10:00am PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Ready for Love': Plain White T's Tim Lopez on Finding Ms. Right (Video)
Here’s a novel idea: a reality dating show that actually works.
According to Plain White T’s guitarist Tim Lopez, Ready for Love is that show. But where the TV bachelors before him kept mum on the final outcome of their relationships, Lopez reveals that he did find love and that the duo are still happily together, even after the cameras stopped rolling.
“I am still with her and very happy in the relationship, so it worked for me,” Lopez tells The Hollywood Reporter. But as for the lucky lady’s identity -- and the couple’s decision to wed, become engaged or simply live happily ever after -- viewers will have to tune in.
Executive produced by Eva Longoria and hosted by Giuliana and Bill Rancic, NBC’s Ready for Love pairs three bachelors with three matchmakers, who then select 12 ladies for each of their respective men (36 total) before they are whittled down to four apiece and, ultimately, one perfect match for each bachelor. And while there can be only three winners on Ready for Love, early eliminees are not permitted to switch teams and vie for another’s affections to stay on the show.
Joining the Austin-based Lopez on the journey are Ben Patton, an international financier from Dallas, and Ernesto Arguello, an entrepreneur with a social vision from Miami.
"They are the kinds of guys I'd fix my sister up with if my sister were single," says co-host Bill Rancic, who also admits that he and wife Giuliana learned a few tips from the relationship gurus (matchmaker Amber Kelleher-Andrews, relationship author Tracy McMillan and professional dating coach Matthew Hussey) during filming.
"We found it to be really educational, when they were offering tips and guidance on why you should do this or that," he says. "We're happily married and wrote a book on marriage [the New York Times best seller I Do, Now What?], but even we thought, 'Wow, this is pretty interesting.' I think viewers will walk away with bits of knowledge they can use in their own relationships."
For Lopez, whose first marriage to his high school sweetheart ended in divorce, even a background in performing couldn’t prepare him for filming in front of a live audience, including the matchmakers and hosts, during which he is required to address his feelings for each of his suitors.
“I thought that I would be so comfortable with that, but the truth is it’s different to hold a guitar in front of you and actually perform than it is to date people on camera and have an audience watch you pour your heart out on stage,” he admits. “You never know what the girls are gonna throw at you or what Giuliana and Bill are gonna throw at you.”
But viewers can also see Tim in his natural element when his band takes the stage to perform during one of the episodes. Band mate Tom Higgenson says that the T’s had their eyes peeled for the future Mrs. Lopez during their performance. “We got to see a lot of the girls, so it was funny after we played, all of us guys were like, ‘Which one do you think he’s gonna like? Which one do you like?'”
Asked whether he took his band mates’ opinions into account when selecting his mate, Lopez is quick with a “no” response.
“Not at all, actually,” he says, while Higgenson slyly disagrees. “We have very different tastes, which is great for our band dynamic. When we all were single, I don’t want to be competing with this guy.”
As for “this guy,” the last single member of the group, he acknowledges with a false sense of woe, Higgenson is open to the idea of taking his own love life to the small screen. “You know what, you never know,” he says of a reality TV prospects. “We’ll see. Maybe. My life is like a reality show.”
With the band’s new digital-only EP, Should’ve Gone to Bed, out now and a full-length studio effort expected for a late-summer street date, Lopez confesses to having recorded a song or two about his new love. “There’s some that are specifically about her and some where I’ve taken little bits of our relationship and tossed them into a song,” he says.
Could “Haven’t Told Her Yet” be one? Brimming with the promise of new love, Lopez proclaims that his beloved is “brighter than Vegas/hotter than Hades/cool enough to make you freeze” on the poppy, up-tempo track.
Ready for Love airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC following The Voice.
Additional reporting by Kimberly Nordyke.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci