Michelle sent Ryan, a 30-year-old environmental consultant from San Jose, CA, packing over her immediate "red flags" upon learning he had packed lists with how to avoid being a show villain and make Michelle like him, among other eyebrow-raising notes.
Michelle later denied roses to Brandon Kieffer, a 29-year-old brand manager from Austin, TX; Bryan Witzmann, a 31-year-old NFL player from Chicago, IL; Edward Naranjo, a 27-year-old wellness coach from Los Angeles, CA; Garrett Aida, a 33-year-old tech CEO from Salt Lake City, UT; Jack Russell, a 30-year-old former Army officer from Philadelphia, PA; and JoMarri Gable, a 26-year-old personal trainer from Fresno, CA, at the first Rose Ceremony.
The Bachelorette broadcast began with Michelle gushing about her wonderful childhood and how she has the most supportive parents, who show her every day what a loving marriage looks like.
"I'm not going to settle until I have a love that's as powerful as their's," Michelle said. "This seems so crazy, but this is my shot to my find love... I am so excited, honestly."
Once Michelle moved into the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa and settled in, viewers were introduced to a handful of men competing on Katie's season, including Chris Sutton, a 28-year-old commodities broker from West Hollywood, CA, who said he's a "super goofy" and adventurous man who isn't ashamed to have had his eyebrows waxed before the show.
Joe Coleman, a 28-year-old real estate developer from Minneapolis, MN, said he was "looking for a queen" to complement his goals and he and Michelle both played basketball and are biracial. He called Michelle genuine and praised her "top notch" smile.
Clayton Echard, a 28-year-old medical sales representative from Columbia, MO, told the cameras he's so close with his younger brothers that they're like "a mini fraternity" and family is so important to him.
Clayton also noted how he has a lot of respect for teachers given his mom is a teacher.
Brandon Jones, a 26-year-old traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, OR, shared how he's a fun-loving guy who's ready to start a family. Brandon J. apparently raised his brother because his parents were always gone working.
Nayte, currently living in Austin, said there's nothing better than a road trip with his dog and he thinks Michelle is "a stunner." Nayte looked forward to having deep conversations with an intelligent woman like Michelle.
Ryan was born on a ranch and works in the fields, and he said Michelle could be The One because she's "genuine, smart, athletic and down to earth." He also said he wants a woman who desires making a difference in the world.
Kaitlyn and Michelle were then shown visiting the men in their hotel rooms to make sure they're up to Michelle's standards. The ladies checked out the bachelors' bathrooms and even went through some of their belongings.
That's when Kaitlyn and Michelle stumbled across multiple folders and pages upon pages of Bachelorette notes, including "how to get more screentime" and "who to emulate from the show," such as Kaitlyn's fiance Jason Tartick and The Bachelorette alum Mike Johnson.
Ryan had words written down such as "strategy" and had a list on "how to get a good edit."
"It was actually kind of uncomfortable," Tayshia admitted.
"I didn't like it," Kaitlyn agreed.
It then became time for Michelle to begin her journey to find love on Night 1.
Nayte was the first man to step out of a limo and make a first impression, and Michelle seemed smitten with his height and good looks.
"It's better Nayte than never," the bachelor joked with Michelle, who got a good laugh from that.
As Nayte walked away, she said it was "a good start" to her season, adding, "I like Nayte."
Some of the more notable limo entrances that followed were a nervous and anxious Clayton, who gave Michelle a meter stick and allowed her to spank him on the butt in order to show how she'd be able to keep him in line.
"Clayton is cute," Michelle told the cameras.
Michelle said Jamie Skaar, a 32-year-old biotech CEO from San Diego, CA, had "some swag" and a positive attitude that she really liked.
Romeo Alexander, a 32-year-old mathematician from New York City, NY, and Will Urena, a 28-year-old academic interventionist from Grand Rapids, MI, both impressed the Bachelorette by speaking in different languages.
Chris S. arrived in shorts and a backpack, and in a giant yellow bus, like he was going to school. Michelle thought Chris S. was really smooth and funny, as he said Michelle might deserve an "A" or a "D" -- for "diamond."
Brandon K. gave Michelle a beaded necklace from Louisiana, suggesting she should show him her breasts, but then he quickly changed his wording to "heart." Regardless, Michelle gave the bachelor his necklace back and seemed to think his introduction was a little awkward.
LT Murray, a 38-year-old yoga guru from Bellevue, WA, made his presence known by arriving with no pants on, nothing but a little tuxedo thong under his shirt and jacket.
Rick Leach, a 32-year-old medical sales representative from Los Angeles, CA, arrived under a table with his head sticking out of a large platter full of lettuce. Rick joked about how he was going to be Michelle's "main course," and he left her speechless and a tad freaked out.
Kaitlyn called it "a clever entrance," while watching from the sidelines, and Tayshia agreed it was a good one.
