'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (2023)

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (1)

The Bachelor

S27 E1

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Boring is in the eye of the beholder... right? Zach Shallcross was no one's first choice, but he's the Bachelor — so I guess we'll have to play the hand we were dealt, rose lovers. The first night of his Bachelor "journey" was relatively tame, but one woman did lick him without asking for consent.

Let's recap!

"I know some people are saying, why me?" says Zach in his intro package. Yes, they are, pal! It's notable that producers basically ignore Zach's time on The Bachelorette and instead try to convince us that he's an interesting guy with random facts about his youth. Did you know he played bass guitar in a high school band called Public Disturbance? Or that his DJ name in college was Berzachy? No, you didn't.

But if you watched The Bachelorette, you know that he broke up with Rachel because he felt she wasn't being genuine during their Fantasy Suite date, or something. In other words, he said she was being fake when the cameras were off. It didn't make sense to me then, and it doesn't make sense to me now. (Yes, I need to move on.)

Hey look! It's America's Favorite Bachelor, Sean Lowe!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (2)

Sean Lowe, still dreamy after all these years.

| Credit: ABC

He's here to add a little personality to the proceedings and to give Zach his official Bachelor imprimatur. Sean advises Zach to keep an open mind as he meets his potential wives. "Maybe the girl out there is not necessarily your 'type,'" he says. "If you're going to have a long, healthy marriage, you have to marry your best friend, right?" Sean also wants Bachelor Nation to know that Zach has a "funny side" that we "haven't seen yet." I mean, the man is related to Patrick Warburton, so it's possible the humor gene may be in there somewhere.

After a silly "training" segment where Sean coaches Zach through some weightlifting ("curls are for the girls!") and a "how to shower on TV" tutorial, it's time to meet (some of) the ladies.

Bailey, 27
Executive recruiter from Venice Beach

You may remember Bailey from The Bachelorette finale, where she was one of the five women to meet Zach on live TV. He then mangled her name as "Bailen," and she did NOT love it. Still, she's "excited" to get to know Zach better. "When I see him again," she says, "I will make sure he remembers my real name."

Katherine, 26
Registered Nurse from Tampa

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (3)

Pretty sure this is Katherine. Too many of these women look alike.

| Credit: ABC

"I date for purpose," says Katherine. "I'm dating to find a husband eventually." Well, statistically speaking, Katherine, you're probably on the wrong show.

Christina Mandrell, 26
Content creator (LOL) from Nashville

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (4)

Christina and her daughter

| Credit: ABC

Ms. Mandrell also met Zach on the live Bachelorette finale. Her mom is Irene Mandrell, singer and sister of country music legend Barbara Mandrell. Christina has an adorable and sassy five-year-old daughter, but she's still "down to have more kids. The goal for me is to get married."

Charity, 26
Child and family therapist from Columbus, Ga.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (5)

Pretty in pink.

| Credit: ABC

Charity loves her job, and she's ready to find a partner who treats her well and can make her laugh. "I am very eager to get married and I'm confident in what it is that I want." Sounds good, girl.

Greer, 24
Medical sales rep from Houston

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (6)

Greer is giddy.

| Credit: ABC

Hmmm… someone's already getting the ditz edit. (Though maybe there was no editing required.) She shakes the champagne bottle before opening it and then spills it all over her face when trying to take a sip. She also gives us the first "him and I" of the season. Sigh.

Brooklyn, 25
Rodeo racer from Stillwater, Okla.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (7)

Brooklyn and her buddy

| Credit: ABC

Rodeo racing is "like having a full-time job," says Brooklyn. Um… isn't it a full-time job? It sure seems like one on Yellowstone. (Side note: Zach met her on the live Bachelorette finale, too.)

Brianna, 24
Entrepreneur from Jersey City

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (8)

Brianna clutches her prize

| Credit: ABC

Brianna has nothing to worry about on night one, because she got America's First Impression Rose. Of course, she will need to convince Zach to keep her around in future weeks.

