On Monday night, The Bachelorette history was made with the premiere of the show’s 16th season. Bachelorette Clare Crawley fell in love with a contestant within the first two weeks, shocking host Chris Harrison and the remainder of the male contestants, and completely changing the framework of the already special pandemic-driven season.

“The path we’re on right now, it doesn’t end well, for anybody. You’ve just blown up The Bachelorette,” Harrison told Crawley in the last few moments of the season’s first episode.

Even before the chaos of Crawley’s whirlwind romance, however, the 2020 iteration of the series was already set to be a bit of a doozy. Because the premise of the show is introducing strangers with the hope that they’d fall in love, it wasn’t exactly something that could be smoothly executed remotely, so the pandemic postponed the season for two months. With that time, contestants and producers were able to quarantine and prepare to enter a Bachelorette “bubble” at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, which was similar to the NBA bubble created at EPCOT this summer. The resort hosted the cast and crew, plus the contestants’ families in order to rework the “hometown dates” segment of the show.

The opening shots of the premiere feature the La Quinta instead of the classic The Bachelor mansion, and the contestant introductions are selfie videos documenting all the travel and testing leading up to the start of the show. Then, Crawley spills to Harrison about the growth she experienced after leaving The Bachelor six years ago, and the contestants are introduced.


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There were 31 total bachelors this season, but only some made a distinct impression on Crawley and at-home viewers. Riley, an attorney, tells Crawley she is “guilty” for looking so good. Jason, pro football player, shows up wearing a pregnant belly, mirroring Crawley’s debut on The Bachelor in 2014. Ivan, aeronautical engineer, has a Filipina mother, and makes an impression by speaking to Crawley in Tagalog. Kenny, boy band manager, appears wearing a shirt with pictures of Crawley’s dogs printed on it. Tyler, a lawyer, arrives in a station wagon, his West Virginia accent setting him apart from the rest. Bennett, a wealth management consultant, shows up in a Rolls Royce, dressed for the opera, and makes an impression on other contestants as well as Crawley. AJ, a software salesman, talks about how his friends joke that he makes terrible first impressions, and then makes a terrible first impression by crushing Crawley’s hands. Eazy, a sports marketing agent, wears a distinctive pink suit jacket. Jay, a fitness director who the others apparently dubbed “Mr. Hyde,” wears a straight jacket to say he’s “gone crazy” waiting to meet Crawley. Yosef, a medical device salesman, brings moon pies for Crawley. Ed, a health care salesman, shows up in a literal giant bubble.

The biggest first impression made, however, was Dale’s. They embrace, and he picks her up, leaving her dazed and grinning ear-to-ear, gushing to Harrison about she had just met her husband. In the show’s promos, Dale and Crawley are shown making out before the rose ceremony.

“Every other guy I felt confident with, but with Dale, everything else went dark around me… did I sound ok?” she gushed to Harrison, to his surprise. “I felt everything I haven’t felt ever.”

Later on in the episode, she cries to the camera about her battles with loneliness for the last few months. After Dale comforts her and tells her that he had felt the same way, she gushes about him once again.

“There’s those butterflies, the nervousness, but that’s just because I like him. I know what I’m looking for, and I’m big on energy and vibes,” she says.

There’s then a bit of drama – in an attempt to get him eliminated, Tyler confronts Yosef about Instagram direct messages he sent to other woman before filming for the season began. In an attempt to save face, Yosef opens up to Crawley about it, but she shuts down the drama by dismissing it as “a little speed bump” and telling both men to solve it among themselves.

Crawley then takes contestant Blake aside to thank him for apparently breaking a Bachelorette rule and checking up on her during the quarantine.

“The fact that you risked not coming on here and putting that on the line, at a time where I was really struggling, it meant everything to me,” she confesses to him with a kiss.

During the rose ceremony, however, it is still Dale who receives the first impression rose. Tyler is eliminated for being a snitch, AJ is eliminated for his terrible first impression, and contestants Mike, Chris, Jeremy, Page, Jordan, and Robby are also sent home. Yosef is sweating with anxiety during the ceremony, and Crawley teases him a bit for it, but gives him the final rose. There are 23 contestants left – and then, during the promo segment of the episode, the series is turned upside-down.

In the promo, Crawley is wearing a stunning red dress, and at first seems ready to go on some dates and really get to know the remaining contestants. Then, to the fury of all the others, she confesses her love for Dale. In yet another shot of Crawley crying (the third of the episode), she opens up again about being single and not apologizing for love. Finally, there are hints towards a major turning point for the show – the first season with two bachelorettes – as a limo rolls up to the La Quinta, potentially carrying Tayshia Adams, the season’s new lead.

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