For an hour, "The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart" was actually good. OK, that's overstating it a bit; let's try again. For an hour, "The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart" was fun. Ehhh, that's going a bit too far, too. How about: For an hour, "The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart" wasn't an entirely embarrassing excuse for entertainment. Yeah, that seems about right.
Indeed, it took a third of this mini-spinoff, but Monday night was a bit of a sea change for "The Bachelor: Jeds on Jeds on Jeds," mixing things up and, for an hour at least, living up to the hilariously bad idea of melding a dating show with a singing competition show rather than living down to it.
The only problem: That still leaves another hour of the night. So let's get through that half quickly, shall we?
The episode starts with Harrison coming by with several big announcements. First: There will be no more new arrivals dropping by. SUCCESS! I've grown to hate reality TV shows that just keep piling on new additions and characters; they never gel with the rest of the established cast, and you don't root for them because they haven't been there long enough or been established as well as well as the originals. So this is already an improvement to "The Bachelor: Jeds on Jeds on Jeds." The second part of Harrison's announcement, though, is even more important: If you're not in a relationship or see a potential connection with someone else in the mansion, PACK YOUR ISH UP AND GET THE HELL OUT. That's right; Harrison's had enough of providing your un-romantic, drama-free butt shelter in his house. EITHER BE IN LOVE OR BE GONE!
Harrison's announcement obviously shakes things up Gabe, who has received a total of about three lines of dialogue so far this season and needs to find a connection ASAP. Unfortunately, he goes to Savannah, who's in the midst of a love triangle with Julia and Brandon. Savannah says that she doesn't feel the same way that he does about their relationship potential, and Gabe handles the rejection like a respectful champ. WHAT A GOOD GUY; makes me wish we'd met him at some point over the previous four hours of television! So he leaves the mansion, along with last week's new arrival Ruby, who ... was a person on this show.
Having to reject Gabe, though, really hurts Savannah, so she spends the next ten minutes crying – which really feels like an overreaction for somebody the audience didn't even know existed until maybe three minutes ago. Eventually Brandon comes over to comfort her – wait, did I say comfort? I mean weirdly condescend to her. Yeah, this guy comes swaggering over, dropping egregious swear words into the middle of "heartfelt" plea for her to stay on the show instead of leave and then tops it all off with a weirdly mean, "You want to stay here and keep this going, or do you wanna go home and cry?" That's ... not a sweet thing to say at all. It just kinda sounds rude, and now all I'm hearing is Scut Farkus from "A Christmas Story" taunting, "What, you're gonna cry now? Come on, crybaby! Cry for me, come on! CRY!" Always good when your words of comfort remind me of one of Hollywood's most infamous bullies! Worst of all, it comes shortly after he told Julia that he only gave Savannah his rose because he knew Julia would be safe at the rose ceremony, so he's clearly playing both of these women – AND I DO NOT LIKE IT!
Anyways, for all the drama, this stuff is all the same dull trash as the first two episodes: an awkward mesh of a dating show with a music show that doesn't satisfy as either and doesn't even have a clear goal or concept. With "The Bachelor," it makes sense: A person dates a bunch of people to hopefully find The One. But with "Jeds on Jeds on Jeds," is the show trying to make couples or is it trying to find the next Sonny & Cher? (And if it's the second, why would you want to do this terrible thing?) It's not really sure what the show's goal is supposed to be, so we don't know who or what we're even supposed to be rooting for. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO THINK THIS HARD ABOUT A "BACHELOR" PROPERTY! Add in a bunch of boring "Bachelor" rejects, and you've got a big ol' nothing burger of a TV show, with no one to root for – even if you knew what you were supposed to root for.
Thankfully, hope arrives in the form of another Harrison announcement: Now that all the stragglers are out of the mansion, the show is ready to turn into a singing competition. The couples will be given duets to perform in front of a live audience and in front of a panel of judges grading their musical chemistry AND their relationship chemistry. Hold on: Relationship judges?! Well, that's just absolutely snooker-loopy bonkers. Imagine some stranger watching your relationship for five minutes and saying, "Sorry, you're not in love enough. Not buying it." What an absolutely insane idea; I'M ON BOARD! What absolutely absurd nonsense that's sure to turn these boring characters into live-performing lunatics. Oh, those judges will also now decide the show's winning couple, who will get a chance to record original songs and tour the country. (Or at least would've gotten a chance to tour *shakes fist at the year 2020*)
Well, would you look at that: We finally have a premise and coherent goal for this show. IMPROVEMENT!
Unfortunately, we still have a lot of "Bachelor Lite" to get through – and at least 47 crappy renditions of "I Want You to Want Me." That's the song Savannah and Brandon get for the first singing contest, and they do not sound good while practicing, warbling out pitchy harmonies and choosing to do a sad bastard cover of the peppy song. And they just keep practicing it and practicing it and practicing – and practice in this case is NOT making it perfect. Even Cheap Trick would be like, "PLAY SOMETHING ELSE!" Meanwhile, Julia's half trying to practice her duet with Sheridan aka Faux Bice and half falling asleep, but having to hear her ex's lousy cover echoing in endlessly from the other side of the mansion drives her to drink instead. Honestly, very relatable. (*pours new glass of wine*)
Sadly, instead of just sulking quietly with her wine and plotting her revenge with an excellent Backstreet Boys cover, she decides that she must out-annoying their singing by complaining about Savannah and Brandon to everyone who will listen because they have the sheer brazen arrogance to be cute together. THE GALL! Julia eventually confronts Savannah about their relationship, saying that she thinks they're fake, but Savannah accurately says that how they act together is none of her business.
Anyways, I've never been so happy for date cards to arrive – even if the show could not care less about the dates or the people going on them. The first one goes to Bekah and Danny, two people who've been here this whole time, I guess. They go on a shopping spree in ... somebody's house? Seriously, it's just somebody's living room. Are they breaking in and stealing stuff? Is this a reality show version of "The Bling Ring"? Thankfully, it turns out to be the studio of stylist Rebecca Mink, a person I'm apparently supposed to know. They get to try on clothes, get a photoshoot and get to swim in the house's big swimming pool. Hold on, is this still Rebecca Mink's house? Is Mink just stuck inside watching TV while two randos putz around in her pool. This date is all making me uncomfortable – and that's BEFORE Danny goes in for a makeout session only to be denied because Bekah doesn't share the same level of feelings yet. Cue sad trumpet sound.
Meanwhile, Dark Universe Shawn Mendes and Natascha get the other date card – though the show cares so little that they don't even show them getting it. Instead, we meet them just as they arrive for a concert from country star Chris Lane. (Remember concerts?) They have fun, Chris Lane verifies that I'm NOT insane for thinking Ryan looks like Shawn Mendes, and the two even go on stage during the show to sing – though the crowd is very much like, "WHO ARE THESE STRANGERS, AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?!"
But hey, we did it! We made it through the pointless, boring hour and made it to the good stuff: the singing competition, complete with star judges Kesha, Jason Mraz and "Bachelor" couple Jojo and Jordan. (So at least one Rodgers brother has something to do these days.)
The first song is "Fallin' All In You" by Shawn Mendes, as performed by Rudi and Matt. And whaddya know: They're not half bad! GOBSMACKED, I TELL YOU! Rudi's voice has some actual character, soul and texture to it as opposed to the rest of the coffee shop open mic night performers on the show, and Matt ... is also on stage! But as Mraz says in his post-performance review, he held the song down well, let her steal the show and sold the emotion in the tune – and Jordan and Jojo concur, though even they seem really confused and weirded out by the idea that they're judging people's relationships from afar. Bah, I don't find it weird; I find it HILARIOUS!
Up next is Chris and Bri, who perform "Beyond" by Leon Bridges. They're cute and charming – even if Chris is really stiff on stage, and only seems more so compared to Bri, who performs to both him and the crowd. My review of their performance: Worse things have happened. Mraz at one point says, though, that he didn't quite buy their chemistry because she would perform to the crowd instead of to Chris during the song. THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO, MRAZ! You're performing to the crowd! I think that hat's cutting off the circulation to his brain – though he is the most entertaining of the judging crew. He supplies some of the more potent critiques, as well as some great reaction shots that either make him look like he just heard a music fart or like he desperately wants to call his agent after filming to make sure this never happens again. Kesha, on the other hand, is a little disappointing, giving everybody the same feedback: We'll see where your relationship goes! Well, that's annoyingly sane and responsible of you to say! THROW SOME BOMBS!
Back to the show, Bekah and Danny are up next with ... "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers? That is ... not what comes to mind when I think of romantic crooning songs. The arrangement is awful too, turning the stomping and howling hit into what sounds like the opening credits music to a Hallmark movie – complete with Bekah and Danny awkwardly sitting on a bench innocently together on stage. It's weird and strange, and the two top off their bad night with Danny going in for a kiss on stage and Bekah giving him the Heisman when he goes in for seconds. I don't want to say they're doomed ... but they're probably doomed.
Next is the 491st rendition of "I Want You to Want Me" from Brandon and Savannah – and it sucks. You know how I know it sucks? The show fully cuts away from it – no audio or anything – to talk to other members of the cast. Even the show is like, "We don't want to put you through this." Meanwhile, Faux Bice and Julia go next and kill it (at least by this show's low musical standards) with "As Long As You Love Me" – so much so that Jordan Rodgers gets WAAAY too into it.
Natascha and Dark Universe Shawn Mendes then take the stage with "Stay" by Rihanna – and I am not a fan. Natascha's got Christina Aguilera syndrome where she tries to cram vocal runs into every single note, and as a result, the song turns into vocal gloop while Ryan's voice is far more grumbly than I expected. Their voices don't mesh well together – at least in this arrangement – but the judges like them enough. Mraz, however, does basically say to Dark Universe Shawn Mendes that Natascha is more talented than him – so that's modestly cold-hearted and hilarious!
We end with Jamie and Trevor, clearly the producers' favorites. Why, I do not know. They take the stage and sing a Maren Morris song; her voice is fine but sounds very young and thin while Trevor ... is a person who is also on the stage. He's the definition of boring coffee house open mic night guy – complete with the generically handsome good looks that make him seem like every contestant who's ever been on "The Bachelorette." But the show clearly likes them and even gives Jamie the mic after their performance to sell herself to the crowd by saying a bunch of stuff about how she was nervous and how she had self-esteem issues. THAT'S NOT FAIR; NO ONE ELSE GOT TO PITCH THEMSELVES AFTERWARD! The judges and the crowd eat up, though, while I once again do my best Bud Grossman impression.
Now that the performances are over, we get our first rose ceremony where it's not the couples deciding who stays and who goes, but our star judges. (But let's be serious: It's really the producers.) Jamie and Trevor get the first nod, and the show still awkwardly makes them give each other roses. Natascha and Dark Universe Shawn Mendes are next. Eventually, the final batch of roses comes down to Brandon and Savannah versus Bekah and Danny. Who will it be: the couple that's a part of the biggest drama on the show or the couple that I forgot existed until this very episode? Yep, it goes to Brandon and Savannah – which is too bad because I feel like the producers set Bekah and Danny up to fail with that crappy Lumineers arrangement. It's also too bad because Brandon looked punchably smug throughout the whole ceremony. Don't like him singing, don't like him leading two women on at the same time, don't like him smirking his way through the rose ceremony and certainly don't like him still being on my TV screen.
But hey, this is improvement for "The Bachelor: Jeds on Jeds on Jeds"! Before, it was just a boring shell of its predecessor with no one worth giving a damn about. Now, thanks to the performance aspect of the show, there's an actual goal, there's some actual tension and the couples are actually worth having opinions about – and that's most of the fun of "The Bachelor," anyways: having people to root for or hate.
So congrats to "The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart": You may have finally found a reason to exist.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.