SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the series premiere of “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.”
Amid the era of social distancing, ABC is bringing a familiar franchise back to viewers’ living rooms. “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart” made its series premiere on Monday night as the newest installment in “The Bachelor” family.
The six-episode event is considered a cross between “A Star is Born” and the standard reality series’ formula — it brings together a group of 20 single musicians and sends them on a rotation of dates in the hopes of finding love. Each week, new additions are brought into the house (a la “Bachelor in Paradise”) to shake up the couples as they navigate their relationships. While it takes the formula of “Paradise,” the show recruited a body of contestants made exclusively of performers — each with their own unique genre and set of musical skills that they will showcase over the season.
The first episode brought several “Bachelor” tropes, including intro packages where we met the first eight contestants.
First was Brandon Mills, a Marine Scout-Sniper from Nashville. Next was Bri Stauss, who was engaged back home in Utah before she applied for the show. Aquaman-lookalike Sheridan Reed, who has been traveling out of his Subaru that he named Shelia. Others became known for their interests: Bekah Purifoy with musical theater; Gabe Baker with sports and faith; and Savannah McKinley with yoga. And then there was Trevor Holmes, certainly no stranger to reality TV after Katy Perry swooned over him on “American Idol,” and Jamie Gabrielle, who can barely legally drink as the youngest contestant. Plus, they all sing.
Viewers were then introduced to the contestants’ new Los Angeles home (which is not the infamous “Bachelor” mansion that has become an icon in the franchise), where the individuals arrived.
Jamie was first, followed others who weren’t given intro packages, including Matt Ranaudo, who met host Chris Harrison in the driveway. “I’ve never seen ‘The Bachelor,’ but I recognize that guy. Chris Hansen? Chris, uh, Hemsworth?” he said.
A young woman from Los Angeles who only goes by one name — Rudi — was next. “I feel like I’m in love all the time. I’ve dated all of LA already. I’m like ‘Where are the good ones? I’m ready!’”
There was a rapid fire of quick entrances before the final suitor arrived — rounding out the group to 12 women and eight men.
The strangers took the evening to mingle and get to know each other; they discussed who liked who, what their music styles were and where they were from. Matt and Rudi paired off in the hot tub and she rejected his kiss. Ryan Neal (one of the first to arrive) had a chance to get to know Jamie before they kissed, and she quickly did the same with Trevor. Sheridan liked Julia Rae — who was introduced by her passion for music therapy after a diagnosis with cystic fibrosis. On several occasions, people burst into song or took turns on the piano or pulled out a guitar.
The next morning, contestants were presented with the second “Bachelor” trope: the date card. The invite was awarded to Ryan, who asked Jamie to join him on a date to Capitol Studios. The outing set the stage for the season’s first love triangle, leaving Trevor stuck at the mansion while the other two enjoyed their date together.
“I do wish I was on that date with Jamie,” Trevor confessed. “They could be doing the coolest thing ever. That makes it easier to form a bond quicker. Feelings can develop and things can move forward. So that’s why I’m on the edge of my seat a little bit.”
Jamie and Ryan spent their date recording a duet version of John Mayer’s “Gravity” with producer John Alagía. “Us singing together definitely brings up the romance level. I’m singing it with him, and singing it to him, him singing it to me. It’s an emotional experience,” Jamie said.
Meanwhile at the mansion, the second date card arrived for Matt Despite having an earlier connection with Rudi, he ultimately decided to take Mel Taevin — the purple haired New Yorker — to the Plain White T’s concert. After their return, the contestants prepared for their first elimination.
Angry about being passed over and misled, Rudi confronted Matt during the first cocktail party. The argument turned into a he-said, she-said and ended with a defeated Matt.
“I feel like I just went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson,” he told the others. While he spent the remainder of the night worried about his rose, others tried to secure their own.
Before the ceremony, Harrison reminded the women of the tagline of the show, “Last bit of advice ladies: listen to your heart.”
Savannah McKinley picked Brandon; Mel offered her rose to Gabe; Bekah gave hers to Danny Padilla; Bri picked Chris Watson; Cheyenne Arnell saved Matt, and Julia selected Sheridan. Jamie was forced to confront her love triangle and picked Trevor, and Rudi surprised by saving Ryan from elimination. After all of the pairings were complete, the ceremony sent four men home: Jack Mason, Josh Hester, Michael Todd and Russell Johnson.
But don’t worry, some new romantics will be joining the group next week!
“Listen to Your Heart” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.