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'The Bachelor: Countdown to Juan Pablo': What we learned

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Ahead of Juan Pablo meeting his hopefuls on Monday’s true premiere of The Bachelor, ABC gave us Countdown to Juan Pablo, a special taking us inside both casting and Juan Pablo’s family. Here are the takeaways:

•  Grown women still own hula hoops and think they’re sexy, as evidenced by the audition tapes.

• Chris Harrison arm wrestles with contestants during their interview with an intimidating number of Bachelor personnel clutching massive binders. (Well, at least he did with one. He appeared to lose.)

• Some women take their test confessional interviews literally: “I actually was a virgin until about two weeks ago,” one revealed.

• Women jump a lot when they get good news, like that they’ve been chosen as a contestant on The Price is Right. They also scream and hug the messenger.

• A lot of the contestants are learning Spanish before meeting Juan Pablo. He’s been practicing his English: “Everything is better pronounced,” he says. “I’ve been speakin’ a little slower, so you can understand me at home.” He’s also been working with a trainer to look good for viewers.

• Juan Pablo needs a woman who enjoys Venezuelan food. (Hope you thought of that, ladies!)

• Juan Pablo does “consulting for sports and entertainment.” That’s real: One of his biggest clients is the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He collects pieces of memorabilia from athletes and takes them back to Venezuela to be exhibited.

• He was born in the U.S., but at the age of 2 his family went back to Venezuela and he grew up there. He played college soccer in Rochester, New York, then went pro, but retired when his daughter, 4-year-old Camila, was born because he didn’t want to miss raising her in Miami.

• He is excellent at role-playing (in the playground!).

• He doesn’t have a type: According to his family,  he’s dated women of all ethnicities, shapes, hair color, and occupations. (“DJs, actresses, models, teachers…” “Teachers?” “I don’t know, I’m assuming.”)

• His cousin Ivan recommended Juan Pablo wait 15 minutes between makeout sessions and brush his teeth. But all joking aside, in the tease of what’s ahead, former Bachelor Sean Lowe asked Juan Pablo if he had a strategy for how he’ll handle kissing people on the show. Sean admitted he’d kissed too many. We’re all thinking this will be a problem for Juan Pablo, right?

• If you weren’t on the Juan Pablo bandwagon before, his loud, funny family had to win you over. His father seems

particularly great and nonjudgmental about his son’s decision to be the Bachelor: He met Juan Pablo’s mother on a blind date, so this is like having 25 of them, he said. (Notice how everyone kept saying 25 women, and yet, we somehow end up with 27… )

• Juan Pablo isn’t afraid to cry. He teared up when his dad said he’s proud of him for trying to find the woman who will give him the big family he’s always wanted. His father told him to remember his family is always there for him. They hugged, kissed, and said they’d miss each other. We all want to be a part of that family now, or at least invited to the pool parties. (Flashback to Camila’s belly flop. Ouch.)

• Switching tones just like the show, the lengthy tribute to Gia Allemand — the well-liked former Bachelor and Bachelor Pad contestant who committed suicide last August — was most powerful when her mother spoke about her daughter and when clips were used of Gia speaking about herself. She wanted to be remembered for her big heart.

• Switching tones again, the tease for Monday’s show revealed that as usual, the first night produces tears and insecurities as women worry about getting enough time with Juan Pablo to make an impression.

• This may actually be the most dramatic season ever: Have we ever seen a contestant sitting on the bathroom floor and yelling that she wishes the Bachelor were dead? Plenty of breakdowns, drunkenness, arguments, and nudity to come! (In addition to the kissing.)