Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC Television Group © 2012 Disney Photo: Emily and Arie Talk in The Bachelorette Season 8 Premiere

We knew he was a race car driver. We'd seen some photos. Then we actually saw Arie Luyendyk, Jr., in action on The Bachelorette Season 8 premiere.



(Sits up straight. Fixes hair. Fully paying attention now.)

Well, hello there, Arie!

On a season with more sweet stories than eye candy, Arie is ranking high on the handsome bachelor list. He’s currently *slightly* in the lead in our poll asking for your favorite bachelor after Emily Maynard’s premiere.

Michelle Money just gushed about wanting to run her hands through Arie’s “beyond sexy” hair. Emily’s other Bachelor 15 friends agree. Ashley Spivey tweeted, “Cutest guy so far....ARIE! By far. #bachelorette” Marissa May noted, “Arie....a billion times cuter than his online photo. #bachelorette.”

Agreed. Arie’s pics — official ABC bio and otherwise — have not done him justice. The full season previews have shown Emily kissin’ on Arie and seeming to really enjoy herself. But we know she’s looking for more than just a hot guy (RIGHT?) and we hear she was mighty ticked off when she discovered Arie had already dated one of the show’s producers.

If Emily doesn’t pick Arie, and he ends the show on a high note (without too many negative stories coming out in the news), it’s possible he could be in the running to be the next Bachelor … or at least appear on Bachelor Pad Season 3.

What do you think? Is Arie the hottest guy romancing Emily this season?