SPOILER ALERT: THIS STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR “THE BACHELOR PRESENTS: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART.”
Over the past six weeks I’ve tried to decide whether I liked the new spinoff “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart,” in which 20 singles were dropped into the familiar “Bachelor” mansion to make music and, hopefully, romance together.
My interest was piqued once the show’s couples began performing in front of audiences but waned again by Monday night’s finale, particularly when the show’s best pairing — Matt Ranaudo and Rudi Gutierrez — flamed out.
Their breakup before even getting anywhere near the stage in Nashville where the finale sing-off was held was about the only thing that made the finale interesting, albeit sad.
I mean, who cares if Chris Harrison said the three couples left should be ready to spend their lives together? Ask the dozens of “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” non-couples how that’s working out for them.
Matt, being a Bachelor Nation newbie, took Harrison at his word, decided he couldn’t fake a lasting connection with Rudi despite how smoking hot they always were onstage and deprived us of the only chance of somebody besides Chris Watson and Bri Strauss winning.
Oh, you know, the show’s producers did their best to make us think that Jamie Gabrielle and Trevor Holmes stood a chance. They accepted a key to an overnight date in a fantasy suite, whereas Chris and Bri decided it was too early in their relationship to get physical.
We were supposed to think the fact they didn’t do the horizontal mambo had put Chris and Bri off their game. So footage of Jamie and Trevor lounging around in matching bathrobes hedonistically chowing down on a decadently huge breakfast after a night of presumed passion was contrasted with footage of Chris and Bri struggling in rehearsal and looking uncomfortable on a car ride.
The music producer helping them rehearse even dutifully made comments about their chemistry being off.
But here’s the thing: since people who sing for a living were doing the judging (plus “Bachelor royalty” Kaitlyn Bristowe and Jason Tartick), Jamie and Trevor would have had to get, um, good in a very short period of time to unseat Chris and Bri.
As expected, Chris and Bri sang rings around Jamie and Trevor. The comments from judges Taye Diggs, Jewel and Rita Wilson made it obvious who’d won, even if you hadn’t already figured it out with your own ears. Diggs told Chris and Bri he’d pay to see them perform and told Jamie and Trevor they were “adorable,” so yeah.
Host Harrison did his best to pretend there was some suspense involved in announcing the winner but then Chris and Bri ran off to the tour bus parked outside, where champagne and final roses awaited. (The online gossip sites say they’re still a couple, albeit a physically distanced one.)
So they win the prize — a chance to record original songs with a producer and to tour. But will the show be a winner and get a Season 2? I’ve read it was averaging about 2.7 million viewers a week, which is pretty low even in the fractured TV universe we now live in.
Why didn’t it capture Bachelor Nation’s hearts? Maybe it was trying to be too many things at once. It was a “Bachelor” show, with all the manipulation that entails, but without a big enough scale, location-wise or cast-wise, to spin out the kinds of storylines a typical season entails.
It imitated “Bachelor in Paradise” for a short while, with new recruits sent in to try to disrupt established couples, but without the most important ingredient of that show: cast members whom viewers came to love or hate in past “Bachelor” seasons. How much did we really care about the Julia-Sheridan-Brandon-Savannah quadrangle? Not as much as we might have if we’d already known them.
The show also didn’t have the dedicated focus on music and the making of musical stars that draws fans to music-centric shows like “The Voice” and “American Idol.”
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I guess I’ll give the “Bachelor” producers credit for trying something new, especially with Netflix breathing down their necks with shows like “Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot to Handle,” but I’ll be surprised if “Listen to Your Heart” returns for a second season.
Since “Bachelorette” production is on hold indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic (which means “Paradise” is sidelined, too), there’s nothing left for us “Bachelor” fanatics but to tune into ABC on June 8 for “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!”
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