Here’s hoping Clayton Echard didn’t tune in to the season 19 premiere of The Bachelorette. As Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia kicked off their joint Bachelorette journey on the Monday, July 11, premiere, the former Bachelor was top of mind.
“I want to be with someone who can make a decision. It was clear Clayton didn’t know what the f—k he wanted,” Gabby told Rachel in a conversation about their respective “types.” The former NFL cheerleader continued: “He was bouncing, bouncing, bouncing and I know what I want and you know what you deserve too.”
At the end of the conversation, Gabby added, “I don’t trust men, not all of them anyway. … After everything with Clayton, men have rightfully earned not being able to be trusted.”
During the limo entrances, which had 32 contestants introduce themselves to both Gabby and Rachel, several men brought up the season 26 Bachelor, who came under fire for telling Gabby, Rachel and Susie Evans that he loved all three of them — and sleeping with both Gabby and Rachel, only to reveal he wanted to pick Susie. (Clayton and Susie split during overnights when she learned about his previous fantasy suites but have since reconnected and are still going strong.)
“I’ve got something in common with Clayton,” Jason said after stepping out of the limo. “I’m in love with three women — my mom, my sister and my dog.”
Hayden, for his part, joked, “My name is Hayden and I know that does sound a lot like Clayton, but what I’m going to do differently is think with this head and not that one.”
Ryan subsequently came out in a clown costume, quipping, “Hear me out, I know what it looks like, I am not Clayton.”
Johnny didn’t mince words either. “I hear the last man you dated, he was kind of a fluke, I think his name was he’s a piece of s—t,” he said.
The ladies laughed on the driveway but said in confessionals that they weren’t impressed. “Hayden gets me with a joke because I’m 12 years old but he makes a nod to Clayton and it is pretty funny, but this is the beginning of our new journey, so it’s just the wrong time for it,” Gabby told the ABC cameras as the Clayton jokes continued. “The guys, I feel like, feel the need to bring up Clayton because it’s so fresh and hearing all this Clayton stuff is kind of, like, [snore].”
Rachel noted, “These guys keep bringing up Clayton and I think Gabby and I are OK with not hearing Clayton’s name again tonight.”
When Alec brought out a children’s choir singing “Clayton sucks,” however, they were intrigued.
“Alec definitely made an impression, the choir was probably the most creative entrance so far and probably the only time we’re OK with hearing Clayton’s name tonight,” Rachel declared.
It wasn’t all about Clayton though. In addition to laying the groundwork for two men who enjoyed time with both Gabby and Rachel — Logan and Erich — the two leads handed out their first impression roses. Gabby’s went to Mario, the first contestant she kissed. Rachel, for her part, formed a connection with Tino after he brought her to the stairs in the mansion to change her karma after the rose ceremony from hell with Clayton left her hysterical at the bottom of a set of stairs in Iceland last season. Rachel and Tino also made out more than once during the episode.
“They’re all so different. You’re attracted to different qualities in each person,” Gabby told Rachel as they discussed their connections. “Now I kind of understand how you can have feelings for multiple people.”
Rachel then mocked Clayton. “Are you saying you’re falling in love with three women?”
Gabby laughed, joining in, “I’m in love with everybody!”
As they giggled, the pilot directly quoted Clayton after his fantasy suite date with Gabby, yelling, “I”m in love and it feels so good!”
After handing out their first impression roses, the women told Jesse Palmer that they didn’t have enough time to get to know the men. They ultimately canceled the first rose ceremony but sent three suitors — Roby (the magician) and twins Justin and Joey — packing as they didn’t feel a connection during their conversations.
The Bachelorette airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. Keep scrolling for the 29 men still left in the competition: