A new spinoff show hit Bachelor Nation Monday night, “Listen To Your Heart,” and one of the new contestants didn’t know the name of longtime host Chris Harrison.
The new show combines the extravagant mainland mansion aspect of traditional “Bachelor” with some elements of “Bachelor in Paradise,” wherein singles who haven’t paired off are vulnerable to elimination. In a new musical twist, the cast consists entirely of aspiring singers, songwriters, and musicians, hoping to live out a perfected version of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s characters in the the musical romance “A Star Is Born.”
Only a few minutes into the show, when the troupe of hot new contestants arrived one by one at Bachelor Mansion in Los Angeles, one of the new faces, Matt Ranaudo, didn’t call Chris Harrison by name — mostly because he didn’t know who Harrison was.
“I’ve never seen the Bachelor but I recognize that guy,” Matt told a producer in a cutaway interview. “What’s his name? Chris — I almost said Chris Hanson. It’s not Chris Hanson? It’s… uh, Hemsworth,” he said with a smile.
Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with “The Bachelor” knows Harrison, who has been hosting the show since its season one debut in 2002. For “The Bachelor,” Harrison is as iconic as the roses.
But if you’ve been tuned in to Bachelor Nation the last few seasons, you know 32-year-old Matt’s candid moment of “Bachelor” ignorance was just what the show needed.
“The Bachelor” started as a relatively serious reality show. The first-ever bachelorette, Trista Rehn, and her final pick, firefighter Ryan Sutter, are still married since 2003 and have two children. Recent seasons, however, have become an Instagram-fueled fame fest of celebrity incest.
Instead of letting the process run its course — from first impressions to group dates, one-on-ones, hometown dates, and an inevitable proposal (see Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici circa 2013) — many recent casts have initiated breakups that led to post-season hook-ups, recycled singles on the super-sexualized “Bachelor In Paradise,” and 22-year-old fashion bloggers hijacking Bachelor Nation to expand their “influence.”
Now when rejected contestants go home, you can bet you haven’t seen the last of them. If they don’t show up on a subsequent season, they’ll most certainly be gracing your Twitter and Instagram feeds, either in tabloid-esque headlines blaring that they were spotted making out with a different cast member at Stagecoach, or posting an ad for Fabletics leggings.
Remember Hannah Brown from “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” and then “The Bachelor” again? Not to mention her stint on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” somewhere in there? Case in point.
While we’re under no delusion that “The Bachelor” franchise is actual reality, the star-studded and reused casts remove all remaining romantic mystery from the reality TV empire. From Nick Viall, to Hannah Brown, to Alayah Benavidez, if we know anything from recent “Bachelor” history, it’s that we’re ready for a fresh face — whether he knows Chris Harrison or not.