The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart
By the time I had watched my third one-on-one date this episode, I was asking the question: who is editing this train wreck? It was no longer clear whether it was day or night and quite frankly, that is my current reality. I tune into reality TV for a clear delineation between events and locations. A harsh jump cut out of commercial where yet another date card is being unveiled is more disorientating to me than the slow creep of actual time. If we’re gonna do this, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, I need this entire thing to be tighter than Chris Harrison’s forehead. If we’re going to do this, and I mean really do this, the only amateur hour can be on stage at the Dresden.
If anyone knows exactly how meandering and tortuous every single piece of The Bachelor Cinematic Universe is, it’s me. But I will give the franchise one thing: we typically know exactly where we are in every season at every given moment. It marches along with a comfortable predictability. Even the contestants know if they make it to the international trips, they’re almost there. But this? THIS? There are whole-ass contestants we never heard speak words this episode. I’m looking at rooms in the Bachelor mansion I have never laid eyes on before. Right before the first roses were handed out, Chris Harrison says “Tomorrow, everything will change.” Bitch, what will, and how? Why haven’t they started SINGING TOGETHER YET? Isn’t that the whole thing of this thing?
Let’s get to it.
We begin in a void free from the constraints of time and space. It’s the morning after the rose ceremony and there’s only two solid couples: Chris and Bri and Jamie and Trevor. This week the guys will have the roses and therefore, all of the power. While everyone is drinking coffee out of goblets, Chris Harrison comes in, wearing a positively baffling casual outfit, to let them know that there will be newcomers. But first, we have to get through an impossible number of date cards. Up first, Jamie gets the first date card. She picks Trevor and they head to Venice Beach. They’re going to…
BUSK ON THE STREET? This is bleak. We are encountering a broke musician hell that I was not aware existed. Jamie is somehow on a performance-based reality TV show and has no real performance experience. She also manages to subtly burn Trevor when she tells him that he has more experience doing covers than she does. They sit on a blanket and practice their cover of Little Big Town’s “Girlcrush,” which they perform for tens of excited beachgoers. They manage to make almost $85. Seeing Jamie hunched over in the street, counting crumpled up bills that were obviously put there by production, filled me with a sense of dread. I don’t want this for these people. Can we just hurry along to the part where Kesha tells them that they have no chemistry?
Jamie and Trevor head to a hot tub that looks like it’s part of a set for Dirty John, but before we can get to that hot steamy hot tub action, there’s a new arrival: Natascha, who looks like Vera Farmiga at Studio 54. She introduces herself by going, “I’m 33. I’m looking for a husband, my baby daddy. I want a grown ass man. I’m not a diva, but I’m a diva.” Baby daddy stuff aside, I love her and I wish her all the best. She sings Latin pop, but somehow I imagine she’ll be singing a soulful cover of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” next episode.
But Natascha is there not just because she’s got amazing hair and is 7 feet tall. She’s there because she’s friends with Trevor’s ex and he cheated on his ex-girlfriend. Everyone is immediately concerned that once Jamie hears this news, that a guy she’s known for about 48 hours maybe cheated on his girlfriend, it will completely ruin her life. Jamie sets up this storyline perfectly because she tells Trevor in the hot tub that she’s been cheated on in every relationship she’s been in. She’s 21, so all of that tracks. If the majority of your relationships in your early 20s don’t end because someone was cheating, were you really living?
So when Jamie and Trevor come home from their date, Natascha decides to ruin Trevor’s fucking life. She sits down and tells him that she knows he completely betrayed his last ex. Trevor says he only emotionally cheated and would never physically cheat. What a great guy. He also tries to say at first that he never lied to his last girlfriend. Cheating is lying, my dude. Natascha doesn’t let him off the hook and I worship her.
But the structural issue here is that all of this requires an outside person who knows Trevor and his history. The Bachelor relies more and more on these types of stunts instead of casting somewhat interesting people and just letting them be. Listen to Your Heart gets what it wants, though, because when Jamie hears this third-hand news she implodes and questions why nothing can ever go right for her.
But instead of completing this thread, Bri gets a date card? What day is this? Is everyone wearing the same clothes? It’s like perpetual night during a Swedish winter. She takes Chris and they head to a very important Guitar Center to wander around and sing. They decide to make up a moody and raw song together that sounds like when my musical improv students just melodically talk instead of actually singing a song. I was on my couch screaming “DON’T JUST DO YOUR DIALOGUE TO THE MUSIC! SONGS! ARE! POEMS! NOT! CONVERSATIONS!” I have notes for Bri and Chris.
