There was heartbreak when fan-favourite Quinn Ryan missed out on love in the Bachelorette — now it's his younger brother's turn.
And Jake Ryan, a Tauranga-based primary teacher, may have the inside running when he goes up against 18 others to woo Lexie Brown in the upcoming new season of the reality show.
He got a peek behind the scenes when last season's bachelorettes Lily McManus and Lesina Nakhid-Schuster paid a hometown visit to Quinn.
When it came to meeting Brown during filming for the new show he took a leaf out of his brother's playbook and came bearing gifts. Ryan gave Brown handwritten notes from the pupils at his school.
He wasn't the only one ready with a gift for Brown, as Spy discovered when it caught up with seven of the eligible men after they filmed their first meeting with Brown.
Todd Dialectos, a sales manager, is an Aussie who has made Auckland home. He plonked a life-size koala on Brown.
"When I first saw Lexie I was thinking, she looks amazing in that peach dress," Dialectos told Spy.
Dialectos was raised in a traditional Italian household. He moved to NZ for his partner-at-the-time to help her pursue her dreams and, although they are no longer together, he says it was the best move of his life.
He says he has tried everything else to find the perfect match — and he swears he has never watched any episodes of the Bachelor/ette franchises.
If Brown wants someone who is creative and romantic, entrepreneur Aidan Uttinger, famous for a tequila company based in America called Religion, may fit the bill.
Uttinger returned to New Zealand last year after spending a year living in Bali. He is based in Cambridge with his mum and has enjoyed spending more quality time with his family, after leaving home more than 20 years ago.
Uttinger says he just had a feeling he needed to be on the show, and he always trusts his gut.
But it sounds like it wasn't love at first sight for him.
"I thought Lexie seemed really nice, easy to talk to. She wasn't my normal type but I am hoping to get to know her better. To be honest, the nerves were quite high so the first night is a bit of a blur."
Uttinger is a man who says he has his finger in many pies and once had a walk-on role on Shortland Street.
Spy thinks Brown — who enjoyed a beer rather than champagne with the bachelors on the first night — might like Auckland-based financial analyst Jarrod Isopo, who is hoping to find someone special who'll eat a picnic of fried chicken and watch Indian musical romance Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham with him.
Isopo's career took a turn last year when he worked first-hand with the Covid-19 response team, creating financial models for the managed isolation facilities. He now has his sights on the Beehive, which would be a perfect fit for Wellington-based Brown.
"I really try my best to understand my partner's worldview and think of the best ways we can make each other happy. It's about building something together that we can both be proud of," Isopo says.
Auckland-based jazz musician Nathan Loo was signed up for the show by his sister. He decided to give it a go and serenaded The Bachelorette on the red carpet. The most romantic thing he has ever done was surprising a partner with a trip to Fiji.
Auckland Account Manager Jack Becroft was sick of being lonely and says he sucked at meeting women. His last serious relationship ended in 2019 when he had to leave the US when his visa ended.
Meanwhile, Damien Ducloux moved here from France 10 years ago.
He hopes Brown won't see the seven-year age gap, he's older, as a problem — he says he's at an age where he's ready to settle down.
"I don't want to miss any opportunities I have of meeting my one and only," said Ducloux.
"My life has fallen a little bit into a routine, and I wanted to break that by trying something new and out of my comfort zone."
Next week will see TVNZ roll out the other 11 Bachelors looking for love with Brown — Spy sources say a jilted lad from last season is coming back for a second crack at love.