The Bachelor: Joey Graziadei's contestants go to battle in "dumbest fight" of franchise

Los Angeles, California - Joey Graziadei's season of The Bachelor has finally gotten off to a proper start as his contestants get involved in the first round of in-mansion drama.

Joey Graziadei narrowed the field down to 18 contestants in episode 2 of The Bachelor.
Joey Graziadei narrowed the field down to 18 contestants in episode 2 of The Bachelor.  © Disney/John Fleenor

Monday's episode saw the first dates of Season 28, which included two group dates and a one-on-one.

First up was a group outing that invited the girls to try on bridal gowns for a dream ceremony with their leading man.

The play-wedding became unexpectedly emotional for Lauren, whose recent loss of her father brought about her heartbreak over him not being able to be there for the real thing.

As Lauren struggled, the rest of the contestants pulled out all the stops to win over Joey, with Evalin even tackling a table to snag the seat closest to him. Now that's commitment!

The date also saw Rachel emerge as a front-runner, scoring the coveted first dance with Joey at the end of the date. Later causing some trouble was Maria, who shared an intimate chat with the tennis pro before leaving the change into something "more comfortable." With Joey waiting in her wake, Maria proved her status as a power player by returning in a matching bra top and lace set, which definitely went over well with the other ladies.

Last week's villain, Jess, won over Joey by admitting her insecurities from infidelities by her past partners, thus securing the group date rose.

With the brides' day complete, Hallmark darling Daisy then earned the first one-on-one, where she attended a music festival with Joey. The pair's connection was quickly made apparent, and Daisy later opened up about her past health issues and new cochlear implant. Joey remained incredibly supportive throughout the conversation, and Daisy walked away with a rose.

The remaining women were then enlisted for a paint battle over Joey's heart – literally.

Joey Graziadei faces his first self-elimination as tensions run high

Lauren (l) opted to walk away from the show after struggling with the wedding-themed group date in episode 2.
Lauren (l) opted to walk away from the show after struggling with the wedding-themed group date in episode 2.  © Disney/John Fleenor

The two teams certainly met the challenge, but it was Edwina who stood out as the MVP, earning her some special time with Joey.

The two shared a conversation about Edwina's experiences growing up, revealing that she has always had plenty of responsibility on her shoulders within her family. The vulnerable chat earns her the second group date rose, keeping her safe for another week.

But while the dates may have wrapped up, the drama certainly did not, as Maria and Madina found themselves at odds in what the former called the "dumbest fight [in] Bachelor history."

And what was the conflict about?

At 31 years old, Madina admitted she was struggling with being older than so many of the contestants – and Joey himself. But Maria, who is 29, didn't agree that age was really an issue here. The real chaos ensued when Maria's comments about the situation were overheard by Sydney, who promptly shared them with Madina.

Maria continued to deny that the disagreement was worth any drama as she argued that Joey wouldn't have an issue with either of their ages, but Madina again claimed that she felt "belittled" by Maria's dismissal of the concern.

But wait - there's more! Amid the tensions running behind the age debacle, Lauren opted to make a shock self-exit after failing to get the time to recreate the wedding date with Joey.

While Joey said he felt "terrible" about her experience, it was clear that Lauren's mind was made up. With her sister still in the competition, perhaps a hometown reunion is in the cards for these two!

Who went home on episode 2 of The Bachelor season 28?

After a hefty cut in Week 1, just three women were eliminated on Monday's episode, and Taylor, Erika, and Marlena were the unlucky few left to pack their bags.

The cut leaves 18 women in the running for Joey's heart:

  • Jess
  • Daisy
  • Edwina
  • Rachel
  • Lea
  • Lexy
  • Kelsey A.
  • Kelsey T.
  • Evalin
  • Autumn
  • Katelyn
  • Madina
  • Chrissa
  • Maria
  • Starr
  • Jen
  • Sydney
  • Allison

The Bachelor returns on Monday, February 5, at 8 PM EST on ABC.

Cover photo: Disney/John Fleenor

More on The Bachelor: