‘Listen to Your Heart’ is a ‘Bachelor’ franchise flop

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20 single men and women embark on a journey to find love in ‘Listen to Your Heart’.  Photo courtesy of    abc.com

20 single men and women embark on a journey to find love in ‘Listen to Your Heart’. Photo courtesy of abc.com

During the pandemic, there’s no question that we’ve all turned to TV for some solace, but this holds especially true for romance shows. With the abundance of new reality dating shows, like Netflix’s “Love is Blind” or “Too Hot to Handle,” it was only a matter of time until the “Bachelor” franchise released a new concept for Bachelor Nation. 

“The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart” focuses on 20 single men and women on a journey to find love through music. While living together in the Bachelor Mansion, the contestants explore their relationships, go on musical dates and of course, deal with the drama that the producers so carefully craft.

The timeline of the show will be familiar to fans of other “Bachelor” shows, including “Bachelor in Paradise.” “Listen to Your Heart” follows a similar format, where the power shifts between the women and men every other week. At the classic rose ceremony, contestants offer their rose to someone they’ve sparked a connection with over the course of the past week. If one of the singles doesn’t receive a rose, they’re sent home. Producers keep the show exciting by adding some new faces to the mix every week.

According to the show’s description, the series will get more interesting as time goes on. As couples commit to each other, there will be musical challenges, where performances and duets are judged by well-known musicians. It’s through this singing competition that the last couple standing will be revealed. 

At the start of the show’s second episode, there were a few solid couples already in place, including Chris and Bri and Jamie and Trevor (of former “American Idol” fame). Milford, Connecticut local Matt is still single and looking for a partner, as are many of the other members of the house. As those two established couples, as well as Sheridan and Julia, go on one-on-one dates, new girls are introduced to the mix, including Natascha, Mariana and Ruby. 

Natascha, a self-proclaimed diva, comes bearing important information that Trevor cheated on one of her best friends a mere year and a half ago. The girls of the house band together to protect young Jamie, only 21, from his misdeeds. Jamie, who has allegedly been cheated on in every one of her past relationships, is heartbroken as Natascha confronts Trevor, who claims it was only “emotional cheating.”

Chris and Bri admit they are falling for each other at Guitar Center. Meanwhile, Julia has her eye on about four different guys, despite having just gone on a great date with Sheridan. Could her flirtationships cost her a rose at the ceremony? Aside from Natascha’s revelation, we don’t really get to know any of the new women during the rest of the episode.

Matt gives his rose to Rudy, who was afraid of going home this week and scrambled to make a last minute connection at the Rose Ceremony. And, spoiler alert, Sheridan does keep Julia around despite her budding relationship with Brandon. Two people I’ve never heard of, Danny and Bekah, end up paired off, as do the elusive Gabe and Ruby. 

By the end of the episode, Mel, Cheyenne and newcomer Marianna are sent home. 

This second episode saw some of the contestants speaking for the first time. There are people popping up in the house that I swear we never met last week. We also see significantly less Chris Harrison appearances during this show, which is a little disappointing, but something I can probably adjust to. 

What this show is definitely not lacking is cringeworthy duets. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a musician myself by any means, so take this with a grain of salt. But the forced singing at various locals (a guitar store, the Dresden, a boardwalk, just casually in the mansion) was awkward at best. The “I communicate through song” lines felt tired after the first episode. Throwing 20 performers into a house together, with the renowned “Bachelor” interns behind the scenes, is a recipe for dramatic disaster. I’m not sure how sustainable that energy is, or if I could put up with it for the duration of the whole series. 

“Think clearly about who you’re extending a rose to, because tomorrow, everything will change,” Chris Harrison said at the rose ceremony. With this line, and the preview for next week, we’re led to believe the “competition” aspect of the show will begin next episode. 

I’m not sure the “Bachelor” producers hit the mark with this one. It’s certainly an interesting premise, but I think as a viewer I would have preferred a more culturally responsive season, with more racial or sexual diversity before we started grasping for straws with shows like “Listen to Your Heart.” This series misses the high note for me. 

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Julia Mancini is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.mancini@uconn.edu

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