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Culture > Entertainment

‘The Bachelor’ Arie Luyendyk Says Meeting All 29 Contestants Was ‘Overwhelming’ At First, Which Makes The Most Sense

After being dumped by Emily Maynard on Season 8 of ‘The Bachelorette’ in 2012, Arie Luyendyk Jr. returned to the cameras last night for his second chance at finding love…on TV. 

Not everyone was thrilled that Luyendyk  was named the newest Bachelor back in September. With a long absence from the franchise and a failed public relationship with Courtney Robertson, the villain and winner of Ben Flajnik’s final rose on Season 16 of ‘The Bachelor,’ Luyendyk  had an uphill battle to win over the hearts of viewers. 

Appearing on “Good Morning America,” the former race car driver and current real estate broker spoke about how daunting it was to meet the women —all 29 of them— at once and how different his experience of handing out the roses was as opposed to vying for them. 

Noting that he watches the show as it airs— like the rest of the country — Luyendyk said that the best part is getting a second chance to see the women’s initial introductions out of the limo when his jitters are gone and viewing their interviews to get their behind-the-scenes perspectives.

“For me, I’m having so many great conversations, but obviously you know seeing the interviews that the girls did and the jokes I didn’t get at the time because I was so nervous [surprised me],” Luyendyk said to Lara Spencer. 

With the freedom of being in the driver’s seat (race car pun intended) this go-round came Luyendyk’s added responsibility of eliminating women based on brief conversations and recognizing the extreme nerves that are natural for Night 1. 

“It was overwhelming at first and I think that first night I was just so nervous and it was a long time since I had been on camera before,” Luyendyk said. “It was a lot of pressure and it was intense, for sure.”

In the group of the 29 women competing for Luyendyk ‘s roses, single mom Chelsea snagged the first impression rose-and a kiss. Viewers saw her talking smack about other women on the show, but Luyendyk was drawn to her take charge attitude (she was the first to steal Luyendyk away for a private talk) and her openness with sharing her background story. She has been labeled as the first villain of the season and justified her behavior by saying “Mama Don’t Play.”

Another standout of the night was Brittany T., who actually got the first kiss of the season. A 30-year-old from Columbia, SC, Brittany T. challenged Luyendyk to a toy race car contest and the prize-you guessed it-was a kiss. At the end of the night, Luyendyk sent 8 women home, leaving 21 to compete for his attention next week. 

Header Image: The Bachelor / Instagram

Shannon is a junior studying English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and American Studies at Boston College. A Long Island native, she loves the beach, Italian ices, bagels, and pizza (all of which are the best in New York.) When she's not reading, she can be found watching reality TV- most likely The Real Housewives of Any City.