ABC has taken a great deal of heat for choosing Clayton Echard as the latest Bachelor, considering he failed to advance very far on Michelle Young's recent season of The Bachelorette.
As it now turns out, this backlash is a tad bit ironic.
Because practically no contestants chose Clayton to potentially be their husband on Monday night's season premiere!
This isn't entirely accurate.
But the opening episode began in strange fashion, as a suitor named Salley told Echard she broke off her engagement just before filming began -- and she was scheduled to get married the day before the premiere!
"This weekend has been extremely hard for me," the spine surgery robot operator told Clayton in private.
"I was engaged in the past and I was supposed to get married yesterday. Part of me is being pulled home but I didn't want to fully come to that decision until I met you.
"And you're really good-looking. I've heard nothing but great things about you.
"I feel weird being here the weekend of my wedding."
Salley then cried. Clayton offered her a rose because he determined the pair had great "chemistry," and she replied as follows:
"My heart is just not in the place where I can. And I feel so bad about that. My heart is just not ready."
With that, Salley left and Echard grew sad.
"The first rose that I have given out as the Bachelor was rejected," Clayton told the cameras. "This is not the way that I was hoping to start my journey to find love."
Cut to the limo arrivals, which we'lll quickly run down below:
There was Teddi, who said in her introduction video that she's a virgin. There was Kate, who convinced Clayton to take a swig of Jack Daniels upon their introduction. There was Sierra, who told Echard:
"Don't freak out but I'm your wife and I just got back from the future, okay?
"And you end up choosing me anyway so you want to just get out of here?"
Personal trainer Melina jumped off of her moon shoes into Clayton's arms.
Pediatric nurse Hailey asked him to open a jar of pickles.
And Jill brought Clayton the ashes of her ex-boyfriends.
"I brought them here just in case you make the same mistake," the architectural historian warned.
After meeting all 30 suitors, Clayton went inside to announce:
"I have never seen so many beautiful women in one room. I'm going to be in way over my head, but in the best possible way.
"Guys, I'm nervous alright. I really am. Like, it doesn't feel real to me.
"Like now I'm here, it's like, okay, I guess you are the Bachelor at this point."
Eventually, Clayton shared his first kiss of the season with Teddi.
"I felt that spark right away," he explainedd to the cameras. "It's wild."
Kira jumped in later and also laid one on The Bachelor, while Eliza also swooped in to swap some spit.
But Claire? She wasn't feeling it.
"He's 100 percent too nice for me," Claire told the other ladies.
When approached about her attitude by Clayton himself, this unenthused suitor said:
"I don't hate you. I just, it feel like we just haven't like clicked."
Clayton proceeded to walk Claire out and told the rest of the women about his decision.
"I don't think it's fair to have somebody here that doesn't want to be here when there are so many phenomenal women in this room," he said of a second contestant going home.
After asking if anyone else wasn't feeling his vibe, Clayton pulled Teddi aside.
"From the moment that you stepped out of the limo, I just couldn't get you off my mind. I just, I don't even know how to explain it," he said to her. "I just want to … when we talk there's a clear connection."
Clayton presented Teddi with the first impression rose -- and she accepted with another kiss.
"I'm going to be thinking about that kiss for a while," Clayton said to the cameras.
In a shocking development, it then turned out that the Rose Ceremony was a challenge for Clayton.
"After tonight, I truthfully believe that my future wife is in this room," he said while addressing the group.
"I know it wholeheartedly. I do want to apologize to those that I was not able to speak with.
"Just know ultimately that I'm following my heart and doing what I believe is best for me."
And where did his heart leave him?
Clayton gave roses to: Serene, Susie, Eliza, Rachel, Lindsay D., Sarah, Kate, Cassidy, Elizabeth, Kira, Shanae, Sierra, Mara, Marlena, Genevieve, Melina, Gabby, Jill, Lyndsey W., Hunter and Tessa.
As for which of these women will advance all the way to the final four?
Visit our section of The Bachelor spoilers to findd out!