One rose down, dozens to go. Just minutes after Zach Shallcross was named the newest Bachelor, one of his contestants received a First Impression Rose.
“I was telling you there were women from all over America who were coming to see you. In fact, some of those women have flown here and they’re going to meet you here tonight on this stage,” host Jesse Palmer told season 27’s leading man during the Bachelorette After the Final Rose special on September 20. “One of these women will be receiving a First Impression Rose. … For the first time in the history of this show, we’re going to be awarding America’s First Impression Rose.”
Zach then met five of the women who will compete to win his heart on the upcoming season of The Bachelor, including New Jersey resident Brianna, who took a selfie with him in front of the Bachelor Mansion backdrop. “I wanted to do something special for us so we would always remember this,” she told Zach, before they snapped the sweet photo. “It’s a little something for you to remember me by, and I’ll see you at the mansion soon.”
Her touching move won over the tech executive — who kept the photo in his suit pocket — and the rest of America, earning Brianna the very first rose of the season. As a result, she will be safe from elimination when she and the rest of the women pull up at the Bachelor Mansion on the first night.
Zach, for his part, revealed that the introductions made him excited to meet more women when filming begins. “Everyone impressed me. That was incredible,” he said. “Everyone [is] obviously beautiful, but everyone had their own way to make an impression.”
One week before the ATFR special, Us Weekly reported that Zach was the frontrunner for the next Bachelor. He competed for Rachel Recchia‘s affections on Season 19 of The Bachelorette and made it to the Final 2 before he left the show following their overnight date.
“It was just her and I talking, and it felt like she was just, like, not showing her true self. It was very inauthentic sometimes,” he told Palmer at the time. Zach added that he felt “blindsided” by Rachel’s actions, which included her focus on their six-month age difference and not believing that he was ready to propose. “One of the things I fell in love with was she made me feel, like, special. And I cared for her, and I question if any of that was real or if that was just an act,” he said during his emotional exit.
Once the pair reunited during the live finale, Zach apologized for questioning the pilot’s authenticity during their breakup. “I just want to say that I do apologize for ever making you feel like I called you out for your character,” he said. “That’s the last thing I wanted. I was kind of in shock and disbelief in what was happening between us. I am so sorry.”
One week later, Zach told Palmer that his split from Rachel “didn’t change how ready I was” to find The One. “[I want to] find my best friend, fall in love with my best friend, and really walk away with someone for the rest of my life,” he added.
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