[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the series premiere of The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. Read at your own risk!]
I didn't know what to expect from The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, but the series premiere of this musical spin-off hit the right notes (I'll try to keep the corny music jokes to a minimum from here on out). Despite its novel format and lack of familiar faces besides Chris Harrison, it still felt like a Bachelor franchise show. It had the kind of drama you come to the franchise for. The premiere had some choppy editing and underdeveloped characters, but that's typical of premieres. I think once this settles into a groove (sorry), Listen to Your Heart will be a nice little Bachelor show, as long as they stop comparing it to A Star Is Born. Has no one involved in this show seen A Star Is Born? I don't think that's the kind of ending they want!
The episode started with some intro packages for some of the initial 20 contestants. The most charming was Sheridan, who had a sense of humor about his collection of big hats and showed off his prized Subaru Outback, Sheila. Then it was quickly off to the California. Notice I don't say "Los Angeles" or "Bachelor Mansion," because this WASN'T SHOT AT BACHELOR MANSION! Blasphemy! They're using some heretical house in Simi Valley, which isn't even in Los Angeles County! I wonder if the family that actually lives in Bachelor Mansion didn't want to uproot for this season.
The 12 guys and eight girls arrived at the house and gradually found their way into a cocktail party, where attractions started to happen. Jamie and Ryan were the first two to arrive, and had an immediate connection, but Jamie also connected with Trevor. She got in the hot tub with the latter while the former was playing piano inside the mansion, oblivious. Rudi was cold, and Matt cutely gave her his jacket, and they went into the hot tub, too. Julia hit it off with Sheridan and Brandon, and she and Brandon had the first kiss of the season. Michael Todd (two names for just one son) skeeved everyone out with his overly forward approach. He tried to kiss Savannah within 10 minutes of meeting her, and tried to get Bri to go into the hot tub with him. She was like, "I have to find the bathroom."
The next day, Ryan got the first date card of the season, and he took Jamie on a date to the historic Capitol Records building, where they met John Mayer's producer, but conspicuously not John Mayer, and duetted on a cover of Mayer's song "Gravity." Ryan said he grew up loving John Mayer's music, and I have to assume that every other dude with a guitar on this show did, too. Later in the episode, Trevor sang a different John Mayer song to Jamie. Everybody wants to be John Mayer.
Matt got the next date card. The night before, he had tried to kiss Rudi in the hot tub, but she wasn't ready. She would have been ready now if he asked her -- but he didn't ask her, and he took Mel on the date, which royally pissed Rudi off. Rudi claimed that Matt promised he would take her, then reneged, which we did not see on the show. We clearly saw Rudi say she would love to go, but we didn't see Matt commit to anything.
His date with Mel lacked a spark, and they barely even showed it. It was a boring date anyway, watching Plain White T's sing a song that wasn't their only hit, "Hey There Delilah," in the backyard of the mansion. They must have sang it together, but it got cut for time. While they were on the date, Rudi sang a song as a way to process her feelings. I liked that a lot. That was the moment in this episode that I really felt like Listen to Your Heart was giving us something different than any other Bachelor show. Rudi has a beautiful voice, too.
Since it didn't work out with Mel, Matt tried to reconnect with Rudi, and she was having none of it. She very aggressively told him how she was feeling. She was so adamant that he had deceived her that he was doubting himself. "Sometimes stuff comes out of my mouth, I have no idea what's going on," he said. He was not expecting this level of emotional intensity. Matt has never watched The Bachelor. He thought Chris Harrison might be Chris Hansen or Chris Hemsworth. But I would say Rudi has watched The Bachelor, and she was ready to start some drama. She badmouthed him to the other women in the house.
Elsewhere, Julia was making out with some bald dude, but Sheridan wanted to shoot his shot. He played an original song he wrote for her, and you know what? Sheridan is a talented guy! And Jamie was torn between Ryan and Trevor. Ryan was perfect on paper, but Trevor made her feel so good. Trevor was on American Idol and Katy Perry told him he was hot. He's a dreamboat.
It was time for the rose ceremony, with the girls giving the roses. Chris Harrison debuted a new line. "Last bit of advice, ladies," he said. "Listen to your heart." He said it! He said it!
Savannah went first, and gave her rose to Brandon. Mel went to Gabe. Someone named Bekah gave her rose to someone named Danny. Bri gave hers to Chris. Cheyenne surprised everyone and gave hers to Matt. Sheridan's song worked, and Julia gave him her rose. Jamie went to Trevor. And Rudi, who is here for the drama, gave the final rose of the night to Ryan.
Four dudes including Michael Todd got cut. Bye, guys! Listen to the sound of your dreams of becoming the next John Mayer get deferred.
The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.