It’s only Week 5 of the show? It feels like at least Week 8, but then I also feel like it’s Week 294 since I last got my roots done.
In an effort to establish herself after Covid-19 and murder hornets as the third worst organism capable of reproduction, Julia reportedly expressed interest in reuniting with Sheridan. The pair, who were less a couple than a floorplan for a potential condo unit, had been talking again post-taping. However, after he saw the damning episode where she said he wasn’t her first choice, Sheridan seized hold of his remaining tablespoon of dignity and showed her the door. Reality shows can be rewarding experiences after all.
Just one more week remains until the finale, so the last four couples really have to step up their games. Short of donating an organ to their partner, it’s unclear how they can accomplish that for the relationship part of the competition. Next Monday’s judges, another unholy conglomeration of musical has-beens and Bachelor couples who have not yet resolved who gets the air fryer, will decide which couple earns the prize. The coveted recording deal will inevitably include development of a logo involving two hearts.
Chris reminds us sternly—because he protects the brand even more fiercely than Dr. Sanjay Gupta protects his crates of Visine—that “it really is always about that love.” He missed his calling as a Harlequin romance author.
What’s more, he adds, the “dream of finding it all, not just a musical career” and single appearance on Kimmel, is paramount to this latest mutation of the franchise. If it pays off, next year they’ll partner with HGTV for The Bachelor: Listen to Your Realtor.
We open at the mansion, where people are drinking coffee, playing guitar, and comparing Q scores. They review the previous night’s results, which left four couples in play, and three trying to finagle a spot on America’s Got Talent.
Matt thinks things will heat up now, but “you never know what’s going to happen around here” if you don’t read the industry trades. Jamie will focus on her relationship with Trevor, which grows deeper with his every kowtow to her tantrums. Chris asks Bri and Contestant Chris (why must they force us to pay attention? Call him Christopher, and I can finish my Sudoku while I watch) about last night’s big moment, when they told each other that they loved them. That’s a big moment for a show that usually rewards people for bickering mindlessly.
But not so fast. Host Chris tells the group there must be a “massive” change before they can move forward, and it’s not a more expensive wardrobe. They are leaving LA “for good,” he enthuses, as if promising them escape from the gulag. They’re going to Vegas! What stays in Vegas is the rejected couple.
The group takes individual scenic bus rides to the destination, during which each couple discusses meaningful relationship issues like connecting, vulnerability, and jumping bones. The Bloomsbury Group will not be eclipsed from the history books.
During their travels, Bri and Chris are confirmed to be besotted, Trevor serenades Jamie, and Natascha and Ryan cuddle contentedly. You’d think they’d take this time to practice their performance skills, but that wouldn’t appeal to those who tune in for relationship drama and stock footage of desert terrain.
As the buses travel along what looks like the same barren strip of road where Cary Grant was attacked by the crop duster, Rudi wonders where Matt’s head is at. Probably up his behind, but we need some independent verification. At the moment, he believes it’s possible that he and Rudi will connect, but that’s also how he feels about getting a nipple piercing.
Everyone is excited about what’s to come. Little do they know they’ll be confined to their studio apartments for three months in the near future. At the moment, Bri and Chris have gone missing, leaving the others to wonder at their whereabouts instead of asking the assistant producer. Matt and Rudi also decide to get away for a little while to paw at each other in front of a campfire. They want to “explore their relationship” to see if there’s more to it than the script suggests. So that’s what the kids are calling one-night stands these days.
We find Bri and Chris preparing to sing at an older couple’s wedding in town. As they gaze longingly at the pair pledging their troth, they can envision themselves rushing off to a dollar-store-decorated chapel to be united in marriage by a guy in a sequinned jumpsuit. It’s the stuff of sonnets.
Meanwhile, having enjoyed horizontal refreshment with Rudi, Matt is still not convinced she’s his one true love. He apparently feels no need to discuss literature or theology as a way to supplement their progress. She’s falling for him, but fears rejection. She believes she must be more vocal about her feelings, much like the New York Jets’ Flight Crew Dance Team.
A date card arrives for Trevor and Jamie. She is falling in love with him, and ready to say it, but remains unsure if the feeling is mutual. It’s a dilemma as old as Gidget’s grandpa.
The two go ice skating for their date, because someone got an off-season discount for the rink. Jamie continues to wonder if she can reveal her feelings for Trevor to him instead of the script editor. He cares about her and “wants to be the best me for you,” yet has only ever said the “L” word to one other person not related to him, unless you count his poodle and the Domino’s delivery guy.
