Hey everyone! It’s been a minute since I (Victor, writing in navy blue) last logged on and typed out some thoughts for all dozens of our readers. The last time I put the figurative pen to paper for this here blog, a bad country singer was carrying a guitar to deliver a “proposal.” Apparently, I was so traumatized by Jed’s singing that I zonked out for a good five months before reawakening in a world where now only content that Bachelor franchise cranks out involves mediocre musicians singing that they too, “Will be your Mr. (or Ms) Right” – all the while with facial expressions dripping with cheese and just a hint of starvation for IG fame (you gotta work hard for the dog food jingle money).
So it’s good to see nothing has changed while I’ve been gone – other than George carrying this blog on his mighty fingers while Pilot Pete bumbled his way through his season! While the show did introduce Barb to our collective consciousness (for which we’re all eternally grateful), it was not easy content to write about – but George (writing in black) took to the task like a champ. I was so impressed by how much the blog improved during my absence that I immediately awarded George with all of the Noble Prizes at my disposal.
In actuality, I took a break from my blossoming career writing bad jokes about the Bachelor franchise to spend five weeks in the Bay Area for a trial (I also have a side-gig as an attorney). When I landed in the Bay Area in early February, we were still recovering from the greatest scene in the history of the franchise:
By the time that trial was done, the world had forever changed. When I rewatched the scene after trial, I screamed at Kelsey and Peter for not social distancing. I wondered aloud why they were both walking around in the presence of strangers without face masks on. And omigod – did someone at the mansion remember to stock up on paper towels so Kelsey can clean off her face? So many questions.
And that’s why we’re back – to answer your questions about Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart. You know, in case no one has anything else important to worry about. Of course we’re all so thankful for our front-line scientists, healthcare workers, our grocery store workers, and those delivery drivers. BUT, we also know how much you appreciate – and must have missed – your front-line reality show bloggers as well.
No – not really. We don’t actually think that.
But, like some of you, we’re fortunate enough to have the privilege to stay at home during a global pandemic and watch the delightfully excellent Bachelor: LIsten to Your Heart roll into our lives. At a time when we’re all starving for content other than the 67th tutorial on how to wash your hands for 20 seconds, a little whiff of Chris Harrison hits just right. Pro tip, just wash your hands for the length of time Chris Harrison appears on screen in most episodes of the Bachelor. So since we aren’t leaving the house for any reason (not even if Rachel Lindsay calls me and tells me to drive 10 minutes to talk shop about her experience on the show), why don’t we blog about it for the next few weeks? So that’s what we’ll do – we’ll recap how the show got here after the first three episodes, and then stay with you episode-by-episode for the remainder of the season. If nothing else, we’ll be content that we had given at least 38 people about 5 minutes of moderately non-objectionable content every day – and we won’t be advising you to inject bleach into your veins in any of our blogs (don’t do it).
I was very excited to get a text from Victor proposing we dust off the old blog for one last pre-shutdown score. That, and a surprisingly catchy rendition of a Backstreet Boys song in episode 3 are the Bachelorverse highlights of the quarantine for me.
How did We Get Here?
In pre-Pandemic times, the Franchise was apparently so inspired by Jed Wyatt and all the cringe moments (and that one bomber jacket) that he brought to Hannah’s season that they decided to film a show called Listen To Your Heart with cast of all Jed Wyatts to fill the calendar between the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.
Seriously, a guy has the same jacket.
— Kayla (@KayGGlo) April 14, 2020
I know it looks like four pictures of the same dude, but the top two are Trevor and the bottom two are Jed.
Like other more important people, the Bachelor people also did not read the daily intelligence briefings describing how coronavirus will soon be disrupting all of our lives. Little did they know that they would not get to film Clare Crawley’s season of the Bachelorette (at least not on time), and LTYH became the only original Bachelor content for the foreseeable future. What was intended as an amuse bouche became the appetizer, the entree, and the dessert for a Bachelor Nation starved for content.
And I’ll just say it right now – thank goodness the producers found inspiration in Jed – because this show has been awesome! Stephanie even interrupts her nightly viewings of Chris Cuomo showing off his basement to watch this trainwreck. And even though I’m no Adam Levine when it comes to judging singing talent (or really anything) – even I can tell that these people are all more musically talented than Jed, the show’s inspiration.
The conceit of the Bachelor show is that it’s a show about finding love and that if you’re on the show for any other reason (becoming famous, for example), you’re not here for the right reasons. If you need a refresher on this trope, please review this Soulja Boy video – the greatest musical production in the history of the show. Of late, this trope has gotten confusing because, well, no one is on the show for the “right reasons” anymore because there’s IG fame at the end of the rainbow for everyone that gets past the first few episodes (and sometimes even if you didn’t – amirite Grocery Store Joe?) LTYH takes this confusion to a whole new level because one of the previous wrong reasons – becoming a D-list musician – is now, OFFICIALLY, a right reason. Chris Harrison spelled this out on night one when he told all the Jed Wyatts that the goal of this show is turn someone (or someones) in the cast into the next Beyonce and Jay Z.
It was at this point that I fell off my bed. Let’s get one thing straight – can someone from this show become a known musician? Probably. But that aspirational figure isn’t Beyonce – it’s not even on the same planet as Beyonce. These people should be happy if they become the next Tenille Arts. And if you don’t know who Tenille Arts is – you are not a regular reader of the blog – so welcome, reader number 38!
We’re now three episodes into LTYH so let’s recap how we got here. In episode one, 8 women and 12 men stepped off the limo and into a mansion (an off-brand rented one, not the Bachelor mansion mind you) and had a cocktail party where they hung out in hot tubs and talked about their fledgling musical careers. We meet one musician (Sheridan) who’s living out of his Subaru – the Dean Unglert of LTYH, if you will – and that’s representative of where most of these people are in their musical careers.
The cast member who might be the most musically famous is Trevor Holmes. He found his fame by appearing on a recent season of American Idol where he got more attention for how hot Katy Perry found him than how good he was as a singer. That might not say much about his singing – but Trevor has my respect. Having seen Katy Perry the last two times she went on tour, I can tell you that my head will not fit inside my house if Katy Perry talked about me the same way she talked about Trevor.
In episode one, there were a couple of dates, and then the eight women handed out roses to eight men at the end of episode one, and four Jed Wyatts went home. In episode 2, three new women arrived, there were dates, and then eight remaining men handed out roses to eight women, and three Jen Wyatts went home.
First, a word about the dates on this season. It was apparent that the Bachelor show budget was not available to LTYH, and the LTYH producers needed Chris Harrison to Venmo some of his Cameo money to fund some of the dates. One date was literally going to the beach to busk for money; another date featured an unguided tour of an empty Guitar Center. Don’t forget the date featuring a special guest star… some guy who once produced a John Mayer song. I can’t wait for the upcoming dates that feature cast members singing to each other over Zoom.
At the beginning of episode 3, Chris Harrison took a break from filming Cameos to tell the Jed and Jen Wyatts that there will be no new cast members. Instead, they will write and sing songs (and be judged in doing so) with a partner, so they need to decide who (if anyone) they want to continue on the season with in order to find their pot of IG fame at the end. The show is in that sweet spot of reality television when no one knows the rules and no one knows how to win (is it better to be in a good relationship or to be a good singer?), but when you give aspiring musicians the chance to sing on television, you at least know they will do their best to take that chance. So let’s run down the seven “couples” that decided to embark on the actual musical part of the season.
Bekah and Danny
If you’ve watched this franchise long enough, you will know that there will be people you did not realize were on the show by the time you get to the midpoint of the season. Bekah and Danny were those people on this show. When Danny first appeared on the screen during their performance, I thought he was about to say “Kieran, Dim the Lights”
No? Just me? Okay, For their performance, they perform “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers and it was remarkably unremarkable. I’m quite sure that Kesha (who must have owed a huge favor to Mike Fleiss to be dragged onto judging LTYH performances) didn’t even wake up to watch this performance. It is a barometer of how long of a shot this singing duo was that the producers didn’t even show us Danny doing his day job of “celebrity impersonator.” If you tuned in for the drama of our reveal of which couple did not survive the episode in a weird rose ceremony (Chris Harrison gave out the roses and no one really knows how they decided who got them), umm… it wasn’t these two. So forget everything you just read about them, it will not be on the test.
Bri and Chris
Unlike most of the couples on LTYH where the female carries the musical pairing, it’s Chris Watson’s voice that shines in his pairing with Bri Stauss, a Michelle Money lookalike from (coincidentally) Utah. The showmance between these two seemed the most genuine of any on the show and it took off on the empty Guitar Center date mentioned earlier, where Chris played and sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with Bri. If only the show had waited a few months to film, they could have done the empty unguided tour date with basically any venue. The pair sang “Beyond” by Leon Bridges and secured a coveted spot beyond this episode.
Rudi and Matt
I think Rudi might be my favorite
character contestant on this show.
She seems to have little or no filter between what pops into her head and what she says or does. Don’t get me wrong, Rudi is a lot to deal with. And it might be challenging if she were your friend or sister or mom or boss or reality-show girlfriend or whatever. But as a singer in a house full of singers who are required to date and sing in some combination that no one quite understands? Well Rudi is going to generate some decent TV. Rudi’s “journey” began with her liking Matt. Matt seems like he would be annoying in person. He looks like every guy that works at every brewery in my neighborhood.
And Matt seemed legitimately excited when he saw the Plain White Ts perform. More on that later. But Matt liked Rudi right away, and Rudi seemed to like Matt. Which is why Matt and Rudi went into a hot tub and Matt tried to kiss Rudi. Rudi, presumably, would have kissed Matt. But she didn’t, because brains are funny and maybe she wasn’t ready or the cameras spooked her or whatever, and that’s her prerogative. Only it convinced Matt (understandably!) that Rudi might not like him. Anyway, Matt got a date card and he talked to Rudi and seems to have told Rudi she was going on this date with him. Only then Matt talked to Mel (you can forget about her too) and he asked her to go on this date. It was to see the Plain White Ts in a socially-distanced outdoor setting. Not on purpose, I think, just everyone had to stand six feet apart because there weren’t many people there. Mel was as into Matt as I am into the Plain White Ts, but it briefly appeared to Rudi that she had blown her chance with Matt and her chance to continue on the show.
George definitely buried the lead – a national TV audience got to see The Plain White Ts play a song and they did not play “Hey There Delilah.” It’s like tuning in to watch the NFL Draft and not hearing thunderous boos rain down on Roger Goodell – why do you even watch?
In the scramble to stay alive in the second episode, Rudi identified Shawn-Mendes-lite Ryan as her best bet for a rose. It did not go well. Keep in mind Natascha got this rose by telling Ryan “I like the nerdy type” and “nerds are sexy” before making out with him. Rudi told Ryan “you look like Harry Potter” and “I guess we should kiss now.” Then she immediately told everyone else in the house “I felt nothing” as if she had never kissed anyone who moved the needle less than Ryan. To be fair, people like Harry Potter because his mother’s love for him and his love for his friends were able to defeat he-who-shall-not-be-named. Not because he was “sexy.” Anyway, Rudi ended up finding her way back to Matt, they did kiss, though first Rudi slapped his face for no reason because she does things like that.
Like I said. Rudi is A Lot. But I like her and she can sing. Notably she and Matt performed a Shawn Mendes song, meaning that she knows who Shawn Mendes is and still thinks Ryan is Harry Potter. Seriously, this dude is Shawn Mendes (Ryan is the one without the visible Grammies).
Natascha and Ryan
Ryan (confusingly pictured above next to Shawn Mendes) was the first guy to arrive at the house and he hit it off right away with the show’s likely breakout star Jamie (discussed below).
