Family and friends of Kristen Morse must have been on the edge of their seats during the first episode of "The Bachelor." Travis Stork, this season's dreamy doctor, had only one rose left.
Eleven women had already heard their names called. Morse, a Bonita Springs resident, along with 13 other women, were left waiting.
It was love in Paris or bust.
During the rose ceremony, TV cameras panned to the jilted contestants Yet, Morse never looked concerned.
Then Stork said, "Kristen."
She smiled. She giggled. She playfully stumbled to the front of the room to get her rose and a hug from the hunk.
Morse's TV debut was truly unforgettable.
Lisa Levenson, the executive producer of the "The Bachelor," has interviewed thousands of potential contestants in 11 years. The names are too many to remember.
But Morse is someone Levenson said that she'd not soon forget. "Kristen is very memorable," she said. "And her appearance on the show will be very memorable.".
Levenson laughed when asked if she tipped her hand to Morse's success on the show.
"You'll just have to watch," she said. "But Kristen is special." Morse, 25, already beat the odds by making it on the show.
Levenson said the show receives countless online applications, phone calls and videotapes from women wanting to appear on the reality TV show. The show's casting directors whittle the candidates down to 70 and fly them to Los Angeles for what is called a final audition weekend.
For Morse, the 1997 Estero High homecoming queen, that's where she made an unforgettable first impression.
Morse read a poem she wrote herself — a show first. The blonde, blue-eyed beauty sang a song. She laughed. She wowed.
"She's an amazing person," Levenson said. "She's so brave, sincere and a genuine beauty. What we really liked is that she was real. She was always herself. And knowing Travis as well as I do, I knew right away that she would be a good match for him."
Levenson said finding women like Morse is the key to the success of the show.
"We don't want 25 Pamela Andersons," Levenson said. "We want sincerity. And if they aren't sincere about being on the show and the process, the viewers are going to be able to tell and it's not going to work."
Morse showed her sincerity by giving Stork a shot glass with her hometown "Bonita Springs" printed on it.
"Dear Travis, I hope you and I get a shot at getting to know each other," Morse read off a note.
Stork must like corny.
Even though she survived the first cut, Morse appears to be a serious contender for Stork's heart.
As for her competition, watch out for Sarah B. (last names of other contestants are not revealed. This is to make you feel good for forgetting the girl's name the next day).
The dirty blonde got the first rose from Stork before the ceremony as part of a new twist in the show. Sarah B., a 23-year-old student from Winnepeg, Canada, got Stork's attention by saying that she loves to go camping, one of his hobbies.
Susan, from Overland, Kan., also seems to be getting a little extra attention from Stork. The beautiful brunette was the first to get out of the limos, and Stork went out of his way during the show to spend some extra time with her.
This week, at 10 Monday night on ABC, Stork has only eight roses to pass out. Thus, four more women will be eliminated.
Will Kristen survive?
It doesn't matter if he passes out roses or high heels, she should be a shoe-in to make it to the final four.
As long as Kristen Morse is competing on "The Bachelor," look for a weekly report on Mondays in the Neapolitan and Gulf Life sections of the Daily News. Weekly updates will also be available on www.naplesnews.com and www.bonitanews.com. Tom Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kristen's friends and family — in addition to interested viewers — can send comments to that address.