For the most part, the musical portion of The Bachelor Presents: Listen To Your Heart features hot, moderately talented people singing forgettable covers of love songs to each other. Monday night, though, we got a ridiculously talented person performing an absolutely horrific cover that I’ll probably never be able to forget.
Through the show’s first four episodes, Natascha established herself as the most impressive performer on the show; there wasn’t even a close second. In the show’s first concert, Natascha’s booming performance of “Stay” got judge Jason Mraz to tell her she has “tremendous power in her voice,” and to also warn her useless partner Ryan that she would leave him in the dust. In their second performance, Natascha got a legit “wow” from Toni Freakin’ Braxton, plus a “your voice is unbelievable” from a producer I was told was named “Andy Grammer.” Natascha is a reality TV show vet—she was on the Dutch version of The Voice and a 2007 reality show attempting to find a seventh member of The Pussycat Dolls—but she finally seemed to be getting her chance to shine on Listen To Your Heart. Even though the show is hypothetically meant to find some hybrid of singing ability and relationship compatibility, it didn’t matter that Natascha’s partner, Ryan, is a dud—Natascha alone has more talent than most of the other couples on the show combined.
But then came Monday night’s episode. After Natascha and Ryan go on a date at what appears to be the same heavy machinery playground where the guys from Vanderpump Rules went, they’re given their song to perform in Las Vegas—“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. This is a task that feels pretty impossible to screw up. Ed Sheeran sounds pretty good singing “Perfect” just by himself with a guitar, but it’s got plenty of room for virtuoso performers like Beyoncé or Andrea Bocelli to display their vocal talents. Let Ryan softly strum and sing a few notes here and there, let Natascha go nuts, move on. Natascha is really excited about the performance—she says it’s a beauuuuuuutiful song—but then Ryan says he wants to switch it up and perform something different.
Friends, here is that “something different”:
Natascha and Ryan would still be on the show if they performed the saccharine love ballad as a saccharine love ballad. Instead, Ryan decided to make it into an up-tempo Latin jazz number. It’s a disaster from every perspective—the tempo is off, Natascha sometimes seems out of key, and Ryan takes a solid 25 seconds to put his guitar on. To make matters worse, Natascha inexplicably takes Ryan’s microphone off of its stand and hands it to him while he tries to play guitar, which is a problem, because you kinda need both hands to play guitar.
The judges are baffled. The lead singer of Train hits Natascha and Ryan with a vicious “How do you guys feel? Do you think that you nailed it?” The musical couple of Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson (a.k.a. Diana Ross’s son and Jessica Simpson’s sister) don’t feel as if Natascha and Ryan managed to successfully perform the song together; even Arie Luyendyk Jr., who never spoke more than seven words at a time during his stint as the Bachelor, manages to get some sick burns in: “That felt like a performance, but it also felt like a performance.” Damn, Arie. That’s deep.
And thus, Natascha is off the show. It was fun watching her exceptional performances, but I gotta be honest—it was probably more fun watching this train wreck.
Second-Weirdest Performance: “It Wasn’t Me”
Monday night’s episode features Matt and Rudi performing “Shallow,” also known as the performance we’ve been seeing in Listen to Your Heart promos all year long. They nailed it, much in the same way Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga nailed the actual performance of “Shallow”—Matt and Bradley know that the key is to just let the super-talented woman sing the important parts and hope to stay the hell out of the way.
However, this episode also features a much stranger performance from Matt and Rudi when the two go on a date to a Shaggy concert and perform on stage with him. My first thought upon seeing that L2YH had booked Shaggy was “Wow! Shaggy!” Then I remembered that a fraternity on my campus booked Shaggy for a party, and I started wondering how The Bachelor’s budget compares to your average fraternity’s social budget—and whether the unmarked glasses of beer the contestants are always drinking are, in fact, Keystone Ice. (The corrosive taste that lingers in your mouth means the high alcohol content is working!)
When Matt and Rudi walk into the Shaggy concert, Shaggy is performing his most popular song, “It Wasn’t Me.” This seems like a particularly strange choice for a television show about finding love—after all, “It Wasn’t Me” is a song urging men who cheat on their significant others to deny accusations of cheating, even when presented with extremely thorough evidence of their cheating. (I have always wondered how both adulterous sex-havers managed to make it from the sofa to the shower without noticing they were being filmed.) However, Shaggy doesn’t merely sing “It Wasn’t Me” to Rudi and Matt—he calls them on stage to aid him in his performance of “It Wasn’t Me.”
“It Wasn’t Me” is an awful song to sing on stage in front of other people! (I speak from experience—last winter an anonymous Ringer staffer made me sing it in a bar full of strangers when I took too long to decide on my own karaoke song.) First of all, it makes you look extremely passionate about infidelity. Second of all, you’ve gotta be careful while performing Shaggy parts to avoid going full Chet Hanks. But it’s an especially awful song to perform as part of a couple on a dating show!
All in all, this is a particularly strange unforced error by L2YH—if they needed to sing a Shaggy song, why couldn’t they just perform “Angel,” a love song that is definitely not about cheating on one’s significant other all over one’s shared home. If Matt and Rudi falter, it will be because they had to sing a song about butt-naked bathroom floor adultery instead of publicly declaring that closer than their peeps, they are to each other.
Slickest Move: One-Mic Singing
In past episodes, we’d noted that the easiest way to advance on L2YH is just to lock eyes with your singing partner and never stray during your performance. The judges are supposed to grade contestants on their singing ability and relationship compatibility, and it’s tough to actually identify relationship compatibility in a three-minute performance, so the judges basically just say, “I can tell you’re in love because you can’t stop staring at each other!” to every pairing that manages to maintain eye contact. However, in Monday night’s episode, contestants discovered a better way to trick the judges: one-mic singing.
The couples are given two microphones to start their performances. (As Natascha demonstrated, this many microphones can be disastrous.) But as Bri and Chris reached the romantic climax of their song, the couple ditched their second mic and put their faces close enough to sing together into the same mic:
As Natascha found out while trying to get Ryan to strum a guitar with a microphone, the two-mic setup is a trap. Forget the second mic—you’ve gotta pick one mic as a couple and treat it like the Lady and the Tramp treated that one spaghetto. (Do you realize how rare it is as an author to get to use the singular form of “spaghetti?” I’m savoring this.) Nas was right—all you need is one mic.
Most In-Sync Couple: Trevor and Jamie
A key feature of Monday night’s episode was the travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Normally, Bachelor franchises gloss over transportation, perhaps just showing a graphic of a plane flying from one part of the globe to another. But L2YH opted to highlight the couples’ jaunt to Nevada by putting each couple in their own tour bus. It’s unclear why the couples needed a tour bus for this trip—L.A. to Vegas isn’t a long enough drive to necessitate sleeping en route, and when they got to Vegas, the couples were put up in a posh suite, so nobody ever actually used the beds on the bus—but who cares?! Music stuff!
While on the bus, Trevor decides to sing to Jamie, and Jamie decides to sing along.
Now, I wouldn’t have been able to sing along, because I’d never heard the song (I’m not up on my Generic Country Guy Love Songs). But I was curious about what song it was, so I googled the lyrics, but … the search didn’t turn anything up. No matter which lyric I searched. So, did Trevor write this song? And if Trevor wrote the song … how did Jamie know all the lyrics? Is she psychic? If Trevor and Jamie can improvise love songs together, they should be the winners of this show. And if they’re using the show to sneakily market songs they’re planning on releasing together, well, they’re probably the winners of this show ... even if they don’t actually win it.