The fifth episode of The Bachelor Presents Listen to Your Heart took us where The Bachelor never has before: on a four-hour bus trip. While drama has gone down while Bachelor contestants were in transit before, we rarely get to see it, instead just hearing gossip about who said what off-mic later. Listen to Your Heart said, “Screw that. We’re sticking them on a bus for several hours and recording all of it.”
The episode kicks off with Chris Harrison announcing that the final four couples — Bri Stauss and Chris Watson, Rudi (Just Rudi) and Matt Ranaudo, Natascha Bessez and Ryan Neal, and Jamie Gabrielle and Trevor Holmes — are going to Las Vegas, each couple on their own tour bus. That’s right, they’re aren’t taking the bus to cut down on carbon emissions. They’re taking the bus so they can be forced into a small space for an extended period of time.
Bri and Chris, who have already said they love each other, have a grand old time on the bus, taking Polaroids and making out. Trevor whips out his guitar to sing to Jamie on their bus, and it’s somehow reminiscent of Jed Wyatt singing to Hannah Brown even though this is literally a show about singing all the time. Trevor just has that vibe. And that jacket. We get nothing from Ryan and Natascha, which will continue to be a theme.
And then there’s Rudi and Matt. We hear a lot from Matt about how he’s not sure if he’s falling for Rudi. Then, when the other couples show up at the Vegas hotel, Rudi and Matt are nowhere to be found. Turns out, they’re kissing by a campfire located somewhere between LA and Vegas? “I don’t think we’re ready for Vegas yet,” Rudi says in her confessional. “We have decided to take matters into our own hands.” Then they go into a roadside motel room without the cameras as if it’s a Fantasy Suite. Excuse me? Chris Harrison? I would like some more information.
The next morning, Rudi and Matt show up in Vegas. “So, did you guys get to sleep in the same bed?” Trevor asks. They did. And by the sound of this, the rest of them haven’t been. Matt then has a convo with Ryan in which he says, “Last night was a wild, incredible night.” He likes Rudi, but the whole situation is overwhelming. Excuse me? What was wild about last night? We don’t find out. Give us something, show! Meanwhile, Rudi tells Jamie that she almost blurted out to Matt that she loves him at their last performance.
In Vegas, everyone stays in the same hotel suite and waits for date cards to arrive. The first one goes to Bri and Chris, who perform for a couple at a chapel wedding. This date only exists so the show could get a preview clip that made it look like Bri and Chris got married themselves.
The second date goes to Trevor and Jamie, who go ice skating. Jamie wants to tell Trevor that she’s falling in love with him. But, before she can get to it, he says that he’s only told two people that he loves him, and instead of telling her she’s the third one, he just kinda stops talking. After an emotional skate set to Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow," Jamie decides to go ahead and tell him she’s “falling in love.” Trevor says he is, too. That’s the thing about Bachelor lingo; the guy’s only told two other people he loves them, but falling in love is totally different.
Matt and Rudi’s date is next. As they head into a club, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” starts playing and yet it still doesn’t occur to me that they are going to a Shaggy concert. But they are! And they’re invited on stage to sing. These dates are all over the damn place. Afterward, Rudi tells Matt, “I’m falling for you,” which is yet another level on the Bachelor love scale. “You’re very courageous for speaking your truth,” Matt responds. Yiiiiikes. Rudi starts crying and walks away. In his confessional, Matt says he’s into Rudi, but just doesn’t want to rush things. Tell her that part, dude! It might not be what she’s looking for, but it’s better than calling her “courageous."
Natascha and Ryan’s date is last, and wow, do we rush through it. We don’t even see them receive the date card. We just return from commercial break to them smashing cars with tractors at some sort of smash-cars-with-tractors place. They have a conversation about how they like each other as they are, kiss, and that’s it. What is going on here? If they actually like each other, why aren’t we seeing more of them? If they don’t, did they make some sort of arrangement to fake the relationship part in order to keep performing together? Can we see that? It doesn’t add up.
Anyway, it’s time for the performances. The judges this week are Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham, and Train’s Pat Monahan. “These judges are insane,” Jamie starts her beautiful summary. “Train was the first concert I ever went to. Ashlee and Evan are so cool. Freakin’ love 'Pieces of Me.' That was my anthem. And Arie and Lauren are so cute together. And they did the scary, brave thing. He listened to his heart and he is happy. Now they’ve got a baby.” What a journey of nostalgia and factual information and insight into Jamie’s personality.
The first couple to perform is Bri and Chris, who sing Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. The song holds a special place in their hearts because they sang it at Guitar Center. The judges see the love between them. Mostly, I’m struck by how much we get to see Lauren talk. This is more than we heard from her during her entire Bachelor season.
Next, Jamie and Trevor sing “Just a Kiss” by Lady Antebellum. Jamie has a whole routine backstage of getting hyped up: “I am feeling myself! Let’s go!” She’s really growing on me… with one episode left. Lauren likes the “goofiness” between Jamie and Trevor. Overall, good marks all around.
Natascha and Ryan take on Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect." They start off with a pretty basic version of the song, then suddenly Ryan straps on a guitar, a jazzy beat comes in, and Natascha starts belting. It’s immediately clear that something is off with the arrangement. Plus, Natascha hands Ryan a microphone while he is supposed to be playing guitar. You know, an activity that takes both hands. It’s a mess. The judges all agree that it felt like two separate performances. Backstage, a tearful Natascha explains that she accidentally sang the wrong part in the song. Hey, mistakes happen. Unfortunately, this is the second to last episode of a singing competition that is partially judged based on romantic chemistry.
Rudi and Matt are last with “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. Finally. This song should honestly be in every episode. Let ‘em all sing it. During the performance, they sort of look like they’re still working out the harmonies, but are overjoyed when they pull them off. Ashlee “can feel the heat." Lauren calls them “incredible performers”. Backstage, a very enthusiastic, performance-high Matt says, “When Rudi was singing that build up part, man, it took everything in me to not just black out while she was doing it. She’s incredible. I want to keep playing music with her forever.” It’s really cute.
It’s obvious what’s going to happen at the rose ceremony: Natascha and Ryan are sent home. Chris Harrison tells them to say their goodbyes, but they decide to continue their relationship outside of the show. Or continue singing together? It’s unclear what exactly they’re talking about. They wish to continue something.
Going into next week’s finale, the big question is whether love or talent will win out. Chris and Bri love each other and have the most chemistry. Rudi and Matt are the best performers together, and Rudi is the strongest singer there. That said, if they’re all judged on singing and chemistry, do Jamie and Trevor eke out a win by having a solid amount of both? We shall see.
Next week: Nashville. Fantasy Suites. Tears. Hopefully, a “Shallow” showdown.
Most likely to appear on your TV again: Natascha. She already has a long and colorful history of popping up on random shows.
Most needed on Bachelor in Paradise: Natascha and Ryan. Yep, both of them. Assuming they don’t make their relationship work, bring both of ‘em back.