Did Juan Pablo Galavis Bomb As 'The Bachelor'?

Some media critics and television fans hoped that casting Juan Pablo Galavis as The Bachelor would bring diversity to ABC's hit reality show. But now many are asking if his performance was a letdown.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, even if you roll your eyes at the mere mention of the reality TV show "The Bachelor," consider this - according to ABC, some 10 million people were tuned in to this week's finale at any given time during the show. And even if you weren't up in arms about the final rose ceremony, maybe you wondered what the fuss was all about over Juan Pablo Galavis - the bachelor everybody seemed to love to hate, at least by the end. We wanted to learn more so we've called on Mercedes Sanchez. She is a style blogger at BeChicMag. She brings a Latina's perspective to many issues. So, Mercedes, welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

MERCEDES SANCHEZ: Thank you for having me. This is great.

MARTIN: Well, one of the reasons, you know, we were interested, I know a lot of people were interested in Juan Pablo, at least to begin with, is that there had been a lot of discussion about the fact that there had never been a bachelor of color. In fact, there was even a lawsuit, dismissed early on, but alleging discrimination. Now given that he was the first Latino bachelor, were people kind of excited about this?

SANCHEZ: I have to say that that's probably one of the biggest reasons that I tuned in. I had never really watched the show before. I tried. I'd jump in once in a while, in all those Twitter parties. But that's definitely one big reason why many people who are Latinas and Latinos were viewing.

MARTIN: So let me play a clip. This is Juan Pablo at the final rose ceremony with Nikki, the woman he chose. Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

JUAN PABLO GALAVIS: I'm not 100 percent sure that I want to propose to you. But at the same time, I'm 100 percent sure that I just wouldn't let you go. I like you a lot - a lot. So, Nikki, will you accept my final rose?

MARTIN: Wow, you know, I don't think I'm kind of bowled over with the romance of that. So what's your reaction, Mercedes?

SANCHEZ: Not at all. I was cringing with my hands over my face because just a couple of minutes before that moment, Nikki, I think, was a voiceover was saying, you know, I was just always looking forward to that moment when I can tell my mom that, mom, I'm engaged. And I'm like why would you want to tell her in this manner? She's going to start asking you so many questions like, who is he? What does he do? Are you guys really in love? And I'm just like, this is bologna.

MARTIN: Well, one of the things that kind of got some attention in not just, you know, on the air but also kind of in social media, is the fact that some of the women were actually so disgusted by him that they walked off, I mean, that they left the program.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

MARTIN: I just - I have to ask you about that because some people would say, you know, look, this is why people should just get off these shows and stop doing them. Just stop it. But other people look at that and they think, well, you know, we need diversity in all spheres. You need - people from all different backgrounds should participate in everything that the culture has to offer. Where are you in this?

SANCHEZ: I would agree so because, you know, many of the conversations that I've been having and also reading about is the fact that, you know, why does it matter that he's Latino? I mean, he should not have to represent everyone. And I kind of understand that way of thinking, and I agree. But the thing is that we were watching because of the fact that he is Latino. And we were secretly hoping that he would succeed and that he would, you know, be a great representation, even though no one should ever have to represent a race or a nationality or a gender on their own. But the reality is that, unfortunately, that's just how it is because, perhaps, most of the viewers don't really - perhaps, they didn't know about the Latino culture.

They're just ignorant. They have - didn't know anyone of that particular background. Or some people are just racist, and they just think that this is how everyone should be or is. And I'm thinking that, perhaps, you know, this was, like, an opportunity for us to show a little more - more than the Latin lover, more than, you know - he was saying that he has a language barrier. And, you know, I was just thinking about what can this do for Latinas and Latinos for later on on ABC? Perhaps they love us so much that they'll have another show or bring in more cast members to a sitcom or an entertainment show. So that's, like, my way of thinking. So when things don't really turn out the great and if people really hate Juan Pablo, they start thinking that, crap, all Latinos are like this. I'm like, damn, you know.

MARTIN: So that's a problem. When push comes - I'm only asking you for your personal opinion here.

SANCHEZ: Sure.

MARTIN: But do you - at the end of the day, was it a net positive or net negative having him 'cause you can understand where some people think, you know, everybody shouldn't have to be Sidney Poitier, you know, better than good, right? Or - but then some people say, well, why does the minority guy have to be such a jerk? So at the end of the day, what's your take on it? Is it better or worse? Would you rather they had not picked him for this, or would you rather - or you just don't care?

SANCHEZ: I think in that perspective, I'm a little bit indifferent. I don't think it really did anything bad for the culture in away. You know what I mean? I don't think it really hindered us in any way. But I would have liked for him to be just a little better for the sake of those opportunities, you know. But I don't think it really hindered the culture in any way.

MARTIN: Mercedes Sanchez is a blogger at BeChicMag. She was kind enough to join us from our bureau in New York. Mercedes, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Great, thank you.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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