The first episode of The Bachelorette premiered on Monday night, potentially spawning a new crop of future Dancing With The Stars and Bachelor Pad contestants and at least one potential fiancé for Desiree Hartsock.
But the odds are, unfortunately, against her (even though The Bachelorette has the best record for producing marriages when compared against just about every matchmaking show out there). Seventeen of the initial 25 suitors really should just be given walking papers on the awkwardness of their entrances alone.
Still, that doesn't mean there's nothing for viewers to bet on as the season progresses: I'm involved in a Bachelorette fantasy sports-style pool with several friends. Here's how it works: the remaining 19 suitors are divided into teams, and over the season each team is awarded points based on their member's performance in each episode.
If a member of your team:
Gets a rose: 1 point
Makes out with the Bachelorette: 2 points
Is involved with a fistfight with another contestant: 2 points
Ex-girlfriend shows up: 2 points
Has a heart-to-heart with host Chris Harrison: 2 points
Cries: 3 point
Tells the Bachelorette "I love you": 3 points
And in the meantime, here are the top draft picks coming out of the first episode:
Chances he'll win: Very high, based both on the amount of screen time Brooks gets in the "This season on The Bachelorette…" montages that bookend the episode, and the way Hartsock squirmed when Jimmy Kimmel interrogated her about the suitor's chances. Another good sign? He is not over-exposed in the first episode — no personal video bio, no early rose — a sign that either means he's either in it for the long haul, or he'll be in the next crop of suitors out the door. My money is on the former.
Chances he'll win: High. Drew gets one of the most personal portraits in the first episode — right off the bat he shares details about his tough childhood, his alcoholic father and his mentally disabled sister. No way the producers are going to let the guy get voted out of the mansion early. He and Desiree seem to have chemistry too — when giving him a pre-ceremony rose, she tells him, "When you first came out of the limo I was blown away." Drew, like Brooks, also had an awful lot of screen time in the season preview — including what appear to be late-in-the season destination dates.
Chances he'll win: Respectable. Bryden, a veteran of the Iraq War, is tough but he's also a hopeless romantic. Early in the first episode he say he's had one serious relationship: "It kind of broke my heart, and then I joined the military — signed up that next winter." He speaks fluent Bacheloretteese — "I think I'm ready to have a serious relationship; to find a best friend that you can share some of your experiences and your life with." Brayden appears genuinely jazzed about the fact that Desiree is the Bachelorette (as evidenced by the fist pump) and she seems pretty into him too — she laughs at his jokes, and gives him one of the coveted pre-ceremony roses.
Chances he'll win: Middling. Desiree does not seem bothered by the fact that as an entrance gimmick, he exploited his child, Brody, nor by the fact that he described his relationship with little Brody's mother as "two friends who have a kid together." It all seems a little fishy, especially when you consider the fact that in supercut of upcoming episodes, a girlfriend shows up at mansion calling one of Desiree's paramours a "lying, cheating, deceitful pig" — and editing strongly suggests the man in she is referring to is Ben. In the same sequence he's also heard saying both "I don't care if every guy hates me" — never a good sign in Bachelorette land. In the first episode, though, Desiree gushes about the fact that she and Ben both love to camp; a fact that helps her determine he is "husband material," and earns him the first rose of the season.
Chances he'll win: Low. Chris had such a promising entrance on to the show — making a big scene and getting down on one knee ...just to tie his shoe. Desiree seemed to appreciate his satire of the other The Bachelorette suitors, but we heard nary a peep from him the rest of the episode.
Chances he'll win: Low. She can't even pronounce his name, though she does call him "a dream of a man." I suspect he'll coast through a few more episodes on his good looks, strong accent, and the whole ex-professional soccer player thing before getting the boot.