'The Bachelor' star Ben Higgins makes his initial cuts after meeting 28 beautiful bachelorettes
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/05/2016
The Bachelor star Ben Higgins eliminated seven bachelorettes during Monday night's premiere of the ABC reality dating series' twentieth season.
The Bachelor's debut episode featured Ben handing out roses to only 21 of his 28 girls.
Breanne Rice, a 30-year-old nutritional therapist from Seattle, WA; Lauren Russell, a math teacher from Houston, TX; Isabel "Izzy" Goodkind, a 23-year-old graphic designer from New York, NY; and Tiara Soleim, a 27-year-old chicken enthusiast and dental assistant from Redmond, WA, all failed to receive a rose from the 26-year-old software accounts manager from Warsaw, IN.
The premiere began with an introduction to Ben and what makes him tick -- small town values, sports, finding a love like his parents who have been married for over 30 years, and getting over the fear of being "unlovable." He then sought advice from former The Bachelor stars Chris Soules, Sean Lowe and Jason Mesnick.
Jason advised Ben to not close himself off to other relationships once he takes a real liking to a few women in particular. Sean agreed, saying he didn't even gain feelings for now-wife Catherine Giudici until halfway through the process. Sean told Ben to be open minded and genuinely ask questions to get to know these girls. Chris insisted Ben should always make the girls feel comfortable and he should do whatever it takes to find a wife.
Viewers then learned about a handful of this season's bachelorettes.
Lauren Bushnell, a 25-year-old flight attendant who is originally from Portland, OR but currently living in Marina Del Rey, CA and loves traveling, exploring and the beach. Caila Quinn, a 23-year-old in software sales from Wellesley Hills, MA, got butterflies for Ben when she saw him on TV and therefore broke up with her boyfriend at the time.
Jubilee Sharpe, a 24-year-old war veteran from Miami, FL, insisted "all is fair in love and war," saying there might be some causalities this season. Mandi Kremer, a 28-year-old dentist from Portland, OR, "embraces the weird" and can't date a guy with gum disease who doesn't brush or floss his teeth well.
Twins Emily and Haley Ferguson, both 23-year-olds from Las Vegas, NV, never dated the same guy in their lives but they feel Ben is worth it. They insisted there will be some "double trouble." Amanda Stanton, a 25-year-old esthetician from Orange County, CA, has two young daughters who are the best part of her life.
Tiara has one true love and it's a chicken named Shiela, as chickens are apparently her best friends. And Samantha Passmore, a 26-year-old law clerk from Jacksonville, FL, shared a sad story about how her father was diagnosed with ALS and then he passed away when she was only 13-years-old.
Ben was then able to meet each woman one by one as they stepped out of a limo. While all the girls were beautiful, a few entrances certainly stood out.
Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher, a 24-year-old real estate developer from Dallas, TX, walked towards Ben with a giant unicorn head covering her own. JoJo tried to make the joke that she's something special Ben never thought existed. Mandi walked out of a limo wearing a giant red rose hat, asking Ben to "pollinate" it later. Lauren B. gave Ben a set of wings and said they should take off on this journey together, and Caila jumped right into Ben's arms.
Lace Morris, a 25-year-old real estate agent from Denver, CO, asked Ben to close his eyes and then she planted the first kiss on him of the season. Maegan brought along a mini-horse with her. Shushanna Mkrtychyan, a 27-year-old mathematician from Salt Lake City, UT, didn't speak a word of English to Ben, and "Izzy" wore a onesie to make the joke that Ben was "the onesie" for her.
Host Chris Harrison then told the Bachelor he could head inside and chat with all the women. Before Ben took off, he called his parents to express his excitement about meeting all of these amazing women.
Lace stirred up drama fast, telling the cameras she was prettier than all the girls and she therefore had no competition. Lace also called many girls "fake" and annoying. Jami Letain, a 23-year-old bartender from Vancouver, Canada, questioned if Lace was just intoxicated or really being herself.
When Ben entered the mansion and made a little speech, Mandi stole him away immediately and gave him an awkward oral exam, which he passed. Olivia Caridi, a 23-year-old from Austin, TX, told Ben she quit her news anchor job just so she could have the opportunity to date him. Ben thought Olivia was "so put together" and an excellent conversationalist.
After Caila and Ben bonded over jobs in software sales, Amber James, a 30-year-old bartender from Chicago, IL, and Becca Tilley, a 26-year-old chiropractor assistant from San Diego, CA, arrived together to meet Ben.
Becca wasn't sure if she had ever been more nervous in her entire life. Most of the girls assumed the two veterans had an edge, especially Becca since she's a gorgeous, sweet virgin. Lace felt threatened by Becca and said the process was already more difficult than she had imagined.
Lace then asked Ben for a better kiss, but he rejected her saying that he wanted to learn about the girls before getting wrapped up in the physical aspects of a relationship. Ben later assured Lace her choice to make a move on him was not a mistake and he wasn't rejecting her. Ben didn't want her to feel bad about not getting the kiss she asked for.
Although Lauren B. took Ben's breath away, many women were "out of his league," according to Ben, and the person who made the best impression on him wasn't "clear cut." However, Ben ultimately decided to give his first impression rose to Olivia. He was astounded she had left her job to come on the show and he said their conversation meant a lot to him. Ben hugged Olivia and kissed her on the cheek.
The season's first Rose Ceremony then commenced. Ben told the women they didn't make these choices easy on him.
In addition to Olivia, Ben handed out a rose to Lauren B; Lauren "LB" Barr, a 23-year-old fashion buyer from Stillwater, OK; Caila; Amber; Jami; Jennifer Saviano, a 25-year-old small business owner from Fort Lauderdale, FL; Jubilee; Amanda; Leah Block, a 25-year-old event coordinator from Denver, CO; Rachel Tchen, a 24-year-old who's currently unemployed from Little Rock, AR; Samantha; Jackie Dion, a 23-year-old gerontologist from Los Angeles, CA; Hayley; Emily; Shushanna; Lauren Himle, a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher from Ann Arbor, MI; Becca; Mandi; and Lace.
The episode concluded with Lace confronting Ben about how he hadn't made eye contact with her once during the Rose Ceremony. Ben was really confused why she was arguing with him so early on, especially since she got a rose, but he decided to let it go. Ben viewed Lace's behavior as a sign there would be much more drama to come.