As we begin season 18 of the “journey,” we meet Venezuelan heartthrob Juan Pablo straight out of "Bachelor" Boot-Camp, featuring newly refurbished 2-pack abs and freshly frosted tips. As the first minutes of the faux-premiere tick on, we have a few questions. Will Juan Pablo prove himself to be more than just a former sultry soccer player turned sports memorabilia collector? Will it matter?
We start by going behind the scenes of the casting process, as we're treated to audition tapes from a coterie of crazy women – an opera singer, a girl with a big tongue, a chick who can stick her whole fist in her mouth (kudos!) and a smattering of generically attractive blondes. The ladies' overall consensus on Juan Pablo? “Squee!”
After the NSFTV (read: boring) batch of women is weeded out, Chris Harrison personally travels to surprise the contestants with the good news, and a rose, of course. Following the healthful teaser of women, we're introduced to the real love of Juan Pablo's life – Camilia, his plucky four-year-old daughter. After he serenades Camila “his Valentine forever” to some Spanish song, we wonder if anyone is actually falling for this. Probably, yes.
Then on to the rest of the people playing his convivial Latino family – his boisterous mom, his female cousin who suggests he keeps his shirt on (good luck with that), his uncle's understudy who calls him Juan Carlos and encourages him to “be patient” – wildly impractical advice for a man who's tasked with finding “the one” in 10 weeks. Then there’s Saul, his soulful father who reminds Juan Pablo that no matter what, he’ll always be there for him. Juan even forces out a tear.
We then go off course for a touching memorial to Gia Allemand – the beloved season 14 contestant and two-time "Bachelor Pad" beauty who committed suicide this summer.
And on a lighter note, the show wraps with a sneak peak of the season which can be summarized as follows: islands, abs, tasteless bikinis, sloppy makeouts, girls who can’t hold their liquor, and sobbing by toilets (see previous comment). Will this in fact be the most “dramatic season ever?” We could not be more excited to find out.
Welcome to Juan-uary.