Juanuary plods on at its breakneck pace Monday, and with all those pesky greetings and first impressions and other pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to break some hearts! ABC is ramping it up, too, offering us yet another behind-the-scenes look during a Sunday night special.

On the season 18 premiere of The Bachelor last week, everyone’s favorite eligible vowel pronunciator welcomed 27 single and willing weemon from their leemos and whittled them down to 18.

Cut were a couple of uber hotties, a redhead who didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to wear pink, the better of two first-grade teachers, an unlucky-in-love basketcase, a weirdo masseuse, a personal trainer with a crossbow and goats, a chick who loves old people and, in what was probably my favorite nickname, Fish Hook Maggie McGook. 

Left behind were a gaggle litter herd of women who actually have a chance at love. You know, the kind you forge through dream dates while competing with other women on television. Not the kind you invent after spending five hours in a house with a person you just met. That’s kind of devastating heartbreak can only be known by a woman eliminated on the first night.

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Will He or Juan He?

As I expressed in my (Re)introduction to Juan Pablo, there are concerns about what type of Bachelor JP will be. And these apprehensions were reiterated by several people I discussed the show with over the last week. The words “player,” “weemonizer” and “manslut” were tossed about, as many simply don’t believe Juan Pablo is looking for something long term. 

I’m still holding out hope for him, and there might be reason for optimism judging by how he reacts to 21-year-old Cassandra’s admission that in addition to being a former NBA dancer and a makeup artist, she is also the single mother of a two-year-old son named Trey (I only recently found out this is a nickname for someone who is a third, as I am, but no one has ever called me Trey. Still, it makes more sense than Bill being short for William. Or Peggy for Margaret. Should be Pegrisha.). 

Juan Pablo puts his hands to his mouth like a giddy kid on Christmas morning, bounces up and down from one leg to the other and screams, “Aren’t babies like totally the bestest thing ever??” So maybe finding a suitable woman to breed a hoard of little Spanish-speaking baby Camilas really is his endgame. The future of the Miami club scene depends on it. 

Lingering Questions

The surviving ladies have moved into the Bachelor Pad that hooking up love built, and they’re ready to stop being nice and start being real(ly catty). Who will melt down? Who will offer a rub down? And who will strip down? 

Who will Juan Pablo pick for his one-on-one dates? Who will get snubbed and stay home? And will first impression rose-recipient and Canadian opera singer Sharleen actually warm up to JP? And the puppies! Oh, the puppies! Puppies as far as the eye can see. Which means buckets of cute and wheelbarrow loads of poop. 

All these questions to be answered, so let’s get the dates started. And don’t worry if you missed Sunday’s special. If there is any pertinent information you need to know about JP or the women, I’ll pass it on. To the Bat(chelor) Mobile!

Season 18’s First Date

I guess the behind-the-scenes episodes are pretty essential to watch, because that’s where we saw the first date card arrive. It read “Let’s chill,” and it went to pregnant “DVD from the beyond” hairstylist Clare (who also was picked first during the rose ceremony). She doesn’t go to bars or date much, so this is a new approach for her because it’s actually an approach.

The jealous-but-surprisingly-nice women fawn over the totally casual El Bachelor, who blindfolds Clare before whisking her off to his winter LA wonderland. He spent the daytime hours ice skating and playing in the snow with Camila, but I expect this will be a much different experience.

He piggybacks her to the rink and they do some sledding and have a snowball fight. They dress JP up like Frosty, and somewhere in California an engineer is patting himself on the back for his unmeltable snow creation. 

Clare has apparently fallen completely in love and is ready to give her heart away, saying she hasn’t felt like this in a long time. It’s all totally crazy, because they haven’t actually said a word to each other outside of snow-related banter. They literally know nothing about each other except that they’re both attractive people. 

No one escapes the curse of the first date. After she doesn’t get another one for four weeks, she’ll be questioning if she imagined their connection.

A Sexy Dip in the Snow

Clare and JP strip down and cuddle in the hot tub, and she massages his shoulders while opening up about her dad. And if Juan Pablo isn’t ready to be a positive influence in her life and physically and mentally become her deceased father, she’s not interested. 

Still, she was an inaccessible ice queen for a long time, but she’s no longer shut down. It earns her a rose, a make-out session and the always complimentary “I’m having a very, very much good time with you” from Juan Pablo. “When I look into Juan Pablo’s eyes,” she says … and I’ll finish for her: “I see nothing, nothing at all.” 

They end the world’s most perfect date with a private Josh Krajcik concert and an impromptu blizzard, which Clare is convinced is her father looking down on her from heaven. It’s actually a stagehand on a ladder with a pillowcase, but we’ll let her have her moment.

