'The Bachelorette' Ashley Hebert eliminates her first seven bachelors
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/24/2011
The Bachelorette star Ashley Hebert eliminated her first seven suitors during Monday night's premiere broadcast of the ABC reality dating series.
"I'm really, really excited about this, and I'm trying to contain my excitement right now. I know that we're going to have a great journey together, so thank you for taking the time out of your lives to be here. I hope you guys are happy that it's me," Ashley said at the beginning of the season's first Rose Ceremony.
"I am looking for something very specific, and I've seen so many qualities that I want in a man within a lot of you. But unfortunately, tonight, I won't be able to allow everyone to stick around. Just know that from the bottom of my heart, I will miss all of you guys and I wish you the best."
Tim McCormack, a 35-year-old liquor distributor from Long Beach, NY; Anthony Santucci, a 28-year-old butcher from Wyckoff, NJ; Rob Dahm, a 27-year-old technology executive from Monroe, MI; and Jon Ellsworth, a 26-year-old e-commerce executive from Vancouver, WA, all failed to receive a rose from the 27-year-old former fifteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette.
In addition, Frank Carpenter, a 29-year-old college admissions director from Murfreesboro, TN; Chris Malhomme, a 27-year-old construction company CEO from Edmonton, Canada; and Michael Burns, a 29-year-old technology salesman from San Diego, CA, were also denied roses.
"I came in her ecstatic that it was Ashley. My family fell in love with her, we watched the entire season that she was on, and I felt like she was something that I've been looking for in a girl. I gave it all I had, and here I am now empty handed," Jon lamented following his ouster.
"I'm honestly beside myself that I'm standing here right now. To see this slip away, it's heartbreaking, you know? You question yourself like, 'What am I doing wrong? What's wrong with me?' I thought Ashley was the one. It's hard to walk away from it. It really is."
The Bachelorette's seventh-season premiere began with a brief recap of Ashley's journey as The Bachelor's fifteenth season bachelorette -- who competed for Brad Womack's heart last year -- introductions to several of her suitors, and a sit-down interview between Ashley and host Chris Harrison.
Ashley told Harrison she spoke to a fellow The Bachelor contestant who warned her somebody named Bentley would be going on the show for the wrong reasons. She learned Bentley did not have good intentions, in that he was apparently planning to use the show as a tool to promote his new "family fun center" business.
Ashley said it was "just her luck" that drama was already evolving before the show even officially took off, but she explained she would not hold the information against him.
"You have to give people a chance, so I'm going to give him a fair chance. I'm going to pretend like I haven't even heard anything, but I hope that he's not so attractive. I hope it's an easy decision and that he only has one tooth," the aspiring dentist joked.
"I'm going to put myself out there, because I do not want to leave with the regret that I felt when I left Brad."
The 25 bachelors then arrived at the Malibu mansion before the initial cocktail reception commenced.
"I can not tell you how amazing I feel right now. You guys have exceeded my expectations and I'll tell you, I've been dreaming about this night for the past few weeks! So, I'm so excited you guys are all here, and I'm so grateful to be in this position," Ashley told her suitors once inside.
"If any of you guys watched last season, I think you know that I had a really hard time. My greatest advice to you guys is just to be honest with yourself, be honest with me most importantly, and allow yourself to fall in love and allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling. Have so much fun tonight!"
All of the guys immediately tried to secure some one-on-one time with Ashley.
Ryan Park, a 31-year-old solar energy executive from Corona Del Mar, CA, was the first man to steal Ashley away from the pack. He told her he was so excited to see that she was The Bachelorette and claimed they had many similarities and things in common. Ryan P. explained he wanted to share his life with someone and was ready to start the next chapter in his life.
While Ashley was impressed with her suitors right off the bat, most of the men were equally captivated with her.
"Ashley is stunningly beautiful, really. I was actually kind of blown away. I would very much like a rose. I'm totally all about it and getting to know her, because the attraction is there. She's very pretty," Ben Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Sonoma, CA, said after he snagged a little alone time with Ashley.
