Welcome to the new season of El Bachelor. I want to start this season off by saying thank you! Thank you for supporting us, and for coming back to enjoy another journey. Sunday night it all started with our special The Countdown to Juan Pablo. I really loved how after all these years we lifted the veil a bit to show our fans how we cast the show and just how pressure-packed that process can be. As you saw in the special, we truly see it all during the casting process. It’s not an exact science by any means, but I think our casting department has done a phenomenal job over the years of bringing in amazing men and women to be a part of this show.

I really enjoy getting to meet some of the men and women in the casting process. I think one of the most important things we do on this show for the Bachelor or Bachelorette is bring in a wide variety of people for them to meet and date. One thing I often hear from those that have been on our show is how much they appreciate meeting the different types of people that they normally wouldn’t date. I think this season we found an impressive dynamic group for Juan Pablo, and these women were very excited he was our choice. I was also glad this special allowed us to show a much deeper side of Juan Pablo. I think after watching Sunday you got a really good sense of who he is and what he’s all about. I also very much appreciated the tribute to our friend, Gia. To say she was beloved by our crew would be a huge understatement. There’s a reason we had her on the show and then invited her back twice to be on Bachelor Pad. She had a way about her that put everybody at ease and made everybody around her feel loved. I truly appreciate Gia’s mom speaking up for her daughter and giving her time and attention to such a worthy cause. This is a huge issue in our country and it’s not given nearly enough attention. Please go to to learn more about suicide prevention.

This season The Bachelor started off with a little bit of a twist. Juan Pablo has 27 women to choose from instead of the usual 25. The reason? Juan Pablo himself. Once we announced he was the Bachelor, the response was so overwhelming we extended the casting process to include more women who specifically came to meet him. There’s no particular reason we settled on 27 as opposed to, say, 28 or 29. We found 27 fantastic dynamic women and decided to include them all. Now, will we do this again next season? Who knows? There are no hard and fast rules for this show. We really try to let each situation and season dictate what we do.

There are always a few highlights when it comes to the limo arrivals each season. Amy L. was in the always high-stakes spot of being first out of the limo. She was nervous and so was Juan Pablo. Lauren S. made a big impression on Juan Pablo by riding a piano bike up the driveway. The operative word there is “driveway.” Poor Lauren didn’t take into account she’d be peddling uphill on a bumpy driveway while trying to remain cute, composed and while playing piano. She pulled it off well, and Juan Pablo was impressed.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Clare and the pregnancy stunt. It was a bold move that could’ve gone poorly, but Juan Pablo didn’t mind at all and found it kind of cute. Kelly brought her adorable dog Molly and both of them ended up getting a rose. Looks like we have an official mascot this season. Overall, the arrivals were pretty tame. In my opinion nobody really did anything to crazy, and on the flip side, I definitely don’t think anybody was dead on arrival. There have been times in the past when I wanted to tell the people to just circle the fountain get back in the limo and save yourself a long night. But this season I can say Juan Pablo was absolutely blown away by the women that showed up to meet him.

There were a few interesting moments during the cocktail party that are worth discussing. Lucy is a complete hippie and a free spirit and I’m just not sure Juan Pablo is going to be able to find chemistry with a woman like that. Amy J. gave Juan Pablo a massage in the driveway. If you were wondering if he enjoyed it, just go back and look at his face while the massage was going on. He couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.

Lauren H. from Oklahoma is a very interesting story. She’s someone I learned about in casting and I thought she was ready for this show and ready to move on, but she clearly wasn’t. This show makes you take stock of where you are in your life, and as much as Lauren H. kept telling everybody she was over her heartbreak and ready to move on she just wasn’t there. She still has some pain to deal with and I hope she does because she’s a sweet girl that got burned. Maybe the most compelling story to come out of the first night was that of Sharleen. She made a huge impression on Juan Pablo. He was so taken he quickly gave her the first impression rose – but the catch was that she wasn’t all that taken with him. She came very close to declining the rose and going home on night one. I think she made a wise choice to get to know him better and really see if there’s something there, but this is something that we’ll keep an eye on as we go.

The rose ceremony was pretty uneventful except for poor Kylie who thought she heard her name and stepped forward — only to be sent home. That late in the night, I guess his accent was just a little heavy and she unfortunately stepped forward. We also gave you a great look at the rest of this amazing season coming up. The dates begin next week and of course so does the drama. (And next Sunday night, check out The Bachelor: Behind the Scenes special.) A big thanks to our friend Sean for showing up to lend a hand and some advice in our premiere — and for one more shirtless scene at the end of the episode. I’m very much looking forward to Sean and Catherine’s live wedding on January 26th.

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