Colton Underwood is heating things up on The Bachelor!
The 26-year-old former football player puts his lovely ladies to the test with the help of Terry Crews and his wife, Rebecca, on Monday’s episode of the ABC dating show — and only ET’s Lauren Zima was on set for the high-energy group date. With a background in the NFL, Underwood is no stranger to competition, so a tournament to find the Bachelor’s strongest woman seemed like the perfect fit.
Strong, however, has multiple meanings, and when it came to motivating the women to put their best foot forward, a shirtless Underwood had no problem showing off his hot bod.
“Growing up as an athlete, I spent a lot of time in the fitness world, working out so I take a lot of pride in the hard work that I put in,” he told ET. “Every once in a while, it’s nice to have my shirt off.”
“It really wasn’t all about the fitness level. I just wanted to see them have fun and try new things, but you could definitely tell a lot of them work out,” Underwood continued. “They knew what they were doing.”
As for the love side of things, our Bachelor was hopeful about the show’s process, confessing that after just a few days, “I can sit here and confidently tell you that it is working. There are quite a few really strong connections that I’m very, very, very excited about,” he gushed.
Underwood wouldn’t spill on which ladies have him smitten, but so far, audiences have picked out a few frontrunners, including Cassie.
“Colton looks amazing. Yeah, he rolled up and I was like, ‘Please don’t put a shirt on!'” she revealed, adding that she and the other women have “like, the biggest crushes on Colton right now.”
Though the season just started, Cassie said that she could “definitely” see herself marrying the Bachelor. And she’s not the only one.
“He’s exceeding my expectations. The more that you spend time with him, the more he opens up, the more you open up and then it just feels like really really great just to like start building that relationship,” Sydney said, sharing that she’s “already tried to take him aside and stretched him out a little bit” to get his attention. “I’m a dancer and a fitness instructor, so this feels like a good date for me.”
Onyeka, however, found herself a little distracted by Underwood. “He just looks so good. I’m like, ‘I’m going to trip over these jump ropes!’ because I’m just not even focused, I’m just staring at him like, drooling right now. I’m just like, ‘OK, Onyeka, calm down,'” she joked.
Tayshia, meanwhile, had her eye on the prize. “To be quite honest, I’m not worried about any of the girls,” she confidently said. “I got my own little story.”
At this point in the season — pre-fence jump — host Chris Harrison expressed that he was feeling good about the way things were going. “I know he’s a sincere guy. I know what he’s looking for. Does that mean this is going to work? Absolutely not,” he cracked. “This could end in a fiery crash, but that’s compelling too.”
“I think finding the right woman [is going to be his biggest challenge]… finding the right woman and actually committing to it and getting over that hump,” Harrison added. “There’s going to be the hump when we get to that uncomfortable part of the fantasy suite and meeting the parents and he has some more uncomfortable conversations and moments coming. How is he going to handle that?”
Crews, however, was ready to do his part to help Underwood through it. “My reason for coming on the show was to show him what a strong woman looked like,” he later told ET. “And my wife, she epitomizes what a strong woman is.”
“Let me tell you something, I saw the ones that didn’t connect. They were pretty obvious,” Crews — who’s been married to Rebecca for 29 years — said with a laugh. “Like, ‘Whoa, OK, oh God!'”
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC — join ET’s Bachelor Nation Facebook group here.