Get ready for a very different season of The Bachelorette.
When viewers last saw Emily Maynard, the North Carolina native who lost her first love in a plane crash was tearfully telling Chris Harrison that she and Bachelor Brad Womack had ended their engagement. Now a year later, the 26-year-old has returned for another shot at finding love on The Bachelorette.
But don't expect Maynard's season to mimic the high-flying, free-spirited and somewhat scandalous vibe that viewers just witnessed during Ben Flajnik's stint on The Bachelor. This Southerner has more than America to worry about: She has a 6-year-old daughter, Ricki. "Emily's season is drastically different than anything we've ever done," Harrison says. "Throughout the show, there's an underlying issue that she's a mom and 'Is this guy ready?' It's not just, at the end of this, she hopefully [finds] love, hopefully [finds] a husband; it's hopefully finding a father figure to Ricki."
So what can viewers expect from Season 8? Here are our five teases for Monday's premiere (9:30/8:30c, ABC).
1. One suitor is a race car driver.
Emily's late fiancé, Ricky Hendrick, was a famous NASCAR driver. Could she fall in love with another racer? Emily will find out when she meets Arie, a 30-year-old open-wheel driver. While Arie could stir up some tough emotions for Emily, Harrison says that the opposite happens. "She embraces that and she loves it. Emily loves the track — that is a huge part of her life and her family. She actually has very fond memories [from there]."
2. No, Bentley is not showing up.
Don't be fooled by this promo that shows a helicopter landing and the guys asking if it's Bentley, who made it well known on Ashley Hebert's season that he wished Emily were the Bachelorette. The reality villain is not in the chopper and will not be back. (The guy in the helicopter is the 25th suitor making a huge, and might we add, obnoxious entrance.) "That would've been a very obvious story line, but to me it just felt like such low-hanging fruit," Harrison says. "If he had shown up, it would've been about that joke and that surprise and pulling a fast one on her, and that's not the tone of this season at all."
3. But there is another grandma.
Sorta. Randy takes a cue from Ben's season — in which one girl brought her grandma and subsequently received a rose — and hobbles in dressed like an old lady (or man — it's hard to tell). He later strips down to his normal self.
4. Hot tubs are few and far in between.
That fixture of the show — aside from roses and cheesy lines, of course — may take a backseat this time around. "[Emily] carries herself like a lady and she carries herself in the eyes of how she wants to be seen by her daughter," Harrison says. "She is very careful and very cognizant of that throughout the season and will always be." But don't worry — there will be some skin. "You'll see her in a bathing suit and we'll be on exotic beaches," Harrison teases.
5. One man gets down on one knee the first night.
But not to propose. Trying to make a lasting impression Jackson, a 29-year-old fitness model, takes a knee and tells Emily, "Life's not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." Other groan-inducing and notable pick-up attempts include a guy on a skateboard, another dancing with his boom box and someone carrying an ostrich egg.
The Bachelorette premieres on Monday at 9:30/8:30c on ABC. Watch a clip below.