Kaity, 27
ER Nurse from Austin

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (9)

Come on, she looks just like Katherine!

| Credit: ABC

Another nurse! We love to see it. Kaity may have an advantage, because she and Zach both live in Austin (though ABC's bio says the Bachelor "splits his time between Texas and Orange County"). Her last ex cheated on her, but she's fully healed and Ready to Find Love™.

On to the mansion! Jesse Palmer greets Zach in front of Casa Bachelor and then does a quick breath check.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (10)


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"It's actually pretty good!" announces the host. Thank goodness for small favors, I guess. With that out of the way, it's time to unleash the limos.

Out first is Jess, a 23-year-old e-commerce coordinator (?) from Florida. She's clearly very nervous and has a brief "where do I stand?" panic attack upon exiting the limo, but it's pretty endearing. "I have a million emotions going on," she confesses to Zach, and he LOVES it. "Wow, great start," he says as she walks inside. "Very pretty."

Ariel, a 28-year-old marketing executive from NYC is next. "I missed my flight to get here, my suitcase broke, my dress even ripped!" she informs Zach. "But nothing was going to stop me from coming." Charity, who looks lovely in her sparkly magenta gown, emerges from the limo next. After that comes Davia, 25 (marketing manager from Charleston), and she brought booze!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (11)

Davia pours the bubbly

| Credit: ABC

I'm digging her dress, too.

Gabi, 25, also arrives bearing a gift: Maple syrup from her home state of Vermont. The account executive then demands that Zach drink the syrup straight out of the container. He obliges.

"Maple-y," the Bachelor sputters after taking a swig. Blech. Somebody get this man some water and more Listerine! "I might have left a bad taste in his mouth," laments Gabi, realizing her mistake.

Greer shows up with a paper cup of coffee, which she claims came all the way from NY. But who cares about that when our next contestant is…

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (13)

How do you solve a problem like Viktoria E.?

| Credit: ABC

Rose lovers, she is a NANNY from AUSTRIA! All I want in life is for Viktoria and Zach to fall in love while dancing a waltz and then lead their seven children over the mountains into Switzerland. Fingers crossed!

Madison, a 26-year-old business owner from North Dakota, teaches Zach all about the classic Midwestern word "uff da," while Aly (26, healthcare strategist from Georgia) comes armed with a bright smile and bubbly personality. Anastasia, a 30-year-old content marketing manager from San Diego, wants Zach to know she "wouldn't be here" if he wasn't the Bachelor. She's followed by this lady, who we met on After the Final Rose:

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (14)


| Credit: ABC

Welcome back, toots. Brooklyn arrives next, followed by Bailey, who teases Zach about forgetting her name on live TV. "I feel so bad about that!" says the Bachelor. "Do you?" she replies with a coy smile. Survey yes: YES, HE DOES.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (15)

Bailey gets the first smooch.

| Credit: ABC

Rose lovers, this was a real kiss, not some quickie peck on the lips. And Zach was the one who leaned in first! "I was not expecting him to remember my name, much less a kiss," gushes Bailey. Wisely, she does not inform the other women of said smooch once she gets inside the mansion.

Please welcome Kaity the ER nurse, who decides to introduce herself by telling Zach he has a large penis. No, I am not joking. "Based on what I can see right now, I can confirm that everything is bigger in Texas," quips Kaity, keeping her eyeline on the Bachelor's pants. Classy!

The sound of crunchy sequins precedes Genevie, a 26-year-old neonatal nurse from Baltimore. Her dress may be loud, but I'm liking the pinkish-lavender color. Katherine the dermatology nurse makes a sunscreen joke ("Would you wanna SPF me?"), and then Vanessa, 23, brings the Mardi Gras vibes.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (16)

Vanessa is a one-woman party.

| Credit: ABC

Kimberly, 30, a hospitality manager from LA, opts for a rhyming introduction ("My name is KimberLEY/Some call me Kimmy G/And yes I'm your new/Wifey to be"). A 25-year-old stylist named Oliva gifts Zach with two lucky pennies that she found when she was packing for the show, and Victoria J. (30, makeup artist from Texas) asks the Bachelor to read her some compliments she's written up in his "incredibly attractive" voice. Kylee, however, bellows compliments at Zach through a bullhorn.

