After spending two weeks fostering relationships in the “Bachelor” mansion, the “Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart” contestants were given a rude awakening. At the beginning of Week 3, host Chris Harrison offered insight into the updated format of the show: “The next time I see you, I only want to see couples that are serious about taking that next step and moving forward,” he said.
The new reality shook the mansion and left contestants fighting to establish something substantial. Eventually, only seven couples remained: Matt Ranaudo and Rudi, Danny Padilli and Bekah Purifoy, Brandon Mills and Savannah McKinley, Ryan Neal and Natascha Bessez, Chris Watson and Bri Strauss, Trevor Holmes and Jamie Gabrielle, and Sheridan Reed and Julie Rae. Ruby Jane and Gabe Brown both self-eliminated after they didn’t find a serious connection.
The new format brought new challenges: Each couple would compete weekly in an “American Idol”-style performance in front of a panel of celebrity judges. The panel would eliminate couples until one remained. “That couple will be the best musically — the best performers — but also the most committed couple and they’re ready to share their lives together,” Harrison told the contestants. The winners would be offered a chance to write, record, produce and tour their new music.
Each couple paired off and began preparing their upcoming performance. In the interim, Danny and Bekah were given a date where they were dressed by fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. The second date card went to Natascha and Ryan, who joined country music singer Chris Lane and his wife (and former fiancé of “The Bachelor” Ben Higgins) Lauren Bushnell Lane as he prepared for his concert. The night turned into a double date as Chris and Lauren invited Ryan and Natascha on stage for Chris’s song “Big, Big Plans.”
Back at the mansion, the couples took turns rehearsing, before getting on stage for Kesha, Jason Mraz and former “Bachelorette” couple JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers. The judges evaluated each pairing on both their musical ability, as well as their chemistry on stage.
Matt and Rudi were first, singing Shawn Mendes’ “Fallin’ All In You.” The judges were impressed with their musical instincts but thought their relationship could use more time. On the other hand, Chris and Bri’s rendition of “Beyond” by Leon Bridges gave the judges “chills.” Bekah and Danny followed with “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers. The judges commented that some of their harmonies were messy and that it may be mirroring their own relationship.
“Romantically, I kind of feel like you’re going to have to feel this one out,” Kesha said.
Even their fellow contestants took notice. “Bekah and Danny … they kind of just looked like they were like friends. Like hardcore friend zone,” Rudi said.
Savannah and Brandon were next and prompted mixed reviews from the judges. Their acoustic version of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” had listeners questioning the validity of their relationship, which prompted an agreement from Julia. Julia, who had previously expressed interest in Brandon, found their negative feedback “validating” before she and Sheridan went on to perform the Backstreet Boys’ “As Long as You Love Me.” Their performance brought enthusiastic responses from the judges, especially Rodgers, who he stood up mid-song to wave his hands around.
“Your voice is beautiful but it almost comes second to how I could just tell how you feel about each other,” Kesha noted.
Natascha and Ryan sang a passionate version of “Stay” by Rihanna, and the judges were impressed with the power of her voice that was “soaring all around.” Trevor and Jamie rounded out the performances, with Maren Morris’ “I Could Use a Love Song.” Jamie, who confessed that she was nervous about singing, was applauded by the judges for their performance and her “vulnerability” on stage.
After the performances, all the contestants prepared for a modified rose ceremony. For the first time, Chris Harrison would be handing out the roses and eliminations were on behalf of the judges, as opposed to contestants. After six of the couples were deemed safe, Bekah and Danny were sent home separately.
“Listen to Your Heart” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.