Rick Rowell/ABC
January 07, 2013 at 10:30 PM EST

Tonight, Bachelor Sean Lowe begins his journey (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) with 26 women, including the first black female contestants on the show since 2008, a familiar face from the franchise, a contestant who tries to tumble her way from the limo to him in a gown and fails (“It was a cute moment, and I definitely remembered her for it,” he says), and a Fifty Shades of Grey fan (Ashley P., pictured) who whips out a tie from her cleavage. “I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’ve heard all these women talk about it. Obviously I know there’s a sexual connotation there, so I got the point,” he says. “It was maybe a little aggressive for a first meeting, but to each their own.”

Below, Lowe offers more teases for the two-hour premiere and beyond.

• It takes the show less than 30 seconds to get him shirtless in the season opener. “Believe it or not, I don’t always wear a shirt this season,” he says. “You’re gonna see scenes on the beach, scenes at the pool tub, the hot tub. The usual Bachelor stuff. Scenes of me getting ready before a date, getting out of the shower. Lot of shirtless shots.” They were a fairly easy sell to the 29-year-old who now owns an upscale custom furniture business and moonlights with some fitness modeling. “I’ve come to expect it. I don’t fight it. It is what it is. I realize that producers like it when I don’t have my shirt on, and that only means that some people at home might also find gratification in it, too,” he says, laughing.

• His Bachelorette buddy Arie Luyendyk pops by in the premiere to offer kissing advice. “It’s so ridiculous and so funny,” Lowe says. “We forgot the cameras were there, we were just joking around, guys being guys. But I really enjoyed that, and I’m so glad that Arie decided to come out and surprise me.” And did he think of Arie’s advice later? “I would be lying if I said there weren’t a couple times as I’m kissing someone that I thought about — and this sounds weird — Arie’s advice. Not Arie, but Arie’s advice,” he says, laughing again. “Arie made the head grab famous, and so you might see a couple times this season, I go in for the head grab. I ask myself, what would Arie do in this situation?”

• In the premiere, he chooses to hand out multiple roses before the actual rose ceremony (which makes the women nervous). “It was so many women. I just wanted to be in the moment. So if I had a great conversation with someone, instead of waiting to the end of the night where maybe I could confuse that conversation with another woman, I just wanted to give it there on the spot, so that I knew I was making the right decision in the moment.” Does that practice continue? “I’ll think you’ll see more of that as the season goes on,” he says. “That was main focus, just being in the moment with each woman this season. I really wanted to give them my undivided attention, and I think I’m better off for doing that.”

• Expect more “love is a leap of faith” metaphor dates. Producers asked Lowe what kind of dates he’d like, and he told them he’s an outdoorsy guy who enjoys getting his adrenaline pumping. “You’re definitely gonna see some dates that involve heights, and there’s some women that freak out, but if you do it in the name of love, I think you can get through it,” he says.

Read more:

Bachelor Sean Lowe teases rule-breaking, feelings for multiple women, and house drama (or, the usual!)

‘Bachelor’: First look at Sean Lowe and his 26 ‘ladies’ — EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Sean Lowe is the new Bachelor. It’s official!

Chris Harrison hosts the veteran reality romance series. Will you accept this rose?
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