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Spoilers ahead for the Season 1 finale of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart on ABC.
The first season of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart has come to an end, and ABC hasn’t announced one way or the other if Bachelor Nation’s latest primetime experiment will be back for a second round. While the ratings haven’t crushed quite like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette despite other networks running out of new content, Listen to Your Heart has delivered some of what has made the franchise so popular during its six weeks on the air. That said, if Listen to Your Heart does return for Season 2, there are some changes that need to be made.
Admittedly, Listen to Your Heart has been unconventional even by Bachelor Nation standards. A combination of a reality dating show and a music competition TV show, some fans couldn’t believe they were giving Listen to Your Heart a shot back when the show first premiered. I for one think that Listen to Your Heart eventually found its groove, but that doesn’t mean the rhythm can’t be smoother. So, read on for some ways that I feel The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart needs to change if it returns for Season 2!
While it may be for the best that the shaky first season of Listen to Your Heart didn’t run for as long as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, six weeks just wasn’t long enough, even with the traditional two-hour episodes. There wasn’t enough time for the drama to unfold, the relationships between the contestants and the couples to grow and/or fall apart in interesting ways, and to get invested in who was doing what with whom.
Even splitting the two-hour episodes into one-hour episodes to make the season run longer might help give the twists time to set in. Part of the problem with this, of course, is that Listen to Your Heart needs to pack musical performances in to hold true to its format, but I know I wouldn’t mind if the performances happened in separate episodes from the classic Bachelor Nation drama. At the very least, that would create some cliffhangers.
Showcase The Contestants
Do you remember all 20 of those hopefuls who entered the Bachelor mansion back in the series premiere, hoping for love and musical success on Listen to Your Heart? Or, are you like me and barely remember most of them because they didn’t last long and didn’t get to go on special dates with each other? Date cards work for The Bachelor and Bachelorette while most of the hopefuls wait around the mansion because there’s one star at the center of the action.
Date cards also work for Bachelor in Paradise because anybody watching Bachelor in Paradise probably already recognizes most, if not all, of the scantily-clad singles on the beach, so watching them sit around and do nothing but hang out is still fun. If Listen to Your Heart gets another season, it needs to add some structure for the singles who aren’t going out on the dates so more than a handful of them are memorable. Give them something to do, and let them stand out from the pack! It would make the show more interesting and spread the attention around.
More Bachelor Nation Personalities
Bachelor Nation is more or less fueled by fans already knowing what’s ahead, and not just because the format is pretty much the same between the shows. The star of The Bachelorette is one of the runners-up of The Bachelor, the Bachelor in Paradise cast is comprised of recognizable Bachelor Nation alums, and The Bachelor star is either a Bachelorette runner-up or a popular Paradise contestant. Other alums are known to drop by the shows, with Demi Burnett as a memorable example from Peter Weber’s season of Bachelor. Listen to Your Heart needs more name and face recognition.
To the show’s credit, Bachelor Nation veterans did appear at the performances as judges, with Jason Tartick and Kaitlyn Bristowe adding some charm to the finale panel that helped offset the fact that Rudi Gutierrez and Matt Ranaudo weren’t there after bowing out early, leaving only two couples to perform. Still, if Listen to Your Heart returns and wants to claim hearts of Bachelor Nation fans, it needs some more familiar faces throughout rather than just as judges to help it feel like part of the franchise.
Embrace The Crazy
The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart isn’t The Bachelor or Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise, but it’s also not The Voice or American Idol or even Songland. This show is a bizarre combination of two reality genres that work separately but, as it turns out, mesh kind of awkwardly. The early episodes felt disjointed as the Bachelor Nation shenanigans didn’t blend well with the musical competition aspect. The show really started to come together when it started to embrace the crazy.
I can't name most of the contestants who arrived at the mansion on premiere night, but you can bet that Matt and Rudi singing “It Wasn’t Me” with Shaggy (not dressed like a crab) on a date is burned into my memory. Listen to Your Heart is more fun when it’s hard to take it seriously. For Bachelor Nation fans who watched Jordan Kimball throw a teddy bear temper tantrum on Paradise, Colton Underwood jump a fence on The Bachelor, and Hannah Brown inexplicably keep Luke Parker around way past his due date on The Bachelorette, Listen to Your Heart craziness is more of what we love.
One example of The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart struggling to make a show that combines Bachelor Nation dating with a music competition is the way contestants were eliminated. Those who were sent home were determined by judges who made their decisions based on chemistry and performances, which means big decisions were made based on a few minutes on stage. All the other drama had no bearing on the votes. Considering the song choices weren’t really fair, the fates of these singles falling to a handful of judges who changed every week doesn’t seem to fit.
This wouldn’t be a straightforward change. In a perfect world, I would actually love if Listen to Your Heart somehow managed to allow viewers to vote live from home, a la Dancing with the Stars. I would even appreciate decisions being made by the audience, a la The Masked Singer, or some kind of audience/judge combination like on America’s Got Talent. Making it a more interactive process might make the show feel more immersive, which could only help viewers become more invested.
All of this said, there is no guarantee at this point that The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart will even get a chance to make these changes in a second season. Chris Harrison had hinted at the possibility of ABC stretching the Listen to Your Heart footage to make more episodes back before the series premiered, but nothing came of it. Still, with production on The Bachelorette at a standstill and no details about what will happen for The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise, we shouldn’t rule anything out.
For now, Bachelor Nation fans have another summer show on the way on ABC, although definitely nothing like what they would have gotten with Bachelor in Paradise. There are also plenty of other viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, which you can find on our summer TV premiere schedule.