During the Season 26 premiere of Monday night, , whom Bachelor Nation may remember from season of , was off to a rough start when one contestant named Salley Carson wanted an early exit before the show even started.
"It was supposed to be my wedding day," shared Salley. "I didn't know it'd be so hard to be here today. Like, I just want to be with my family. The reality of it is, ever since I've been here, I've been an emotional wreck, and it sucks. Like, I want to be excited. I'm sure all the girls here are excited. But it's hard to get in that mindset of like, hey, I can do this. So I need to talk to Clayton, and that's scary because he doesn't know I'm coming." Just five hours before limo arrivals, Salley went and knocked on Clayton's hotel suite door.
After meeting Clayton, Salley shared, "This weekend has been extremely hard for me. 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." Clayton's understanding and kindness surprised Salley, and her honesty and openness ultimately impressed Clayton. So much so, that Clayton stepped away and returned with the very first rose of the season to prove to her that he is interested in her and wants her to stay on the show. To Clayton's surprise, Salley turned him down.
Salley told Clayton, "Here's the thing. I know we both felt that connection. And I really like you. I want to accept that rose. But my heart is just not in the place where I can. And I feel so bad about that. My heart's just not ready. I'm so sorry." So it turns out Salley's premature hotel room ambush wasn't the first premature decision she made.
Following Salley's departure, Clayton shared, "That was tough. The first rose that I have given out as the Bachelor was rejected. One of my biggest fears is being rejected, and it's important for me to understand that love is a two-way street. Even though I'm the Bachelor, I still have to win the hearts over of these women. I'm just hoping that what I give I can receive back. So I'm scared that this is how it's gonna be. This is not the way that I was hoping to start my journey to find love."
Unfortunately, it wasn't smooth sailing for Clayton following that awkward moment. Later, during the cocktail party, another contestant named Claire Heilig apparently thought the new Bachelor wasn't that great, when she told the rest of the women Clayton was "100% too nice" for her.
"I can't be with, like, America's sweetheart," added Claire, who ultimately said "I hated him."
Fortunately for Clayton, Claire was the only one who felt that way and he had no problem showing her the door.
CLAYTON ECHARD: That was tough. The first rose that I have given out as a Bachelor was rejected. I'm scared. That this is how it's going to be. This is not the way that I was hoping to start my journey to find love.
KYLIE MAR: A brand new season of The Bachelor premiered Monday night, starring Clayton Echard whom Bachelor Nation may remember from Michelle Young season of The Bachelorette. However, Season 26 kind of got off to a rough start for Clayton when one contestant named Salley wanted an early exit before the show even started.
SALLEY CARSON: I was engaged in the past. And I was supposed to get married yesterday.
CLAYTON ECHARD: OK.
SALLEY CARSON: Part of me is being pulled home.
KYLIE MAR: Salley's premature hotel room ambush is the first in Bachelor history. But it wasn't a terrible idea. As Clayton ended up offering her the first rose of the season to stay on the show. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as Salley realized going to Clayton's room wasn't the first premature decision she made.
SALLEY CARSON: I want to accept that rose. My heart, and she's not in the place where I can.
KYLIE MAR: And while I wish I could say it was smooth sailing for Clayton following that awkward moment. Later during the cocktail party, another contestant named Clare apparently thought the new Bachelor wasn't that great.
- Did you touch her already?
CLARE CRAWLEY: Yeah. I hated it.
- How are you going to go about-- are you going to tell him?
CLARE CRAWLEY: No. Hi. I love America. And I am its sweetheart.
- Someone needs to tell Clayton like what's going on the house.
CLARE CRAWLEY: It's not for me.
KYLIE MAR: Fortunately, for Clayton, Clare was the only one who felt that way. And he had no problem showing her the door.
CLAYTON ECHARD: But I want everyone who wants to be here to be here. So if there's anybody that wants to step out and leave--
- Oh, hush. We're not going anywhere.
CLAYTON ECHARD: OK.