The First Boobs and Scottsdale’s Finest

Back at the house, homeless free spirit Lucy is letting her hippie flag fly by going topless in the hot tub while the group waits for the second date card to arrive. She doesn’t like clothes because being naked is freeing and she’s very comfortable with her body, and if you watched the Sunday special, you’re left with the image of her dancing around the lawn naked, spraying herself with a garden hose. 

It’s the same action from the montage that plays before a movie begins on the the Hustler Channel. The only difference is I’m not scared to see those girls’ legs or armpits.

The date card finally arrives, couriered in by pooch Molly, and it’s going to Scottsdale’s now famous Salsa-dancing Kat. The city that gave us Drew just keeps popping out beauties. According to the card, JP “can feel the electricity.” Can you?

Raving and Running

Juan Pablo and Kat hop on a private jet, don flashing neon running outfits and fly to Salt Lake City, Utah, home of Bachelor Mormon Jef Holm, to kick off the nation’s premiere hallucinogenic drug-encouraging 5K — The Electric Run. There are glow sticks galore, DJs and the kind of music Jersey Shore characters fist pump to. 

I actually ran The Electric Run in Brooklyn last October, and I say “actually ran” because no one runs it. The thousands of people are more concerned with getting to the post-race rave unscathed, so they walk and admire the black light exhibits. But it was my workout for the day, so I was one of only a handful of people who actually got one in before the drinking commenced. 

But still, it’s a great date for Juan Pablo and Kat because they don’t have to talk. They just dance and laugh.

The Bachelor Goes to the Dogs

The “Say Cheese” group date card arrives, and everyone is going but news reporter Amy L., first-impression Sharleen and “no crazy” psych nurse Danielle. They are all upset to not get any time, especially with a rose ceremony around the corner. But don’t worry, honeys, if he was going to cut you this week without talking to you, he would’ve just done it last week. 

Dog lover Kelly, who appears to have smoked a lot of things before the date, sleepily speculates that it’s a photo shoot. But maybe that’s just what her face looks like. Equally excited is Language of Love Brazilian Victoria, who will now be referred to simply as “Brows.” Free spirit Lucy muses she’ll have to do something other than show her ta-tas to get JP’s attention. 

The girls will be posing with a bunch of pooches for Models and Mutts, a not-for-profit that organizes sexy photo spreads to raise money for dog rescues. It’s cool and creepy all at the same time. 

Dress-Up Time

The girls have to get in some pretty ridiculous costumes. Over-the-top archenemy Chelsie sports a giant afro, free spirit Lucy is dressed as a fire hydrant because getting peed on is natural, and I’m pretty sure dog lover Kelly is in blackface. Second-best first-grade teacher Elise and assistant DA Andi are not enthused to be assigned the tiny cardboard sign outfits.

Andi in particular is uncomfortable with the wardrobe options, because she “puts people in jail every day” and apparently has the best winning percentage of any prosecutor in the world. C’mon, Andi, the guy in charge of posing you has a neon blue soul patch and you talked about how hot you think you are on day one. Sack up for love!

Elise tries to talk it out with neon soul patch, but he’s not hearing it. So she swaps with Lucy, because it’s better to get peed on than show too much skin.

Let’s Get Racy

Juan Pablo is straddled by Brows the lifeguard, enjoys cheek kisses, gets hot and steamy with single momma Renee and shares a tender Lady and the Tramp smooch with 21-year-old ex-NBA dancing makeup artist with child Cassandra. What can you say, she’s a triple threat.

DA Andi, aka the girl who brought a one-piece, is still fretting about her cardboard sign until she realizes JP is posing with her in the same lack of attire. Then she and her giant gold watch embrace la adventura, everyone gets naked and JP, Andi and Lucy take photos with black boxes censoring their hoo-has.

Brows Loses Her Mind

The night starts off much more formally clothed at a hotel rooftop with a pool, but everyone’s eyes are on the rose in the middle of the table. Cassandra and her awesome thigh high boots get the first alone time, and she spills the beans about Trey. 

Now remember, she’s the one who was so nervous after getting out of the limo on the first night that they played cricket sound effects. She’s hot, but she’s more than a decade younger than him. She has no shot, unless Juan Pablo likes that they have nothing to talk about. I see a theme…

Single momma Renee unsuccessfully tries for a kiss under the stars, but then Brows gets absolutely hammered and starts talking about how “life is all about straddling people and things” and how Juan Pablo is her boyfriend. Pre-season favorite nurse Nikki tries to intervene (and now we love her more!) and tells Brows to tone it down, but nu-uh, b*tch ain’t having it. 

Juan Pablo pulls Nikki away for the season’s first real conversation that doesn’t involve children or a deceased relative, and they actually ask questions about each other. Then, in arguably the greatest moment in Bachelor history, Brows discusses how she saved Juan Pablo’s life by performing the Hymen Maneuver. We rewound it twice just to hear it again and again.

