-- It's a new year and there's a new man at the helm of "The Bachelor": Nick Viall.
The ABC reality series started off with a bang on Monday night, with Viall, a two-time "Bachelorette" runner-up, making his first round of eliminations.
First, viewers were given a little of the back story about this season's star.
For those who aren't familiar with Viall, here's a brief recap of his history with the franchise: The Chicagoan first appeared on Andi Dorfman's season of "The Bachelorette" back in 2013, and after a soul-crushing elimination, he appeared on the annual "After the Final Rose" special and asked her, "If you didn't love me, why did you make love to me?"
The next year, Viall returned to the show to woo Katelyn Bristowe and became one of the most talked-about contestants after he slept with her during filming. However, Bristowe ultimately chose Shawn Booth instead. Then, this past summer, Viall gave finding-love-on-TV one last go on "Bachelor in Paradise," but he broke things off with Jen Saviano in the season finale.
So, before embarking on his first night in the "Bachelor" mansion, Viall sought advice from his family and past "Bachelor" stars Sean Lowe, Chris Soules and Ben Higgins. Higgins, who also appeared on Bristowe's "Bachelorette" season, admitted that Viall has grown up a lot since his reality TV debut and advised him to be himself.
"To the fourth time being a charm," Higgins said, raising his glass to Viall.
After getting to know Viall a bit better, viewers were introduced to a few of the contestants.
There was Rachel, a 31-year-old Dallas attorney who was "hoping I feel [a connection] right off the bat;" Danielle, a nail salon owner, who's "ready to settle down and build a relationship;" and tri-lingual special education teacher Vanessa, who believes "the love of my life is waiting for me out there." Quirky Josephine admitted that "it does take a certain kind of guy to handle my energy;" 25-year-old boutique owner Raven described her hometown as a place where football, family and faith reign supreme; and Miami native Corrine, 24, announced that "Corrine's world is glamorous."
We then met dolphin fanatic Alexis, neonatal intensive care nurse Danielle, mental health counselor Taylor, and Liz, who said at one point during the show that she slept with Nick at a "Bachelor in Paradise" wedding earlier this year. "I haven't talked to him since," she said. "But I really would like the opportunity to get to know him."
With that, the first night at the mansion was underway. Danielle was the first one out of the limo, and Viall's attraction to her was obvious. Many of the limo exits were uneventful, though the other women tittered when a woman named Jasmine G. arrived with Neil Lane in tow. Hailey took a sultry approach, asking Viall, "Do you know what a girl wearing underwear says?" and answering, "Neither do I." Lacey followed suit, coming in on a camel because, she explained, she likes "a good hump." But the entrance that got the biggest reaction from Viall was when Josephine asked him to eat an uncooked hot dog with her, a la "Lady and the Tramp." "That's not super-delicious, but it's the thought that counts?" he said. By contrast, he seemed intrigued by Alexis, who showed up in a shark costume, convinced it made her look like a dolphin.
During the cocktail party, the women vied for Viall's attention. Corrine was the first to steal a kiss, though Viall admitted it made him uncomfortable. "Quite honestly, I hope no women saw us," he told the camera. Meanwhile, Liz delighted in the fact that she didn't think Viall remembered her from the wedding, though he did, and he was confused as to why she'd want to appear on the show rather than just call him.
Ultimately, the first impression rose went to Rachel, with whom he shared his second kiss.
"There are no words," she said wistfully afterward.
During the rose ceremony, Viall sent Angela, Ida Marie, Briana, Olivia, Lauren, Susannah, Michelle, and Jasmine B. home.
"The Bachelor" returns next Monday on ABC.