Bachelor Live on Stage: An exclusive chat with Ben Higgins


Accept This Rose had the privilege of speaking with Ben Higgins, Bachelor fan favorite and co-host of the first ever Bachelor: Live on Stage. Here’s why this tour is a can’t-miss for Bachelor Nation.

When it comes to a show like The Bachelor, with legions of dedicated fans, it’s a surprise something like the Bachelor: Live On Stage hasn’t been done before. Hosted by fan-favorites Ben Higgins and Becca Kufrin, the tour is a chance for us fans to experience “all the drama, the gossip and the romance of your favorite TV show in one delightful evening.” Yes, one evening.

For those of you who haven’t seen the rumblings about this new tour, here’s the basic premise. The tour is set to kick off on February 13 in Mesa, Arizona, with an ambitious 66 stops in various cities across the nation. Each show will feature a local Bachelor who will date local women plucked from the audience. With some (likely necessary) guidance from the hosts, the contestants will essentially experience the months-long dating experience in two hours. We’ll see our local Bachelor and his suitors go through the same hallmarks of the franchise – one-on-one dates, group dates/challenges, rose ceremonies, and, yes, fantasy suites.

So, it’s the Black Mirror version of The Bachelor, but on steroids. If you’re baffled by this premise, you’re not alone. I caught up with Ben Higgins to chat about the tour and how it stands out from our favorite parent franchise.

Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images /

While this is such a cool experience for fans, I was curious as to what made Ben want to embark on a months-long nationwide tour. Well, other than giving Chris Harrison a run for his money. Most fans are aware Ben didn’t end up marrying his final pick, but on a personal level, he proclaims, “what the show has done for me [outside of that] are things that aren’t quantifiable.”

"One of the coolest parts about what The Bachelor has done for me – I went into it as a super insecure, incredibly nervous human. I left being able to be vulnerable and open up about some of my deepest wounds and insecurities."

Ben credits the show with his newfound ability to talk about things he never would’ve prior, such as “feeling like an outsider looking in, that [I] felt unlovable.”

Moreover, the immense support Ben received from Bachelor Nation after the show did not go unnoticed. So, for him, this tour is a way to give back, and offer that same feeling of community and support to the show’s loyal fanbase. Obviously, it would be unfeasible for him to go to 66 cities on his own and meet thousands of people in a night. With this tour, he’s able to do just that, and, “recreate the show [live on stage] so they can see how the actual experience would and could work.”

"It feels fun, it feels weird, it feels a little uncomfortable, but it feels like something so unique that I want to be a part of it."

Ben’s feelings of insecurity and fear of being vulnerable are certainly not unique. How does he plan to mitigate that in a live setting? In contrast to the show, which is obviously taped in advance and edited, Bachelor: Live on Stage will hit the ground running until the evening ends. What happens if someone gets stage fright, or freezes up on stage?

Ben gets it – that’s the reason he and Becca are there. “If you feel like this is weird, you aren’t alone. It is the exact same feeling I had when I went on the show for the first time.”

For those who weren’t child-actors who got over their fear of public speaking at age 10, Ben and Becca are there, “to get to a place where you feel comfortable, that if anything, you can at least have an experience [just like the real show].” He was effusive in his praise for Becca, whom he calls “one of the most comforting people [I’ve] ever met.” Much like Chris Harrison’s role as a father figure to both the lead and contestants, Becca and Ben are there to help guide the process and offer salient advice.

The show was a life-changing experience for Ben. His hope is that the live shows will give fans that same experience. As he aptly puts it, “it’ll be uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable isn’t always bad.”

For those willing to lean into the discomfort? You’ll want to pull out your favorite LBD, as “everybody’s expected when they come to this evening to dress up in cocktail attire, just like you would for the show.”

Fans attending the live tour, come prepared to be plucked straight from the audience. While there will be a casting process, contestants won’t know they’re vying for the Bachelor’s heart until the night of the show.

Even if you opted not to apply, fair warning – no one is safe, as “if there’s somebody sitting out there [in the audience] that the guy can’t keep his eyes off, well then let’s give it a shot, let’s give love a shot.” But, for the most part, the tour will try to cast compatible contestants who are there for the right reasons. In other words: no off-tune guitarists with girlfriends they’ve broken up with in their heads allowed.

