I Went to The Bachelor Live on Stage, and We Need to TALK, Bachelor Nation
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be inside the mansion during a tense rose ceremony on The Bachelor? Or to casually pop in during an all-important Hometown Date? Or to be a fly on the wall during an intimate Fantasy Suite date? (I hope not, creep.)
Well, The Bachelor Live on Stage won't deliver on any of those experiences, but it will be a fun night out on the town! Former franchise leads Ben Higgins and Becca Kufrin are serving as cohosts for the live production, which kicked off mid-February and runs through May. While individual Bachelor and Bachelorettes have toured before, this is the first "official" show sanctioned by ABC that "guarantees all the drama, the gossip and the romance of your favorite TV show in one delightful evening for the ultimate fan party."
In case you're on the fence about buying tickets, I attended the Portland, OR, show, and I'm here to spill all the Rosé. As a longtime fan of the show and its many spinoffs, my body could not have been more ready to embrace this experience. Here's exactly what you can expect!
It's a Full-On Production
The Bachelor Live on Stage is just that: an entire season of The Bachelor squeezed into one night. You'll meet a local Bachelor and several ladies competing for his final rose — all prevetted by the production team. After you learn a bit about the leading man, the women enter the stage from the backseat of a limo before he gives out his first-impression rose. From there, it's a series of silly dates, rose ceremonies, and challenges compressed into two-and-a-half hours.
There's Dancing . . . a Lot of Dancing
Oh, did I mention the dancing? Four dancers — including former NBA dancer Sydney Lotuaco from Colton Underwood's season — usher the contestants through the show, providing guidance on their dates and doing their own solo numbers.
There Will Be Surprise Guests!
Depending on which show you attend, expect some familiar faces to appear. In Los Angeles, Connor Saeli (Hannah Brown's ex) was the night's leading man, and current Bachelor Peter Weber dropped in. At our show in Portland, local alumni Chris and Desiree Hartsock Siegfried turned up to play some games with the contestants.
Editor's note: The Portland audience may or may not have booed when Peter's name came up.
The Lead Matters
You have weeks to fall for the Bachelor on TV but less than three hours to fall for the live show's lead. And apart from Ben and Becca, he's the biggest cast member! Our leading man in Portland (this isn't him) seemed to be depending on the audience to tell him who to pick more than letting his heart guide him. I would have preferred a guy who was taking the process more seriously.
I know how I sound, OK? I get it.
The First Act Is a Little Slow
By the time intermission rolled around, only one woman had been let go. This might vary by city; the Portland show started with nine women, but other shows have started with as many as 12. Still, the Bachelor had eight women going into the second half of the night, which meant rose ceremonies in Act II were pretty fast and furious.
You'll Learn More About Ben and Becca
During the Fantasy Suite portion of the evening — in which the lead separately huddled with each of his remaining two contestants on a daybed on the side of the stage — Ben and Becca regaled the audience with stories from their seasons and answered questions submitted via Instagram. We heard about Ben's current squeeze, Jessica, and Becca talked about life after The Bachelorette.
There Is Audience Participation
Don't want to be involved? Don't sit near the front. There were a few moments throughout the show when Ben and Becca asked for questions or comments from the audience, then selected people to speak into the mics. At one point during every show, Becca breaks out the selfie stick and takes a photo with the entire audience. You can see all of them on the show's Instagram account! I'm back there somewhere.
Some "Dates" Are Better Than Others
Don't expect any helicopter getaways or flag-football games; the live show's dates consist of a series of set pieces like "The NewlyMet Game," in which the women have to guess which answer the Bachelor gave to different questions. Hometown Dates are hard to re-create on stage every night, so instead of traveling to different cities, the women just sit on couches and chat with the Bachelor. It's not not awkward.
Things Get a Little Scandalous at Times
For the most part, The Bachelor Live on Stage is good, clean fun. However, there were a few sexy dances during the lip-sync-battle portion of the night, but how are you supposed to dance to "Milkshake" by Kelis without getting a little raunchy? The "Naughty or Nice" game prompted a few racy stories, but nothing over a PG-13 rating.
It's Cheesy AF
Don't go into this show expecting Les Misérables. Ben and Becca were clearly having fun hamming it up together, and while the show may be silly, it's a real love letter to Bachelor Nation. Will the Bachelor get engaged after he gives out the final rose? No. But will you have a better time than if you'd stayed in and eaten another pint of Ben & Jerry's? Definitely. (Though ideally there's a situation in which you can bring your Cherry Garcia to the show and have the best of all worlds.)