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SPOILERS ahead from The Bachelor 2020, aka Bachelor Peter Weber's Season 24.
Nothing about The Bachelor 2020 so far has been about Peter Weber falling in love, and that is not about to change. We've had ChampagneGate nonsense, Alayah drama nonsense, and now Victoria F. and Chase Rice nonsense. Victoria Fuller was already billed ahead of the season as "the biggest lighting rod," that's per ABC reality chief Robert Mills. But maybe she's dramatic because she keeps getting dragged into storylines that have nothing to do with finding love with Bachelor Peter?
While The Bachelor Season 24 was filming -- ABC's usual September to November schedule -- fans snapped photos of Victoria F. and Bachelor Peter Weber on a date at a Chase Rice concert. No big deal. Musicians, especially country musicians, have dates all the time on The Bachelor and Bachelorette to promote new music.
However, in this case, Victoria F. has a history with musician Chase Rice, who was also a finalist on Survivor: Nicaragua, (and should've won, sorry Fabio). Turns out, Victoria and Chase dated or at least hooked up before The Bachelor. According to Reality Steve, she even went to one of Chase's concerts a week before filming The Bachelor. Steve seems to think Victoria told Chase that she would be on the show, which doesn't mean it was obvious to either of them that producers would set up an awkward and forced love triangle storyline.
Variety asked ABC reality chief Robert Mills about the Victoria F. and Chase Rice situation, since she dated the musician who was performing during one of Peter's dates. It led, as the reporter put it, to viewers wondering if the show is over-produced. Producers would clearly know that Victoria F. had dated Chase Rice. Here's his rather candid response:
Look, I can’t say that certain things just happen completely by accident. You’d have to be an idiot to buy that some of these things are just happenstance. So yes, there is a girl and there is an entertainer on one of the dates and she happened to run into him. We don’t go in saying that we’re going to reverse engineer this, but when you find out about these things, you have to take advantage of it because it is great TV. So, I wouldn’t say over-produced, but I would say very well-produced. When you watch it, you will say, 'Wow, that was great TV.'
I'm definitely saying "wow" right now, for sure. Variety's Elizabeth Wagmeister, to her credit, followed-up by noting these are also real people's lives that The Bachelor is dealing with, so where is the line? It's a good question, and one we all sometimes forget as we get caught up in these shows. Here's Mills' answer:
As long as we’re not sabotaging Peter’s chance at finding happiness, then absolutely, we’ve got to produce the most entertaining TV. This is a TV show. I’m asking our viewers to spend 25 hours or so with us between January and March, so I’ve got to entertain you. But most importantly, we have to feel at the end of the day that we’ve done our job and that Peter has found the girl that is right for him. We would never say, 'If we hadn’t done this or this, things could have turned out much differently.'
Victoria F. was clearly upset by being set-up -- ambushed, really -- and it actually gets worse for her. As The Bachelor 2020 promo from last week shows, Alayah returns to the show in the January 27 episode. Reality Steve's spoilers added that, since Alayah was away for a while, she heard about Victoria F. and Peter's concert date and apparently read or heard about Victoria F.'s past with Chase Rice. So she spread that news around the house to the other women, who didn't know about the Chase/Victoria connection because she didn't tell them.
It apparently turns into a big dramatic spat between an angry Victoria F. and Alayah. Alayah ends up leaving the show anyway, even after Bachelor Peter invited her to return.
Honestly, without having seen how it all plays out yet, I feel for Victoria F. -- and also Chase Rice. Sure, Chase Rice still got to promote his music, which was the whole point -- getting "Lonely If You Are" and "Eyes On You" to a wider audience. However, he told PopCulture.com he wished he hadn't gotten dragged into The Bachelor triangle either:
I don't know exactly what happened or why it happened. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but I understand it from their side of it. They've got to make TV and that's the reason I don't like reality TV. It's pretty surprising that they brought me into that and I don't think it's a coincidence, but it's either the reality TV gods, just some crazy coincidence or some producer did a really good job. Either way, I think it's pretty weird they pulled me into that. That's a little jacked up they're going to do that to me. It was a pretty big surprise that wasn't what I wanted.
I feel worse for Victoria F., because she didn't even get to promote music or just leave after the concert like Chase Rice. She stuck around, presumably because she actually did have feelings for Bachelor Peter, even though their relationship added this awkward cloud over it.
Chase Rice also reacted to The Bachelor's triple date at the CMA Awards, saying for him it definitely wasn't a "love triangle":
The thing is, it's not even over for Victoria F. after this drama.
More SPOILERS ahead for later in Bachelor Peter's season.
During The Bachelor Season 24's hometown dates, the drama returns when a woman named Merissa -- whom Peter used to date, who also knows Victoria -- comes forward with gossip about Victoria's past. (Side note: Considering how many women Peter has dated himself, when are people going to warn women about him? Oh wait, his ex-girlfriend already did during The Bachelorette. No one cared.)
Apparently Bachelor Peter broke things off with Victoria before he even met her parents during the hometown date. That's supposedly when we get The Bachelor promo clip of Victoria F. telling the cameras to get out of her face. However, Victoria F. returns and Peter gives her another chance, ala Alayah, because he can't really quit anyone. Until he can.
Spoilers reveal Victoria F. makes it through hometowns (sorry Kelsey) but Victoria F. is dumped at the final 3 on overnight dates. Bachelor Peter's final two are said to be Hannah Ann Sluss and Madison Prewett. What happens after that? It's kind of a mystery, from what Chris Harrison tells Peter Weber during the final rose ceremony, to who Peter's Mom is crying about, to why Peter doesn't have a "normal" ending.
The Bachelor 2020 continues Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Here's a list of who goes home in every rose ceremony, if you want to cut to the chase ... but not the Chase Rice chase.