Celebrities — they're just like us! They run errands. They hang out with friends. And sometimes they have a little trouble meeting "the one." Enter The Choice (premiering Thursday at 9/8c), Fox's new celebrity dating show that bears a striking resemblance to that NBC singing competition of, almost, the same name. However, instead of asking four celebrities to sit in chairs and press a button when they hear the voice of the next singing superstar, this time the four celebrities are asked to pull the "love handle" every time they hear the voice of their possible next paramour. But how do the bachelors and bachelorettes determine who to pick based on voice alone? And why would celebrities sign up for such a crazy blind-date scenario? TVGuide.com went straight to the source and talked with 22-year-old rapper/Dancing with the Stars contestant/ The Choice bachelor Romeo about how he was "kidnapped" for the show, why his cheating technique failed and what it took to get him to pull his love handle.
How were you approached for the show?
I was kidnapped, put in a little van and I was told I was going to find love. All the celebrities were like, "Wait, wait, wait! Where are we right now?" They kept it so secret. They didn't want anybody to know what we were doing. All they told us was that,"We're going to find you love. We're going to find you the perfect match. You're going to have a beautiful date." We didn't know that we weren't going to be able to see these girls. We didn't know we were just going to have base them off of what they tell us. It was definitely a fun thing to do for me because this show gives the viewers a chance to see how celebrities interact with these people. We're human just like everybody else. You get to see how we handle this blind-date situation.
How did they know it was OK to kidnap you for this? Did someone else sign you up?
For me, somebody contacted me from Dancing with the Stars and they were like, "This will be really cool. We know you're single and you're looking for that Juliet," and that's kind of how it happened.
What was your first thought when you got to the set of The Choice?
My first thought was, "Am I going to space right now?" Being able to do this show, I felt like a kid again. It's like going to the mall back when you're 14 years old and trying to find a girl to go out with you.
I think a lot of people are wondering why you haven't found your Juliet yet. What made you want to go on a celebrity dating show?
For me, I think I'm a workaholic. I do love work and I have a big family and it's really hard for a lot of girls to really understand that. It's easier said than done. That's why this show was made for a person like me — somebody you think should have found his Juliet. I don't have a Juliet. The Choice allowed me the opportunity to find love and to find happiness. If I had to do it over again, I would definitely do it over again because we were the first guinea pigs. We didn't know what to expect. We didn't get to watch it on TV. We just had to go with our gut feelings and you're doing everything under a tough speed.
How did you figure out what to listen for?
I just figured it out on the spot. I'm going to tell you one of my cheat codes I used. Don't tell anybody, but they had this guy in front of me and every time that he'd faint or scream, I thought, this girl has to be hot or something. That was one of my little cheats, but he let me down, I'm not going to lie. So that taught me to listen and that I had to choose based off of my feelings and not the thoughts of this person. Just hearing their voices and not being able to see them, it was very interesting because one girl I wanted to pick was perfect. I should have turned around but I didn't pick her because I thought her voice was just kind of weird. I was like, "No way could this girl be what I'm looking for." I turned around and I was so disappointed in myself. It was one of those things in life — sometimes you don't have the guts to go up to that girl and ask them for a date or sometimes you end up with someone who's not the person you really want. It shows that these celebrities are just regular people. Finding love on this show is very interesting.
Were there certain things that made you turn around automatically?
I feel that a lot of sexy people never say that they are sexy. So one of my things was when I heard a girl say that she was sexy, I wasn't going to turn around because she could have been a little troll-like with a witch nose or something. When I heard education, I was going to turn around. I was looking for a girl who is in school or went to school. Also, when I heard anybody talk about God. I grew up in church and grew up very religious and I feel like everything that I've accomplished is because of the man up above so when I heard anything about religion, I turned around. It was interesting because it's just like if you're performing, a good performer usually gets people cheering so I tried to use the crowd anticipation as well.
When multiple guys turned around for a particular woman, how did you convince her to pick you?
I was just really genuine and said what I felt. I'm not going to spill the beans, but I got Pauly D so good that he just bit his tongue basically. With me, it was definitely about being real. That's a scary situation when all the guys turned and the girl had to pick because it could be somebody you really wanted and they may pick another guy. Just like life again, if the girl picks the wrong guy, you lose a good one.
What was it like having the cameras on you during the date with your pick?
It wasn't that bad because the girl and I had a good connection. But, realistically, if you meet somebody, it's not like you're going to fall in love that quickly. We were able to get to know each other and it was kind of easygoing even though the cameras were right there. It was something that I was happy that I could share with all my fans.
Were you happy with the person that you ended up on the date with? Was it a good match?
Overall, I liked her. She's a cool girl. I don't know if she's somebody I would necessarily date, but that's the thing about life — you never know. You talk to somebody and it may be somebody you end up with five years from now, two months from now or maybe you'll be best friends. If I had to do it all over again, it probably would have been a little bit different. My pick isn't necessarily somebody that I think I would marry, but somebody that I could become really good friends with and you never know what happens from there.
What did you learn from the show that you think will help when you go on dates in the future?
You can't go off of what others think. You have to go with your gut. Don't worry about what someone else says. Just go with what sounds right and who you genuinely think is the best person for you personality-wise. You can't worry about looks. It's about the inside at the end of the day because we're all going to get old and gray one day.
What is the one tip you would give to another celebrity about to go on The Choice?
This is what messed me up: You only get three picks and there are at least 20 girls back there. So I thought, "They're saving the best girls for last so I'm not going to turn my chair around. I'm going to wait 10 takes and take a gamble." But I would tell them if you hear something you like, turn around immediately because that person may be the one for you. You can't worry about the next 15 people in that moment.
Would you recommend The Choice to other celebrities?
Definitely. It's a fun experience and it gives the viewers a chance to get to know your favorite celebrity a little bit better. There's a lot of comedy too. A lot of people probably think DJ Pauly D is a big player, but let's just say I'm the real Romeo in this situation.
The Choice premieres Thursday at 9/8c on Fox.