The Bachelor franchise has, for months, teased a musical spin-off a la American Idol called The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, where contestants compete for love and also a shot at a music career. Within the first 20 minutes of Monday night’s two-hour premiere, half-a-dozen references to A Star Is Born were made, a few kisses were shared, and fake drama ensued. In situations where chemistry was obviously lacking, Ed Sheeran-type “nice guys” broke out guitars to serenade women with love songs they claimed to have written at some point in the 12 hours they’d known each other. The fabricated fantasy of The Bachelor is well-documented, but The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart takes it to the next level: to get into the show, the viewer must suspend all reality and really believe that a select group of predominantly white men and women are falling in love in less than a day because they are hot, sensitive artists, and some of them share an appreciation of John Mayer. Or viewers could lean into the absurdity. I strongly recommend the latter.
Judging by the Twitter hashtag, which is littered with people who watched the premiere solely because they were self-isolating and didn’t have much else to do, the spin-off might prove to be a sleeper hit. There are 10 men and 10 women living in the famed Bachelor mansion now, but there are still very few people of color. Diversity is described in terms of musical genre, and those genres are limited to “pop,” “country,” “alternative,” and “guy with long hair and a wide-brim hat from Austin, Texas,” which somehow doesn’t fit into any of the previous categories. Dates are exclusively duets and makeout sessions atop the famed Capitol Records office building in Hollywood or watching the Plain White T’s perform a song that isn’t “Hey There Delilah” in a sparsely attended backyard performance. To progress on the show, contestants are forced to couple up, Love Island-style. It’s unclear if this a competition to see who’s the last musical theater-loving couple standing, or if viewers are expected to track the progress of those pairings, but either way, I’m in. It’s as if the brilliantly sadistic Bachelor producers thought the only way to expand their universe was to create a show full of Jed Wyatts, where everyone is there for the wrong reasons, and they were correct.
After all, in the immortal words of Lady Gaga, there can be 100 singles in a room, and 99 don’t believe in you. All it takes it one industry hopeful and an insane Bachelor spinoff to launch a career.
Video Producer: Lisa Fischer