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The Bachelorette's First Two-Lead Season Premiere Was As Chaotic As Expected, With Eliminations Going Haywire

Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia on The Bachelorette.
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoiler alert! This story discusses the Season 19 premiere of The Bachelorette, so proceed with caution if you haven’t watched!

Nobody seemed to know how Season 19 of The Bachelorette was going to work with Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia both serving as leads for the full season. Even first-time Bachelorette host Jesse Palmer admitted they'd figure it out as they went, when he made the announcement at The Bachelor’s “After the Final Rose” special. In the season premiere, he seemed more than happy to continue to let the women call their own shots. This led to an expectedly chaotic Night 1 in Bachelor Mansion, all leading up to an unprecedented elimination scene.

After greeting 32 men who arrived in limousines with the typical cheesy lines and gimmicks, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey made the totally unexpected decision to do something no Bachelor Nation lead has ever done on the first night: they cancelled the rose ceremony. With more men than ever gracing Bachelor Mansion for the premiere, the women found it especially difficult to each try to talk to everybody, so they called in Jesse Palmer, who confirmed that it was their season to do with as they wished. 

That doesn’t mean there were no eliminations, however. The host advised the women to not string along any of the guys they for sure didn't have a connection with, so three men — twins Joey and Justin Young, as well as magician Roby Sobieski — were pulled aside and quietly informed by the bachelorettes that their journey was over. 

Three eliminations on Night 1 is a surprisingly small number, especially considering the number of men they started with. By comparison, the previous two bachelorettes, Michelle Young and Katie Thurston, each sent home seven men on the first night from a slightly smaller pool. 

When considering that there are two women involved this season, it actually makes sense to take a little more time with all of the men. It’s typical on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for the lead to not get a chance to talk to everybody, but in this particular premiere, the men made it sound like hardly any of them got to talk to both women. It really wouldn’t have been fair to ask the women to make decisions for both of them about guys only one had talked to. 

With this season being the first time The Bachelorette will feature two women throughout the entire season, it’s to be expected that fans are going to witness a lot of Bachelor Nation firsts. The guys expressed a little confusion about how to navigate the situation as well. Some weren’t sure if the better strategy was to focus on just one woman, or if they had a better chance by getting to know both Gabby and Rachel and seeing who they connected with more. 

There also seemed to be a lot of apprehension from the men when it came to kissing, much to the chagrin of the bachelorettes. But I can see where they’re coming from, because can you imagine a contestant kissing one woman on the first night and eventually wanting to pursue the other? What an awkward finale montage that would be! 

If the Season 19 premiere was any indication, we’re living in unprecedented times, and I can’t wait to see how Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia take the reins for the rest of the season. The Bachelorette continues at 8 p.m. ET next Monday, July 18 on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what other shows are premiering soon.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.