Batavia 'Bachelor' hopeful makes debut tonight
By Ben Beagle firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 5, 2009 10:46 AM EST
Batavia native Sharon Staebell admits to being nervous, but mostly she's excited about tonight's season premiere of The Bachelor.
Staebell, 32, a 1995 graduate of Batavia High School, is one of 25 women hoping to win the heart of bachelor Jason Mesnick. The 13th edition of the reality-romance series gets a two-hour premiere at 8 tonight on ABC, WKBW-TV, channel 7 in Buffalo, and WHAM-TV, channel 13 in Rochester.
NOW PLAYING: Jason Mesnick talks about what he's looking for in a woman.
Staebell said she has not seen the episode in advance.
"I'm a little nervous because I don't know how I'm going to come across. But mostly I'm excited that it's finally going to be on," said Staebell, who is planning to mark the occasion with a little gathering of family and friends at her home in Le Roy.
Viewers will have to wait and see how far Staebell goes on the series, but fans are already speculating online about the chances of various bachelorettes. At the Web site "Fans of Reality TV," forum posters have scoured social-networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook for clues and have scanned show promos, screen captures and photos from the series.
Of Staebell, one poster says "she does have a sweetness about her --- I can see that she would make it far along and would not be surprised if she is in the F4" (final four). Others predict Staebell staying until the final 12 or 9 bachelorettes.
Mesnick, 32, a single father from Seattle, is an account executive in estate and legacy planning. He became a favorite of fans of the reality-romance series after being rejected by DeAnna Pappas, the most recent Bachelorette, in a companion series.
In the past week Mesnick has acknowledged in several interviews that he's engaged and in love. To whom is unknown; that will be revealed in the season finale which will likely air in March or April.
In tonight's premiere, Mesnick returns to the Los Angeles mansion where it started for him and Pappas. He and viewers will meet the 25 bachelorettes, who range in age from 23 to 36. Four contestants are single mothers, the first time Bachelor has included moms.
Staebell, as previously reported, admits she resigned from her teacher's job for the chance to meet him.
Emily, from Seattle, tries to press her hometown advantage (Mesnick lives in Seattle). Shannon, a flirtatious brunette from Marshall, Mo., tries to prove that she is Jason's biggest fan by showing off her extensive knowledge of his life. Jillian, from Alberta, Canada, reveals that she can assess a man based on the condiments he chooses for his hot dog (which Mesnick puts to the test). Raquel, a Brazilian bombshell, invites Mesnick for a sexy samba by the pool, only to have Molly, a girl-next-door type from Grand Rapids, Mich., cut in for a jazzy slow dance.
As the evening goes on, a new wrinkle is introduced: the women are asked to vote for the bachelorette that she would like to see leave immediately.
By the end of the episode, Mesnick will eliminate 10 of the 25 women. The remaining 15 will compete for his affection with at least one elimination each week. And, if at any point along the way, a woman should decide that she's no longer interested in Mesnick, she can reject his invitation to continue dating.
Among the dates this season are a trip to the Walt Disney Music Hall for a private performance by R&B singer Robin Thicke, a ride over Los Angeles in a Goodyear blimp, a visit to Legoland California which ABC says will be “one of the most touching dates of the season.” Other destinations include Las Vegas, New Zealand and a backstage date to the set of ABC’s “General Hospital” soap opera, where the women learn techniques of on-screen kissing.