Listen To Your Heart Season 1 Finale Recap: Beautiful Musical Intercourse

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
It’s the finale of The Bachelor Presents Listen to Your Heart and three couples remain. Who will it be: The couple who fell in love really fast? The couple who is definitely not in love but has the strongest singer on the show? Or the couple who just seem like Bachelor people? Let’s see who will “leave with a song baby”.
The episode begins with the final six contestants arriving in Nashville, the home of country music and Listen to Your Heart contestant Jamie Gabrielle herself. “My plan is to move here,” her partner Trevor Holmes says, “because Jamie lives here.” Convenient!
The group meets up with Chris Harrison at a music venue that he suspiciously avoids saying the name of, possibly so we’ll all think it’s the Grand Ole Opry. The host announces that each couple will be performing two songs this week, but that before the concert, they’ll be going on final dates that will include a fantasy suite invite. 
At their hotel, Matt Ranaudo immediately starts stressing out about his and Rudi Just Rudi’s relationship, because he thinks they’re not on the same page. Chris Watson and Bri Stauss practice singing “Make You Feel My Love” while Matt stares out a window and Rudi hides in a fort made of pillows and a leather jacket. If this show has committed to one thing, it’s editing audio of contestants singing with visuals of other contestants looking sad. 
Matt eventually comes to take Rudi out of her fort… for a breakup speech. Performing with her has been “the best musical experience of my life,” but “after hearing all that stuff from Chris Harrison” and “looking at Bri and Chris and Trevor and Jamie,” he knows they’re not at the same level in their relationship. Rudi’s response is that of course they’re not at the same level, but they’re being honest about their relationship when they’re on stage. “We don’t fake anything!” she exclaims. 
At this point, it’s clear that the ambiguity of this show is part of the problem. Matt is shook by Chris Harrison saying only committed couples should go on; Rudi thinks they should just be themselves and continue with the competition. It’s hard to say who’s right. The show’s rules are unenforceable. But also, the winners end up touring and recording music together. If they were just going to get a bunch of money and split, then, sure, they should put on a happy face and march on. But perhaps recording together isn’t right for them. They’ve already gotten their talent out there and promoted themselves. Maybe that’s enough. It should be, particularly for Rudi, who blew the musical competition out of the water, just not the romantic competition. 
After an emotional cuddle in which Matt says this experience will always bond them, he and Rudi announce to the others that they’re leaving. In the car ride away, Rudi is at peace, because in their final conversation she found out how much Matt really did care about her, even if he’s not in love. As for the rest of us, we’re robbed of their final performance. Rudi was going to take on a Whitney Houston song, for crying out loud. 
With Rudi and Matt gone, it’s time for fantasy suite dates. Jamie and Trevor get a cheese plate in what appears to be an Airbnb decorated with Pier 1 items from 2003, but it’s not just the decor that’s cheesy. Jamie and Trevor give long speeches about how much they’re falling for each other. People on the same page about how much they like each other is great, but it's boring. They accept the fantasy suite card, and, whaddaya know, they’re already there. The bedroom of the apartment has champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, because that’s what fantasy suites have even if there’s nothing else fantastical about them. 
Bri and Chris are next, and they’ve been in love since, like, the first week of this show. Their date is very classic Bachelor: dinner at a single table in a large empty room. As with Jamie and Trevor, their conversation is full of them professing their love, but they have some more poetic turns of phrase. “You’re the future that I'm just barely scared of and incredibly excited for,” Chris says. When they open their fantasy suite card, Bri says that she wants to take things slow physically and get to know Chris on an “emotional level” first. He’s on the same page and they decide not to go to the fantasy suite. I don’t get why they wouldn’t use the fantasy suite to just chat — there’s champagne and strawberries in there.
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
The next morning, Jamie and Trevor are shown canoodling in robes, eating a huge breakfast, and “Lady and the Tramp-ing” a doughnut. This is interspersed with clips of Bri being distracted at rehearsal with Chris because she’s thinking about her decision from the night before. (Her decision that they were both totally cool with.) This is meant to highlight the difference between the two pairs and build tension, and it is a stretch. Are we really supposed to think that Jamie and Trevor didn’t even rehearse, because having sexy times and eating pancakes is all they need to feel confident? The two seem fine with playing into it, but the whole thing is just bizarre.
I miss Rudi and Matt. 
But, it’s time for the performance at Unnamed But Very Popular and Famous Venue. Tonight’s judges are Taye Diggs, Jewel, Rita Wilson, and Bachelor couple Kaitlyn Bristowe and Jason Tartick. Asked what she’s looking for, Rita responds that the couples will have to “strip naked emotionally, make beautiful musical intercourse, and leave with a song baby.” This sums up the show better than any description we’ve been given this entire season. 
Trevor and Jamie are first and start with a twangy rendition of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody." Their second song is Dan + Shay’s “Speechless." There’s a lot of face touching, because face touching conveys love. Rita calls Jamie and Trevor “sweet." Taye says they’re “adorable," but seemed nervous. Kaitlyn asks if this show does fantasy suites and adds, “They’ve either been there or are about to be there.” Jewel is brought to tears; not, it seems, from Jamie and Trevor’s performance, but because she finds the concept of the show overwhelming. 
Bri and Chris start their set with “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan, then move on to Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love.” Overall, the whole performance is less showy than Jamie and Trevor’s, which is to say that there’s less touching. Other than a little hand holding, they mostly just look into each other’s eyes and sing. Notably, they do end up turning to sing to the crowd, which is what a lot of the performances have been lacking all season. A duet doesn’t mean you have to only sing at each other; Bri and Chris actually get the audience involved. Rita, who speaks in alliteration, says they have a “clear connection” that is “calm and centered” and has a “certain confidence." Taye says he would “pay money” to see them perform. 
At this point, it’s Bri and Chris’ competition to lose. And other than the threat of Rudi’s big voice, that’s been the case this entire season. Bri and Chris have been great performers and are the most into each other by far. 
The crowning of the winners takes place in front of the audience at the Country Music Hall of Fame. That’s right, Chris Harrison, I found the location thanks to your careless exterior shots. And the winning couple is… Chris and Bri! The right people won! In the Bachelor world, this is refreshing
The happy couple runs outside and gets on a tour bus where two roses and a bottle of champagne wait. They get to give out their final roses in private — well, other than the cameraperson filming them — and it’s pretty sweet. They drive off singing, once again, “Can’t Help Falling in Love," their special song from their special Guitar Center.
And we get an epilogue. A few weeks later, Bri and Chris are in the recording studio, and a message on screen tells us that they “are still deeply in love today and are excited for the release of their debut album.” Well, I should hope so. This thing only filmed three months ago
And that’s that. No aftershow. No one ditching the person they chose for the runner-up. Just two people who stripped naked emotionally, made beautiful musical intercourse, and left with a song baby. Congrats, Bri and Chris.
Best judge: Rita for her wonderful description of the series, though I did enjoy Kaitlyn asking about how the show even works. 
Most needed on Bachelor in Paradise: Of the contestants in this episode, Jamie, if she and Trevor don’t work out. She seems like she’d get overwhelmed with the choice of men and also sing at people. 

Least needed on any future Bachelor shows: Rudi. Go forth, Rudi and become the star you are meant to be — and I don’t mean reality star.

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