The Bachelor Recap: Juan Pablo Meets His 27 Lovely Ladies

“The Bachelor’s” new season is off to a good start – with the ladies and the ratings!

The aging franchise, now in its 18th incarnation, hit a three-year premiere high seeing a 17 percent jump in viewers last night. Was anyone surprised? Hello! The ladies love sexy Latinos with even sexier accents.

The show kicked off with the obligatory shots of Juan Pablo in various states of undress showing off his killer new body. Thanks to the help of a trainer, he’s been significantly beefed up since Desiree Hartsock’s season making him extra hunky. Next it’s time to pull on the heartstrings as we meet his 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter Camila. Juan talks about his relationship with her mother, Carla, and why they didn’t work out.

WATCH: Juan Pablo Joins ‘The Bachelorette’ — A Look Back

Last season’s “Bachelor” Sean Lowe shows up to give Juan Pablo some advice on handling the new season (and of course promote his upcoming TV wedding), which included a warning to not let the other girls see him kissing anyone.

Finally, it’s time to meet the ladies who all know that Juan Pablo is “The Bachelor” and that they were “meant to be.”

WATCH: Desiree Hartsock Weighs In On Juan Pablo As ‘The Bachelor’

Through hometown footage, we meet Chelsie first who has learned Spanish to impress him. Single mom Renee thinks they will connect over both being single parents. Amy J. just wants to rub him down (fortunately she is a licensed massage therapist). Lauren H. got ditched by her fiancé and wants Juan Pablo to be her next one. Clare’s father passed away and left a video to be shown only to her husband. No one has ever watched it. She wants Juan Pablo to be the one who does. (You know this is so gonna happen later in this season). Later at the rose ceremony, Clare receives the very first rose.

Just before the first limo is set to arrive, Juan Pablo is informed by host Chris Harrison that there will be 27 — not 25 — girls this season because of how much interest they had in him, calling it “Juan Pablo Fever.” The first girl out of the limo is Amy L., a local news reporter followed by Cassandra listed as a “former NBA dancer” who awkwardly has nothing to say to him. Christine is next who smartly brings a gift for his daughter Camila. Then Nikki, a pediatric nurse gets out of the limo and has Juan Pablo listen to her heart with a stethoscope, which is beating fast from nerves. She walks away and Juan Pablo says he doesn’t need any more limos. Considering his giddiness towards her later in the cocktail party, it’s safe to say she is a frontrunner.

A few of the ladies try gimmicky pickups to woo Juan Pablo. Lauren S. drives up on a piano bike, Kat busts out her salsa moves, teacher Chelsie tries a lame science experiment and Clare decides it would be funny to try and fool Juan Pablo with a fake pregnancy belly. He doesn’t seem to mind saying he thinks she is cute.

Last to leave the limo is Andi, an assistant prosecutor from Atlanta who gets a “wow” out of Juan Pablo, who is clearly trying to keep his eyes from popping out of his head because she is so stunning. You would think it would be a given that she would get the first impression rose but in the show’s most hilarious and uncomfortable shocking moment, Juan Pablo gives the rose to opera singer Sharleen who he considers “worldly.” There is just one problem – Sharleen confesses to the cameras that she thinks their connection is very forced. When Juan Pablo hands her the rose the look on her face is classic – a mix of “huh?” and “should I take this?” Eventually she accepts the rose but man would it have been genius if she didn’t and left right then!

Another great awkward moment at the rose ceremony where Juan Pablo says the name “Kat” and two girls step forward. “Oops, I thought you said Kylie!” says Kylie who then makes it worse by saying, “Can’t you just keep us both.” Um, nope. Poor Kylie has to stand and watch other girls get roses while she is sent packing.

A long preview of the season shows the obligatory tears, girl fights, more tears and an angry Juan Pablo walking out of an interview. Will Juan Pablo find true love on the show? I guess you will have to watch.

“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC.

-- Laura Saltman

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