Season 21 of The Bachelor premieres Jan. 2 with two-time The Bachelorette runner-up Nick Viall as the man of the occasion. Thirty women will arrive at Bachelor Mansion to compete for the former software salesman's hand in marriage. All signs point to this being one of the best seasons of The Bachelor yet.

It was a surprise when Nick was selected as this season's Bachelor, because the Bachelor usually comes from the previous season of The Bachelorette, and Nick wasn't on JoJo Fletcher's season. He was, however, on Bachelor in Paradise, where he atoned for his slut-shaming past and took on a role as sort of an elder statesman of Bachelor Nation. It was, after all, his third go-around, and he's about 10 years older than his peers on the show. Nick's a smart guy, too, and he's keenly aware of his role. He knows what people want, and he's going to deliver.

Nick Viall, <em>The Bachelor</em>Nick Viall, The Bachelor


He's aware of his reputation as the douchey guy who put his and Andi Dorfman's business out there for everyone to see, as well as his reputation as the loser who can't find love. This is his comeback story from both of those narratives, and he's going all in. Nick is more aware than any other star of how the sausage is made. He feels an almost fiduciary duty to make good TV. To that end, he and the producers have brought in some girls with strong personalities.

The contestants are much more important to the success of a season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette than the star. Think of how compelling The Bachelorette was last season when Chad was on and how boring it got after he was eliminated, since the other guys lacked charisma (there's a reason why Nick was chosen over anyone from JoJo's season). The star has to be diplomatic, but the contestants have no such requirement. In fact, it's in their best interest to be as attention-seeking as possible. And I have a strong suspicion some of these girls are going to bring it.

Judging from their bios, some of these women are going to be very likable (shout-out to Rachel) and some of them are going to be very hilarious (shout-out to Raven). And of course they're all very beautiful. It's not clear yet who's going to be the season's villain, which is more important for entertainment value than the wifey, but whoever she is, she's surely going to nail it.

And some of the details that have leaked are fantastic — Nick slept with one of the contestants at a wedding before either of them knew they were going to be on the show. One of the women has the same name as Bachelorette winner Jordan Rodgers' jilted ex-girlfriend.

And Nick will still be Nick — a bit of a cad. He can't help it. He's going to create drama. It's going to be great.

The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 2 at 8/7c on ABC.