but sadly it came off as slightly uncomfortable for the Bachelor. The first impression rose was brought into the room and interrupted the happy mood, creating a wave of tension over the cocktail party and left some of the ladies scrambling to steal a moment with the man of the night. Lauren H. proved her insecurities were broiling just beneath the surface as she got overly emotional (and dubbed as our first Drama Queen with the first cry of the night) when she didn't receive the time she wanted with Juan Pablo. 

Sharleen was given the first impression rose, right after he called her a "keeper", even though she admitted in her solo interview that she was hoping for more of an instant connection that she found was lacking and felt "forced". Her reaction to his "will you accept this rose?" proposal: "Seriously?" followed by a long pause and a very hesitant "sure" (super convincing). The rose ceremony had its share of awkward moments, particularly when Juan Pablo called out Kat's name, while Kylie thought he called hers, but sadly there was no rose in the pile for her. 

After the last of the dejected blotchy-eyed Bachelorettes left, the remaining 17 ladies toasted with Juan Pablo and finished off the night with big smiles. But, if the preview for the rest of the season is any indication, the tears won't stop tonight, showing enough of a tease of the drama to come, enough to even instil tears in Juan Pablo himself (I'm willing to hug him better).

Coming up roses: Sharleen, Clare, Nikki, Renee, Andie, Alli, Chantel, Lauren S., Kelly (and dog Molly), Cassandra (really? even after that super weird pause?), Danielle, Chelsie, Kat (not Kylie–sorry girl!), Victoria, Christy, Lucy (barf) and Amy L. 

Bachelorettes to watch: Lucy (if only for the hippie antics), Andie and Renee

Cry count: 4 (Lauren H.–twice!, Amy J. and Kylie)

Kiss count: 0 (for now) 

Catfight count: 0 (for now)

Tags: crazy women, drama, Juan Pablo, premiere, the bachelor, The Bachelor Episode 1 Recap, The Bachelor season 18, who went home

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