We won't see Colton Underwood's journey as the new Bachelor until January, but the former NFL player's quest to find love actually starts in Los Angeles this week. Ahead of pulling up to the set of The Bachelor for the first time, Colton met three Bachelor contestants on Ellen. It'll be months before any official clues about his ladies emerge, so based on Colton's surprise meeting, who should we keep an eye on this season?
This isn't the first time Ellen DeGeneres has helped the new hero of the Bachelor franchise in their search for love. On Rachel Lindsay's Bachelorette season, several men crashed her interview on a group date, essentially stripped for the audience, and played a revealing game of Never Have I Ever. Although both Rachel and Becca Kufrin had the treat of meeting a few of their contestants on special tapings of their original Bachelor seasons, the announcement of a new Bachelor always comes as the latest cycle of Bachelor Nation shows is winding down. This prevents the lead from prematurely meeting contestants, but Ellen has clearly found a solution to easing a new Bachelor's nerves about meeting 25-plus strangers in one night.
After she coaxed out details about Colton's dream wife ("fun, spontaneous, and outgoing"), Ellen introduced a sneak peek at three Season 23 contestants with the game "Know or Go." With new Bachelorettes Sydney, Annie, and Katie positioned on a platform, Ellen asked them questions meant to impress Colton. If they answered trivia questions incorrectly, they fell through the platform, ultimately leaving one woman to presumingly speak with Colton before being swept away to a hotel until Bachelor limos arrived.
Asking the women to deliver pickup lines, describe their ideal date with Colton, and explain why they'd be a good match for him, Ellen joked that she didn't know why these three were selected, but we can take a solid guess. Katie, Annie, and Sydney are clearly producers' picks for frontrunners, and while we didn't catch much of Katie or Sydney, what winner Annie shared definitely seems to align with Colton. She has seven dogs and knows how many points a football touchdown is worth, so that's two of Colton's major hobbies taken care of, right?
In his interview with Ellen, Colton said of the season, "I'm so ready. I'm so excited to not only meet my fiancée, my wife, but [also] the mother of my children and someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with."
As for the season's elephant in the room, Colton also addressed his virginity and how he's actually looking forward to the fantasy suite dates. He told Ellen:
You can do more in the fantasy suites than just have sex...Finding out the little things about them is some of the most interesting things...I'm looking forward to just...the little everyday things that [the audience] really don't care about.
Many fans in Bachelor Nation may have been skeptical about Colton as the Bachelor (Jason Tartick for Winter Games Season 2, anyone?), but as Ellen tends to regularly do, she helped viewers see a super appealing side of the 26-year-old. I'm more intrigued than ever before after seeing Colton blush over his contestants. Thanks for helping Bachelor fans warm up to him, Ellen!
Season 23 of The Bachelor premieres on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, on ABC.