When the promos for the new Bachelor spinoff series Listen To Your Heart first began airing, many fans were skeptical. What was this new Bachelor singing show, and why was it taking up so much screen time during Peter Weber’s season? Well, now that Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season is postponed indefinitely, Hannah Brown has stopped quarantining with Tyler Cameron, and the fate of 2020’s Bachelor in Paradise season remains uncertain, this fledgling new series is suddenly the hottest ticket in Bachelor Nation. And, according to the series’ host Chris Harrison, the series — whose proper name is The Bachelor Presents: Listen To Your Heart — may even be fully integrated into the Bachelor-verse at large. That’s right, we could see these singers take their tunes to Paradise (if it ever happens).
“Just having met all of these people and watching them evolve, I could easily see some of them ending up on the beach in Paradise or maybe it doesn’t work out and they end up coming onto The Bachelor or Bachelorette. I could easily see the worlds colliding like they tend to do with our franchise,” Harrison tells Refinery29 via video chat on April 8, because Chris Harrison, too, is taking his meetings online these days (yes, he’s wearing a suit like it’s rose ceremony night). He makes sure to note that no decisions have been made about Paradise. “There is no eligibility. There are no rules to love. If you can find it, if we think someone's right or fits, then why not?”
Of course there is one person who might count as ineligible for all future Bachelor Nation endeavors: former Bachelorette contestant Jed Wyatt, the singer who came to the show with a girlfriend back home, only to propose to the lead. While many fans have joked that Listen To Your Heart sounds like Wyatt’s dream, Harrison is quick to note that the show probably isn’t for him.
“This may have been the perfect show for him, although again, he still could not have come on with a girlfriend. That's the whole point. You need to be single. I guess that would have been a big hurdle to get over,” says Harrison with a laugh. “No offense to Jed, but these are legitimate musicians from all across the spectrum. We have people that came from their church choirs, people that have a Broadway background, people who have been grinding in Nashville for years and have never made it. We have one of the guys who made it pretty far on American Idol.”
"No offense to Jed, but these are legitimate musicians from all across the spectrum."
Music aside, the setup of this whole thing seems more like Paradise with guitars than American Idol with romance. The premise has bachelorettes and bachelors roaming around a huge Spanish-style compound, making connections and hoping for date cards. Each week, there’s a rose ceremony in which either men or women are handing out roses, and just like in Paradise, whoever doesn’t get a rose goes home. It’s basically the exact same format as everyone’s favorite beach-bound Bachelor-palooza, except these contestants aren’t part of an existing network of TV veterans. They’re fresh to the game, and since they’re all songwriters, sensitivities run deep. It may be just six weeks, but Harrison says the series will move fast.
“The Bachelor and Bachelorette does break you down emotionally and you are kind of exposed, but when you put people on that level and then make them perform on stage and expose them that way, there was this whole other level of emotion and vulnerability,” explains Harrison. “You really get close quickly when you're going through this.”
The host also points out that because its format mirrors Paradise, there’s more of a chance for all these newbies to find their niches in Bachelor Nation. There won’t be traditional Bachelor-style villains, though there will be multifaceted dramas that play out much like they do on the beach.
“There's somebody in the house that's going to speak to you, and that's one of the things that Bachelor in Paradise is good at. You may not feel that connection with Ashley. I that you do with Demi or vice versa,” says Harrison, before acknowledging the real question we all have: “So will there be villains? Yes, but maybe not the traditional Bachelor-type villain.”
It certainly appears that this new Bachelor Nation spinoff has the potential to feed into Paradise (maybe they can all share stories from Stagecoach). But Harrison cautions from getting our hopes up just yet.
“I'm nervous. I'm a little bit scared until I wake up Tuesday morning and I get the ratings,” he says. “Hopefully they'll give us the benefit of the doubt and sample this, and then they're going to quickly fall in love with it. But TV's a fickle beast. You just don't know.”