Ryan then stepped out of an ice cream truck after hearing Michelle had a sweet tooth. Michelle complimented the suitor on having done his homework, and she made it known that she thought Ryan was "hot" and "clearly knows what he's doing."
"Food is the way to my heart!" Michelle gushed.
Rodney Mathews, a 29-year-old sales representative from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, introduced himself to Michelle in an apple costume, saying he wanted to be "the apple of [her] eye" or teacher's pet essentially, but he dropped the ball when he called himself a Granny Smith apple considering his costume was red and not green.
Peter Izzo, a 26-year-old "pizzapreneur" from Port St. Joe, FL, threw some pizza dough in the air, and then Daniel Tully, a 26-year-old firefighter from Austin, TX, slowly pushed his way onto the scene by sitting on a tiny firetruck toy.
Daniel's entrance, however, was quickly trumped by another firefighter, PJ Henderson, a 30-year-old firefighter from Houston, TX, who drove up in an actual firetruck with the siren on.
Brandon J. was pushed up to the front door on a queen-sized bed, telling Michelle, "I just wanted to show you kind of what it would be like waking up next to me every morning for the rest of our lives."
Brandon J. dubbed his entrance "steamy," saying he wanted to leave a memorable first impression.
Spencer Williams, a 25-year-old financial crimes analyst from Cleveland, OH, walked up dribbling two basketballs, and JoMarri ripped the arms right off his suit to impress Michelle with his big arm muscles.
Martin Gelbspan, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Miami, FL, did a backflip and said he was "already flipping crazy" over the Bachelorette, and Joe subsequently walked up to Michelle, who pointed out how he looked "really familiar."
Joe shared with Michelle how he's also from Minnesota and would like to return home with her.
As Joe walked away from Michelle following their meet and greet, Michelle asked, "Have I met you before? Have I slid into your DM's? Is your last name Coleman?"
"Yeah," Joe replied. "That's me."
"Oh my God!" Michelle responded.
Michelle revealed to Kaitlyn and Tayshia she and Joe had "messaged back and forth about basketball briefly and then he ghosted me."
Michelle appeared caught offguard, but at the same time, she said she was "kind of interested" in him.
When the night's cocktail party commenced, Michelle asked the men to raise their glasses to staying open, being vulnerable and showing their most authentic selves, which she promised to give the bachelors in return.
Jamie pulled Michelle aside for a conversation first after the toast, and he had her smiling and laughing right off the bat. Jamie told Michelle that she "smiles with her spirit," and the Bachelorette seemed to feel very comfortable by his side.
Peter surprised Michelle with a plate full of cannolis, and then Michelle approached Joe to have a chat.
Michelle told Joe of their previous exchange, "I was surprised to get a few responses back and then, you know, someone forgot to hit 'send.'"
Joe explained how he had a lot going on at the time, including handling a property a few blocks away from George Floyd Square, where a lot of shootings and anxiety was going on. Joe didn't feel ready to open up to somebody at the time, and he assured Michelle that he wasn't dating anyone else at the time.
Michelle could relate to Joe's struggle, especially in regards to the aftermath of George Floyd's tragic death, but she expressed to the suitor how she wished he had communicated better with her in the past and just said that he wasn't ready for a commitment yet.
"How do I know you're not going to shut down again?" Michelle asked.
"It's something I've been focusing on with myself, better understanding how my actions have affected others and how my not responding is lacking communication skills -- which is something I need to learn to be better at. And I'm working on it; I've gone to therapy," Joe explained.
Joe added, "I actually came for you," but Michelle needed a little time to think things over because she felt the need to "protect" her heart with him.
Joe hoped Michelle would give him a chance, but she clearly had her guard up with him.
Michelle subsequently felt "chemistry" with her "charming and charismatic" main course, aka Rick, who insisted he'd always be a source of fun, humor and light-heartedness during the dating process.
Ryan proceeded to take Michelle outside to his ice cream truck, where she was able to taste-test different flavors. Ryan told the Bachelorette how he was raised on a farm, at a vineyard, and he coaches Special Olympics. He said he connected with her giving and down-to-earth nature.
"With Ryan, I did really feel a connection with him right off the bat," Michelle said. "That was one of the sparks that kind of took off a little bit."
But then Kaitlyn and Tayshia interrupted Michelle's night to speak to her about their disturbing Ryan findings.
"So the other day, we went in and popped in on some of the guys, like I told you," Tayshia began. "And we found a document... it had a lot of things about how to act around you -- about how not to be 'a villain.'"
Kaitlyn added, "He obviously did some research into teachers and verbatim, what he had written down, was, 'So make it seem like you're super interested in that stuff.'"
Michelle hated to learn her "ice cream Ryan" was behind this, and she immediately chose to confront him.