Matt Colombo, a 28-year-old office supply salesman from Bridgewater, MA, talked to Ashley and expressed how important it was for her to eventually get along very well with his mother. Ashley, suggesting she loved a "momma's boy," was then pleasantly surprised when he called his mother via speakerphone so Ashley could speak with her. Ashley thought it was a sweet endeavor and laughed at the jokes his mother, Gail, cracked.
Mike then appeared out of nowhere and began strumming a guitar in the hopes of grabbing Ashley's attention. Ashley noted she had always wanted to be serenaded, but once the couple walked outside for their one-on-one time, Mike admitted he couldn't actually play the guitar. His public scene was strictly for attempting to catch her eye.
"The insanity begins. It's crazy. There's a lot of guys pulling some pretty cool tricks, and that sets the bar pretty high," Rob said. "You have 25 guys out here. You gotta stand out."
Meanwhile, Jeff Medolla, a 35-year-old entrepreneur from St. Louis, MO, was walking around the mansion wearing a black mask, and while Ashley seemed intrigued with his decision to conceal his face, the men in the house were simply annoyed and "creeped out." The men all talked about the masked man and said they felt uncomfortable in his presence.
Many of the suitors started to form bonds with each other, but they admitted they had absolutely no desire to become friends with Jeff or get to know him. They felt his act was just over the top and unnecessary. When the men weren't talking amongst themselves, they were fighting for Ashley's affection.
"I am nervous. Ashley is drop dead gorgeous. I'm not the best looking guy here, so I think it's very important to have time alone with Ashley. Without it, I'll get lost in the shuffle," Tim said.
Chris then arrived at the cocktail reception and placed the first-impression rose on the table. Ashley would be required to present it whenever and to whomever she wished to assure he'd be safe at the impending Rose Ceremony.
The idea of possibly receiving the first-impression rose and the fear of not being chosen as the lucky guy began to distress a couple of the bachelors.
"Is this rose just going to hang out here and taunt us all evening?" Frank said.
"Chris Harrison brought out that first impression rose and it's intense. Everyone's kind of wondering now, 'Where are we going to go from here? Who's going to get that rose?' I'm obviously hoping that I get it," Jon explained.
Ben Castoriano, a 28-year-old lawyer from New Orleans, LA, was dying to get the chance to talk to Ashley and smoothly displayed a funny yet romantic message from a distance on giant cue cards. Ashley thought it was a cute gesture and they sat and discussed how he learned to speak French fluently and traveled for most of his life.
Ashley said she loved his energy, while Ben C. explained he really felt the chemistry between them and would love to get the first impression rose.
William Holman, a 30-year-old cellular phone salesman from Galloway, OH, then got his one-on-one time with Ashley and told her he wanted to live the rest of his life like a little kid but was ready for a serious relationship.
Afterward, Ashley sat down next to Tim in attempt to try to get to know him. Tim had trouble forming any words and stumbled through a couple fragments, and Ashley realized he was extremely drunk. He told Ashley she was scary and she was seemingly pulling teeth when asking him questions.
As a result of the awkward conversation, Ashley told Tim to sit back and relax. The other guys watched their exchange from a distance and laughed at his behavior, as they labeled him "the drunk guy" at the cocktail reception.
"I had a few cocktails. Not good," Tim said with an inability to add anything else.
"Tim is definitely drunk, and I feel bad for the guy. I can identify with wasted opportunity, and I think he's going to wake up tomorrow with a lot of regret. Me for one, I know I want to leave here without regrets, so I feel bad," Ashley said.
Tim then came down with the hiccups and asked the other suitors if Jeff was "a f***ing joke". He tried to start a fight with Jeff, but Jeff called himself a mature, poised adult and had no intention to get into a fight. Tim then went off and ended up falling asleep, only to be later found by a frustrated Ashley -- who attempted to wake him up but failed.
Ashley decided she had to let Tim go and asked a few of her bachelors to help the sleepy suitor to the limo.
