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Sly ‘Bachelor’ Producers Outdo Petty Pageant Queens At Stirring Up Drama

The Bachelor Chase Rice concert

As always, a bounty of beautiful females in one place vying for the same man’s attention is causing all kinds of commotion on “The Bachelor,” but after four weeks, no bullying, catwalks, insecurity, tears, string bikinis, or “Champagnegate” could rival the drama manufactured by the reality TV producers.

This week, bachelor pilot Peter Weber took Victoria F. (Fuller), not to be confused with nurse Victoria P., on a one-on-one date consisting of a day at Cedar Point theme park capped off with a private concert. As if Victoria and Peter hadn’t had enough roller coasters for one day, the manipulative masterminds behind Bachelor Nation decided to take the duo on an emotional one, booking country singer Chase Rice for entertainment — who, coincidentally, also happens to be Victoria’s ex.

“What is it? What is it?” Victoria asks repeatedly after Peter tells her he has a surprise for her.

“We’ve got our own private little concert,” Peter says, to which Victoria offers a high-pitched, “No, with who?” — and then again, more panicked, “With who?” as the band can be heard in the background. (The whole scene is reminiscent of Michael Scott’s reveal to Pam that he’s dating her mom, Helene.)

The couple rounds the corner to find Chase Rice and a small audience waiting for them. Victoria, allegedly mortified, exchanges a handful of suggestive glances with the singer while she dances with Peter on a small elevated platform in the center of the crowd. Despite her discomfort, she mouths along the lyrics to her ex’s hit song.

“You know this song,” says Peter, naively.

“I do. I love this song.” Victoria replies.

After the short concert and ensuing kissing, fanboy Peter parts ways with Victoria to find Chase, apparently unaware of the singer’s history with his date.

“This is like one of the best things I was looking forward to, these kind of dates with the music,” Peter said to Chase. “I couldn’t wait for —”

“Yeah,” Chase cut him off. “How far in are you?”

“This is week four,” Peter said. “This is Victoria.”

“Yeah,” replied Chase, quite familiar with Victoria.

To which we all say, “OOF.”

Meanwhile, Victoria seeks solace in the loving arms of the production crew. After composing herself, she finds Chase, and he assures her he had no idea she would be on this date. He encourages her to be up-front with Peter about the past relationship. “I’d just be real with him,” urges Chase. “Just be you.”

Of course, the singer — who once  joked with ET about wanting to date Hannah Brown, the all-time worst — doesn’t seem quite as torn up during the encounter. Despite later chewing out “Bachelor” producers, saying, “The fact they did that to me, it’s over the top, it’s unnecessary, I didn’t expect it,” Chase Rice can’t be too mad. After all, he got to promote his music to Bachelor Nation’s 6 million-plus viewers, and he also isn’t the one who has to explain a past relationship to a significant other — who has more than a dozen other significant others to choose from.

Rice said he “didn’t love it,” according to the Washington Post. “But that’s reality TV for you — I think they just gotta stir things up. I didn’t think that they would pull me into it like that.”

Later in the episode, Victoria finally summons the courage over dinner to tell Peter about her past with Chase. “I want to tell you something,” she says. “So Chase and I used to date.”

After picking up his jaw from off the floor, Peter musters, “Like the singer Chase? The guy that was doing the concert? Wait, what? No…”

“Mhmm,” Victoria replies, avoiding eye contact.

When Peter asks Victoria whether she still has feelings for the country heartthrob, she emphatically denies it, prompting Peter to reply, “This is so freaking weird.”

Yes, Peter, we can’t understand why anyone would break up with Chase Rice either. Weird indeed.

It really is a shame, if these contestants do enter the show truly to find love, that a handful of producers can so royally screw up their plans. Perhaps the most potent example came courtesy of the mayhem in Colton Underwood’s season that nearly destroyed his relationship with true love Cassie and prompted his iconic fence-jump to escape the set.

As for the viewers, that’s why we’re here, the manufactured but oh-so-alluring drama — And consequently, that’s what the showrunners are here for as well. After an interview with Colton Underwood on an episode of “This American Life,” host Emanuele Berry explains the fence-hop and all the other fabricated drama:

In the end, the most disruptive thing that could have happened — driving your lead to jump over a fence and run away — was probably the best thing that could have happened for the TV show. Ratings for Colton’s finale were up compared to the previous season, which makes sense because hopping a fence, it felt real.

Those are the moments I like the most in reality shows, the rare moments of sincere emotion inside this artificial human experiment. Cameras everywhere, insane locations, over-the-top clothes — the producers can control all that stuff. Scientists can control the lab. But they can’t control the results.

The results are still TBD for Peter and Victoria. For Chase Rice, the result is welcomed publicity. “At the end of the day, if it brings people back to the album, brings people back to ‘Lonely If You Are,’ then, hell, I’m happy,” he said. “I don’t care how it happens.” This time, it happened through wily “Bachelor” producers — and a song suspiciously suggestive of a “Bachelor” episode. But who are we to say what Chase Rice had in mind?