One of the traditions of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is the dreaded two-on-one date. Contestants hate it because it means one person on the date is guaranteed to go home, and while some fans find them entertaining, they’re basically just a vehicle for more forced fighting between two suitors. This year, Colton Underwood’s Bachelor season won't have a two-on-one date, as confirmed by an ABC exec. But before you celebrate not having to watch two women duke it out, here's why the execs (thankfully) came to this decision).
The cut mainly stems from the fact that there weren’t any viable remaining matchups (and if you've been watching the season, that's become pretty obvious). Rob Mills, ABC’s Vice President of Alternative Programming shared the news on the Bachelor Party podcast. “You're not going to get a two-on-one this season,” he said. “There's nothing worse than, like, a bad two-on-one … The two-on-ones when they work, they’re iconic.” As evidence he mentioned Kelsey Poe and Ashley Iaconetti’s date from Chris Soules’ season, as well as Olivia Caridi being left on an island by Ben Higgins back in 2016. Mills continued, “When you have one that fizzles out, like nothing really happens, it's not great."
And because a two-on-one guarantees that one contestant leaves the show, you can’t really film one hoping for drama and then just choose not to air it if it's bad. According to Mills, this is exactly why two-on-ones are decided pretty last-minute each season... and why the producers didn't do one with any of the women who were at odds earlier on in Colton's season.
“It's really an audible, it could be any time,” he said. “Usually you reset at the end of the episode to talk about, you know, what's happening with who's left and you'll kind of think about it. But any date could be made a two-on-one.”
There were a few situations this season that lent themselves to potentially becoming two-on-ones dates — at least at first.
Caelynn and Hannah B. had a rivalry that was a big part of the show and seemed like it was destined to become a two-on-one. That is, until they had a surprisingly mature conversation for The Bachelor at the end of Episode 4 and decided that while they didn’t have to be best friends, they could stop their rivalry.
Next up was Demi vs. Courtney, which was just a mess of the two women calling each other immature and “the cancer of the house” — classic two-on-one fodder. But that situation ended when Colton promptly kicked Courtney off the show during that episode’s rose ceremony.
The third option would have been Onyeka and Nicole, who got into it during Episode 5. This episode ended on a cliffhanger with Colton abruptly walking away from a heated conversation between the two contestants. They might have been good for a two-on-one… but that would depend on if they stuck around long enough. Colton has been willing to squash drama where he sees it, so the fact that there’s no two-on-one could point to one — or both — of these ladies going home during Monday night’s rose ceremony.
It’s also possible production was worried about, like Mills said, it being a two-on-one that “fizzles out.” Sure, Nicole and Onyeka were both very argumentative during the last episode, but in a deleted scene that was posted online, they had a much calmer conversation. Perhaps the producers were concerned the two-on-one would play out more like that.
But whatever the reason, it’s great that the show isn’t doing a two-on-one. While The Bachelor is heavily produced and the entire point is for a person to find a partner in an artificial situation, the show is at its most interesting when viewers are simply seeing how people behave within those parameters. Drama is going to naturally happen in this setup, and when the drama is overly manufactured (as it is on most 2-on-1s), it’s obvious and it’s annoying.
Seeing Caelynn and Hannah B. put their differences aside was interesting because it doesn’t usually work out that way. Watching Colton kick Courtney off in the height of her drama was exciting because usually dramatic contestants seem as though they stick around, defying any sense of reason. And it would be much more interesting to see Colton say, “You know what, Nicole and Onyeka, you’re both out” than watch the two women be forced to bicker even more while being left in the literal middle of a desert. If The Bachelor and Bachelorette want to let things continue to play out more reasonably — but still interestingly — like this in the future, it would be a welcome change.