Michelle admitted she was caught offguard to hear Ryan had "some notes about how to get the most screentime" and "how to not be the villain" as well as "facts about teachers."
"[You're] basically acting like you're interested in my profession," Michelle said, demanding an explanation.
Ryan responded, "To be perfectly honest, I'm very new to The Bachelor and I haven't seen much of it. So I had no idea what to expect and I wanted to get to know, 'Who is Michelle?'"
"But the notes weren't about me. The notes were about how you should act," Michelle countered.
Ryan insisted, "I'm acting exactly how I would act on any other day."
But Michelle said, "I don't want you to act; I want you to be yourself. And you have to write notes about how to be yourself?"
Ryan said those notes were written by his friend's wife who watches The Bachelor franchise because he had never watched more than two hours of the show. Ryan confirmed he had written some of the notes, such as Michelle's hometown and her love of ice cream, and two of his female friends had written the rest.
Michelle asked to see Ryan's notes and have an open and honest conversation about them, and so he took her to his hotel room.
Ryan told Michelle that he was being 100 percent genuine with her, but she copped an attitude and asked him to leave her alone in his hotel room so she could read the material for herself.
Ryan had notes on phrases often repeated in The Bachelor franchise, and one woman wrote to Ryan how he couldn't be "arrogant" and "overconfident" on the show like he usually is, which is "a massive turnoff" to other people. Someone advised him to express a positive outlook to others.
After going through his folders and pages of notes, Michelle told Ryan that her night had started off on a great note and while she understands there will be bumps in a relationship, she wasn't okay with "starting a relationship on red flags."
"Just give me one chance to make it up to you," Ryan asked.
"No, you need to respect that I'm going to choose to listen to my red flags. And so unfortunately, I will be walking you out," Michelle said.
Ryan asked if there was anything he could do to change Michelle's mind, and she just repeated how he needed to respect her decision and leave the show.
Chris S. also told the cameras how Ryan had made strange comments about "being in The Bachelor pool" for a while.
Michelle was frustrated about the Ryan situation and began to wonder if some of the men were on the show for the wrong reasons.
Michelle addressed her remaining group of bachelors and mentioned the red flags she had seen with Ryan, including "a playbook on how to get screentime." Michelle didn't allow herself to be disappointed, and so she got the cocktail party back up and running.
Nayte then walked off with Michelle and explained how he tends to be guarded early in relationships and has trouble opening up and being vulnerable.
Nayte shared how he had the best childhood but his parents divorced when he was young and then his mother divorced a second time, which resulted in Nayte losing his stepdad and best friend.
Nayte shared how he never saw his parents kiss and really wanted his future children to see that kind of affection in his household. Michelle was impressed by Nayte's attempt to share about his life, and she said Nayte totally "reset the night" for her.
Brandon J. subsequently described himself as fun, truthful and caring, and Michelle looked forward to seeing his goofy side.
Although Michelle had made quite a few connections, she decided to give her First Impression Rose to Nayte for pushing himself and being himself, and Nayte gushed about feeling totally comfortable with The Bachelorette star.
After Michelle pinned a rose on Nayte, the couple kissed and she could feel the suitor's walls coming down.
"I feel what I came here to feel, and that's sparks, butterflies and everything that you want to feel when you kiss someone!" Michelle said with a beaming smile.
The first Rose Ceremony then commenced, and Michelle announced how she was following her gut and trusting her intuition.
With that being said, Michelle handed out roses to Jamie; Leroy Arthur, a 27-year-old biomedical Ph.D. student from Dallas, TX; Martin; Spencer; Rick; Clayton; Peter; PJ; Mollique Johnson, a 36-year-old academic administrator from San Diego, CA; Romeo; Daniel; Brandon J.; Will; Chris S.; and Rodney.
Michelle also advanced Alec Thompson, a 29-year-old engineer from North Charleston, SC; Pardeep Singh, a 30-year-old neuroscientist from Brooklyn, NY; Chris G; Casey Woods, a 36-year-old advertising creative director from Miami Beach, FL; Olumide "Olu" Onajide, a 27-year-old IT analyst from Newark, NJ; and LT in the competition for her heart.
Michelle excused herself from the Rose Ceremony in order to think about whether she should give Joe a rose.
Michelle recognized Joe wanted a chance to prove who he is, but she confessed, "I do not want to get hurt. The hardest part about Joe is that my heart wants to let loose but my mind is trying to guard. That guard is a red flag."
Michelle also wondered why Joe was suddenly popping up again.
"Why now? Why did you wait? Is it because I'm the Bachelorette? I'm here to find my one soul mate, and at the end of this, I don't want my heart broken -- and so I'm torn," Michelle revealed.
But in the end, Michelle gave Joe the final rose of the evening, and Joe said he was excited to think about the relationship he could build with Michelle.