By now I’m sure you’ve heard. Thursday, June 2 is the big casting call day for season 21 of “The Bachelor” and season 13 of “The Bachelorette.” It’s at Suite. At the EpiCentre. Ladies and gents, you can apply here.
My initial reaction to this location is that night-clubby Suite is an odd, non-iconic Charlotte spot to audition for a nationally fawned-over reality TV series. But then I realized it’s not where Charlotte people audition that matters. It’s the possibility of a Charlottean getting on to the show and then getting so far through the show’s whittling-down process that he or she gets a hometown visit. If said woman or man is a Charlotte native and mom and dad are still in town, that means Charlotte gets a visit from a camera crew – and becomes a big blip on the national radar.
I would epically let Charlotte down if I were the native to get on “The Bachelor” and then get the hometown visit. To fit into my little life, the 2017 bachelor would probably shuttle me over to Cotswold in a stretch limo (popping bottles of kombucha in the back) for a disgustingly non-romantic hot yoga sweat fest, then schlep me over in my evening gown (freshly showered but still freshly sweating) to Paco’s Tacos & Tequila at SouthPark to meet my parents. That’s where we go for special occasions. Maybe Firebirds at StoneCrest if the Toussaints are feeling extra fancy.
My brother would tell the bachelor all of the stupid things I did in college and how I dance like a bowling ball with no direction at weddings. Then we’d cruise in a helicopter or a blimp around uptown, gazing over Crescent Communities’ red dirt pit that is the future home of Whole Foods, etc., while I gleefully point in the direction of my cubicle in the Nascar Plaza tower.
— Ely Portillo (@ESPortillo) May 24, 2016
Then maybe a ride back to my apartment via the Blue Line light rail for a good action shot. And a kiss goodnight on the Magic Carpet Mural by Atherton Mill, appropriately backed by a crescendo of dramatic music while the bachelor pretends to like me.
That would be it. That would be what the U.S. would see of Charlotte.
But if another Charlotte native made it this far, to this hometown visit, and played it right, and was cool and adventurous enough, she or he could show the nation what Charlotte’s made of. Or at least the millions of viewers who tune in to shout at the TV and wrap up their games of Bachelor Fantasy draft (Why can’t I ever win this game?)
The producers of Emily Maynard’s season of “The Bachelorette” took an interesting approach with the spots they showed in Charlotte – a Ballantyne mansion, a trip to Mint Museum Uptown (you know, to casually repel from it), an encounter with The Muppets at Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Booth Playhouse (cute) and a red-carpet date at NC Music Factory’s Osso (But why?). (Disclaimer: I didn’t actually watch this season, I had to research it.)
I’d say another Charlotte native could play it up better. Like with a whitewater rafting experience at U.S. National Whitewater Center (slowed to a babbling-brook intensity level, and candle-lit, of course), somehow hitting up every single one of Charlotte’s breweries on a B-cycle bike, a magical ride on the trolley for cocktails at Carpe Diem, (the trolley wouldn’t hit anything in this scenario), then that stretch limo ride up I-77 to give Kindred that extra spotlight it needs to win a James Beard award. Then a passionate kiss goodnight on the rooftop of The VUE. Because apartments.
I’m definitely curious to see if a Charlotte native makes it through the 2017 shows. He or she or they may not find lasting love (Maynard didn’t find love until she was on “The Bachelor,” then “The Bachelorette,” THEN back in the non-reality-TV world). But they sure could make Charlotte look good on TV.
Photos: Mark Wessels/ABC, Katie Toussaint