Oh, Bachelor Canada… Dare I say, I missed you! I missed your artsy close ups of fire pits and candles, your sweeping fast-forwarded aerial views and slow-mo’ed hair flips, and your sweet-spot 1.5 hour long episodes (the U.S. show could take a hint in that department). I’ve got to say, this show is very polished and looking fine. Perhaps they should apply the same discerning eye to the photography department, because those bio photos are bad, especially next to the gloss of the show itself. You’d think whoever art directed those portraits had some axe to grind with this season’s women; they’re so unflattering they almost look like caricatures.
Chris is an unfamiliar name and face to me (I am an admitted ignoramus when it comes to baseball), though it’s instantly clear why he was this year’s chosen one. He is tall, and if not dark, undeniably handsome. I suppose there’s a certain cachet to dating a pro athlete (I have enough girlfriends with this not-so-niche preference to feel like I know what I’m talking about), and he has what I presume is an impressive Wikipedia page about his baseball career. (See how studious I am?!)
However, wistfully remembering Jasmine‘s fantastic Bachelorette Canada season this time last year, where the runner-up was fan favourite and all-around nice guy, Mikhel Sickand, it’s hard to not wish Canada had cast the first ever Indian lead in North America. For what it’s worth, I specifically asked the executive producer about this in Toronto last week. Turns out Mikhel couldn’t stay single long enough to even consider contemplating the gig. This tidbit alone felt SO wonderfully Canadian to me. How many American runners-up can you picture turning becoming the Bachelor down in favour of a nice, normal girlfriend? Above all, how many of them can you picture having a PRIVATE Instagram account? I love you, Canada, and your non-spotlight-seeking inhabitants.
His resume may be on-point, but I’m yet to be completely convinced of Chris’ star power, his debonairness, his charisma. I’m very certain he has a good sense of humour (I love a man who laughs freely; he seems to do this), but I’m getting the vibe that he’s on the receiving (not the delivering) end, that he’s not the one doling out the laughs. In short, I’m not getting a whole lot of personality so far. Night One is never the place to show that off anyway, but it’s an early concern of mine. The only joke I recall him attempting was an effortful, “I don’t bite, I promise.” (Bleak.) When Priscilla winked, “I’ll buy you a drink”, Chris somehow thought an appropriate response was, “I think the drinks are free.” (Sad trombone.) Another flop for me was when Lyndsey, the 23-year old publicist, told him that she lived in Vancouver and all he could muster as a response was, “That’s so far from me.” Come on, Chris, make conversation. We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, Chris and us viewers, so I would be very happy to be wrong about this.
As always, the lead is hardly the star of this show, and we know by now that a season is made or broken by its contestants. I was pleasantly surprised by the crop of women (especially after those horrific headshots) as, save the usual wackadoodle potential candidates, they seemed to be really grounded and cool, with real jobs and good attitudes. Some standouts are Cait, who I think is gorgeous and who I think Chris is absolutely into, but something is keeping me from putting her in my top 4. (Perhaps I’ll be kicking myself later over this.) I think Stacy has frontrunner written all over her, but her lack of airtime has me doubting her making it to the very end. (The last two runners-up of this show, Trish and Mikhel, had the exact same amount of Night One airtime as Stacy, so while I can picture her making it far, I don’t see her winning.) I was sad we didn’t get to see more of Shaleen, whose bio video left me wanting to be her friend. Ashley was another girl I had in my early friend crush bin, again mostly based on her bio video. There were of course some weaker showings: there was Priscilla, the “Performer.” She seemed nice enough, but as a performer, I have to say that I’ve never met anyone who just goes by “Performer.” That is way too vague to be legitimate. And further, if you insist on springing (or are convinced to spring) out of a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” on Night One, for God’s sake, make sure it’s good. Shanti was downright painful to watch but in a different, far worse way. The combo of her pomp and entitlement with her obvious crippling insecurity was cringeworthy.
If you’ve been following along with our “Celebrity” Fantasy Draft (which you should be, and joining my team while you’re at it!), you’ll know I had Catie in my top spot. We had to pick our top 4 based on nothing more than the ladies’ bios and videos. We’re meant to switch things around depending on each episode, so obviously, armed with some editing analysis, I am going to do just that. Honestly, I would actually prefer it if we weren’t allowed to change our lists since it’d feel more competitive that way… but I digress.
My top 4 picks based on last night’s premiere are…
1. Dee, 32: I wasn’t entirely sure where I had Dee initially, just that I did have her floating somewhere in my top 4. Based on Night One, Dee is a distinct force to be reckoned with. She was one of only six to have an intro video shown. Her whole entrance was shown (on a dirt bike), as well as her whole meet-and-greet with Chris. She managed to show him both her tough, biker girl and soft, feminine sides in the very limited Night One time, and she secured the coveted First Impression Rose. Peripherally, I am all too aware that the fact that she has a daughter might not be for everyone, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Dee shifts from floating in my top 4, to topping my top 4.
2. Mikaela, 28: It was very interesting at the Fantasy Draft Facebook Live taping to observe how Jasmine and I had selected Mikaela, yet neither Roz nor Daryn had. I was surprised; to me it’s clear Mikaela has not only beauty and confidence, but also sex appeal (though perhaps not as in-your-face as, say, Brittany M‘s). Chris seemed instantly drawn to her, he called her “stunning,” and her music really stood out to me. During her limo exit and meet-and-greet, it began as a pretty piano piece, and swelled as she described to Chris the meaning behind her “promise rings.” When she said that, inside the mansion, Chris would have to spot her ring and talk to her first, the music was punctuated by the entrance of strings. It felt very momentous and meaningful, like something that took both thought and time. Oh, and Chris did find and talk to her first, evidently a man of his (strings-accompanied) word.
3. Catie, 29: Dropping Catie two notches from my initial top spot doesn’t mean much; I still think she’s a major contender. She’s got the peppy personality that I think Chris probably likes (again, he’s the receiver, not the giver, of pep) and she really carried both conversations like a champ. She’s beautiful, clearly smart as a whip, and oozes just the right amount of self-assuredness and confidence. Catie isn’t going anywhere.
4. Lyndsey, 23: I’m annoyed because Roz was so arrogant about having picked Lyndsey and he appears to have been right. I still don’t really see a 23-year old woman, especially one who’s clearly very career-oriented, getting engaged and married anytime soon. That said, the frontrunner proof is in the airtime pudding, and Lyndsey had a lot of the airtime. No intro video, but she had the prized first limo exit position, accompanied by distinct frontrunner music, and both conversations with Chris were shown. Chris mentioned finding Lyndsey beautiful several times, the kind of girl he’d “muster up the courage to talk to on the street.” I like her a lot—she’s elegant and seems super easy-going—but her age still gives me pause.
Watch The Bachelor Canada Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. EST on W Network. Then, head on over to FLARE.com/themorningafter for Sharleen Joynt’s always on-point recaps.