'The Bachelor' 2021 Premiere: Matt James Connects With an Early Front-Runner (RECAP)

The Bachelor Season 25 Premiere Matt James
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Matt James’s season of The Bachelor has finally arrived! After wrapping up Clayshia’s (that’s Clare and Tayshia combined) season of The Bachelorette just a couple of weeks ago, we are moving on, to Season 25 of The Bachelor. 

For those who don’t remember, Matt — originally cast for Clare’s season back in the spring — was announced as this season’s Bachelor over the summer. We don’t know much about him (besides the fact that he’s Tyler Cameron’s best friend), but we’re excited to learn more about our new leading man. 

With so much to get to (Matt’s women, the limo entrances, the drunken shenanigans, etc.), let’s just dive right into tonight’s premiere. 

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Who Is Matt James?

Because we’ve never seen Matt on any Bachelor Nation show, the episode begins with a little background on the 28-year-old. We learn he lives in New York, is passionate about helping inner-city kids and, of course, is looking to find love. 

The Bachelor 2021 Premiere Matt James

ABC

We’re no longer at La Quinta Resort (see ya later, Palm Springs) and have moved to Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Yep, Matt’s ladies are going to have to quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 just like the men on the last season of The Bachelorette. While it’s going to be another quarantined season (aka no travel), the fall foliage and crisp weather should in theory create the perfect environment for falling in love.

Matt’s Women

The ladies arrive in Nemacolin and we’re first introduced to Alicia, who's a professional ballerina. Next, is Abigail, who was born completely deaf. She wears cochlear implants, which has made dating a bit difficult, but she’s excited to open up to Matt. We can already tell she’s going to be a front-runner! 

We also get a glimpse of Kristin the lawyer, Magi from Ethiopia, Anna the coffee addict, and Sarah the broadcast journalist. There are a lot of women and there's a lot of energy, but it's looking like a great group thus far. 

Matt arrives at Nemacolin and is ready to meet and greet. But first, he sits down with Chris Harrison for a little chat. 

The Bachelor Season 25 Matt James Chris Harrison

The pair discuss the fact that Matt’s the first Black Bachelor and the pressure he feels to live up to the expectations people put on him. “You’ve got people cheering for you to find love, and then you’ve got people cheering for you to end up with a specific person, a specific person of a specific race. That’s something that kept me up at night,” Matt shares.

Following their chat, Chris takes Matt outside and the first limo pulls up. Bri walks out in a stunning green dress and clearly takes Matt’s breath away. Rachel is the second woman to come out and she’s also in a stunning green dress! Green is clearly the color of the evening.

The Bachelor Season 25 Premiere Katie Matt James

ABC

A number of other gorgeous women are introduced to Matt, but we’re really just interested in the gimmicky introductions. There’s Khaylah, who pulls up in a pickup truck, Saneh, who wears goat slippers (we wish we were joking), Kaili, who shows up in lingerie, MJ, who delivers pizza and, finally, Katie, who arrives with her vibrator. Yes, her vibrator. You know what, you deserve a round of applause, Katie.

However, a number of other women take their introductions to another level. Kit arrives in a Bentley (we have a feeling she could be this season’s villain) and Victoria gets carried in on a throne. Honestly, she could be a villain, too. 

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First Impression Rose

Matt greets the group and starts the evening with a prayer. It’s clear Matt’s nervous, especially considering the fact he’s never been on TV before, but he’s incredibly endearing. The women are so moved by Matt’s decision to pray for the group that some even tear up! 

“The fact you opened up with a prayer, I really loved that. It hit something in my soul to where I was like, we’re on the same page with everything, which is scary because like you said, being vulnerable is pretty much impossible for me," Rachel shares during her conversation with Matt, who is obviously taken with her.  

The Bachelor Season 25 Premiere Matt James's women

As is to be expected, a lot of women are afraid they won’t get enough time with Matt. In fact, Katie interrupts Mari during her deep conversation with Matt — with her vibrator, no less — which starts a little drama in the house. Kit has a conversation with Matt, that is until Victoria calls her a “princess” and demands time with him. Then, after her first conversation with Matt, Victoria decides to go for round two. This annoys a lot of the women, as many haven’t gotten any time with him. 

Along with Rachel, Matt seems to really connect with Abigail, who gets the first kiss of the season. “Both my sister and I are deaf, she’s a year-and-a-half older, and so she kind of paved the way. I just followed in her footsteps. She was really vocal about telling people,” Abigail says. 

Matt goes to grab the First Impression Rose and, no surprise, gives it to Abigail. “I felt like you were everything that I’m asking of these women tonight, knowing that you’re a fighter,” Matt tells her. OK, we already ship these two!

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Who Went Home?

Now it's time for the Rose Ceremony. Because there’s a record number of contestants, there’s a good chance a number of these women will be going home. 

Sadly, well, for them, Amber, Alicia, Carolyn, Casandra, Corrinne, Emani, Kimberly, and Saneh are sent packing. This season is going to be full of drama, tears, and a whole lot of love, so make sure to stay tuned for it all!

The Bachelor, Mondays at 8/7c on ABC