Jamie understands his reluctance to be so forthright, but she is nevertheless willing to make out with him as they glide along the ice like Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov with vocal fry. Finally, Jamie gets the courage to tell Trevor she is falling in love with him. He quickly confirms he feels the same. They squeal with joy as triumphant music plays. I’m feeling chilly because she’s wearing a midriff-bearing top.
Rudi is ready to tell Matt she’s falling in love with him. It’s always the girl who realizes first, unless he’s dying of some obscure disease that doesn’t have symptoms. The pair attend a rap performance, and are brought on stage to perform with the star. Rudi has been scared to put herself out there with Matt, but apparently, rapping with Shaggy imbues people with emotional confidence.
Back in their room, she shares that she’s fallen for Matt. Clearly a fan of Dr. Phil, he tells her she’s very courageous for speaking her truth, and that he respects her for it. One look at his haircut should have helped her predict this egregious outcome. Rudi flees in tears.
Ryan and Natascha’s date is operating construction equipment while wearing safety vests and helmets. If only the sex is that daring. After revving motors and scooping dirt, they share champagne and discuss their feelings. Ryan makes her feel calmer and happier, although that might be the Xanax. They learn they will perform something by Ed Sheeran, which they plan to rehaul. This suggests either a giant fail or a giant success, both equally plausible since the standards for either are low.
Meanwhile, Bri and Chris are assigned Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, while Jamie and Trevor will sing Just a Kiss. Rudi and Matt must sing Shallow, which is hard to picture as he is no Bradley Cooper. He’s not even Alice Cooper.
Rudi tries to stay strong, but the music director acknowledges an issue with their rehearsal performance. What’s the point? If they can’t convince the judges they have fallen for each other, they can only win by digging up some scandal in Bri or Chris’s past, such as one of them singing Memory at karaoke.
Performance night arrives. They’re in a venue where Lady Gaga performs, which bodes poorly for Matt and Rudi. She doesn’t even have time to find a meat dress. The judges are Arie and Lauren from a previous Bachelor season, along with Pat Monahan from Train, and Ashley Simpson and Evan Ross. I had no idea these two were an act. I did know she has no talent.
Bri and Chris are performing first with their classic Elvis love song. Pat is taking notes, but they might just be an estimate of Bri’s measurements. They are so in love and so in tune. Arie and Lauren felt the passion; she also felt the performance was “super cute.” Pat loved them, too, while Evan and Ashley declare them “freaking adorable.” They’re the Precious Moments figurines of the season.
Rudi continues to wonder if Matt has started falling in love with her yet. It’s like when I keep refreshing the page to see if there are new comments on my tweet.
Now Jamie and Trevor perform. The song is a bland and cookie-cutter, and they go through the motions with big toothpaste-ad smiles. Matt feels it’s a passionate performance. At least we have diagnosed his problem. The judges find it real and beautiful, as well as playful, innocent, and goofy. That’s also what several critics said at the debut of Strindberg’s Dance of Death I.
Next are Natascha and Ryan, who gaze lustily into each other’s eyes as they begin their performance. Then Ryan produces a guitar, and suddenly they’re jumping around and it’s all singing-into-a-hairbrush energy. This transforms the performance into something agitated and frenetic, like sex between ferrets. They slow down for the final lines and conclude with a prolonged kiss, but the damage is done. Pat considers the performance “splintered,” and Arie feels it wasn’t genuine. It’s a worse fail than hydroxychloroquine. Natascha blames herself, but it takes two to annoy an entire audience of paid shills.
It’s Rudi and Matt’s turn now. Despite having been humiliated by this troglodyte with a pompadour, Rudi desires him even more, much as I want more fudge-covered Oreos even after I spill the package on the floor. They give the song their all, impressing the audience and their acting coach. The judges are equally enthusiastic. Then again, everyone thought Joost was going to be a game-changer.
Bri is concerned. She and Chris win the “love” component hands down, but the music wasn’t up to par. Trevor feels he and Jamie have a fighting chance. Natascha has her doubts, despite the fact she and Ryan have been strong contenders. Who will be sent home tonight, besides Ashley’s stylist?
Going to the finals first are Jamie and Trevor, followed by Rudi and Matt so we can enjoy further drama over what a withholding, artless clod he is. They are joined by Bri and Chris, which means Ryan and and Natascha are going home, as well as proving that love trumps love that messed up one lousy performance.
Host Chris comes to tell the three remaining couples that the finals are going to be in the best musical city in the world, Nashville. I thought it was Detroit or Milan or maybe Branson.
Next week, there are emotional highs and lows, as well as cowboy hats, denim and pointy-toed boots. The only thing I want to watch less is The Baker and the Beauty, but only because there are no recipes.