Juan Pablo Galavis, the former Venezuelan soccer player, begins his search for his soul mate.ABC
Galavis will chose from among 27 beautiful bachelorettes in the 18th edition "The Bachelor."ABC
In case you missed it, it is no longer January; it’s now the month of “Juan-uary.”
So, ladies (and gents) get your DVRs ready because “The Bachelor” kicked things off with a “Countdown to Juan Pablo” special – the first of four specials to air every Sunday in January, in addition to the regular episodes Monday night.
And because one day is apparently not enough, the first night of the two-night premiere had viewers getting to know the first-ever Latino “Bachelor,” Juan Pablo Galavis, the suave single dad and former ninth season “Bachelorette” contestant.
The special provided a behind-the-scenes look into Galavis and the women vying for his heart.
Born in the United States but raised in Venezuela, Galavis was a professional soccer player until 2008, when he retired.
The bachelor, father of four-year-old Camila, has made it very clear what he wants from the show: to find someone he can spend the rest of his life with, and someone who will be a stepmother to his daughter.
“She’s my valentine forever,” Galavis said of Camila, who was born on Valentine’s Day.
A montage of videos of the auditions from the thousands of women competing for Galavis' love were shown before a group selected by producers, which was flown out to Los Angeles for a round of interviews. When it got down to 27 women, host Chris Harrison and the producers surprised the women in their hometowns to present them with roses and tell them they were going to be on the show.
“Juan Pablo is sexy, I can’t wait to meet him,” said Oklahoma native Lauren Higginson.
In a more somber tone, the special also included an emotional tribute to Gia Allemand, the former “Bachelor” and “Bachelor Pad” contestant who tragically hung herself last August.
“Gia was much loved by ‘Bachelor’ fans,” said Harrison, who added she remained close friends with cast members and the show’s producers after her season ended. “We miss her. Please allow us to take a moment to remember our friend.”
A series of clips showed contestants sharing memories and old testimonials of Allemand.
“I love everyone,” she said in a clip. “I would give someone the shirt off my back. I want the best for everyone.”
“The Bachelor” returns Monday night on ABC with the much anticipated limo exits, as Galavis starts his search for love. At the end of the episode just 18 bachelorettes will remain.
Fox News’ Abigail Forget contributed to this report.