Let the Bachelorette games begin!
Emily Maynard, the beautiful, blond southern belle who won Brad Womack's heart but didn't want to take the next step with him, returned to the Chris Harrison-hosted circus tonight, this time as the center of attention.
One by one, her would-be fiancés climbed out of the limos like clowns out of a Volkswagen, each one smiling and hoping to make the most of the 30 seconds given to greet the woman he already thinks is the perfect woman for him.
But first—a race-car driver? Really?
The powers that be plucked Arie, a 30-year-old race-car driver, out of the pack of would-be suitors. And, as you may have heard, the Bachelorette's one-time fiance, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, died in a small-plane crash on the way to a race.
"Being a race-car driver could bring back some painful memories for Emily," Arie admitted. "But I'm willing to take that risk."
More on that later!
The limos started pulling up to the mansion in Emily's hometown of Charlotte, N.C., and she started meeting the men!
(For some reason, Emily was facing away from where the guys walked in, meaning she had to look over her shoulder and turn around every time a new guy arrived. All the better to show off her backless evening gown, we suppose.)
First up was 28-year-old Sean, then 33-year-old David, then 33-year-old single dad Doug, then 29-year-old Jackson, then 27-year-old Joe, who was just "so excited!" to be there.
Then Arie showed up, but there wasn't time to get into it right at that moment, of course. After their initial meet-and-greet, let's just say that 19 more guys in suits showed up, as well—including Tony, a lumber trader who was carrying a satin pillow with a "glass slipper" on it, and Stevie, a party emcee who brought his own music and did a little dance.
Actually, to be fair, they didn't all wear suits. Randy, 30, wore a satiny cloak and hobbled in on a cane before transforming into a prince who was dressed to work as a bartender on St. Patrick's Day.
And too bad for Kalon, a 27-year-old luxury-brand consultant who arrived last and in a helicopter (he had the gall to promise that he was worth the wait, too), that Emily had met Ryan just beforehand.
After their initial hellos, Emily didn't want the 31-year-old professional football player turned sports trainer from Augusta, Ga., to leave her sight. You could just tell. (And "Helicopter Guy," as the other fellows branded him, immediately became the Courtney of the group.)
But during the cocktail party, we found out that Emily adored the fact that Arie was into racing. She loves the sport, has great memories from being at the track and, frankly, thinks that a guy driving a car really, really fast "is hot."
All of that being said, it was Doug, the single dad who shared the details of his latest I-miss-you phone call with his 11-year-old son back home, who received Emily's first-impression rose.
But while Emily only got to give out one of those, we can hand out as many as we'd like.
Aside from Doug, Arie and Ryan, the fellows who subtly sparked with Emily include Alejandro, a 24-year-old mushroom farmer who spoke sweet nothings to her in Spanish; Kyle, who was wearing a tie in her favorite color, turquoise; Chris, who talked about his long-married parents and asking his dad for advice; Charlie, a sweet big, strong guy from Nashville; and Nate, a supercute accountant.
Getting the big first-impression burn, in the meantime, were Randy, Jean-Paul, Brent (guess the name tag was unnecessary), Lerone, Jackson, and David.
So, what did you think of tonight's Bachelorette premiere. Who do you have your eye on for Emily? Do you think she let any good ones get away? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!