Bri’s big emotional reveal is that she was engaged before, which she shares with Chris by telling him that she was picking out a dress when her fiancé called off the wedding. Even the internal, organic storytelling in this show is edited poorly.
Back at the house, in some time that is simultaneously before and after, Jamie and Trevor are finally sitting down to talk about his past. Trevor tries to pretend he doesn’t know Natascha’s name, as if that helps somehow. He explains that there was only some light emotional cheating and he wanted to be honest with her before she heard it from someone else. Too late, my dude. Jamie decides that she can’t end everything over something that happened a year and a half ago. She also slips in there that she’s never really had a relationship before and she doesn’t really have anything to go off when making this decision. Please, someone guide this poor woman. She’s never sung in public before and she has no idea how to make romantic decisions for herself. They kiss. I guess she’s getting a rose.
It’s allegedly a new day and Sheridan gets a date card. He knows he’s going to take Julia even though she’s completely ambivalent about spending time with him. They head to the iHeart Radio studios for an interview. Julia confirms that she’s kissed other people in the house and you can watch Sheridan’s confidence be slowly stripped away, but they’re going to sing together. They head to up to a little stage and perform a Maren Morris song for just the radio DJ. Sheridan is so nervous that it sounds like he’s singing while trying to balance on an exercise ball. They kiss and the radio DJ pumps his fist as their success. What am I looking at?
Back at the house, there are two new arrivals: Mariana and Ruby. They both are there to shake things up and they don’t’ give a fuck what couples are already established. Oh, what’s that? Entirely zero focus on either of them as human beings this episode? Word.
Savannah gets another date card! It’s an unyielding, unceasing stream of date cards! She picks Brandon, who has, like, three women in the house lusting after him, and they head to The Dresden, famous hangout of Del Paxton. They get to watch Marty and Elaine, a couple that’s been performing at The Dresden for 38 years. Savannah looks at them and her first observation is that, “You can tell they love each other so much.” If you look at Marty and Elaine and your first reaction is about the state of their marriage and not the fact that they’re singing “Staying Alive” as a ragtime number, you’re looking at the situation all wrong.
Marty and Elaine invite Brandon and Savannah onstage because it’s “Open Mic Night.” Uh huh, sure. Very organic. Very natural. Savannah and Brandon sing “Fever” and I’ve never seen two people with less charisma or sexual chemistry. They have all the charm of those pictures of Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes taking their quarantine walks around the neighborhood with empty coffee mugs. It is really hard to know what to do with your hands. These are their best jazzy singer impressions.
Back at the house, Julia realizes that Brandon is on the date and immediately tries to break up with Sheridan. Rudi and Ruby sing “Love is a Losing Game” on the piano. It is haunting.
It’s time for the rose ceremony and there are a few key objectives. Someone has to lock Brandon down and Rudi has to physically and emotionally overwhelm at least two men tonight. Mel’s strategy is to tell Brandon that she’s terrified of him and give him the most awkward kiss in human history. Instead of congratulating Mel for overcoming her fear, Sheridan hears that she kissed Brandon and asks “So… Julia is out of the mix for him?” This poor man.
Now it’s Julia’s turn to try to snag Brandon. He basically tells her that he’s only interested in Savannah but she does not care. She’s looking out for herself and she tries to insinuate that Savannah is emotionless. She jumps on Brandon for a less awkward make-out session.
Rudi goes to Matt and tries to smooth things over by telling him that she made out with Ryan earlier in the night and slapping Matt in the face. She then jumps on him. YIKES YIKES YIKES. Thank God Chris Harrison arrives and it’s time for the Rose Ceremony.
Chris gives his rose to Bri, Trevor gives his rose to Jamie. Matt gives his rose to Rudi, and Ryan gives his to Natascha, who called him Clark Kent earlier. Two people I’ve never heard of, Danny and Bekah, end up paired off. Brandon gives his rose to Savannah. Gabe picks Ruby. Who is GABE? Sheridan picks Julia because he would combust if he didn’t. Mel, Mariana, and Cheyenne are all going home. Hmm….I wonder if they have anything in common?
After all the songtestants (still workshopping it) gather in that lil’ room after the rose ceremony, Brandon hugs Julia and tells her that they can figure this whole thing out. So, you’re telling her that there’s a chance?!