I like Arie! There, I said it. I’m aware the response is mixed, that people think he’s “too old” (whether in terms of age or relevancy?), that folks wanted Peter, blah blah blah. I respectfully disagree on all fronts.
First, Arie is the exact same age that Nick was as Bachelor, yet you didn’t hear people going on about it to the same extent. (I think people are thrown off by the salt and pepper?) I happen to think 36 is the perfect Bachelor age, that he probably is more ready to settle down than a 30-year old man might be. He likely sowed his wild oats (especially as a former runner-up) and got it out of his system. Sure, many of the women are a lot younger, but we’ve learned from experience that just because a Bachelor is in his mid-to-late 30s does not mean they cast a season around that. (It would be nice, though; I for one would LOVE to see half the women in their 30s.) But the fact is, many of these women were probably cast before The Powers That Be even settled on Arie. And we know by now half the cast is there for drama or interest purposes, not as legitimate prospects. Their destiny is to become part of the ever-expanding pool of Bachelor Family members, single and ready to mingle on this franchise’s spinoffs.
Second, I liked Peter a LOT, but change is good. The show kept us guessing with this choice, and that’s a great thing. They broke the formula, even if only temporarily, and we’re still watching after all these years because of decisions like this.
As is tradition with my premiere recaps, I’ll single out a few of my early favourites: I loved Tia, with her accent and potty mouth; she’s stunning and has a big personality that I suspect will provide a ton of entertainment this season. I’m very into Jacqueline, who just comes off as cool and like she has her ducks in a row. (And her Bachelor headshot has got to be the best I’ve ever seen—seriously, it’s like an actor’s headshot!) Marikh is a total knockout, and I’d have her pegged as a frontrunner but her shown 1-on-1 time left me doubting that. I really liked Lauren S, who has a girl’s girl vibe, like you want to be her friend. Seinne is striking and seems like a badass, and her response to “What’s your favourite TV show?” made me an instant fan.
It’s an impressive crop of women this season, and I honestly had a very hard time putting together my Top 4 predictions. I’m usually pretty clear on who I think will go far based on airtime, but there were a few major curveballs last night. First, two of my Top 4 didn’t have intro videos in either the Countdown to Arie episode OR in the premiere itself. This is usually a factor for me in predicting, but I rank 1-on-1 time above an intro video, and many girls with intro videos who I suspected might go far didn’t get substantial 1-on-1 time shown. A great example here is Caroline, who had an intro video, was first of all the limo exits, and her full exit was shown. These all suggest ‘frontrunner.’ However, her 1-on-1 time (involving pizza by a fireplace) was totally glossed over into a montage. There’s also Maquel. She had an intro video, full “limo” (race car) exit shown, and her 1-on-1 time shown. But her 1-on-1 time was just part of a montage of Chelsea talking shit about her. We didn’t see any actual conversation between Maquel and Arie. If Arie were to propose to either Caroline or Maquel, how do these edits do that love story justice? They don’t.
For the first time ever, I’m not putting the First Impression Rose recipient in my Top 4. Chelsea certainly made the premiere cringeworthy (and thus entertaining) to watch with her taking Arie for 1-on-1 time twice (tsk tsk) and her increasingly bitchy comments. Who didn’t groan when Arie gave her the FIR? My issue here is that it’s WAY too early to be coming off as the controversial woman in the house. Every villain of seasons past at least kept that side of themselves under wraps until a few episodes in, and maybe saved their criticisms for ITMs only. Chelsea has already made herself Enemy Number One, with or without the FIR, and I don’t see her lasting super long because of it.
1. Annaliese, 32 No intro video, but all of Annaliese’s limo exit was shown (check), and her 1-on-1 time with Arie was shown (check). Their 1-on-1 time was accompanied by frontrunner piano music (check). After their 1-on-1 time, Arie said, “I could totally feel where she’s at in her life and that made me really appreciate her.” She comes off as super sweet and got the right mix of airtime in the form of Arie-related time and ITM commentary, all while not being too prominent. Also, I think Annaliese is GORGEOUS (she reminds me of a young Uma Thurman) and I’m pretty sure that’s not lost on Arie.
2. Krystal, 29 Intro video (check), full limo exit with tinkly chime music (check). Some of her conversation shown—before she was interrupted by Chelsea (check). Krystal is going to be a major player this season based on her airtime so far, but I have my doubts she’ll make it to the very end based on what was shown of her 1-on-1 time, pre-interruption. (I don’t think, if she’s the “winner,” one of the few things they’d show her saying is “I’m a Libra” in response to Arie saying he wants to know more about her.) Nonetheless, she ticks a lot of boxes and is obviously sticking around.
3. Bekah M, 22 Whether or not she “wins,” Bekah too is clearly not going anywhere for awhile. She’s got a star power that you know the producers recognize, because she’s already gotten a LOT of airtime. Not only was she pretty omnipresent throughout the episode, her hometown package was shown (check), her full “limo exit” was shown (check), and her 1-on-1 time with Arie was shown (check). The elephant in the room is her age, and as you Canadians know, this feels a little too soon as we JUST dealt with a season of this on Bachelor Canada. (Americans, Bachelor Chris was 33 and frontrunner Lyndsey was 23, and the age gap was brought up ad nauseam.) I personally believe age is just a number (Andy is 13 years older than me, FYI) but I do think it matters when you meet. As they say, timing is everything. Andy and I have agreed that had we met when I was 22 and he was 35, NO WAY would we have ended up together. Bekah strikes me as super dynamic and confident, the kind of girl who likes adventure and who just probably isn’t going to settle down at 22. Nonetheless, we have a very young major frontrunner on our hands who I suspect will fast become Bachelor Family royalty.
4. Becca K, 27 As with Annaliese, Becca didn’t have an intro video, but her full limo exit was shown (check). Okay, so we missed her step out of the limo to the sound of chimes and stand for a moment, but we otherwise got the whole thing. It was her 1-on-1 time that secured her this Top 4 spot, as not only was it shown, but it was accompanied by frontrunner acoustic guitar music (check). (If you’re wondering why I’m so focused on music, it’s because it’s very telling. Case in point, go back and listen to the creepy music during Arie’s kiss with Chelsea. Highly unlikely Chelsea’s winning based on that.) Becca was also called first at the Rose Ceremony. Also like Annaliese, Becca had the right amount of Night One airtime: Not too much, not too little, but just right.