Why Michael Bolton Is Best (And Weirdest) Part Of ABC’s Celebrity Dating Game

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Spoilers ahead for the June 28 episode of ABCs Celebrity Dating Game.

Summer TV season is here, which means networks breaking out their best, brightest, and sometimes most bizarre unscripted series while the biggest shows are on hiatus until fall. ABC brought Celebrity Dating Game to television this summer to give contestants a shot at love – or at least one date – with a celebrity whose identity they don’t know. The series is primarily hosted by Zooey Deschanel and has featured celebrities ranging from Australian rapper Iggy Azalea to star of stage and screen Taye Diggs, but so far I have to say that co-host Michael Bolton is the best part of the show. Also, the weirdest part of the show.

To be fair, Michael Bolton struck me as a bizarre addition to the show from the very first time I even heard that ABC was rebooting The Dating Game with celebrities for the summer season. Zooey Deschanel seemed like the perfect choice for Celebrity Dating Game before it even premiered, and she has handled the silliness very well so far, as expected. Everything about the show, ranging from Deschanel as host to the celebrities participating to even the set decorations, seems to fit so naturally… except for Michael Bolton. And I can’t look away.

Michael’s Bolton’s contributions have mostly been to sing parodies of love songs filled with clues about the celebrity identities, drop random comments, and attract the attention of celebrity contestants who want him to be a bachelor vying for their heart. He makes so little sense as part of this show that he has somehow become my favorite part of the show.

Although I was initially kind of annoyed at how obvious the clues in the songs were and was preoccupied with questions like “Will Hannah Brown ever search for love elsewhere than ABC?” and “Why do these men in Iggy Azalea’s episode keep knocking Australia?” while watching, it slowly faded away because of how much Michael Bolton sticks out, and somehow not in a bad way.

Now, I won’t lie – I mostly started watching Celebrity Dating Game because it airs after The Bachelorette and I don’t generally need to rush off and do anything at 10 p.m. on a Monday, so the stakes weren’t exactly sky-high for me from the beginning. In fact, Celebrity Dating Game seemed like one of the weirder competition shows heading to primetime in the summer, which is saying something considering ABC is also the home of the surprisingly addictive miniature golf competition series Holey Moley.

But Michael Bolton has kept me watching Celebrity Dating Game, partly because even the other people on the show don’t always seem to entirely know what to make of him other than when he’s singing his songs. When Michael Bolton starts bantering and going off-book, who knows what’s going to happen? Based on her expressions, certainly not Zooey Deschanel all the time. I’m not sure if he’s the most or least self-aware person about the series, but he’s certainly the one to watch if you ask me. Check out one of his performances:

Admittedly, this isn’t the only project that Michael Bolton has appeared in that has left me saying “…Really?” before checking it out, and I also ended up loving his very weird but incredibly catchy collaboration with Lonely Island for “Jack Sparrow,” complete with various movie cosplay outfits. Still, he has made Celebrity Dating Game a pretty fun watch for me. See more of Bolton along with Zooey Deschanel with new episodes of The Celebrity Dating Game on ABC Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, following new episodes of Katie Thurston‘s dramatic search for love on The Bachelorette.

    • Laura Hurley
      Laura Hurley

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      Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.

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