Joey Graziadei Sets Love Ablaze When 1 Suitor Burns Her Date Card in “The Bachelor” Premiere

The tennis pro met 32 potential partners — including a sister duo and a New Orleans resident who gave him a voodoo doll — when his season debuted Monday

<p>John Fleenor/Disney</p> Bachelor Joey Graziadei

John Fleenor/Disney

Bachelor Joey Graziadei

Joey Graziadei’s Bachelor season started with a tease of how it ends.

In a flash forward to his finale, Joey, 28, stood alone in tears on engagement day and left solo with his final rose still on the podium.

But first, Joey had to meet the lady who would seemingly break his heart, as well as the 31 other women who arrived on Night 1.

Host Jesse Palmer informed Joey while they stood in front of Bachelor Mansion before the limo arrivals that the tennis pro had more potential suitors than any past Bachelor.


Lexi, a 30-year-old digital strategist from Atlanta, stepped out of the limo first, followed by Rachel, a 26-year-old ICU nurse from Hawaii who gave Joey a lei.

Maria, a 29-year-old executive assistant from Ontario, came out of the limo waving a Canadian flag. Joey declared, “That was awesome.”

Related: Joey Graziadei's Official Bachelor Cast Is Revealed! Meet the 32 Women Vying for His Heart

When Autumn, 26, asked Joey his favorite season, he said spring or summer because he likes the heat, much to her disappointment. Junior project manager Kelsey A., 25, referenced her New Orleans roots by gifting Joey a voodoo doll and esthetician Talyah, 23, brought him a save the date for their wedding.

Sisters Allison, 26, and Lauren, 28, from Philadelphia made separate entrances, and Lauren challenged Joey to shotgun a beer — a challenge that she won.

<p>Richard Middlesworth/Disney</p> 'The Bachelor' season 28 contestants Allison (left) and Lauren

Richard Middlesworth/Disney

'The Bachelor' season 28 contestants Allison (left) and Lauren

Jenn, a 25-year-old physician assistant student, pulled up in a go-kart because she had to “race over here so quick from Miami” when she learned Joey was The Bachelor.

Then Jess, 24, showed up in a boat. “Hey Captain, I heard you’re looking for a new relationship,” the executive assistant said to Joey.

Pro football cheerleader Samantha, 25, tossed Joey some dough and told him, “I’m the one that you knead,” while Taylor, 23, offered Joey a giant bra because “I’m here for the massive support.”

Artist Zoe, 24, whipped out a tray of bananas in four different sizes and asked Joey which one he resonated with. He humbly selected the second-largest banana. “That’s a bold one, I like it,” Joey said.

The arrivals wouldn’t have been complete without some tennis references. Guidance counselor Kayla, 27, practiced her tennis grunts inside the limo, 31-year-old therapist Madina had a waterfall of tennis balls cascade from the limo when she opened the door and Evalin, a 29-year-old nanny from San Antonio, rolled in on an umpire’s chair.

Daisy, 25, drove up in a red truck hauling a Christmas tree as a nod to growing up on a Christmas tree farm in Minnesota. In a pre-taped video, the account executive shared that she started losing her hearing at age 17 and got a cochlear implant in her left ear last year.

Lea, who Joey met at Charity Lawson’s After the Final Rose special, showed up with her mystery card and worried about what power it might hold. “I have a death grip on this card,” the account manager, 23, said in an on-camera interview.


Inside, Joey set the tone of his first cocktail party.

“I found love and I also found some heartbreak,” Joey told the women of his time on The Bachelorette. “But I’ve gotten the closure I needed and I do truthfully believe that my future fiancée and wife is here tonight. When I think of a relationship, I think of my grandparents. They just had this love that was so infectious. I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for that. And I truthfully feel more confident than ever that I’m ready to find my person.”

Joey then proposed a toast to “finding my next doubles partner.”

Afterwards, Joey talked to Autumn, then Erika and Jess, who called him a “walking green flag.” He and Jess shared a kiss — and she let everyone know.

“I did get a little smoochie-poo,” Jess announced to the group.

Of course, it made some women unhappy to hear that.

“I feel like it was very disrespectful when there’s 32 women trying to talk to him,” Taylor told the cameras. “It was awkward, it was uncomfortable, it was weird. I didn’t like it.”

<p>Richard Middlesworth/Disney</p> 'The Bachelor' season 28 contestants Jess (left) and Taylor

Richard Middlesworth/Disney

'The Bachelor' season 28 contestants Jess (left) and Taylor

Taylor also didn’t like when Jess interrupted her conversation with Joey in order to get more time with him. When Taylor confronted her about it, Jess told the recruiter, “You’re trying to make it seem like something it wasn't.”

“You’ve got to respect people,” Taylor implored.

Sisters Allison and Lauren decided to tell the other women about their connection, and then, after Allison stole Joey from Lauren and kissed him, they told Joey, too.

“I kind of put that together,” Joey said. “It was way too similar stories.”

Related: The Bachelor: 1 of Joey's Ladies Fears She's Become a Night 1 'Target' with a Mysterious Envelope (Exclusive)

Meanwhile, Lea opened her mystery card and found out it gave her the power to steal a one-on-one date from another woman at any point before hometowns. She had mixed feelings about the power.

“It’s going to have to come at the expense of someone else,” Lea worried. “And all of the girls in there are so wonderful. But honestly, I just feel so bad.”

Lea expressed her concerns to Joey.

“I want to give a lot of autonomy to you in your journey and the intentions you set, and I also want to give a lot of love and respect to the women that have put their life on hold,” she said. “And almost like play God in this and interfere in your journey.”

<p>John Fleenor/Disney</p> Bachelor Joey Graziadei and Lea

John Fleenor/Disney

Bachelor Joey Graziadei and Lea

Joey respected Lea’s thought process about the advantage. “Just you saying that speaks a lot about your character,” he said.

Ultimately, Lea realized that the card would not change her and Joey’s trajectory.

“If I’m not Joey’s person at the end of this, then I’m not,” Lea told Joey. “And if I am, I am and it’s not going to matter if I get a little card.”

Lea tearfully told the other women about the benefit the card gave her before deciding to throw it in the fire. She explained to the cameras that setting it on fire felt “right in my heart.”

“That was really sweet,” Jess said. “I would take it!”

As a result of her selfless actions, Joey gave Lea the first impression rose.

<p>John Fleenor/Disney</p> Bachelor Joey Graziadei

John Fleenor/Disney

Bachelor Joey Graziadei

“Your interpretation and thoughts of the card that you were given spoke a lot to me, just about your character and who you are,” Joey said to Lea. “So Lea, I know you know this is the first impression rose, but it means a ton to me.”

Lea accepted the rose, and they sealed it with a kiss.

When it came time to hand out more roses at the rose ceremony, Joey started with Allison.

Related: Joey Graziadei Says Giving Out Roses as the Bachelor 'Sucks': 'Not Fun to Be That Guy' (Exclusive)

“You did not get the first rose,” Allison’s older sister Lauren said to her. “Go f--- yourself.”

Joey continued to extend roses to Daisy, Kelsey T., Lexi, Jess, Jen, Autumn, Chrissa, Kelsey A., Katelyn, Rachel and Erika. Madina, Sydney, Starr, Marlena, Maria, Taylor, Evalin and Lauren received roses, too.

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