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A year after ABC brought us "Juanuary" and the controversial Juan Pablo Galavis, the show is back with a quite different Bachelor -- mild-mannered Iowa farmer Chris Soules.
Chris, 33, grew up on his family's 6,000-acre farm and plans to live there his entire life -- a decision that might have been the deal breaker for last season's Bachelorette, Atlanta attorney Andi Dorfman.
Monday night's three-hour premiere kicked off with an actual "premiere" -- a red carpet full of "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" alumni who came out to watch the first episode. Host Chris Harrison interviewed fan-favorite couples Sean and Catherine Lowe, Andi and Josh Murray, and Nikki Ferrell, the winner of Juan Pablo's season, who despite going through a season of "Couples Therapy," dumped the Bachelor shortly after the show.
Next, some of the women vying for Chris' heart are introduced. Among the ladies is Jillian, a 25-year-old news producer from Washington, D.C., Amanda, 24, an Illinois ballet instructor, Alyssa, also 24, a New Jersey flight attendant, and Kelsey, 28, a Texas guidance counselor who lost her husband a year and a half ago due to a heart condition.
The limo introductions had some surprises. One woman told Chris her job was selling human tissue and brought him a heart in a cooler -- nearly giving him a heart attack until she told him it was a joke. Another arrived with a karaoke machine to sing Chris a song. One woman greeted Chris in jean shorts and cowboy boots, and then snuck out of the mansion, hopped back in the limo and came out again in a cocktail dress so she could show the Bachelor both sides of her personality.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the way the women arrived at the Bachelor mansion. After 15 women arrived and met Chris, he was brought inside to socialize with the ladies, leading them to believe they were it -- not the normal 25 women who usually arrive on the first night. After a few hours, Chris Harrison shocked everyone by leading Chris outside to meet three more limos full of women. The first group of women got pretty mad -- perhaps a move to incite more drama?
"I know what I'm looking for and I'm here to find my wife," Chris told the 30 women once they all arrived. "I truly believe my wife is in this room."
The cocktail party provided its usual craziness—one girl started ranting about onions and interrupted an on-camera interview to pick a pomegranate off of a bush outside. Another woman, Tara, drank so much whiskey that she could barely stay awake during the rose ceremony at the end of the night.
There was a rose among the thorns, though. Chris gave the first impression rose to Britt, a 27-year-old waitress from Hollywood.
“When I first saw you, I felt something I haven't in a long time,” Chris told her.
“She’s an incredible girl,” he later told the cameras. “I don’t know what’s going to happen going forward, but if it isn’t me she deserves somebody incredible and I kind of hope it’s me.”
Britt was then safe at the rose ceremony, where six women were eliminated. Shockingly, Chris decided to keep Tara despite her tipsiness, telling Chris Harrison he wanted to give her another chance.
The first week of dates airs next Monday night on ABC.