The special New Year’s Day season premiere of season 22 of “The Bachelor” kicked off by reintroducing Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Bachelor nation will remember Luyendyk Jr., a race car driver, from season eight of “The Bachelorette,” where he fell in love with and was later dumped by Emily Maynard. The first 10 minutes of Monday’s premiere replayed that moment.
But we also got to see how far Luyendyk Jr. has come in the last five years. No longer racing full-time, Luyendyk Jr. is a successful real estate broker, but at 36, he’s still single and looking for love and wants to start a family.
With 29 women to choose from, Luyendyk Jr. has his hands full. Monday night’s show introduced us to all of the women.
“It was overwhelming at first,” Luyendyk Jr. said today on “Good Morning America. “I think that first night I was just so nervous.”
“It was a long time since I’ve been on camera before so there was a lot of pressure,” he said. “It was just intense, for sure.”
Chelsea, 29, is from Portland, Maine, and a single mom. Caroline, 26, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is a realtor.
Maquel Cooper, 23, is a professional photographer. Nysha is a 30-year-old nurse from South Carolina. Tia Booth is 26, from Weiner, Arkansas. Kendall Long is a creative director in Los Angeles who loves taxidermy and plays the ukulele.
Bekah M. is a nanny in Los Angeles. Marikh, 27, is a restaurant owner in Salt Lake City, Utah. Krystal, 29, is an online fitness coach in San Diego who volunteers to help the homeless.
Luyendyk Jr. spoke with The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison about getting a second chance and then the girls began to arrive.
Seinne, 27, who is a commercial real estate manager from Newport Beach, California, brought Arie elephant cuff links. Tia arrived with a present as well, a gift from her hometown, a little wiener, which she gave him and asked, “I hope you don’t have one of these.”
There was Bibiana, 30, an executive assistant from Miami Beach, Florida. Bri, 25, who is a sports reporter from Portland, Oregon.
Jenny, 25, is a graphic designer from Chicago. Brittane, 27, a marketing manager from Los Angeles, gave Arie a bumper sticker that read, “Nice butt.” Jacqueline, 26, is a research coordinator from New York City. There’s Valerie, 25, a server from Nashville, Tennessee.
Bekah drove up in a vintage Mustang and told Arie, “I may be young but I can still appreciate something classic.”
And the girls kept coming! Jenna, 28, is a social media manager from Raleigh, North Carolina. Jessica, 26, a television host from Santa Monica, California, brought Arie a “gratitude rock.” Olivia, 23, a marketing associate from Chicago, told Arie she saw him on “The Bachelorette” and adored him.
Rebecca, 27, is a publicist from Minneapolis.
The first of the four Laurens, Lauren S., showed up. She is 31 and a social media manager from Dallas. She was followed by Lauren J., 33, a recent master’s graduate from New Roads, Louisiana. After her came Lauren B., 25, a technology salesperson from Dallas. The fourth Lauren, Lauren G., is 26 and an executive recruiter from Los Angeles.
Arie still wasn’t finished meeting everyone. We met Ashley, 25, a real estate agent from West Palm Beach, Fla., who gave Arie a checkered flag in the hopes that they make it to the finish line. Brittany, 30, a tech recruiter from Austin, Texas, tried to compliment Arie in Dutch.
Amber, 29, owns a spray tan company in Denver, Colorado. Ali, 27, a personal stylist from Dallas, Texas, asked Arie to smell her and then said, “Was that not the best pit stop of all your life?”
Annaliese, 32, an event designer in San Francisco, showed up in a black mask.
The last bachelorette, Maquel, showed up in a Formula One race car.
“It just makes that introduction really memorable,” Luyendyk Jr. said today when asked about the women’s arrivals. “It makes that time, you know, stand out.”
Arie started talking to Chelsea but was interrupted by Maquel and did not stop complaining about her afterwards.
Next he chatted with Jacqueline. Then Brittany T. took Luyendyk Jr. racing in mini race cars and they eventually kissed, the first kiss of the night.
The girls worked hard to one-up each other. Caroline brought pizza, Jenna washed Arie’s feet, Krystal brought questions from her mother and they all fretted about the first impression rose.
Chelsea went back to talk to Luyendyk Jr. for a second time and it seemed to pay off for her. Harrison brought out the rose and the tension heightened.
Luyendyk Jr. gave the first impression rose to Chelsea.
Of course, someone had to go. At the rose ceremony, Luyendyk Jr. gave roses to Bekah K, Marikh, Kendall, Lauren G., Krystal, Becca M., Lauren S., Sienne, Caroline, Brittany T., Bibiana, Annaliese, Jenna, Valerie, Jacqueline, Jenny, Lauren B., Ashley, Tia, and the final rose went to Maquel.
After the ceremony, Luyendyk Jr. said goodbye to the girls who didn’t get roses.
He then addressed the girls who did, saying, “I have an amazing group of women in front of me. Um, this week we’re doing things a little different. I’m in the driver’s seat, so I’m running things a little differently. It’s gonna be unexpected. So that’s all I can say. But thank you all for spending this time with me, and I’m excited. Let the journey begin.”
Luyendyk Jr. was asked today on “GMA” by two fans of “The Bachelor” about the best and hardest parts of being the new Bachelor.
“For me, the greatest thing would obviously to be happily married and starting a family. That’s the goal, obviously,” he said. “The toughest thing would probably be just watching it back and having to watch that with someone.”
“The Bachelor” returns next Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.