[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Episode 3 of The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. Read at your own risk!]
This week, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart moved into the American Idol portion of the season, where the couples performed in front of an audience and judges who determined their fates. It became clear to me this episode that Listen to Your Heart really owes as much to American Idol as it does to Bachelor in Paradise. The first two weeks were like the audition weeks and early rounds where we got to know our players, and then this week was like the first round of audience voting, when things got really real. Only instead of Paula, Simon, and Randy, the judges were Jason Mraz, JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, and Kesha, her snakeskin suit, and her fingernail chain. What a look!
Before we got to the performances, though, we had some drama in the house. Brandon explained what he meant when he said he still wanted to explore things with Julia, which was that he didn't give her a rose because he knew she would get one from Sheridan, and he still wanted to see what was there with Savannah, too. He was openly keeping his options open.
Julia and Savannah talked about it without getting worked up or accusatory, and I was impressed with how friendly they were being considering the situation. But then Brandon chose Savannah, and the girls stopped being friends. Julia became fixated on Brandon and Savannah's relationship and how fake it was to her. She kept saying they went "0 to 100" over and over again, to the point that Drake will probably be contacting ABC about royalties.
Julia, in a self-destructive spiral, confronted Savannah about being "disingenuous" (bless this cast for knowing the correct word and not saying the common Bachelor malaprop "disingenuine"). Julia's blitz and subsequent claims that she was being attacked and didn't even have feelings for Brandon proved that old Beyoncé point, "What's worse, lookin' jealous or crazy? Jealous and crazy." Meanwhile, Sheridan was mooning over Julia, who was taking him for granted.
Chris Harrison appeared to explain the rules for the rest of the season: From here on out, the judges will be deciding who gets roses and who doesn't. The judges will come from the music industry and Bachelor Nation, with the former grading on performance and the latter grading on romantic chemistry. The couple who wins will be the best singers and most in love. They'll work together with a producer to write and record their own songs, and then go on tour. I'm including this in this recap because it's kind of a lot to take in, and the franchise has never done anything like it. It's maybe the biggest format change the franchise has ever attempted.
In the performance round, Rudi and Matt went first and sang a Shawn Mendes song, but not one of his famous ones. Rudi is the best singer on this show, and she had everybody groovin'. Kesha's note to them was to "push it" and let each other shine as bright as they can. Kesha is not ready for the musical judging big leagues.
Bri and Chris went next, and they sounded nice together, too, and showed off some good chemistry. Jason Mraz said that Bri seemed like she was splitting her attention between Chris and the audience, though, which I thought was a perceptive note.
Bekah and Danny went next. Danny's job title was listed as "celebrity impersonator," which I had never noticed before. Has his job always been celebrity impersonator? I had to know if there was proof of him impersonating celebrities, so I went to his YouTube channel where I watched a video of him and his friend doing impressions of what it would sound like if Elmo sang "Old Town Road." It was terrible, and somehow had 34 million views. YouTube is a shadow realm to me.
Anyway, their performance didn't go well. They had no romantic chemistry, and at the end of the song, they exchanged a quick peck. Danny tried to go back in for another kiss, and Bekah stopped him by putting her thumb over his mouth. JoJo went "Ooh." She was right. It was painful.
Brandon and Savannah, who you could call Brandannah if you really wanted to, went next, and they turned the power pop classic "I Want You to Want Me" into a sluggish dirge. Julia felt validated by their lack of chemistry.
Julia and Sheridan had surprisingly good chemistry on their cover of the Backstreet Boys' "As Long As You Love Me." Sheridan looked at Julia with so much love in his eyes, and maybe Julia took it for granted that they would sound good together. Jordan loved it, and stood up and waved his arms in the air like he just didn't care. This could be a turning point in their relationship...and maybe not in a good way.
Natascha and Ryan did a strong, sexy performance, and Jason Mraz said that Natascha is better than Ryan and could overshadow him if they continue to perform together.
Jamie got severe stage fright before her and Trevor's performance, so bad that she almost couldn't go on, but then they did fine, and Jamie was so elated she was practically bouncing off the walls. A low low and a high high.
Then it was time for the rose ceremony, which was awkward. It took place later that night inside the house. Chris Harrison called out the names of the judges' selections, and then they gave their roses to each other. It felt convoluted and anticlimactic. They should have had the judges announce the winners in front of the live audience. That would have kept the energy up. I don't know why they didn't do that. As expected, Danny and Bekah didn't get roses, so the Julia-Brandon-Savannah-Sheridan drama will continue. And it looks like next week, even patient Sheridan reaches his breaking point.
The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Episodes are available to stream on Hulu.