"Coming into this, I was really scared -- scared that maybe you guys weren't going to be into me or I wouldn't have the feelings I hoped I would have, especially in the first night, and you all have exceeded my expectations a million times over. It made me really hopeful and I'm really confident that it can really work out this time! So thank you guys again," Emily said at the beginning of the season's first Rose Ceremony.
Brent, a 41-year-old technology salesman from Fresno, CA; David, a 33-year-old singer and songwriter from New York, NY; Jackson, a 29-year-old fitness model from Lockport, IL; and Jean-Paul, a 35-year-old marine biologist from Seattle, WA, all failed to receive a rose from the 26-year-old former fifteenth-season The Bachelor bachelorette.
In addition, Lerone, a 29-year-old real estate consultant from Los Angeles, CA, and Randy, a 30-year-old marketing manager from Hermosa Beach, CA, were also denied roses.
"It doesn't feel good. I feel disappointed, sad -- this is definitely one of the hardest and most intense things I've gone through since going through my divorce. She is a great, genuine, just real person, and when I didn't get a rose, my heart was definitely broken. It was devastating. It felt like my heart fell on the floor and got trampled on," Jean-Paul said following his ouster.
The Bachelorette's eighth-season premiere began with a brief recap of Emily's life as a single mom and her journey as The Bachelor's fifteenth-season bachelorette -- who called off her engagement to Brad Womack -- introductions to several of her suitors, and a sit-down interview between Emily and host Chris Harrison.
Emily felt prepared to star on The Bachelorette and said she wanted to find a husband more than anything. She was scared to originally star on the show because she had fallen in love twice but lost love twice in her past and didn't want that to happen again.
Before meeting Brad, Emily's late fiance Ricky Hendrick tragically died in a plane crash, and then Brad swept her off her feet but their relationship fell apart soon after. Emily told Chris she was at peace with Ricky's death and his memory no longer upset her; it just made her want to get that feeling back again. She also said she hopes to have more children -- "a minivan full of babies."
"I'm tired of being engaged! I want to be married!" Emily told Chris.
Emily was extremely nervous before her bachelors arrived because she knew the guys had given up a lot to be there, and the moment reminded her of her prior experience on The Bachelor and meeting Brad for the first time.
The 25 bachelors then arrived at the mansion in Charlotte, NC, before the initial cocktail reception commenced.
Some of the suitors' entrances included Tony, a 31-year-old lumber trader from Beaverton, OR, giving Emily a glass slipper to proclaim her his princess; Jef, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Salt Lake City, UT, riding in on a skateboard; and Stevie, a 26-year-old party MC from Staten Island, NJ, breaking down into some dance moves.
In addition, Travis, a 30-year-old advertising sales representative from Madison, MS, walked in with an ostrich egg in hand to symbolize how he planned to protect Emily and her daughter Ricki, and Kalon, a 27-year-old luxury brand consultant from Houston, TX, landed in a helicopter.
After meeting all the men, Emily told Chris that maybe the most nervous guy in the room would receive her first impression rose because that's how she similarly felt when she was in their position. Emily then approached all her suitors and told them how excited she was to get their journey underway.
"I want to say welcome to Charlotte. Ya'll have truly just blown me away. Some of you have actually blown me away with the helicopter entrance. Thank you for that. But I just want you all to know how grateful I am that each of you are here," Emily told her bachelors inside the mansion before getting to know them.
"I remember not that long ago, I was in the exact same position and so nervous and didn't know what to say or what to do. I also know, more than anything, that it really can work. You just have to be open to it, and God knows, I am a hopeless romantic. So, thank you all."
"Emily looks stunning. She's by far, hands down, the hottest Bachelorette," said John "Wolf," a 30-year-old data destruction specialist from St. Louis, MO.
All of the guys immediately tried to secure some one-on-one time with Emily after making their entrances.
