'The Bachelorette' premiere recap: Katie Thurston gives First Impression Rose to Greg Grippo and ousts seven bachelors after a night of surprises
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/08/2021
The Bachelorette star Katie Thurston kicked off her journey to find love with a few surprise entrances and a First Impression Rose recipient she didn't expect before eliminating seven bachelors during the Season 17 premiere that aired Monday night on ABC.
At the first Rose Ceremony of the season, Katie, a 30-year-old bank marketing manager from Lynnwood, WA, eliminated Jeff Caravello, a 31-year-old surgical skin salesman from Jersey City, NJ; Gabriel Everett, a 35-year-old entrepreneur from Charlotte, NC; and Austin Tinsley, a 25-year-old real estate investor from Mission Viejo, CA.
She also sent the following men packing: Brandon Torres, a 26-year-old auto parts manager from Queens, NY; Landon Goesling, a 25-year-old basketball coach from Dallas, TX; Marcus Lathan, a 30-year-old real estate broker from Portland, OR; and Marty Hargrove, a 25-year-old dancer from Reno, NV.
The Bachelorette broadcast began with Katie explaining how she's ready to get married, settle down and start a family. Katie said she wants a real partner in life, someone she can be herself around -- but she apparently never had good role models for a successful marriage in her life.
Katie revealed her parents divorced when she was a baby. While she recalled her mother doing the best she could to raise her, Katie apparently grew up poor and attended five different elementary schools during her childhood.
Footage then flashed to the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, where The Bachelorette filmed its entire seventeenth season due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine restrictions that were in place at the time.
Katie gushed about how being the Bachelorette felt "unreal" and she knew deep in her heart she was going to find her soul mate on this show.
In between scenes of Katie daydreaming about her future husband, she cracked a joke about not having a "dry bush" in New Mexico and how her ideal man must love himself and be comfortable talking about sex.
After Connor was shown plucking his ukulele in the bathtub, he said he was hoping Katie would be the next Bachelorette all along because she's "confident, absolutely gorgeous" and "stands up for what she believes in."
Karl Smith, a 34-year-old motivational speaker from Miami, FL, made a portrait of Katie and himself and called her "fantastic," and Brendan Scanzano, a 26-year-old firefighter trainee from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, gushed about how Katie "doesn't put up with any bullsh-t."
Brendan said he could definitely picture himself getting down on one knee at the end of the process.
Andrew Spencer, a 26-year-old pro football player from Vienna, Austria and the reported cousin of The Bachelorette alum Clay Harbor, shared how he plays a sport he loves and couldn't wait to meet Katie because of her "energy, smile and infectious personality." Andrew S. set out to make Katie laugh on the first night of filming.
Mike Planeta, a 31-year-old gym owner from San Diego, CA, had been drafted to play professional baseball at age 19 and confessed he was "pretty cocky" at the time. Mike said sports humbled him and while many people assume he's a player, he's a virgin who's waiting until marriage to have sex.
"The stigma is, 'Oh you can't connect with that!' But I disagree with that. I want Katie to understand I don't think there's anything wrong with being sex-positive. I personally want to share that within a marriage; that's me," Mike explained.
"If I fall in love with Katie, maybe it's something [where] we can take that road together."
Justin Glaze, a 26-year-old investment sales consultant from Baltimore, MD, was then shown painting something red for Katie, whom he called "smart and real." Justin said that as an artist, his hands know what they're doing.
"Hopefully I can show Katie I know my way around her as well," Justin noted with a laugh.
Tre Cooper, a 26-year-old a software engineer from Covington, GA, dubbed himself "well-rounded" because he reads Latin, knows the 40 digits in Pi, and is into both rap and classic musical. Tre suggested you can't fit him into a box.
Tre told the cameras he had grown up with a very supportive family and his parents have been married for 29 years, and he added that he's not afraid to be vulnerable or express his emotions.
Tre told the cameras Katie is undoubtedly his "type" and she's definitely "bad."
Greg Grippo, a 27-year-old marketing sales rep from Edison, NJ, is the youngest of four siblings with many nieces and nephews. Greg said he's excited to become a dad and have a big family one day.
Greg predicted that he and Katie would connect, and he held out hope Katie would end up being the love of his life.
