Monsters and Critics columnist Liz Long recaps The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart Premiere episode, with a little help from a glass of pinot (or two)…
Well guys, expectations were low for the premiere of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart. Like. Way low. But, when you’re famished, having nothing but news of Peter Weber’s interlopings and an occasional Reese’s peanut butter egg, it’s no wonder a girl might chomp at the bit when ABC throws a little red meat her way.
Okay. So the Tiger King was red meat. Listen to Your Heart is some kitten kibble. But, man, was it some good kibble!
Was it the fresh faces? Was it the music? Was it my $4.00 bottle of pinot confusing me? I don’t know.
Let’s recap on how we got to this unexpected place.
Listen to Your Heart has Fresh Faces (Minus one Idol guy)
It’s no secret, most of us, including yours truly, have been rolling our eyes at this show’s premise from the start: “20 single men and women embark on an incredible journey to find love through music.” Just who ARE these people, I often wondered as I lie awake most nights. I mean, were they washed up Bachelor stars who can’t sing? WHY are they singing? Surely they aren’t gonna find love through music. Really ABC? Lives will change!? Is this how despereate we’ve become?!?
Elizabeth. Desperate Party of One. Your table is now ready.
Okay, ABC. You got me. You certainly know how to pick your moments. I’ll bite and tune in at 8:00.
And, suddenly, out of my desperation grew intrigue. Hooking me in right away tonight with an expanded season’s preview, I realized: These are not washed up Bachelors and Bachelorettes. Okay, so that one guy who I thought was Jed Wyatt is actually Trevor, a reject from Idol. (I knew he looked familiar!) And, yes, they’re probably all here to catapult their music careers.
And just in case we get too nostalgic for the “real” Bachelor people, we are promised some old familiar faces in what presumably looks like their role as judges in future episodes.
Just as I start getting comfortable, and as I sip on my pinot, the singles make their limo exits and walk toward Chris Harrison, like he’s the Bachelor or something. Aaaaaaand I’m back to square one of hating this show again.
I mean, just who do these no-names think they are?! Stepping out of the limo like that. You ain’t no Trista. And you definitely ain’t no Jojo!
But then, they start talking with one another. And phrases like, “I can’t wait to hear you (sing)” come out of their mouths. And some of them actually bust out in little impromptu jam sessions around the piano. And, once again, I’m sucked back into this twisted vortex of Harrison’s, as I proclaim out loud: Yes! Music does run deep! You CAN find meaningful connections through music. Lives WILL change! Harrison, you’re a GOD!
Okay. Maybe things didn’t go that far.
But, by golly, I hear the sounds of actual conversations — foreign to the Bachelor shows of yester-year — and, well, that makes me happy.
On one side, we have Ryan and Jamie talking about brain surgery. On the other, we have Julia revealing to Sheridan she does music for the therapy, after her struggles with cystic fibrosis.
Sure we have a hot tub makeout session on night one between Jamie and Idol guy, Trevor, but by next morning, they are a “fam” and all together, with nothing left to do but “face the music.” Hmmm… wonder how many Bachelor puns I can get out of this show.
The Date Cards of the Night
Chris Harrison explains that each week, there is a date card because, in case we forgot, we are on a show that is “at its core — all about love.” (Insert pessimistic eye roll emoji here, but, okay, Chris, I’ll go with you on this. I’m feeling the love.)
Ryan gets the first date card and “feels like a school girl” (his quote, not mine). He picks Jamie, forming our first love musical triangle of the show. Just as I’m thinking this feels too Bachelor in Paradise to me, the date itself — like this whole show — is a pleasant surprise.
They get to sing John Mayer’s Gravity in a studio with John Mayer’s producers and sing into Frank Sinatra microphones! In other words, they’re not going to sit at a table and talk about abandonment issues over untouched meat!
Ryan is sexy singing and, I’m like, of course we could fall in love over music because didn’t every girl instantly fall for the guy in high school who could play a song on the guitar? Duh. Of course she did! The date culminates in their Gravity duet, and, it’s official guys. I’m in this damn thing.
How can that be? Just keep me where the
light wine is.
Matt chooses a woman who could be his jam
Matt (the guy dressed in black) gets the second date card and picks Mel (the girl with purple hair), but this confuses Rudy, who thought Matt asked her first. Confused? Me too. I can’t even keep up with all these new faces.
Anyway, Matt and Mel’s date is a concert with the Plain White T’s! Yes! I’ve actually heard of this band!
And, being musicians, so have they! We ain’t foolin’ this crew like we can with every other Bachelor contestant who pretends to know Chase Rice. And we sure as heck don’t have a cheesy crowd of people waiting to cheer them on when they enter the concert. Nope. Here at Listen to Your Heart, the extras play it cool and chill on picnic blankets.
Also at Casa Listen, we don’t wash our sorrows away with wine when we don’t get picked for the date. Instead, we sing them away! Cue Rudy/Ruby and her amazing voice!
I can get used to this.
What did you do on your date, Matt and Mel? I can tell you one thing they didn’t do. A helicopter ride. Boo-yah! (Did I just say boo-yah? These are strange times, indeed.)
Oh and just for good measure. Let’s throw in Julia and Sheridan for a good ol’ fashioned “steal.” But this isn’t your typical catty steal. It’s a steal of gentlemanly proportions followed up by one amazing (not too cheesy!) song. Sheridan, in his last-ditch attempt to win Julia’s rose, serenades her with a half-written song to be completed by the two of them. Julia loves it, and honey, you are not alone.
Well done, man who likes to wear wide-brimmed hats. Well done.
Meanwhile, Mel is using a pillow as a Kleenex because she has some emotional connection with Gabe, leaving Matt to go back to his leftovers Rudy, but she is ready to throw some Mike Tyson Knock-Out punches his way. Personally, I was more knocked out by the overwhelming amount of times she incorrectly used the word “literally.” But, hey, we are in a Kardashian world, and I lost that battle a long time ago.
But, literally. Rudy’s emotional assault on Matt was, like, a lot. Literally.
Cue the Rose Ceremony!
Never did I think I’d see a rose ceremony, hosted by Chris Harrison, in the actual Bachelor mansion, involving a former Idol contestant, in a wool coat, all in the same room, but here we are. It’s all happening.
- Savannah (the model/yoga girl who I thought would be a complete b**tch but ended up being kinda nice) and the sort of handsome guy who came to the party last (Brandon).
- Mel (purple hair) and Gabe
- Bri (eyebrows girl) and Chris (gold scarf on denim)
- Cheyanne and Matt
- Julia and Sheridan
- Jamie and …. drumroll please … Trevor! (Leaving nice guy Ryan out in the cold)
- But, alas, Rudy, like literally, saves the day and picks Ryan. Not for a charity rose. Because she can, like, literally, see herself falling in love with him.
In case you still don’t have a single clue who any of these people are, ABC is kind enough to share their bios with us. A page I’m sure I’ll be referring to often.
So that does it for Episode 1 of this new guilty pleasure. I don’t know about you, but I’m listening to my heart as I declare: I’m a fan! Please don’t judge. We know not what we do in such times.
What did you all think of the Listen to Your Heart premiere? Are you a fan as well? Or am I simply desperate? I think I’ve passed the point of no return ….
The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart airs on Mondays, 8/7c on ABC.