'The Bachelor' Premiere Recap: Clayton Echard Is Heartbroken After His First Rose Gets Rejected

In season 26 of the long-running ABC dating show, viewers will see the new leading man embarking on his love journey as he is joined by 31 women who are vying for his heart.

AceShowbiz - "The Bachelor" returned to the franchise's iconic California villa to kick off a new season on Monday, January 3. In season 26, viewers would see new leading man Clayton Echard embarking on his love journey as he was joined by 31 women who were vying for his heart.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I'm the Bachelor based off of only getting eight minutes of screen time on 'The Bachelorette'," Clayton shared. "And you know, it's because I truthfully believe in this process more than anybody else. I know that I can find my wife here. I know this works."

Among those who were competing to get Clayton's heart were Cassidy Timbrooks, Claire Heilig, Eliza Isichel, Elizabeth Corrigan, Ency Abedin, Gabby Windey, Genevieve Parisi, Hailey Mailles, Hunter Haag, Ivana Noble, Jane Paik, Jill Chin and Kate Gallivan. They were joined by Kira Mengistu, Lindsay Dobbbs, Lindsay Windham, Mara Agrait Marlena Wesh, Melina Nasab, Rachel Recchia, Rianna Hockaday, Sailey Carson, Samantha Jeffries, Sarah Hamrick, Serene Russell, Shanae Ankney, Sierra Jackson, Susie Evams, Teddi Wright and Tesa Tookes.

The filming was particularly hard for Salley, who shared that yesterday was supposed to be her wedding day. "That was the most heartbreaking decision of my life," she said in a confessional about calling off her engagement to her fiance. So, before she even got in the limo, she went to Clayton to talk about her struggles.

"This weekend has been extremely hard for me," the spine surgery robot operator told Clayton. "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."

"I thought I was ready for something like this and I don't … I don't know if my heart is ready," Salley admitted. While Clayton said that he understood her feelings, he told her, "I really think there's potentially something there."

He left for a while and returned with a rose. "Truthfully, us talking, there's definitely chemistry," he said to Salley. "It really makes me feel like there could be something special and so I really, really want you here. So much so that I want to prove that. And so Salley, will you accept this rose?"

Salley had to step away for a bit to think about it. When she came back, she told Clayton, "I want to accept that rose. My heart is just not in the place where I can. And I feel so bad about that. My heart is just not ready." Feeling heartbroken, Clayton said, "The first rose that I have given out as the Bachelor was rejected. This is not the way that I was hoping to start my journey to find love."

Despite that, Clayton still had 30 women waiting for him. Wealth management advisor Sarah arrived first, followed up by industrial sales representative Lyndsey W. Then came bartender Genevieve, sales manager Ency, wedding videographer Susie, spray tanner Claire and elementary school teacher Serene. Surgical unit nurse Teddi, who revealed in her video intro that she's a 24-year-old virgin, then arrived.

Daria made an impressive entrace as she wore a rose necklace. "My last name is rose and I'm hoping that tonight ends with a rose," the law student told Clayton.

Clayton first spent time with Susie. He also kissed Teddi and she was not the only ones that Clayton kissed that night. Claire, meanwhile, was annoyed that she was interrupted when she was speaking to Clayton. When she went back in the house, she told the other women that she hated him. Clayton eventually caught wind of it and confronted Claire. He decided to send her home.

Meanwhile, Clayton presented the first impression rose to Teddi as he noted that there was a clear connection between the two of them. At the Rose Ceremony, Clayton gave the roses to Serene, Susie, Eliza, Rachel, Ency, Sarah, Kate, Cassidy, Elizabeth, Kira, Shanae, Sierra, Mara, Marlena, Genevieve, Melina, Gabby, Jill, Lindsay W., Hunter and Tessa. Daria, Hailey, Ivana, Jane, Lindsay, Samantha and Rianna were eliminated.

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