"I don't know Tim well enough to be able to say if this is something that happens to him often or if this is a one-time thing, but enough is enough. This is really important to me. I'm here for a reason. I'm looking to find my husband, so I just want to be really clear very early on that this is really serious for me," Ashley explained.
Jeff then pulled Ashley aside and told her he wanted her to learn who he was inside, because he believed nothing on the outside really mattered in a relationship. Jeff added he would eventually reveal himself to Ashley, and he hoped she would see his masked approach as a sign of confidence. Ashley then explained she loved the reasoning behind his unusual first impression and felt he was sincere. She didn't think it was another stunt to get her attention.
J.P. Rosenbaum, a 34-year-old construction manager from New York, NY, and Ashley sat down and discussed a topic Ashley easily opened up about -- dessert. She commented that she always wanted the man she was going to marry to call her "cupcake," and J.P. found her to be very sweet and genuine.
Shortly after, it became Ashley's time to find out the real story behind Bentley Williams, a 28-year-old businessman from Salt Lake City, UT, and discover whether they could develop a real connection. Bentley discussed his daughter and told her he was married once and had been divorced for a couple years.
As Bentley continued to describe what he wanted out of the experience, he told Ashley he was in a healthy spot in his life to welcome love. Ashley said he seemed very sincere, and she was "pleasantly surprised" about the man she thought was gorgeous.
"I am so confused. This story is not matching up with what I've seen of Bentley... If I didn't know about all the speculation, he would be right in the front for me in terms of my selection of guys. He seems to be everything I'm looking for. He surprised me, but now, I have this weighing on me -- everything that I know. I don't really want to get hurt," Ashley explained.
Ashley then awarded the special first impression rose to Ryan P, the very first suitor she sat down with and got to know. She thought he was very ambitious, had such a positive energy about him, and seemed like he had it all together.
"From the second you stepped out of the limo, something about you just kind of caught my attention. So, I really want to give this to you and I hope you'll accept it," Ashley requested.
"I will absolutely accept," Ryan P. responded.
"Okay great. I just feel like we have so much in common and I loved our conversation. So, I'm really glad you accepted the rose. Are you speechless?! Are you surprised!?" Ashley exclaimed.
"Yes, absolutely. Thank you. This is just the beginning and let's see where this goes," Ryan P. said.
Bentley was confused as to why the first impression rose was given to Ryan P., but he said he wasn't really attracted to Ashley anyways and was concerned more with his competitive nature.
Besides Ryan P., Ashley gave roses to Ames Brown, a 31-year-old portfolio manager from New York, NY; Ben C.; Ben F.; Bentley; Blake Julian, a 27-year-old dentist from Greenville, SC; Chris Drish, a 25-year-old sports marketing coordinator from Chicago, IL; Constantine "Dino" Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Atlanta, GA; Jeff; J.P.; and Lucas Daniels, a 30-year-old oilfield equipment distributor from Odessa, TX.
Matt; Mickey McLean, a 31-year-old chef from Cleveland, OH; Nick Peterson, a 26-year-old personal trainer from Tampa, FL; Ryan Miller, a 27-year-old construction estimator from Royal Oak, MI; Stephen D'Amico, a 27-year-old hairstylist from Manhattan Beach, CA; West Lee, a 30-year-old lawyer from Chapin, SC; and William also received the night's roses.
"I'm crushed, I'm bummed out, I'm disappointed, I'm lost. I'm definitely defeated. I came her to fall in love and show the grand kids how we met sort of thing. I don't know when I'm going to find love, but that's not my call, obviously. I don't know," Rob said following his elimination.
"I'm a little pissed off that things ended the way they did. I've been single for seven years. I don't know how to feel anymore. Who wants to be hurt, you know? But she's a pretty girl and she's a nice girl, and I hope that one of the guys can make her very happy for the rest of her life," Anthony opined after his ouster.
"Clearly, I'm not that guy. She may have her hands full with some of the guys she picked tonight, but hey. If she wants to spend the rest of her life with Batman, hey what do I know? I'm just a small time butcher from Jersey and I'm going back."