Meet two 60-minute romance seekers from ABC's 'The Proposal'

The Proposal has been called “The Bachelor on steroids” and likened “to a chef trying to make a meal out of half a Rice Krispies Treat.”

But two young San Diego women who are contestants on the new ABC series’ third episode, scheduled to air July 2, have no regrets and call it a fun experience.

Each episode features an anonymous suitor, male or female, who is hidden from view behind a screen while interviewing 10 eligible contestants who want to get married. Within an hour, the 10 hopefuls pass through verbal and visual elimination rounds until Mr. or Miss Right is left, and a proposal is in the offing.

After its June 18 premiere, The Proposal, which follows The Bachelorette, got panned by critics who assailed its beauty pageant format and 60-minute romance dynamic.

“It is a weird concept,” admits Ali Beck, 31, who attended West Hills High School in Santee and Point Loma Nazarene University before becoming an elementary school teacher at the Rock Church’s academy. She called ex-NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer, himself a former “Bachelor” show star, “an amazing host.” After all, it is his job to make the speed dating concept appear heartfelt and sincere rather than making a mockery of marriage.

Beck, who now lives in New York, didn’t meet fellow San Diegan Sarah Griffith, 32, until rehearsals but they have become pals since the April 27-29 taping. Beck says she was impressed with the high quality and genuineness of the contestants in her episode. Griffith, an aspiring actress, singer and Pacific Beach bartender, was disappointed that production time was short and says the format was a bit “hokey and crazy, but I had a great time.” She notes the proposal doesn’t have to be marriage. It can be going on a date or a vacation to get to know one another better.

The screening panel had asked Beck if she were amenable to a marriage proposal. “I said, yes, I would be OK with it if we were compatible,” she confides. Does she get the chance? Her San Diego family and friends will find out Monday.

Read more from Diane Bell's column here.

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