Brows spots JP and Nikki talking and excuses herself to the bathroom to cry about her lack of one-on-one time, and single momma Renee climbs under the stall door to reach out to her. Brows hates the other girls, is totally done and tries to stumble home, but show producers stop her for her own safety.

He Gave the Rose to Who?

Lucy fetches Juan Pablo, who checks on Brows through the stall door she has locked herself behind. She’s balling at this point, and she refuses to talk to him. He decides to wait for her outside, refusing to judge her because of the unusual circumstances. He just feels bad for her. But in the meantime, he’s giving out the date rose to the girl who was the best sport, and that’s dog lover Kelly.

For real? I think the best sport has to be DA Andi or any girl who had to wear a fire hydrant costume and risk a canine golden shower. Kelly is reeeally exciiitted, but then she falls asleep midway through the sentence. I wish her and JP years of sleepily staring at each other and stretching out one-sentence statements into hour-long conversations.

Juan Pablo heads home, but first he makes the girls promise to take Brows home and make sure she’s safe, and he’ll address the situation in the morning. But let’s be honest, she needs until the afternoon.

A Denied Apology

JP gives Brows a chance to explain things, and her apology is full of downplayed denials. She says she’s sorry, but claims it was an overreaction because she feels everything so strongly and that she didn’t want him to see her cry. She says she could have been “a bit more adult about it and handled it better,” because clearly she doesn’t remember the footage we’ve just sat through. 

He accepts the apology, but he’s a 32-year-old father looking for someone who won’t scare his daughter with drunken antics, so he thanks her for her time and sends her packing. Easy peasy. Later, Brows! Can’t wait for Bachelor Pad 4.

Meltdown Squared

Because one nervous breakdown isn’t enough! These girls are dropping like flies. As the cocktail party begins, it’s triple threat Cassandra who can’t keep it together. But first, he needs to catch up with the dateless women.

Amy L. uses her crack reporting skills to interview Juan Pablo, pretend mic and all. I’m glad we know what her TV voice sounds like, but it’s very uncomfortable to watch. Sharleen feels quite awkward about how she reacted to the first-impression rose, with a halfhearted “sure,” and she starts things off with an apology that catches JP off guard. If he talks to Danielle, we don’t see it.

A tearful Cassandra confides in single momma Renee, because she is actually everyone’s mother, including mine (even though I think I’m older than her), and then JP steps in to once again quell the drama. He views her and Renee differently than the rest, and he promises that if he doesn’t feel anything at any point, he’ll let her know immediately. Freak-out over, and it’s time to give out some roses!

Who Stays and Who Goes?

Scottsdale’s Salsa-dancing Kat, “DVD from the Beyond” Clare and dog lover Kelly are all safe. And with Brows already out of the picture, it’s adios time for two more girls. The roses go to:

Triple-threat Cassandra (of course she gets the first one)

Pre-season favorite nurse Nikki

Assistant DA and sign-wearing Andi

Second-best first-grade teacher Elise

Canadian opera singer Sharleen (who hilariously accepts with another “Sure”)

Everyone’s momma Renee

“I didn’t get no love this week” psych nurse Danielle

Homeless free spirit and ta-ta exposing Lucy

Soccer nanny Alli

Over-the-top archenemy Chelsie

Piano biker Lauren

And the final rose goes to…

Simply gorgeous Christy (I was screaming at the TV, “You have to pick Christy! Give it to Christy! She’s simply gorgeous Christy!”)

That means news reporter Amy L. and “every season needs a Chantel” Chantel are going home. Amy is sad but figures she just wasn’t what Juan Pablo was looking for. Chantel is shocked because she felt a connection, and she turns her back to the camera so we won’t see her cry.

18 Becomes 15

Even though it was difficult to send the girls home, Juan Pablo looks around and is happy with his choices. And he may be thinking the drama is behind him after our dual meltdowns, but he’s about to get himself in a whole mess of trouble by kissing Sharleen within range of the competition. But that’s for next week.

So who is emerging as your favorite? I’m sticking with nurse Nikki, who is the only girl thus far to have a seemingly normal conversation with Juan Pablo. “DVD from the beyond” Clare had a heart-to-heart, but hers was so much deeper and fully loaded with emotion. That’s a lot to lay on a guy the first time you hang out. 

I could also see a connection with Renee, but whereas Cassandra is too young, I worry Renee might be too old. Not in number, but in maturity, and that’s not for everyone. I’m also pulling for Danielle and against Chelsie. And Lucy, of course. We’re all against Lucy.

The Bachelor season 18 airs every Monday at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order