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Culture > Entertainment

‘The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart’ Makes You Regret Ever Becoming Invested in the Franchise

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

I have four words and four words only: screw you Jed Wyatt. 

Why? You might ask. Jed Wyatt’s mediocre dog food commercial singing that plagued Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette has inspired the newest show of the franchise: The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart

If Jed had waited just one more year, he could have perhaps been successful in getting the exposure for his country music career by signing up for Listen to Your Heart. That is what he originally desired when he signed up the first time.  

To explain the extremely confusing and murky concept of this show, the producers found 20 singers and put them together in the Bachelor Mansion and they are supposed to bond over music and fall in love. According to the promos for the rest of the season, they eventually will be performing in an American Idol-like setting (and people will get eliminated based on their performance? Perhaps based on their passion … this hasn’t really been explained well, or at all. 

Following the style of Bachelor in Paradise, there was not an even mix of the genders to begin with. So the 12 men of the house had to fight for the affection of the 8 women. For a show about music, these women were expected to choose which guy they wanted to pursue without really seeing whether they had any musical chemistry. The lack of music within a show made about musicians made the show feel oddly pointless and increased the meandering tone throughout the extremely long two-hour episode. 

The saddest part of Listen to Your Heart was that the Walmart workers in the commercial halfway through ended up being more talented singers than many of the contestants. Why are they not on this show? 

I know it’s only the first episode, but in a sense I miss the drama of Jed or even the sensationalized season of Peter Weber because in Listen to Your Heart, it just wasn’t there. Of course there was the initial “I’m unsure of which person I’ve known for 48 hours I want to commit to,” like any Bachelor franchise show, but the one fight — if you can call it that — was highly anticlimactic. Rudi, whose sole characteristic to me was that she was interested in Matt, ends up not being asked on his date, even though he told her that he would pick her. Shocker, I know. 

Despite knowing each other for less than a week, she feels extremely insulted and starts to scream at him. Instead of engaging in the fight, he just walks away. That is not allowed to happen in The Bachelor franchise. People are not to have the type of emotional maturity to know when a battle is not worth fighting, that’s a rule. 

Perhaps the lack of explosive crying fits or screaming matches is due to the fact that it appears that the franchise attempted to find people who are older, more settled in their lives, and actually have career ambitions besides “influencer”. 

That’s not to say that they have chosen a group of normies to make up the cast of Listen to Your Heart. On the contrary, this season is made up of people who fit a forced musician archetype to the tee. There’s Sheridan — who is the most “Austin, Texas” looking man I have ever seen and who mirrors what Jason Mamoa would be if he wore hats — had an uncomfortable relationship with his Subaru, and most importantly, never worked out. 

Trevor could be the spitting image of Jed, tan sherpa and everything. From what he sang, he has similar talent to Jed as well. And he competes for the love of Jamie — who is only 21, by far the youngest contestant — with Ryan who could be Shawn Mendes if you forgot your glasses at home. 

In addition there’s Josh, who is described as “jacked Mr. Clean,” Savannah who calls herself both a “wild child” and a “free spirit” within the same sentence, and Bekah, who had an uncomfortable introduction clip that included her performing opera and telling herself that she deserves love repeatedly into a mirror. 

And then there is Jamie, the girl far too young to be ready to “settle down” and laments on how she’s been on too many dates. She first hit my radar as the worst cast member of the season when she said that she hopes that no one tries to start drama, which immediately means that she is going to stir the pot and eventually become the villain, but will do it unsuccessfully. 

With a myriad of other musicians, there is enough personality to make a decently successful reality show in The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. So what went wrong?

In my opinion, it’s that they chose performers. I get it, that’s the whole part, but these are people who are too tailored in their actions to make really good television. They’re lacking diversity. Everything they say sounds rehearsed, and everyone at the moment is too afraid to get messy because they don’t want to look bad in front of the audience. No one on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette has ever acted like that because that is against the sole nature of the show. 

Like when Jamie and Ryan have a ~little chat~ she asks him what his favorite childhood memory was. He goes on a tangent about having seizures as a child and says that a seizure surgery was his best moment, going as far as to describe it as “awesome”. He managed to include a personal struggle and a moment of perseverance all in the same monologue. This type of prepared speech should not exist in this type of television show. 

The Bachelor franchise was not built for professionals, and as this first episode of Listen to Your Heart has shown, cannot really survive with them making up the cast. 

They all need to be “too cool” to be on a Bachelor show, but news flash, you’re there. When Matt forgets Chris Harrison’s name, it was the biggest eye roll of the entire episode. He 100% knew his name but needed to be ~edgy~ so he couldn’t admit to knowing anything about the franchise. Even if he didn’t, just give my man Chris some respect, because he deserves it. 

But there’s something almost comical about people pretending to have dignity on a show originating from The Bachelor. I would know. After devoting myself to this franchise and hereby writing an article on it, I am quite aware that all my pride is gone. So the people on Listen to Your Heart need to stop making it seem like they are civilized people. Please just give me something to look forward to. Quarantine has been very lonely. 

I will take this review back if the show does get better — emphasis on if. The premise was quite dumb to begin with, and it did not exceed my expectations in the slightest so far. But there still are five more weeks for The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart to redeem itself. Will it? Most likely not. But you know I’ll be watching. 

Elizabeth Karpen

Columbia Barnard '22

Lizzie Karpen is 2022 graduate of Barnard College, the most fuego of women’s colleges, who studied Political Science and English with a concentrations in Film and American Literature. To argue with her very unpopular opinions, send her a message at @lizziekarpen on Instagram and Twitter. To read her other work, check out Elizabethkarpen.com.