Um… I feel like this technically qualifies as assault?

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (17)


| Credit: ABC

Ewwww. Not cool, Lekha (29, financial advisor from Miami). Not cool at all. In keeping with uncomfortably sexual intros, Holland, a 24-year-old insurance marketer from Florida, brings up Zach's tulip-filled date with Rachel from The Bachelorette. "I think the reason it didn't work out is just because you were in the wrong Holland," she jokes. Daaamn, girl!

I'm fully obsessed with the next contestant. Her name is Mercedes, and she's a 24-year-old non-profit owner from Iowa.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (18)

How cute is he?

| Credit: ABC

Oh, sorry — that's Henry. You see, Mercedes grew up on a farm and showed pigs when she was younger. I hope Casa Bachelor has a pen with a soft bed made of hay for Henry; it's going to be a long night and he needs his sleep.

Ooom-cha! Ooom-cha! Ooom-cha! That pounding dance beat can only mean one thing: Christina Mandrell just arrived on a party bus. Why not?

Time for some rapid-fire arrivals: Sonia is a 29-year-old project manager from Long Island! Becca is a 25-year-old nursing student from Burbank! Cara is a 27-year-old corporate recruiter from Pittsburgh! Olivia L. is a patient care technician from Rochester! They are all very pretty!

Last but not least:

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (19)

We get it, Brianna! You have a rose!

| Credit: ABC

Say hello to Brianna. And yes, she has been carrying that rose around since September.

With the introductions over, it's time for Zach to enter the brightly lit hothouse of hormones known as the Bachelor mansion. "This is overwhelming," he tells the assembled women. "I'm just a dude who loves family, football, and frozen pizzas — but really is someone who's looking for his forever best friend." (Side note: I'm totally down to eat the occasional Tombstone pizza. They're good!)

The one-on-one chats begin, and once again I cannot remember anyone's name. Wait, is that Katherine or Kaity? Cara or Cat? (Thank God I bookmarked this page.) Okay, so I've cross-referenced what's happening on the screen with the bio page and it looks like Kaity is the one who gets the second kiss of the night.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (20)

Kiss count: 2

| Credit: ABC

Not to be outdone, Christina takes Zach to her party bus for a "compatibility test." The questions are not particularly relevant to finding a mate (Mountains or beach? Dinosaurs or dragons?), but it doesn't matter because Christina engineered the whole thing to get the Bachelor to plant one on her. "Givin' me a kiss — yes or no?" she drawls. I think you can guess how he answers, rose lovers.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (21)

Kiss count: 3

| Credit: ABC

Well played, Ms. Mandrell! Unfortunately, her romantic moment with the Bachelor is interrupted by Madison, who leads a brigade of other women onto the party bus to get some time with Zach.

Eventually, Zach escapes to the relative quiet of the back patio, where Cat is waiting with a plate of meatballs. I don't know why, folks. Let's just go with it. "How many meatballs can you fit in your mouth?" Cat wonders. A lot, as it turns out.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (22)


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To be fair, Cat allows the Bachelor to shove a bunch of meatballs in her mouth, too. Props to a contestant who's not afraid to eat solid foods!

Brianna pulls Zach for a one-on-one chat next, and to be honest, she's kind of giving me pageant vibes. "Tell me, who is Zach?" she asks the Bachelor. Loosen up, Brianna! No one talks like that in real life. Their chat seems to go fine, though.

When Palmer brings the First Impression Rose to the living room, one of the women — I think it was Holland? — lets her displeasure be known: "Jesse, go back to ESPN!" The host just chuckles good naturedly, but there is pain behind his eyes. Never! his gaze seems to say. I'll never go back!

