Minnesota teacher Michelle Young made her debut as "The Bachelorette" on Tuesday, inviting ABC audiences into her Burnsville classroom and her parents' Woodbury backyard.
The 28-year-old met the 30 men competing for her heart and, after a tense conversation, gave the night's final rose to a fellow Minnesotan — Joe Coleman, a Minneapolis real estate developer and former University of Minnesota basketball player.
Turns out the two have history.
But the episode began with a school bell.
In her fifth-grade classroom, Young talked with her students about the show. One girl advised her: "Don't change yourself for anyone."
Young chatted with her parents about their relationship, which she described as the reason she's still single: "I'm not going to settle until I have a love as powerful as theirs."
Then she met the men. One came dressed as an apple, another as a main course. One arrived via school bus, another pulled up in an ice cream truck.
Coleman introduced himself as being from "the Land of 10,000 Lakes."
"All these guys, you'll probably have to convince them to move to Minnesota," he said. "But lucky for us, I'm actually from there.
"And I can't wait to go back home with you."
Young told him he looked familiar, asking if they'd met. "Have I slid into your DMs?" she said. "Is your last name Coleman?"
She had. It was.
The pair had messaged about basketball, Young explained to the camera, before Coleman ghosted her. Later in the night, Young asked Coleman why he'd disappeared — only to reappear on the show. Coleman said he'd been dealing with a lot at the time, including violence around a property he owns near where George Floyd was killed.
"It's something I wish I could have handled better," he said.
Young said that as a woman of color, she would have been understanding. "You didn't have to be ready for a relationship. You just had to communicate…" she said. "For me, respect is a huge thing."
Coleman promised he'd been working on himself, in part by seeing a therapist.
Young awarded the so-called "first-impression rose" to Nayte Olukoya, a sales executive and dog dad from Austin, Tex. After handing out the other roses, she paused before giving the last to Coleman.
"I can see that Joe really wants to prove who he is," she said. "But I do not want to be hurt."
A season preview revealed Coleman and Young on a date at Target Field, throwing a pitch to Twins mascot T.C. Bear.