Host Jesse Palmer couldn't resist poking fun at Blake Moynes' dating history after he arrives in paradise for the ninth season of the ABC hit, set to premiere Thursday
In PEOPLE's exclusive sneak peek of Thursday’s season premiere of the ABC dating series, Blake, 33, is greeted by host Jesse Palmer and admits that he is “a little nervous” to try his luck at finding love again after his engagement to former Bachelorette Katie Thurston ended in October 2021.
“You know, [it’s the] third time around,” he says. “I should be used to this by now.”
“Because you’ve dated not just one, not two, but three Bachelorettes,” Jesse responds, referring to Katie, as well as Blake’s previous relationships with season 16 co-leads Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams.
Blake plans to avoid seeking the attention of another Bachelorette on the beach, telling Jesse, “Hopefully, I just don't run into another one down here.”
“Yeah, off you go,” Jesse replies. “Good luck finding your Bachelorette... I mean wife.”
On the beach, all eyes appear to be on Blake, and former Bachelorette Rachel Recchia wastes no time greeting him with a hug. Meanwhile Jess Girod, Kat Izzo, Kylee Russell, Kylee Russell — who appeared on Zach Shallcross' season — all swoon over his appearance from afar.
“Blake walked down and I think I’m like starstruck right now,” Jess says in a confessional while Kylee adds, “Blake Moynes is a fine man. He’s so tan. He’s so fit. He’s definitely eye candy.”
However, it won't be all smooth sailing on the beach for Blake as he'll be forced to reunite with his ex-fiancée Katie, 32, in Mexico.
During an Instagram Q&A last month, Katie — who led the 17th season of The Bachelorette in 2021 — confirmed that seeing Blake on Bachelor in Paradise was their "first time seeing/speaking since we split 1.5 years ago."
"Can’t say much more for now," she added of their reunion, which Bachelor Nation first learned about when a first look at the new season dropped.
Upon arriving on the beach in the teaser, Thurston told host Jesse, "I don’t think Blake’s going to be happy that I’m here."
Moynes later said of his ex's surprise appearance: "I don’t think there’s a worse scenario."
In another post on her Instagram Story, Thurston — who dated another contestant from her season, John Hersey, for six months following her breakup with Moynes — offered some more clarification on her role in the upcoming season of Paradise.
“I was NOT invited to get closure 👀,” she shared in response to a follower who compared her arrival to that of Kendall Long, who arrived on the beach when her ex-boyfriend, Joe Amabile, had taken major steps in his budding relationship with his now-wife, Serena Pitt.
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Bachelor in Paradise season 9 premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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