While The Bachelor spoilers have told us plenty about the coming season, the biggest drama so far is playing out on the air, and online:
How so? This may require a bit of an explanation ...
The background on Nick Viall and Liz Sandoz:
A contestant on Chris Soules' season of The Bachelor, Jade made it to the hometown dates stage of the season before being eliminated.
She went on to find true love soon after, however, when she married Tanner Tolbert, a Bachelorette star she met on Bachelor in Paradise.
Nick, a two-time Bachelorette finalist and franchise mainstay, scored an invite to the wedding ... then evidently scored with Jade's MOH.
Now the star of The Bachelor, Nick met 30 eligible ladies on Monday's premiere, one of whom was Liz, obviously cast by the producers.
Really gotta hand it to the show for that stunt.
Viall immediately recognized contestant Elizabeth “Liz” Sandoz, but when the two first came face-to-face, he couldn't quite place why.
Then he remembered Jade and Tanner Tolbert’s January 2016 wedding, which ended with Nick and Liz getting it on after the reception.
Sources say he asked for her phone number after their steamy night together, but the maid of honor refused ... only to regret that later.
Whether she truly regretted it or just sensed an opportunity after he was picked as ABC’s newest leading man is the subject of debate.
In any case, she threw her hat in the ring for another shot with Viall, who questioned her motives for being on The Bachelor season premiere.
Their exchange was the highlight of a dramatic night for viewers, and from the looks of it, Nick was far from pleased with the whole thing.
Nevertheless, he gave her the final rose that night.
As for Jade's take on what happened?
“She had talked to me about it before she went on [the show], and I kind of tried to prep her for it and I’m proud of her for doing it," she said.
"I feel like it’s really brave. She really did have an interest in Nick and she went there to see if there was anything and I totally support her.”
“I’ve heard a little bit [about what happened] and I know the whole situation is awkward, but I’ll say I’m a little disappointed,” Jade added.
“He could’ve gotten her number, too.”
According to Jade, talk of Nick being shot down by Liz is not the real story, or at least the whole story. Says the former Playboy model:
“She didn’t really think about him till a couple months later ... [Liz] tried to invite him to charity events, but he rejected [her invitations].”
In a blog post earlier this week, Nick addressed his surprise reunion with Sandoz, which he says he never saw coming for a second:
“When she stepped out of the limo I was in utter shock."
According to Nick, "I had absolutely no idea that she was planning on coming, and I hadn’t spoken with her in about nine months."
"I was eager to speak with her and had a ton of questions.”
As to why she got the rose, despite his suspicions?
“The night of Jade and Tanner’s wedding was great, and this was a girl that I was once intrigued by when we first met."
"I also considered the fact that Liz must have been very nervous and I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt."
And so he did. Liz will court Nick for at least another week.
Says the controversial leading man of his rose recipient:
"I wanted to at least have the chance to finish that conversation with Liz before I made any drastic decisions regarding our relationship.”
Sounds fair and reasonable. Of course, it was only week one.
Between Vanessa Grimaldi, Raven Gates, Corinne Olympios and Rachel Lindsay, Liz has her work cut out for her, through no fault of her own.
Here's a look at all the women competing for his heart ...
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