It then became time for 30 bachelors to pull up in limos and meet Katie for the first time.
Katie seemed to assume she was on this journey alone -- without longtime host Chris Harrison guiding her due to his recent racism controversy -- but then both Kaitlyn and Tayshia showed up and surprised the Bachelorette.
Katie cried at the sight of the girls because she appeared to be relieved to have some support.
Katie had so many questions and seemed desperate to receive some advice. Kaitlyn advised Katie not to rule anyone out, and Tayshia agreed, saying that her fiance Zac Clark was "not [her] top pick on Night 1."
Katie said her "type" isn't an appearance and she's usually attracted to personality, and she revealed she was open to kissing a guy right away. Katie pointed out that a man who can't talk about sex with her wouldn't mesh well with her or her family.
Katie said while she's a funny and playful girl, she needs "a grown-ass man," and both Kaitlyn and Tayshia assured the Bachelorette that they'd be there for her throughout the process.
First out of the limo was Thomas Jacobs, a 28-year-old real estate broker from Poway, CA, who said he had "a deep admiration" for Katie because she lives in such a vulnerable way.
"Oh my God! Do they all look like that? Because I'm in trouble," Katie muttered under her breath with a smile.
Limo entrances followed from guys including Aaron Clancy, a 26-year-old insurance agent from San Diego, CA, whom Katie called "hot;" David Scott, a 27-year-old technical product specialist from Nashville, TN, whom Katie called "a 10;" and Tre, who popped out of a ball pit in the back of a pickup truck.
"I'm here to have a ball with you... You're a pretty ballin' Bachelorette!" Tre said with a big smile.
Katie said she felt "good vibes" with Tre and liked him right off the bat.
Greg then told Katie that she's the type of girl he'd approach at a bar and he was so happy to have her as the Bachelorette, and Katie quietly admitted something along the lines of, "He looks like my next boyfriend."
Gabriel Everett, who previously appeared on Make Me a Supermodel, taught Katie a special hug/breathing exercise during his introduction to calm both of their nerves, and Katie called him "so cute."
Tayshia -- who was watching from a window with Kaitlyn and eating popcorn -- said she could tell Gabriel had taken Katie's breath away.
Katie giggled about how John Hersey, a 27-year-old bartender from Pacific Beach, CA, is her "type" if she had one, and Andrew S. pulled up in a 1920s car and spoke in a British accent.
Andrew S. eventually dropped the act and said he's from Chicago, and Katie laughed because she said she didn't believe the accent from the start.
Conor Costello, a 28-year-old former baseball player from Costa Mesa, CA, gave Katie his first baseball glove from Little League, saying he was prepared to catch some feelings, and Kyle Howard, a 26-year-old technical recruiter from Fort Lauderdale, FL, whipped out a jockstrap, which confused pretty much everybody watching.
Arguably the most memorable entrance of the night -- thus far -- belonged to surgical skin salesman Jeff, who drove an RV to the resort. Jeff said the RV happened to be his home in New Jersey and so he decided to take it with him.
But then two men from the crew rolled up a giant blue and purple gift box wrapped in a red bow.
Kaitlyn and Tayshia expected a man to jump out, but instead, the guy spoke to Katie from inside the box. His name was James Bonsall, a 30-year-old from New York, NY, and he told Katie that if she wanted her gift, she'd have to find him inside later.
Mike later told Katie that he looked forward to getting to know her heart, and she called him "hot," and then Kaitlyn and Tayshia immediately were taken with Cody Menk, a 27-year-old zipper sales manager from San Diego, CA, when he walked up to the Bachelorette to say hello.
Cody explained there was someone in his life helping him through "these weird times." Cody said he and this person had been intimate and this person served as his shoulder to cry on and best friend.
Cody then introduced Katie to a blowup doll named Sandy, and Katie cracked up laughing. Katie said she appreciated the effort and the way to her heart is by making her laugh.
Justin used "stroke" as a sexual pun in his introduction to describe his work as a painter, and Christian Smith, a 26-year-old real estate agent from Boston, MA, asked Katie to "rub one out" with him by rubbing his magic lamp.
