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Spoilers ahead for the April 27 episode of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart.
The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart is three weeks into combining the classic Bachelor search for love with a music competition series. Bachelor Nation fans haven't been on board Listen to Your Heart nearly as much as The Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise, and Listen to Your Heart only has three more episodes to become a fan-favorite worthy of a second season (or even a few more episodes). After the latest episode, which put the couples on stage to be judged on both performance and chemistry, I'm more struck by how Listen to Your Heart really isn't fair.
Even just the format of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart isn't particularly fair, and it feels to me like the show is still figuring itself out as the weeks pass. While other installments in the Bachelor franchise leave the fates of the hopefuls in the hands of whoever is handing out the roses in a given week rather than judges who don't have any context, Listen to Your Heart has combined the two. I'm not sure if this series is trying to be Bachelor in Paradise combined with The Voice or not, but that's the sense I get. There was a rose ceremony, but it didn't make all that much sense.
Dates Give Extra Time To Build Chemistry
Like the other Bachelor Nation series, certain couples will get to go on adventures outside of the mansion courtesy of date cards that can be pretty extravagant. The dates are so thrilling that they can enhance feelings, whereas couples who don't get to go on dates don't get the opportunities to build their chemistry through prolonged one-on-one time and an intense shared experience. Those date bonds can be as fleeting as they are intense, but the judges judge what they see, and what they see are sparks that come from getting to do more than hang out in the mansion hot tub.
Non-Couples Don't Get The Same Opportunities
After Chris Harrison started the episode by declaring that singles who haven't formed strong couple connections shouldn't go on to perform, Gabe Baker withdrew from competition and went home rather than stick around without a partner. If this was just a season of The Bachelorette and Gabe decided to leave, it would have been notable but not too huge a deal. With The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart doubling as a competition, Gabe didn't have the opportunity to win because he didn't form a connection. He lost the competition portion because he wasn't an immediate hit in the Bachelor portion. He wasn't even there for the wrong reasons!
No Song Choice
The couples on The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart don't get to select their own songs, so they don't get to choose songs that fit their voices and talents best. Some of them have to split a song originally performed by a solo artist, like Rudi Gutierrez and Matt Ranaudo, while others have to cover songs originally performed by groups. Julia Rae and Sheridan Reed had to sing a Backstreet Boys song. It worked for them, but things could have gone very differently.
Admittedly, my critique of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart not letting the couples choose their own songs is pretty much the same thing as complaining that spelling bees don't give all the kids the same words, but that's not super fair either, right?
In all seriousness, I think I'd enjoy The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart a lot more if at least a couple of these unfair issues were addressed, but I'm not holding my breath. The first season was only ordered for six episodes, and the ratings don't quite indicate that a Season 2 is a sure thing like with the other Bachelor Nation series. Of course, it did at least get to finish its season, which is more than the next season of The Bachelorette managed to accomplish.
Only time will tell if The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart will pick up in the second half of Season 1 or has a future beyond Season 1. For now, you can catch new episodes of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.