The Bachelor has returned with Nick Viall at the helm. A quick recap of the episode: a woman told Nick she "heard he likes to hump" — while she was sitting on a camel's back, no less — a woman referred to her genitalia as a "platinum vagine," and we have endured a debate that rivals Jessica Simpson's infamous "chicken or fish?" debacle: shark or dolphin costume? (It was a shark. Left shark, in fact. For the love of God.)
But did we expect any less from this season? Of course not. Nick was quite the choice in the first place: He candidly expressed that he "made love" to Andi Dorfman in season 10. While many viewers have assumptions about what happens in the fantasy suite, Nick removed any doubt. And who can forget his rendezvous with Kaitlyn Bristowe in season 11, enraging the other suitors in the process? Needless to say, the producers knew choosing Nick as the next Bachelor was going to be a far cry from Ben Higgins's season.
I'm excited for Nick's journey for a few reasons, though. Nick has been a polarizing pick for Bachelor fans. While many are eager to see what he brings to the show, others are less than enthused, based on his past antics. He's been villianized, but for what reasons, really? Because he was heartbroken by Andi? (I mean, announcing on national television that you had intercourse was a tacky move.) Because he showed up later in Kaitlyn's season? Or, as Nick told Ashley Iaconetti, because they play "scary music behind everything he says"?
Think about this: Nick is the only contestant in the show's history to be a runner-up twice. He's no stranger to heartbreak, the filming process, and what the suitors have to endure on the show. As a veteran of the series, he just might be able to bring some empathy to his season — but it is Nick, after all, so it won't be void of theatrics. I'm pretty stoked about both.
After watching the first episode with former cast members Becca Tilley, Robert Graham, Ben Higgins, Lauren Bushnell, Evan Bass, Carly Waddell, Amanda Stanton, and more at a viewing party in Hollywood, benefiting SheLift (Sarah Herron's nonprofit) and Globe-athon, I'm actually impressed with Nick's self-awareness. He knows he's going to be a tough sell, but he was the perfect mix of self-deprecating and passionate. And let's not forget that there is more than just one woman of colour on the show this season. Can I get an amen?
Keep reading to learn a few things I found out from the cast members at the premiere.
Everyone Thinks Nick Is Sexy as Hell
This was actually a bit surprising to me because, at the time, I hadn't met him yet. (I can confirm now though that yes, he is.) If you don't get it, Ashley I. says it's because you haven't been around him.
"He has this aura of sensuality, and you just think, 'This guy wants to get into your pants right now.'"
"If he likes you, he's going to be by your side, be your support system and your backbone. He's always wanted me to be the strongest girl I can be. I think he's going to approach this with more sensitivity than you would expect," Ashley said, adding, "In a romantic relationship, Nick's gotta be the sexiest thing ever. He immediately draws you in. The first time I had ever met him, I was like, 'Oh, OK, now I get it.' If you don't get Nick, it's because you haven't been in his presence. He has this aura of sensuality, and you just think, 'This guy wants to get into your pants right now.'" Jared Haibon agrees. "Nick will go down as the sexiest Bachelor of all time. Because one, let's face it, he's really good looking. I can say that. Nick's a stud."
Twins Emily and Haley Ferguson, who are now both dating Las Vegas locals, are also close with Nick. "Well, it's going to be the sexiest season because Nick is the sexiest Bachelor I think we've ever had," said Emily. "Nick is very attractive. I'm not going to lie, Nick is a sexual guy. That's not a bad thing to have at all," said Haley. Sarah Herron didn't gush over Nick's good looks but thinks his openness makes him attractive. "I've always loved him because he's provocative and he says what he means. He's willing to do the things that are a little bit daring, a little bit racy, that push the envelope, and that's sexy," Sarah said.
Who Do They Think He'll End Up With?
The consensus? Nick is probably going to be attracted to strong, confident women — like Andi and Kaitlyn — and won't be deviating from his type. "I picture him with a Catherine Zeta-Jones type," Ashley I. said. "A little mysterious, curvy, classically beautiful, somebody who is smart and knows herself." Carly Waddell, who was at the event with fiancé Evan Bass, agrees. "(He wants) a strong woman, for sure, who speaks her mind. He wants someone who knows her worth." When asked if they'd pull a Nick and appear on another season of the show, Emily and Haley were quick to answer. "I think we would have gone on Nick's season. I almost wish we didn't meet anybody and we could have gone on Nick's season together!" Emily said.