As nine o’clock Tuesday evening approaches, I’m faced with the choice of staying up after The Voice to watch Ready for Love or turning in early for some usually much needed shut eye. After watching episode one, I think I’m ready to give it a second look. I like the twist NBC decided to put on their new foray into the reality dating business. Using professional matchmakers to pick the women the men can choose from gives it a fresh feel, and the matchmakers themselves (Amber Kelleher-Andrews, Tracy McMillan, and Matthew Hussey) have loads of charisma. Bill and Giuliana Rancic, a happily married couple with reality TV cred, host the show that will feature three bachelors looking for love.
Tuesday night we met Tim Lopez, lead singer from the Plain White Tees (think “Hey There Delilah”), whose divorce from his high school sweetheart over her inability to deal with his music career has left him heartbroken but ready to love again. I’ll admit, from the previews I thought we’d meet all three bachelors that night, but they seem to be alternating hotties.
Each matchmaker picked four girls for Tim to choose from in a blind audition a`la The Voice.
Amber Kelleher-Andrews, a gorgeous and highly successful matchmaker who they showed with her perfect husband and children on horseback, seemed to pick the most real girls, especially Hailey Clark, a 31 year-old elementary school art teacher from Florida who caught Tim’s attention by quoting Dumb and Dumber. I was surprised he kept Siham Bengoua, but she won him over with her french accent and poetry. He also kept 30 year-old Sara Lavagnino. Sara won him over with her sincere and touching revelation that she had lost her fiance of three years to skin cancer. Tim connected with her sense of loss and we were on to round two with another four girls chosen by Matthew Hussey.
The three girls Tim kept from Matthew’s group included the surprise contestant, Leah Trogan, a 27 year-old make-up artist who had a “past” with Tim. At this point it seemed like maybe they had hooked up before, but she sold her story as an “I’ve never told him how I really feel” type story and he decided to keep her so… His other choices, 27 year-old Danielle Duff (divorced after nine and a half years of marriage – say whaaaat???) and 31-year-old Taonaya Fleury weren’t all that memorable.
Tracy McMillan might be my favorite matchmaker for her simple, brash style. She made some great picks, and Sarah Moore, a 28 year-old graduate student from North Carolina, could be a sleeper contender. She was joined by 25 year-old Christina Rigaud of New Orleans. A classically trained pianist, she’s also breathtakingly sexy with eyes that most women would die for. Tim’s final pick to round out his nine ladies was the cute, fun-loving, 23 year-old Jenna Reeves from Austen, Texas.
Next up: Date Night
Of course it wouldn’t be reality love without a group date, and Tim’s starts out just the way a rock star’s group date should. The nine ladies are treated to a performance from The Plain White Tees. After they are sufficiently dazed by his semi-celebrity, he has them show off some of their musical skills by creating and singing some lyrics. I have to say I didn’t really enjoy this segment. It was too polished. Most of the girls voices were better than average, and when they all just happened to hear Leah’s (previous hook-up girl) conversation with Tim because a mike was left on? Well, we got staged drama at its best.
Later each matchmaker chose someone for Tim to have one on one time with. Then, on the show, the girls are critiqued on their dating skills. My favorite as of now, Hailey Clark, went first. Hailey and Tim seemed to have genuine chemistry and their banter was so fun to watch. Matchmaker Amber later critiqued the fact that Hailey answered the dreaded “What’s your most embarrassing moment?” question in a way that included the word fart. Apparently you are never, ever supposed to use this word in front of a man. I don’t know what Amber was watching, but Tim loved Hailey’s honesty and humor.
Matthew sent him off with Danielle Duff who proceeded to let him know she had a “list” of 50 qualities she was looking for in a mate. She also mentioned she’d put the list out into the universe. She was appropriately critiqued regarding making Tim feel inadequate. If he has 25 of the qualities (which she said he did) then that meant he started out in the hole! Don’t look for Danielle to stick around long; their chemistry was less than sparkling.
Matchmaker Tracy chose the sexy Christian Rigaud for one on one time with Tim and she made her time count! Bonding over music, she worked her eyes to the best of her ability and it was obvious he fell for it. She’s not going anywhere soon.
The Final Act
To close the show, each matchmaker had to put up one of their three women and Tim had to send one girl home. Amber put up Hailey for the “fart” debacle. Matthew chose Leah (who didn’t answer when asked point blank by host Giuliana Rancic if she’d been intimate with Tim before) to see if Tim was serious about giving her a chance. Tracy picked Sarah Moore, the quiet, dark-haired girl who had apparently been too nice in defending Leah to the other girls. Again, the matchmakers think you have to be cut-throat to get a man.
To almost no one’s surprise, Tim sent Leah packing and kept Hailey and Sarah.
In short: Good, if slightly crazy and out of touch matchmakers, hot bachelors, and some really good women who actually have chemistry with Tim! I’ll be back.