While some tour stops will feature former contestants (for all those hoping to shoot their shot with Connor S., here’s your chance!), most leads will be hometown Bachelors. So, if you’ve been pining for that high school quarterback all these years, fill out an application, show up in your best dress, and hope they don’t end up choosing your ex for the role.

An intriguing aspect of the tour is audience engagement. Every fan has felt the frustration of watching the lead keep the mean girl or the gaslighting misogynist around for too long. If you’ve ever wished you could reach through the tv and tell the lead why they were making the wrong choice, you’ll now be able to.

Ben reveals, “the audience has a huge say in who stays and who goes.” While the final say won’t be left entirely up to the audience, they will have a hand in the contests, group dates, and one-on-ones along the way. Essentially, it’s a chance to phone-a-friend – a tool that arguably could benefit the actual franchise show.

We got a taste of this when Demi and Katie showed up in their Spy Kids van on Night One last season. Unfortunately, one could argue, in light of Hannah’s final pick, they left too soon. Ben agrees that an outside perspective would immensely aid the show’s lead.

"One of the hardest parts about [being in this experience] is people don’t realize how isolated it is, and how much, as you’re on the show, that show becomes your world. It becomes your environment that you move and breathe in, and so your friends are the producers. While offering them exuberant praise, “they also have a job to do, and you know that when you talk to them there’s things they choose not to give you advice on, because they don’t want to sway you in any direction, so you end up on your own little island."

Ben wishes he had the ability as the lead, where just like in the real world, “I would call a friend and say, ‘I don’t think I’m processing this correctly, can you help me?’” Thankfully, contestants on the tour will have this crucial opportunity.

In addition, Ben and Becca will guide the lead to ensure they ask the necessary questions and are intentional in their dating quest – just as Chris Harrison did for them. “It wasn’t uncommon for [Chris] to come in my room and be like, ‘Ben, come on, be better, ask some more questions. You missed that opportunity there to tell her how you feel.'” He plans to carry on this torch and doesn’t think he’ll have any problem telling the lead, “alright, dude, you’re in front of 2,000 people – this is your moment, step up.”

A common criticism of the franchise is the lack of on-screen conversations surrounding ‘taboo’ topics, if you will, such as religion and politics. With the less-than-optimal success rate, one might wonder if these critical conversations take place as often as they should. Will the tour brave these topics, or will it take place during the application process? The answer is both.

Obviously, it would be unnatural to force these moments. Ben doesn’t intend to randomly come up and say, “What do you believe in?’ That’s up to the Bachelor and the women to start discussing on their own time.” That said, this topic, in particular, hit home for Ben, as he makes it no secret that religion is a big part of his life. While noting, respectfully, that he understands differing beliefs, “it would be impossible [for me] to pursue any romantic relationship with any person if they didn’t know that about me, that it was at the forefront of everything I do.”

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia /

“I think it’s vitally important, especially as you get into this process and in dating, in general, to talk about it. To just say, ‘hey, this is such a big piece of me that you need to know’, otherwise our lives are gonna look a little different.”

With the hard-hitting questions out of the way, it’s time to address what’s really on everyone’s minds: fantasy suites? Rest assured, Ben, confirms, “hell yeah, there’s going to be fantasy suites.” The logistics are still debatable – there won’t be glamping tents set up on stage – but the contestants will be privy to private time of some sort where they’ll be able to, “close the curtains, get privacy [if they need it], just like you would in the real world.” I typically date sans-audience, but who’s to say.

Ben’s words of wisdom to hopeful applicants: it’ll be wild, it’ll be weird, but no matter what you’re on, dating is weird. As an attendee of several tragic Hinge dates, I can co-sign. Here’s to hoping this tour is a hit, because if so, Higgins expects a Bachelorette version – it’s what we deserve.

For even more on the tour, check out our interview with Becca Kufrin here.

More. Bachelor Live on Stage: An exclusive chat with Becca Kufrin. light

Will you be attending Bachelor: Live on Stage in a city near you? Any brave applicants out there? Share your thoughts below!