They went on a date (the show had dates before they figured out the format) where they sang a John Mayer song with John Mayer! Just kidding, it was John Mayer’s guitar and producer. John Mayer was nowhere to be seen, and I don’t think it was the show’s decision given their history with people with a shady relationship past. Anyway, we were supposed to believe that Ryan’s look really won Jamie over, only to have Jed Wyatt 2.0 Trevor swoop in and steal her away by singing her a different John Mayer song when she returned from her date (yes, this actually happened). This is how musicians fight, I guess.
Things looked bleak for Ryan, but one of the producers had Rudi give him a rose because they had high hopes for them in separate storylines. Complicating the Jamie-Trevor relationship, in the second episode the producers chummed the waters with some new singers, including Natascha (recognizable to fans of other reality shows including The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For The Next Doll).
And Natascha seems to be both a very talented singer and, how shall I put this? Umm… out of Ryan’s league. But because the show requires good singers to be in relationships, Natascha chose Ryan as her ticket to episode three and delivered the line “I like the nerdy type” in a way that was almost believable while being completely not believable. To her credit, Natascha sold that line harder than POTUS tried to sell hydroxychloroquine by attempting to remove Ryan’s tonsils with her mouth.
You could say that this picture looks like a dementor is trying to suck out his soul. You know, if Shawn Mendes were a wizard. Natascha also arrived at the house with something to say about Trevor. Natascha had a friend who dated Trevor, though I guess not a good enough friend that Natascha had ever met Trevor. Anyway, Natascha told anyone who would listen that Trevor had apparently been unfaithful to Natascha’s friend, and Trevor convinced Jamie that it was just “emotional cheating,” and that he would never do that again. Jamie and Trevor stayed together, and we discovered that Jed-Wyatt-jacket-guy is shockingly also not the best at relationships. But the producers set up a nice four-way group here, containing the two guys who fought over Jamie, Jamie, and the girl who claims to know that Jamie’s boyfriend cheated on his ex. And now we can spend every week watching Jamie low-key rooting for Ryan and Natascha to get sent home to remind us of their drama from episodes one and two.
Oh, I mentioned Natascha is a pretty good singer relative to Ryan? In fact, right before they performed I asked Amy how long after the show ends will it be before Natascha dumps Ryan, and Amy said “11 minutes.” Surprisingly precise! Also a great guess! Anyway, this was before they performed Stay by Rihanna and some dude. And guest judge Jason Mraz told Ryan “she could take off” and “her career could explode.” “So, you know, don’t get attached, Ryan” was Mraz’s unspoken but heavily-implied message. I think if anything, take the under on Amy’s prediction now that we know Natascha has the pipes and Ryan is the second-best John Mayer impersonator in this one mansion.
Jamie and Trevor
This couple features the Jed Wyatt 2.0 Trevor, now with a slightly-better voice and the same jacket and controversial history of infidelity!
Trevor managed to win over Jamie, who is the first person we met and probably being groomed as our Bachelorverse mainstay. Jamie is 21 (!!!) and in three episodes managed to get into the middle of a love triangle with two blandly-handsome white dudes with guitars and John Mayer songs to sing to her. Also, Jamie recently graduated from Berklee, which suggests a level of musical ability.
Because there are no sports outside of the Azerbaijan Soccer League right now, I watched a lot of the NFL Draft. And evaluating draft picks requires watching a lot of tape. As an evaluator (amateur) of Bachelor talent, I would have to say Jamie has a very high ceiling. She is 21, and this is from her second episode. Sure she is playing against second-tier competition, but if you see tape of a 21-year-old QB throwing a frozen rope 55 yards in the air right to a streaking wide receiver at North Dakota St., you put them on your draft board. This is that tape for Jamie, showcasing that she has all of the tools for a future in the Bachelorverse.
Julia and Sheridan
Julia Rae is my favorite contestant on the show – and not just because she brought some awesome vocals to a Backstreet Boys classic during her performance, and it was so awesome that it brought judge Aaron Rodgers’ brother (and me) to our collective feet. I will admit my first reaction to this performance was to say “This song kinda slaps!” leading Amy to say “you can’t really pull off the new slang.” I guess I meant “This song is
a banger nice.”