And Quartney Mixon, a 26-year-old nutrition entrepreneur from Dallas, TX, took it one step further by saying, "I hope that you COME to the right conclusion. At the end of this, I know there are going to be a lot of HARD decisions to make. But my tongue can go on for hours, so enjoy this and let's have a great time."
Katie made a sexual pumping motion after Quartney walked away, and then suddenly, Connor B. showed up dressed like a cat because Katie is a cat lover.
While some of the guys laughed at Connor and thought his costume was ridiculous, Katie gave him "two thumbs up" and said he had found the way to her heart.
The giant box was rolled into the cocktail reception, and Katie told Kaitlyn and Tayshia that she felt some "real potential" with her bachelors.
Katie admitted to the girls she couldn't get Connor the Cat out of her mind and she was "really focused on him."
When Katie stepped in front of the group for the first time, she asked the guys to be themselves and step out of their comfort zone.
Thomas said he felt an immediate connection with Katie and viewed her as a calming presence, and he apparently couldn't stop smiling around her. Katie also practiced her best British accent with Andrew S.
Katie was convinced as the night progressed that she was going to find her "person" on the show.
Katie said she initially thought she was going to go for the loud, outspoken, funny guy in the room, but she found herself attracted to some of the more shy guys and wondered if opposites really do attract.
Greg, for example, an apparent nervous wreck, gifted Katie a macaroni necklace created by his niece, and he revealed that he's going to become an uncle of eight nieces and nephews soon. Katie could tell Greg was really on edge, and he acknowledged he was just trying to be present with her.
"There is something that's sticking out about him," Katie said of Greg.
Katie had a blast with Tre in the ball pit and noted he was really easy to talk to, and then Justin gifted Katie his painting of red roses in the shape of a heart.
Justin planned to continue working on the painting as they got to know each other better, and then he kissed Katie.
Karl created an adventure cartoon for Katie to represent their journey on the show together, and Jeff welcomed Katie into his RV, where he had some veggies and alcohol waiting for her.
Jeff ate celery and tossed his dirty boxers off the couch and asked Katie to sit next to him, but she admitted his RV truly looked "lived in" and she wasn't feeling the RV vibes.
Meanwhile, there was some tension in the air between Cody and Aaron, who flat out told Cody to his face that he didn't like him. Cody said there wasn't a need for that at all and he didn't understand the problem.
Deeper into the evening, James popped out of the gift box and Katie thought he was very handsome. She said she definitely had "a crush" on the New Yorker in a nice suit with slicked-down hair.
Once James joined the rest of the cast and everyone got a good look at him, everyone seemed to agree James was "charming and well spoken" and would probably be tough competition.
Katie and Connor the Cat played piano with their feet together, and Connor said it was beautiful how Katie tries to build people up instead of tearing them down. With that being said, the couple kissed and Connor got his black nose paint all over her nose.
Connor worried he had rushed the kiss, but Katie seemed into it.
Michael Allio, a 36-year-old business owner from Akron, OH, told Katie he has a dog named Tommy -- which is the same name as her cat -- and he left his four-year-old son at home with his parents to date Katie.
Michael said he could tell Katie would probably make a great mother, and Katie shared how she'd be open to all scenarios in terms of having children, whether it be as a biological mother, a stepmom or not at all.
Katie then snagged the First Impression Rose and offered it to Greg.
"I appreciate you opening up... I do feel something is there, and once we can get past those nerves, I feel like a great guy is under there!" Katie explained, hoping to give Greg some validation and confidence.
Greg kissed Katie after receiving the rose, and he said he couldn't wait to spend more time with her.
"I can't believe I got this! I can't believe I just got this!... I am so in it," Greg exclaimed while blushing. "Let's do it!"
At the first Rose Ceremony of the season, Katie called out names in the following order: Tre; Michael A.; Thomas; Garrett Schwartz, a 29-year-old software marketing manager from Salinas, CA; Connor B.; Andrew S.; James; Justin; Quartney; Karl; Mike P.; and John.
Katie also gave roses to Kyle; Andrew Milcovich, a 31-year-old deputy district attorney from Newport Beach, CA; Josh Tylerbest, a 25-year-old IT consultant from Miami, FL; Conor C.; Brendan; David; Aaron; Christian; Hunter Montgomery, a 34-year-old software strategist from Houston, TX; and Cody.