Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Glee Project

Before I hear any grief, I'm stating right off the bat... Tonight's post is intended for a very specific audience. If you don't watch The Glee Project, come back tomorrow.

If you watch the Fox show Glee, you are also welcome to stay and you should definitely check out Oxygen's (live out loud!) Glee Project. In it, the creator and producers of Glee are pretty much using this competition-type show as a months long casting process. The prize to the winner being an actual role on the show Glee! The idea being, the current cast will be graduating off the show a few at a time, and they need fresh blood to fill the graduates' shoes.

Rather than just being yet another American Idol rip-off, this show actually shows just as much behind the scenes action as it does singing and dancing, making you fall in love with all the kids competing and very depressed when one has to leave.

Each episode always starts with a "homework assignment" in which they walk into a school classroom with their assignment written on the chalkboard. The assignment's title always end with the suffix "ability", which causes awkward word creations like "pairability" (duets) and "danceability" (dancing). Yes, my spellchecker is just loving that right now.

A song title is also given with the homework assignment. For example, "vulnerability" week had them singing Pink's "Please Don't Leave Me". The group decides together who gets to sing which lines and they create their choreography together. Once time is up, the camera will shoot to a ominous pair of feet strutting down the hall. These feet belong to, ohmyword!, an actual cast member of Glee serving as judge of the homework assignment. (Usually not a high-tier member of the New Directions) Vulnerability week's guest judge was Coach Beiste.

So the group performs their hearts out to Coach Beiste singing "Please, please, don't leave me..." with the most emotion one can possibly contrive in such a moment. (There is alot of chest-grasping and arm-reaching, believe me!) The guest judge then picks whoever they feel portrayed the assignment best as the winner. The winner gets a special one-on-one training session with the Glee cast member. (In which they'll basically just tell them to "Try to be really vulnerable." Or on "Believability" week,  "Try and be really believable. Make me believe it!" So, winning doesn't really get you much more that new additions to your autograph book or maybe, if you're lucky, a cool new profile pic for your Facebook account.)

Once the homework assignment is over, the real work begins. The cast is then given another song title to which they will make an actual Glee-worthy music video for. The homework winner gets a few more featured lines in the video, which I guess is another cool bonus. Unless you biff up, then you'll probably get kicked off the show.

They work with Glee's real choreographer, Zach Woodlee (who's also a show producer.) Any scene with Zach is my favorite. He's a giggler, you see.  And, they individually record their vocals with Glee vocal producer Nikki (who squints alot and is brutally honest.)

Here are a couple of my favorite Glee Project videos:

Tenacity: (in which, the constestants were continuously pelted with Slushees. Special guest host, Karofsky of course!)

The three poorest performers are then weeded out from the group and forced to sing, once again, in a "last chance" performance for three judges. Creator Ryan Murphy (who will create your Glee character if you win in the end), Glee's casting director Robert Ulrich and my honey Zach (who will usually tattle on whomever had a bad attitude during the rehearsals and video shoots. Hey, can you blame him?! He's actually going to have to work with whoever wins this thing!)

So, the three contestants literally sing for their lives (well, their careers) and one will eventually be killed (I mean, booted off) because Ryan can't seem to dream up a character for them.

This is where I come in. Because almost everyone of my favorites has been kicked off already for this very reason. And, this is after I have already created characters for these people. Like:

Ellis: My week one favorite. Lasting only to week two (grrrr...)  Ellis's whole schtick was that she's eighteen and looks like a ten-year-old.  She's snarky, fun, sings real jazzy and makes me realize what Kathleen Madigan must have been like at that age.  Ryan couldn't dream up a character for her, not understanding that she is already a character. My choice would be to have her be the school bookie. Sweet-talking to the teachers and looking innocent, then returning to her pack-a-day sounding rasp when taking bets from students against their own football team.

Matheus: Matheus is a little person who doesn't let that stereotype him.  He's very proud of his six-pack abs and shows them off more than The Situation.  His voice is unexpectedly boy-bandish and he's alot of fun. Until, he became a diva week five, getting himself eliminated. My character for Matheus was the same as the direction Ryan was going with it. Mr. Romeo, thinking he's the bomb, without any allusion to his obvious physical difference from the rest of the McKinley High student body.

Cameron: I miss Cameron. :( He was the Glee Project's resident Elvis Costello.  Thick black-framed glasses, a 21st century beatnik-type.  Ryan already had a character dreamed up for him, but Cameron left the show once he realized how much making out goes on between Glee characters (He's a Christian with a girlfriend, and it just felt like cheating to him.) I respect Ryan's plea that they can write the character around his beliefs and work within his comfort zone. Ryan says he has been wanting to make a cool, real-life Christian character who isn't just that horrible parody of one (think, Quinn Fabray...) This really intrigued me, since I'm kinda that character in real life (the "cool" part being debatable.) I was curious to see if he'd go through with this character, staying true to keeping away from the stereo-type.

They also kicked off Marissa (the best female actress and singer in the competition), McKynleigh, the biracial country singer, who I swear only got kicked off for having short hair. (Nothing to swing around on Hairability week?), Emily (the resident sassy "Salma Hayek" of the group) and sweet, funny, gingy Hannah (which I still can't figure out why she's gone.)  My absolute favorite castoff, however, being Tom who never made it past audition week.  He was a young man with Down's Syndrome who wanted to audition to be Becky's boyfriend because, and I quote, "She's hot!" (I can see him now sneaking around the halls with Becky. Hiding out from his nemesis Sue, who doesn't want to share her.) Hopefully, they see the talent left behind and we'll see a few surprise guest appearances on Glee this fall. I think they have the goods to create more than one character out of this bunch!

But, that leaves four left competing for the actual role of a lifetime.  Damian, the Irish crooner whom I'm developing a Mrs. Robinson-esque crush on (for the accent alone, maybe?).  Sam, the dreadlocked rocker (who, once he heard Ryan was looking for a Christian character for the show, suddenly claimed, "I love Jesus! I love Jesus so much! It even says Jesus Christ on the back of my neck, I swear!" He then spins around, but doesn't bother lifting up his locks to prove it.)  Alex, the male Mercedes. He could go toe-to-toe with Jennifer Hudson on "I am Telling You" and seems awfully comfortable in drag for a teenager.  Lastly, there's Lindsay.  And, I mean lastly because I'd like her to be in last place. She was very mean to my Ellis week two, she fake cries, domineers every conversation and is a great big fakey-fake just like her placard said in the "Mad World" video. Yes, she has a big voice and very pretty eyes. But, her eyes are the kind of pretty you find on a smelly old baby doll that was tossed away in a dumpster with a cracked plastic head. You keep reclining the neck back on it so the eyelids will close over those lifeless blue glass eyes. Augh! I will have Lindsay nightmares tonight!

Well, if anyone made it this far through all that, remember to watch Glee Project Sunday nights on Oxygen. You won't regret it!  And, go to to vote for your fan favorite (But, if you were going to vote for Lindsay, forget it! Ummm, the voting has closed.)


)O( Figgy )O( said...

I agree with you 120% on everything. Especially the Lindsay description! HA HA I miss Hannah so much, I don't want to watch anymore save for Damien! If your Mrs. Robinson I guess I would be Grandma Robinson LOL

Tim said...

Don't you think having people graduate and bringing new people in will cause Glee to jump the shark?

Keekerdee said...

If they hire half of the Glee Project people it won't jump the shark. They're awesome. However, I'm now hearing that Ryan Murphy is back-peddling and might not write off some of the characters after they graduate. Who knows! I don't want to see 30 yr-old Lea Michele still in high school like Andrea Zuckerman either.