What’s even better than Julia’s vocals is her penchant for stirring up mess. You see, Julie had connected with Subaru-living, Austin-based, and flowingly-locked Sheridan Reed (though the last two hyphenated adjectives were probably redundant) over music.
They deepened their relationship on subsequent date where they got interviewed and sang on a show that airs on something called a “radio station” – whatever that means.
The biggest takeaway from that date was that one of the interviewers – Kevin Manno – is married to former Bachelorette lead Ali Fedotowski. You can tell the franchise is running out of ideas for these dates because they’re calling in every favor they can think of. If they’ve already called Lauren Bushnell (for the Chris Lane date) and Ali Fedotowski – I can only imagine that even Juan Pablo is going to get a call soon.
Apparently meeting Ms. Fedotowski’s husband wasn’t enough to keep the sparks going between Sheridan and Julia, because Julia soon remembered that she also had (and has) a thing for another contestant – Brandon Mills (a military contractor). She chatted up Brandon right before the second rose ceremony and threw Savannah McKinley (the probable recipient of Brandon’s rose) under the bus by seemingly making up the fact that everyone in the house dislikes Savannah. Unswayed, Brandon still gave his rose to Savannah. Julia’s fire for Brandon is still lit, however, and Brandon definitely didn’t do anything to extinguish the fire when he told Julia that he wants to chat the morning after the rose ceremony.
So Julia told Savannah that Brandon still wants to talk and Savannah told the producers that she wanted to leave. But let’s be real here, Savannah wants that IG fame way too much. It took one five-minute conversation with Brandon and she was back in the game. Like the rest of us, Julia thinks that’s a little suspicious. Unlike the rest of us, Julia dealt with her feelings by telling Savannah that her disingenuousness is making Julia feel like she wants to leave. But let’s be real here, Julia wants that IG fame way too much too. She stayed with Sheridan. And even though she has an excuse to sing a BSB song all day (I don’t need an excuse, I just do it), she mopes around and talks about Savannah the same way POTUS talks about members of the media not named Sean Hannity.
Somehow, in between her regular vent sessions about Savannah, Julia found enough time to craft, rehearse, and deliver a rocking rendition of the BSB classic with Sheridan. On those merits (and because this franchise needs characters like Savannah the same way you all need to stay home), Julia and Sheridan earn roses for the next episode.
Savannah and Brandon
Brandon is a military veteran and his current occupation is “private military contractor.” It is notable that this reality contestant is essentially a mercenary in his daily life, but it also isn’t a bad way to summarize Brandon’s time on the show in the first three episodes. Brandon is following the money and leaving a swath of destruction in his wake.
Brandon at the heart of the show’s other lingering relationship drama (discussed above). He is currently coupled up with Savannah, a yoga instructor.
But as noted above, Brandon as continued to string along Julia, who is uncomfortably coupled up with “my house is a Subaru Outback” Sheridan. Brandon is almost certain to cause potentially-irreparable harm to Sheridan and Julia’s relationship before the season is done.
Anyway, it appears that Julia and Savannah don’t get along with each other particularly well in the way of women who have yet to discover that their real problem is the loser they both like. I hope they figure it out soon, because Brandon is not a great singer and it is weird to watch what he does with his mouth when he tries to sing.
The editors either captured an epic Jason Mraz reaction or edited in the perfect Jason Mraz reaction. And JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers could have narrated the entirety of my social life from ages 13 to 33 by just playing the last few seconds on a loop.
Well, six couples remain. And I have no idea how many more episodes there are. Or what the prize is. I assume it is some sort of future tour under the Bachelor banner, though I suppose the live-music industry is not exactly churning right now. My secret hope is that they offer the winning couple two recording contracts worth 100k each if they agree to stay together, but a contract worth 150k to the person who breaks up with the other person (who gets nothing). They actually did a version of this before, so I am holding out hope.
Whatever it is, we will be back every week within, I don’t know, 24 to 48 hours of each new episode.