The Bachelor franchise host Jesse Palmer unveiled Zach, a 25-year-old tech executive from Anaheim Hills, CA, as the new Bachelor for 2023 towards the end of The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose broadcast that aired live Tuesday night on ABC.
"I can really feel the excitement in the air right about now," Jesse teased in front of a live studio audience.
"I know you've all been very patient, so I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. It is finally time to meet the new Bachelor. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our new Bachelor -- Zach!"
When Zach joined Jesse on the stage, he said there were "no words" to describe how he felt and he was just trying to take it all in.
"This is incredible. I'm obviously really nervous, but honestly, this is a once-in-a-lifetime, awesome, incredible opportunity," Zach said. "I'm grateful... It feels surreal, but I'll be ready. I am ready."
In a departure from the show's traditional early January debut date, Jesse also announced Zach's The Bachelor season will not premiere on ABC until Monday, January 23, 2023 -- about three weeks later than The Bachelor has historically begun airing on the network.
Zach fell hard and fast for Rachel Recchia on The Bachelorette's nineteenth season. He pictured her as "the future Mrs. Shallcross" and gushed to the cameras about how he was madly in love with her.
But Zach was thrown for a loop in his Fantasy Suite with Rachel, who allegedly became guarded and skeptical of whether Zach was ready to get engaged given his age.
"It's like we were two strangers... Rachel's concern came out of nowhere. And I think it was bullsh-t, to be honest, and she was putting on a front," Zach said on the show.
Zach, feeling blindsided and brokenhearted, said his relationship with Rachel had done "a 180" and she was "inauthentic" and totally unlike herself in the Fantasy Suite.
Once Zach confronted Rachel about his concerns, he self-eliminated at the Final 3 Rose Ceremony. He could tell that he wasn't going to be Rachel's "person" and essentially beat her to the punch.
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Zach apologized to Rachel on Part 1 of The Bachelorette finale last week for letting her feel like he had questioned her character. Zach said that was never his intent, and Rachel also apologized for dragging Zach through an overnight date when she got the clarity she needed that night.
On The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose, Zach said he's "absolutely" prepared to give love another shot after Rachel crushed his heart. Zach told Jesse that he spent time with his family after The Bachelorette, regrouped and centered himself.
"I really needed to take some time away and reflect and heal that broken heart, but really, what I learned from that experience was that I didn't change how ready I was," Zach shared.
"I am now more ready. That was almost fuel to the fire. I am ready to find my person and my best friend, and that breakup didn't deter it... I really want to walk away from this with someone for the rest of my life."
When speaking to the women out there who will be competing for his heart, Zach asked them to be open, be true to themselves, be real, and just have fun with it.
For the first time in The Bachelor history, Zach was then introduced to five of his Season 27 bachelorettes right then and there. Jesse asked production to quickly transform the stage so it would look like The Bachelor mansion, and Zach appeared totally shocked.
While The Bachelorette has done this before, such as with Hannah Brown back on Season 15, this marked the first time a Bachelor got to meet some of his bachelorettes live on After the Final Rose.
"One of these women tonight are going to be receiving a First Impression Rose. That's right," Jesse revealed.
"But get this. Zach, you're not going to be the one deciding who gets it... America is going to decide! That's right! For the first time in the history of this show... [it's] called 'America's First Impression Rose.'"
Viewers tweeted the name of the woman whom they wanted to vote for live as Zach met one woman after the next.
Zach was introduced to Brooklyn, a 25-year-old dental lab tech from Mineola, TX, who cursed out of nervousness, and Brianna, a 24-year-old entrepreneur from Jersey City, NJ, who snapped a Polaroid selfie with Zach and flirtatiously slipped it into his pocket.
Bailey, a 27-year-old executive recruiter from Nashville, TN, told Zach to remember her name by saying every morning, "On the daily, I'm going to be thinking of Bailey."
Cat, a 26-year-old professional dancer from New York, NY, called herself "a natural" on TV and sweetly said, "Love ya, bye," before walking away from Zach.
And Christina Mandrell, a 26-year-old content creator from Hendersonville, TN, said she was "freaking out" and so she asked Zach to take a shot of whiskey with her to take the edge off.
Zach admitted he was a little "rusty," and he couldn't even remember a single woman's name after the meet and greets.
America ended up voting to give Brianna, who rocked a sexy white dress, the first rose of the season.
"I'm off to a great start!" Zach gushed.
The Bachelor's full cast of bachelorettes will be announced at a later date.