On The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, it’s understood that the show’s leads are meant to date multiple people. But that’s not the case on Listen to Your Heart, the new music-themed Bachelor-adjacent spinoff that throws a bunch of hot musicians into a mansion and asks them to couple up. Because the contestants are musicians—infamous polygamists—some of them struggle with monogamy, refusing to stop exploring and scheming for potentially better options. Monday night, Listen to Your Heart capitalized on that, giving the show’s two scummiest contestants an opportunity to ruin their own relationships and get booted off the show in one fell swoop.
The episode’s dramatis personae: Brandon and Julia, two contestants who, although already partnered up with others entering Monday, couldn’t stop flirting with each other, causing their partners to voluntarily leave the show and forcing them into an ill-fated couple forced to half-ass their way through a song claiming that they belong together.
Last week, we tracked Brandon’s trail of destruction, which essentially ruined the show for 25 percent of its total contestants. I don’t quite understand why the show’s women consider Brandon to be irresistible—he is perhaps the show’s least personable and least distinctive contestant. (I’m going to need all the contestants to take a group photo at some point—Brandon must be, like, 6-foot-6 to merit this type of heat.) Regardless, he wound up with Savannah—herself one of the most sought-after contestants on the show—and continually frustrated her by refusing to stop flirting with Julia. When given the chance, Brandon always picked Savannah over Julia; yet he made the strange decision to keep Savannah off-balance by continuing to mess around with his second choice. Meanwhile, Julia spent most of her run on the show complaining that Savannah was fake and only pretending to be interested in Brandon to stay on TV—a truly remarkable take, considering that Julia was, in fact, stringing her actual partner, Sheridan, along so that she could stay on TV in hopes that Brandon would, in the future, change his mind. (You’ve gotta be good at projecting your voice to be a great singer, and I guess Julia’s good at other types of projecting too!)
Monday night’s episode began with an obviously malicious prompt, which Chris Harrison attempted to sell as helpful. The contestants were asked to go on dates with people they weren’t actively coupled with—as Chris explained, the purpose was to prove to the contestants that their current relationships were strong. Yeah, Chris, I’m sure forcing contestants to date other people was meant to ensure the security of the existing relationships—and the reason I’m dumping gasoline on my archenemy’s house and blasting it with a flamethrower is because I want to make sure they’ve been smart enough to build their house out of fireproof materials.
Two of the cross-dates are clearly duds, which you can tell from the fact that they were barely real dates. Rudi and Chris were simply given a bottle of wine and told to go relax on a hill overlooking the mansion (Rudi used a pair of binoculars to watch what was going on at the mansion); Jamie and Trevor were sent to a spa. But Brandon and Julia’s date was clearly concocted to be bigger and better—the show actually invested in the date, sending them to meet with a songwriter and perform at The Roxy, an iconic spot on the Sunset Strip.
Whoops! Looks like this accidentally caused drama! Brandon and Julia kiss, and Brandon says it’s the best first date he’s ever been on. Then, even though Brandon doesn’t tell Julia that they’re together, Julia tells Sheridan that she’s moving on to Brandon, and then she has the gall to get upset with Sheridan for walking away. In another room, Brandon tells Savannah that he and Julia still have feelings for each other, but that he’s choosing Savannah over Julia. It’s too late, though—Savannah is tired of being jerked around, and also walks away. Both Savannah and Sheridan voluntarily leave the show, forcing Brandon and Julia together.
The problem? Brandon still clearly prefers Savannah to Julia, and even says so when asked by Natascha. It’s unclear why he thought this rare moment of honesty would help in any way, and of course, it comes back to bite him: Natascha eventually tells Julia about Brandon’s preferences. Julia, though—who has a seemingly pathological need to pretend like the Brandon thing is working—interprets Natascha’s comments as an attempt to sabotage her relationship and her performance. (Honestly, though, it seemed like Natascha was just trying to be helpful!)
And so, Brandon and Julia found each other. However, in choosing Brandon as her man, Julia apparently overlooked this show’s format—each episode from here on out is going to end with a musical performance, with one couple eliminated based on their talent and chemistry. This is a problem because, as previously noted, Brandon seems to think “singing” is primarily making weird faces and unusual noises. On Monday night, the two are asked to perform “We Belong” by Pat Benatar, which gets off to a bad start when Brandon identifies it as “some song from the 1980s.” Things get worse on stage, because instead of performing the song together, Brandon uses the opportunity to display his trademark array of painfully stretched lips and aggrieved screeches:
Kelly Kapoor did it better! The judges—including Toni Freakin’ Braxton, holy crap—are unmoved by the performance. Look at the disgust on Toni’s face:
Brandon tries explaining to the judges that the performance was special, because he and Julia had been coupled up with different people in the last performance, but chose each other this time around. This is (a) not exactly an accurate depiction of events, and (b) not helpful, as the judges all comment that their chemistry clearly needs some work. Julia blames her poor performance on Natascha, saying that no performer would ever sabotage another performer by revealing sensitive information before a performance. Which, sure, maybe it was Julia’s fragile mental state ... or maybe it was the fact that she dumped the good-singing guy who liked her for the bad-singing guy who was more into someone else.
Brandon and Julia played themselves. Their new coupling made them profoundly unlikable, and ultimately made them a relatively easy choice for elimination. (Sadly, the show still opts to hide the judges’ decision-making process, so we didn’t get video of Toni Braxton saying, “Well, we obviously need to ax the dumb-face guy.”) Julia whines that she’s been mistreated, which is a fair assessment: Clearly, she’s the victim of her own decision to dump Sheridan.
Both Brandon and Julia couldn’t help but ruin good things in uniquely ugly ways. Brandon didn’t even really seem to care much for Julia, but couldn’t help himself from casually messing around with his second choice. And Julia is either unaware or uncaring of everybody else’s opinions—she treats Sheridan like crap, treats Savannah’s interest in Brandon as fake or unimportant, ignores Natascha’s warnings and claims it’s just jealousy, and, most importantly, fails to notice Brandon isn’t really that into her. I’m glad they wound up together; it was the easiest way for them both to go down in flames.
Biggest Mystery: Sheridan’s Morning Wine
Monday night was the end of the road for L2YH’s resident Doc Antle doppelgänger, Sheridan. There’s a strong chance that Sheridan was the only guy on this show who actually loved the person he was with; unfortunately he chose to be in love with a woman whose end goal was to be the third wheel of the 19th-best singer on the fourth-best Bachelor show. Sheridan voluntarily gets into a waiting car after Julia reveals she’s breaking up with him. I’ve generally understood that the Bachelor Crying Cars are meant to take contestants to the airport, but Sheridan is pretty proud of the fact that he spent a couple of years driving around the country living inside of his Subaru—it’s quite possible he just stayed in that car.
Sheridan probably thinks the most unique things about him are his voluminous hair and clattering collection of rings (at least seven per hand). But I’ve seen hairy guys with unnecessarily complex jewelry aesthetics before. That’s pretty basic. There is one Sheridan thing that stands out, though: His passion for Morning Wine. Here he is in Monday night’s episode, washing down a healthy breakfast of honeydew with an unhealthy glass of pinot noir:
I’d had suspicions that Sheridan was drinking Morning Wine in past episodes, but there had never been a clear enough shot to confirm. Here’s a shot from an earlier episode when Chris Harrison wakes up the cast with a date card. You can see a dark substance in a rounded glass on the table in front of Sheridan:
In another scene, also apparently set in the morning, Sheridan is shown with a wine glass in front of him, but the camera never pans down to reveal what’s in the glass:
How do we process this information? Well, I at least have a few thoughts:
- It’s possible these scenes don’t take place in the morning—just because The Bachelor shows us a montage featuring some chirping birds and the rising sun doesn’t actually mean the ensuing scenes were shot at 7:30 a.m. That said, the other foods and drinks seem to indicate this was, in fact, a morning scene—people don’t eat plain melons for lunch, and everybody else is drinking water and coffee.
- We don’t know for sure what he’s drinking. The dark color of the liquid may also point to some sort of soda. But Sheridan has specifically chosen to drink this beverage out of red wine glasses, and always seems to have put a wine amount of liquid into the glass instead of a fuller pour. Either way, Morning Soda is only marginally more socially acceptable than Morning Wine.
- Sheridan doesn’t exactly seem like a red wine guy. Remember, he spent 18 months driving around the country in a Subaru. Did he have a wine cellar in the trunk? I just don’t see Sheridan waking up in a national park somewhere and opening a bottle of full-bodied Malbec.
- To be honest, I’d probably drink from the moment I woke up if I was on a reality TV show where I was stuck inside of a house with no TVs and no cellphones and just had to sit around and flirt all day. (I also sometimes drink from the moment I wake up now that I’m stuck inside of a house and just have to sit around and watch TV all day.) But of all the things to drink at the moment you roll out of bed, a glass of red has to be the least appealing. I’d probably ask for a beer or for a shot of Baileys in my coffee. Or even white wine or rosé! Red wine is definitely the weirdest option; I feel like you’re not allowed to bust out red wine before noon.
- If I was around someone drinking Morning Wine, I’d probably feel obligated to mention the Morning Wine—but unfortunately, Sheridan’s time on the show ended before we got any footage of anybody saying “Hey, Sheridan, are you drinking wine in the morning?”
Godspeed, Sheridan—I hope you’re somewhere pounding Montepulciano at the crack of dawn.
Saddest Feature: The Listen to Your Heart Mansion’s Woeful Home Gym
On Love Island, the contestants are provided with a wide array of workout equipment to maintain their preposterously muscular physiques. On the most recent season of The Challenge, their living space has 40 yards of turf and an above-ground pool. But on Listen to Your Heart, so far as we can tell, there is barely any equipment for Matt—seemingly the only contestant working out on the show—to use.
Matt has a kettlebell and an ab wheel, and has improvised a little workout space by placing a towel on the ground next to a single folding chair. Either he brought these items from home, or they are the only workout equipment the mansion has to offer. Both solutions are kind of embarrassing—either this sad array of equipment was actually purposefully placed in the house for contestants to use, or Matt was forced to bring his own equipment, and is using a kettlebell that’s light enough to not break any airline luggage restrictions. This is what happens when your reality show is focused on finding hot musicians instead of hot people.