The Bachelorette Premiere: Katie Thurston 'Open to All Scenarios' After Meeting Her 30 Suitors
Season 17 of The Bachelorette kicked off Monday night on ABC
This post contains spoilers from Monday's season premiere of The Bachelorette.
Although Katie Thurston didn't find love on Matt James' season of The Bachelor, she remained optimistic heading into her own season, where 30 men showed up to the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in New Mexico to compete for her heart.
"I'm happy where I'm at now," Katie said in an on-camera interview during Monday night's premiere. "I've learned a lot about myself and I'm not going to settle."
Katie didn't think anyone would be there to guide her on her journey, given the absence of host Chris Harrison — who stepped away from the franchise after defending Rachael Kirkconnell's racially insensitive photos — but former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe approached Katie before the limo arrivals and let her know they'd be there to help. "I couldn't have imagined anything more perfect," Katie said of her season's co-hosts.
She also told Tayshia and Kaitlyn that she doesn't have a physical type. "It's all about the personality," she insisted.
Real estate broker Thomas led the charge out of the limos. "I can't wait to understand more of what makes you you," the 28-year-old told Katie. Then Katie met insurance agent Aaron, 26, who called her "radiant," and Andrew M., a 31-year-old deputy district attorney.
Technical product specialist David, 27, arrived next. "I'm a New Yorker, and as a New Yorker I know that absolutely anything can happen in a New York minute," he told Katie. "So even though I've been standing here for just under a minute, I'm already feeling you."
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Business owner Michael, 36, followed up by giving Katie a watch that he told her had been in his family for over 200 years, before admitting he bought it at the airport. Still, he wanted to send the message that "time is precious."
The gimmicks continued with Tre, a 26-year-old software engineer who popped out of a ball pit in the back of a pickup truck. "I'm here to have a ball with you," he told Katie.
Katie worried that marketing sales rep Greg, 27, looked like an ex-boyfriend of hers before receiving a hug from 35-year-old entrepreneur Gabriel. "I wanted to share with you one of my favorite hugs," he said to the Bachelorette.
The arrivals continued with: John, a 27-year-old bartender from California; software marketing manager Garrett, 29; real estate investor Austin, 25; 25-year-old dancer Marty; basketball coach Landon, 25; Karl, a 34-year-old motivational speaker; and IT consultant John, 25.
Then an antique car pulled up and out came Andrew S., a 26-year-old pro football player in Austria. Andrew S. put on his best fake British accent for Katie, but eventually confessed, "I'm actually from Chicago."
Katie's next suitor, Brandon, a 26-year-old auto parts manager, arrived on a moped, and then former baseball player Conor C., 28, showed Katie his first baseball glove. "If I'm going to be catching feelings, why not bring a glove?" he said.
Technical recruiter Kyle, 26, ripped off his underwear when he got in front of Katie in hopes of being "brief." Hunter, a 34-year-old software strategist, brought a fish, telling Katie, "I'm hoping you agree, I'm kind of a catch."
Jeff from New Jersey drove up in an RV because home is where the heart is. "I drove my home here from Jersey hoping you'll be my heart," the surgical skin salesman, 31, said to Katie.
A present got wheeled in for Katie and software salesman James, 30, called out from inside: "I wanted to make sure I was present for you tonight. But there is a catch: If you want to open your gift, you have to come find me inside."
Firefighter trainee Brendan, 26, caused Katie to question, "Why are they all so hot?" Then real estate broker Marcus, 30, and 31-year-old gym owner Mike — who admitted in his intro video that he planned to save himself for marriage — showed up.
Cody mirrored Katie's own night one move, when she pulled out her vibrator upon meeting Matt, by bringing his blowup doll, Sandy. "There's been someone in my life these past few months that's been really helping me through these weird times," Cody told Katie. "We've been intimate. We've been best friends and it's been a shoulder to cry on, someone that's listened to me."
Katie shook Sandy's hand and proceeded to meet Justin, a 26-year-old investment sales consultant. Real estate agent Christian, 26, brought a magic lamp in hopes that he and Katie could "rub one out together," and 26-year-old nutrition entrepreneur Quartney recited a poem filled with double entendres for Katie.
Connor B., a math teacher in Nashville, closed out the arrivals — in a cat costume. "It's so mice to finally meet you," the 29-year-old said to Katie.
The cat mom declared, "I think I'm in love."
Katie kicked off the cocktail party by encouraging the men to be themselves throughout the process.
"I'm here because I believe in this, and I hope you're here because you believe in it as well," she said. "And so all I ask is that you be yourself, because that's the only way this is going to work."
Katie went on to chat with Andrew S., Thomas ("I'm blushing around him," she told the cameras), Christian and Greg. "Everyone has three kids now. It's so annoying," Greg said to Katie, before presenting her with a colorful pasta necklace his 3-year-old niece made. "It's not real gold, by the way."
In an on-camera interview, Katie said there was "something that's really sticking out about" Greg.
She also hung out in the ball pit with Tre and received a painting of roses from Justin, with whom she shared her first kiss of the show.
Jeff showed Katie around his RV and offered her some iced tea. "Unfortunately, I just wasn't feeling the vibes with the RV," Katie told the cameras.
Aaron and Cody had an altercation, in which Aaron told Cody he didn't like him without any explanation. The focus shifted to Box Guy James, though, whom Katie finally went to meet face-to-face. "I think he's super hot," she said in an on-camera interview after James emerged from the present. "Something intrigues me."
Connor B. and Katie tried to play piano Big-style before sharing their first kiss (some of Connor B.'s cat makeup smudged onto Katie's fact), and then Michael opened up to Katie about having a 4-year-old son.
"For me, I definitely want kids in some way I think," Katie responded. "Whether it's someone who already has a child, that's something I'm fine with. If someone doesn't want children, I think I'm also fine with that. Really, I'm just open to all scenarios."
But Katie ended up giving her first impression rose to Greg. "I do feel that there's something there," she told Greg. "And once we can get passed those nerves, I think there's a great guy under there."
Greg said he felt something, too: "I really truly feel like there's a connection between us."
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Kaitlyn announced that the time had come for Katie to give out the rest of her roses at her first ceremony. She kicked it off by thanking the men for quarantining for two weeks to be there with her.
"This ends in an engagement, and so when I offer you a rose, I hope you understand the weight that goes with that rose," Katie told the group.
Katie proceeded to extend roses to Tre, Michael A., Thomas, Garrett, Connor B., Andrew S., James, Justin, Quartney, Karl, Mike P., John, Kyle, Andrew M., Josh, Conor C., Brendan, David, Aaron, Christian, Hunter and Cody. That meant seven guys went home, including Austin, Brandon, Gabriel, Jeff the RV Guy, Landon, Marcus and Marty. At least Jeff had a ride home.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.