Neonatal nurse Genevie presents the Bachelor with a baby doll and orders him to change its diaper. Finally, a sensible test for a potential husband! Greer sits very close to Zach and informs him that her "end goal" is to move to Austin, and she's not just saying that because he lives there. Guess what, rose lovers? The Bachelor LOVES it!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (23)

Kiss count: 4

| Credit: ABC

The women who have yet to get time with him watch this smooch from afar. "I am about to rip the curtains off the hinges," groans Charity. Madison decides that it's going to be her turn next, so she grabs Zach for a solo chat… but in the end, all she gets is a friendly hug. Undaunted, she goes in again a little while later, interrupting the Bachelor's chat with… wait, who is that? Kimberly? Or maybe it's Olivia M. It doesn't matter because Madison just took her place. This time, she teaches him how to do the Griddy and then pulls him in for a kiss — though he clearly isn't too psyched about it. "I don't know if I was feeling that kiss," says Zach. "It didn't feel right."

"The kiss was sub-par," complains Madison. "It was literally a peck." That's because you basically strong-armed him into it, woman! The more she thinks about it, the more mortified Madison feels — and suddenly she's in tears.

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (24)

Madison is mortified.

| Credit: ABC

"It's so embarrassing," she sobs. "It's so f---ing embarrassing!" Kimberly arrives to comfort her. "You have to remember, you're the prize, too," she says soothingly. "It's not just him." Hell yeah, Kimberly! Zach needs to prove himself, too — maybe not to Madison, who clearly has no chance at this point, but in general.

As the night drags on, some of the women begin to sag with exhaustion, impatience, and disappointment. Others hold it together, including Charity, who bonds with Zach over the fact that his mom is also a child therapist. "You seem like an incredible, awesome woman," says Zach. "I'd like to kiss you." Well, get in there, buddy!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (25)

Kiss count: 6 (if you count Madison)

| Credit: ABC

Good lord, is it time for the First Impression Rose yet? Nope, Zach has one more woman to kiss first. Jess, you're up!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (26)

Kiss count: 7

| Credit: ABC

Ultimately, though, the First Impression Rose goes to Greer. Congrats, ma'am!

Tink! Tink! Tink! In walks Jesse Palmer with his Butter Knife of Bad News. The cocktail party is over, and it's time to narrow the field. But Madison is not about to sit through a rose ceremony only to endure the humiliation of being sent home with a bunch of other women. Instead, she's going to confront Zach so she can be humiliated when he rejects her personally!

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'The Bachelor' season premiere recap: Zach in business (27)

Madison puts Zach on the spot.

| Credit: ABC

Zach is naturally a bit taken aback, but he handles it like a gentleman. "Madison, I appreciate you coming to me right now," he says. "My heart wasn't feeling it, and I never want to force that… I know what it feels like to be led on, and I don't want that for you."

You heard the man, Madison! Time to take that long, long walk down the driveway to the waiting Reject Van. "I cannot believe I gave up my life for him," she says through tears. As she continues to cry her eyes out, Zach heads back to the mansion to finish his job for the night. (Who am I kidding? At this point, it's broad daylight.)

Rose ceremony roll call: Christina, Charity, Bailey, Jess, Genevie, Davia, Aly, Brooklyn, Kaity, Anastasia, Kylee, Gabi, Katherine, Mercedes, Ariel, Victoria J., Kimberly, and Cat join Brianna and Greer in the Circle of Safety.

Sadly, this means we must say goodbye to Becca, Cara, Holland, Lehka, both Olivias, Sonia, Vanessa, and Viktoria E., the nanny from Vienna. (Oh, how I hate to see my Sound of Music dreams die!)

All in all, it was a fairly low-drama night. (Of course, the supertease for the full season features plenty of tears and girl-on-girl conflict.) Before you go, rose lovers, please take a moment to consider these questions: Were you pleasantly surprised by Zach, or was he as boring as you feared? Are you rooting for any of the women in particular? And ladies, have you done your Kegels today? Post your thoughts below!

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