The Glee Project is all about finding someone to have a 7 episode arc on Glee. Each week will focus on a quality necessary for being a cast member on Glee. A different member of the show’s cast will come on every week for pointers and judging. 12 contestants, ranging from around 18-22 years old, have been chosen.
This week, the quality is individuality, with Stevie Wonder’s song “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and the guest judge is Darren Criss (aka Blaine). The winner of this part will get an advantage in the big challenge of the week.
The mini-challenge (called an assignment) is interesting because they have an entire one line of music to stand out from their fellow contestants. Some try to do it with a bit of showing off while others do funny faces and motions. It is nice to see how talented the group actually is.
What we learn about the contestants in the first few minutes is that one guy is very short (Matteos), one girl is flirty (Emily), one boy who sounds like a girl (Alex), one boy is Irish (Damion), and one girl looks like she is ten despite being eighteen (Ellis). Darren gives everyone a bit of feedback after they sing and Matteo (the very short one who has a very good ear) is the first winner.
The big assignment is Katy Perry’s “Firework” (which can be found on YouTube already). Matteos will have the lead and get a bit of one on one time with Darren. They will be performing and filming the song and be judged on the end result and how they handle the entire thing (they are in fact warned that casting is subjective and it is not all about technical skill).
The kids get to choose their “character” for the performance. The theme is high school yearbook photos.
The choreography session with Glee choreography Zach Woodlee teaches the moves in a rush and cuts them no slack. They are to pick it up quickly and silently. No goofing off or joking around.
They move on to vocals with Nikki Anders, the vocal producer. As she points out, they have a very short time to do any given song (45 minutes to an hour sometimes), and the studio experience is an important part.
Next they meet with Erik White, the music video director. He does a bit of name dropping (mostly hip hop and r&b singers) and then they get to work. The best competitors will make the callback list. The bottom three will have to perform something to prove they deserve their spot.
I’m a little disappointed, since I already know how this music video turns out (very good, in case you are wondering). Emily’s character seems the most redundant (she’s basically just Santana or maybe even Adrianne from Secret Life) and Matteo as a body builder seems a bit laughable.
They sit and worry about who will be in the bottom three. No one stood out as bad really. But they decide to go around and say who they think was bad, which is always a good idea, right?
Cameron, Lindsay, Matteos, Alex, Emily, and Samuel are told immediately that they are safe.
Of the remainders, three will have to do “last chance performances.” McKinley, Hannah, and Marissa all have some work but they are safe in the middle of the pack.
In the bottom are Ellis (tried too hard to be a kid) and she gets Broadway number “Hey Big Spender”, Bryce who gets Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are”, and Damion who gets “Jessie’s Girl.”
They are all nervous for various reasons (lack of familiarity with the song, inability to reach the notes, etc).
Damion- when he speaks in his Irish accent I can think of a place that he will fit on to the show, but I am less sure when watching him sing. I don’t find his voice very impressive for the most part and wouldn’t care all the much to listen to him. (His biggest problem was his reserve.) He still came off a bit nervous because he didn’t know all the lyrics and even messed up (“I wish I was Jessie’s girl” instead of “I wish I had…”)
Bryce- musically, Bryce is stronger than Damion (though he was a bit difficult during rehearsal). The song is a tough song, which he struggled with a bit.
Ellis- once she throws out the overly-childish persona, she’s much more fun to watch and listen to. Vocally, this song suited her voice much better than the other two. There wasn’t much personality in her song though. The judges explain that they write parts based on the people (think Chris Colfer who had a role written for him).
The list is put up and it is Bryce who is not called back.