Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode 1

Opera singer Sharleen Joynt—fellow Canuck, FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode

sharleen joynt bachelorette recap ep1

JoJo has “a combination of beauty and star power to keep us tuning in” (Photo: ABC)

The secret part of me that gets excited about this show was very excited for last night. I loved JoJo on Ben’s season for her honesty (on my blog I regularly called her the voice of reason), her fantastic style and just general likability—it says something that no woman I’ve ever spoken to from Ben’s season had a single negative thing to say about her. She’s well-loved by women, the first and foremost requirement to being a worthy Bachelorette. After all, women make up the vast majority of this show’s viewers. (Case in point, I recently learned that a whopping 93 percent of my Instagram followers are female.)

Beyond last season, though, last night JoJo proved she just gets it. She’s a natural on camera without being too comfortable. She rolls with the punches and corny jokes, and has her own arsenal of witty quips: “His [Jordan’s] butt! I gotta start doing squats.” Above all, she’s got a combination beauty and star power to keep us tuning in.

What often happens is that viewers eventually get annoyed by the lead; they begin calling the Bachelor/ette boring, criticize their choices or even make fun of their facial movements or speech habits. What strikes me as rich is how viewers wanted this very person to become the lead in the first place; he/she didn’t recently develop those habits or suddenly become “boring.” So let’s remember this moment, shall we? If and when we want to pick JoJo apart, let’s remember wanting more of her. She’s the same woman, and she’s human.

My Top Four men are below, but some of the others deserve mention. I think Ali looks like a real-life Aladdin—in a good way. I was thrilled (and subsequently disappointed when he went home) to see fellow half-Asian Jonathan. His limo exit line about being Scottish from the waist down made me laugh out loud. (Also, having dated a Scot myself for two years, I couldn’t understand everyone’s beef with his kilt.) I loved Christian‘s intro video, where he called what he does “super tech-y, geeky stuff” and I was moved by his biracial upbringing: “My family on my dad’s side—my white side—actually didn’t know I existed until I was in seventh grade.” While no Ryan McDuff, Daniel certainly delivered as the token Night One drunk. Based on the caricature he’s destined to play this season (since producers hands-down are the reason he got a rose), I could have done without him declaring he’s Canadian. James S, “Bachelor Superfan,” was very amusing and he reminded me of the Bachelor Pad days where they cast fans on the show. I really liked Evan and how expressive he is. (I also happen to think what he does—”Erectile Dysfunction Specialist”—is important and could have done without the clown music during that segment.) I was a bit thrown off by the previews for the season (which I know from experience are very misleading, but still!). Based on Night One chemistry, Chad would have been a frontrunner in my books. But the arrogant Night One ITMs and, according to the previews, apparent penchant for violence tells me he could be this season’s token villain (and thus most likely not make Final Four).

I’m thrilled to report that so far this season, I am entirely spoiler free! As a member of the Bachelor Family, this is harder to maintain than it sounds. It’s no longer just a simple matter of avoiding RealitySteve.com. It’s a matter of freakishly telling everyone you know that you don’t know what happens and want it to stay that way. Basically, I want a medal.

So with that in mind, my Top Four predictions are as follows…

1. Jordan, 27: Even if I didn’t see the connection between JoJo and Jordan—which is impossible to miss—this gentleman has racked up too many Night One check marks to be ignored. Intro video: check. First out of the limo: check. Substantial amount of their Night One one-on-one time shown: check. First and only real kiss of the evening: check. First Impression Rose: check. The only way Jordan doesn’t make Final 4 is if something goes really awry, à la Britt—who, for the record, accumulated the exact same above check marks on Chris’ season—and even then he’s making Final Six. In my notes (yes, I keep notes), I wrote, “Has the look. Definite frontrunner” next to Jordan’s name.

2. Luke, 31: Luke’s strong Night One showing may have been eclipsed by Jordan’s clean sweep, but it doesn’t make him any less a one to watch. Intro video: check. Last out of limo: check. Night One one-on-one time shown: check. He’s definitely got that frontrunner look, too, and the touching backstory to round out a perfect Bachelor specimen, and I loved that he rode in on a “unicorn,” a throwback to JoJo’s own entrance. Personally, I would have liked more expressiveness and eloquence from him—he was a bit monotone and mumbly last night—but I suspect that’s more to do with the cameras and Night One jitters than representing who he is. JoJo said Luke has “a silent, sexy confidence that just radiates when he’s in front of you.” (Whoa!) Next to Luke’s name I wrote: “Going very far.”

3. Wells, 31: Wells stood out to me. He kind of reminds me of Jef from Emily Maynard’s season in that hipster-cool way. OK, so not a lot of his Night One one-on-one time was shown, but his full limo exit was, and the usual montage of limo exit gimmicks and clown music came to a halt when it was. Bringing the a cappella quartet All 4 One was the right kind of gimmick and was a nice, subtle reference to his occupation (“Radio DJ”) without being too literal. I wrote, “Dapper and confident” next to Wells’ name.

4. James Taylor, 29: OK, so if your occupation is “Singer/Songwriter” and you exit the limo strumming and singing to the Bachelorette, it’s a bit suspect of “wrong reasons.” (Remember country singer Wes from Jillian’s season?) However, James Taylor really pulled it off. His ditty was charming and short but sweet. Looks-wise, he’s unconventional by this show’s standards, but he’s indisputably tall and handsome nonetheless. Above all, his one-on-one time was shown and JoJo called him “cool, funny, sweet and smart. He’s the type of person you want to spend every day with.” Why he gets to go by James Taylor and not James T, I don’t know, but I wrote next to his name: “Possible dark horse.”

For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on City. Catch up on past episodes at citytv.com.

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