Brent showed Emily pictures of his six children, while Chris, a 25-year-old corporate sales director from Chicago, IL, gave her bobblehead dolls to keep that looked like them and asked her to play out a little scene together.
Emily was later impressed by Jef's "cool vibe" and how he made her feel at ease, while Doug, a 33-year-old real estate agent from Seattle, WA, gave Emily a touching handwritten letter from his 11-year-old son Austin that almost brought her to tears.
Doug hoped they'd find common ground since they were both single parents, and Emily thought the later was so sweet. She admitted she could already tell Doug was a good father.
Chris Harrison then arrived at the cocktail reception and placed the first-impression rose on the table. Emily 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, especially the ones who had yet to get to know her privately.
Before handing out the rose, Emily still wanted to get to know a few more of her suitors. Kalon, who had made his grand entrance via helicopter, could feel the hostility in the room coming from the other men -- who thought his act was too showy and arrogant.
However, Kalon pulled Emily aside and told her he would've walked to meet her if he had to. He then went on to tell her he was raised by a single mother with strong character, and so he had the utmost respect for Emily and her parental responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Stevie was talking behind Kalon's back saying he had a big issue with how he was "selfish" and didn't graciously allow Emily to spend time with the other guys when his own alone time happened to be interrupted. The two clearly didn't get along, and Stevie admitted he just flat out disliked the guy because it seemed like he was on The Bachelorette just to win.
Emily then sat down with Arie, a 30-year-old race car driver from Scottsdale, AZ, and he was open with her right away about his profession. He feared his racing career would turn Emily off immediately due to her late fiance, but on the contrary, Emily told him she was fine with it and actually loved being around racing. She also said Arie would "look hot in a racecar."
Emily then awarded the special first impression rose to Doug.
"It's been a long night and I just wanted to let you know, first of all, your son's letter was so, so, so sweet and so thoughtful. It's cool to have somebody else here who gets what I'm going through, missing your other half. It's heartbreaking. So you have made me feel really comfortable and so good about myself, so I was wondering if you would accept the first impression rose," Emily told Doug.
Doug gladly accepted and then they hugged.
Kalon was disappointed he didn't get the first impression rose, but he was still very confident he'd end up with a rose anyway. Chris also thought he deserved the rose and was equally let down.
"I just hope she saw enough in me to keep me around, because I think we have so much in common. But if I went home tonight, that would be devastating," Tony said before the Rose Ceremony began.
"I came here to see if Emily is going to potentially be my wife. Obviously I need to get the rose to move onto that next step, so I desperately want a rose," Sean explained.
Besides Doug, Emily gave roses to Aaron, a 36-year-old biology teacher from Long Beach, CA; Alessandro, a 30-year-old grain merchant from St. Paul, MN; Alejandro, a 25-year-old mushroom farmer from San Francisco, CA; Arie; Charlie, a 32-year-old recruiter from Nashville, TN; Chris; Jef; Joe, a 27-year-old field energy advisor from Los Angeles, CA; John "Wolf;" Kalon; and Kyle, a 29-year-old financial advisor from Long Beach, CA.
Michael, a 26-year-old rehab counselor from Austin, TX; Nate, a 25-year-old accountant from Los Angeles, CA; Ryan, a 31-year-old pro sports trainer from Augusta, GA; Sean, a 28-year-old insurance agent from Dallas, TX; Stevie; Tony; and Travis also received the night's roses.
"I'm disappointed, you know? Obviously I was hoping to get a rose. My kids will be sad. My six kids definitely want me to find somebody and be happy in that way. She's an amazing woman. She hit me like a freight train. I didn't think I would find love again, and there's still that chance that I might not. At my age with six kids, there's not a high probability, I would say," Brent lamented following his ouster.
"I'm definitely sad to go home. I'm disappointed, but I don't know what she was thinking. I think she missed out on a great guy. I think she's missing out on a great body too. She didn't get to see any of the goods, so I guess this is what she's missing out on -- now I'm going home," Jackson said after he was eliminated.
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