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Tonight, Lea Michele mentors!
Eliminated: Maxfield – The good looking country white guy
Aylin – Without You
Max – Always on My Mind
Tyler – ABC
In case you forgot the drill from last year, the finalists—14 in total—will compete for a spot on Glee Season 4. They’ll be given a homework assignment which they will rehearse and perform for the judges—Casting director, Robert Ulrich, choreographer, Zach Woodee and vocal coach, Nikki Anders. The winner of the challenge will get one on one coaching from the guest mentor. After, the group shoots a music video directed by Erik White. Nikki will record the vocals with each contestant, Zach and his assistant will teach the group choreography. The trio will observe and give notes during the photo shoot. After, the group will choose 3 contestants who have struggled the most during the week to perform in front of Glee co-creator, Ryan Murphy, who will choose which contestant goes home.
Got that? Ryan mentioned at the end of tonight’s episode that there will be a double elimination one week—to make up for the 2 extra contestants. If you watched the casting special, you saw the team unable to narrow down the choices to 12.
And that’s what you missed…on The Glee Project!
The episode begins as the finalists arrive on set, one by one. They received the good news that they made the finals by phone, so none of them are really sure who else made the cut.
Dani is the first to arrive. Some of you may remember her from America’s Got Talent. She was the singer who performed a clever song she penned about looking like Justin Beiber. She tanked as soon as she was required to sing covers. But it’s all good, because here she is on another reality to show, determined to win!
Charlie is next. If you watched the casting special, you know he’s the group’s white guy with guitar who changes up pop tunes. Just so you know, RYAN LOVES HIM SOME WGWG. He listened to a couple of bars of Charlie’s audition song and said, basically—that’s enough. YOU’RE IN. The flamboyant Abraham is next. He feels confident about his chances. After all, he’s pretty easy on the eyes. Or so he says. (Yes, he’s pretty cute.)
Ali, a cute blonde paraplegic is next. She’s been paralyzed since she was two. And the deal is…if Glee were casting for Artie Abrams now, they wouldn’t DARE cast an able-bodied actor in the role. Sorry Kevin McHale. They’d get too much flack. Ali is cute and has a really great voice.
Lily is pretty and plump—and competitive. She does NOT want to lose this competition. We see the rest of the group arrive, greeted by screams and hugs. Mario is blind and exudes a lot of confidence. “I’m a cute talented dude who just happens to be blind,” he says.
Shanna, who is also cute and blond, is a little bummed there are 14 contestants instead of twelve. That’s two more people she has to compete against.
Tyler is a female to male transgender. Maxfield is a country singer who only began singing six months ago. Taryn has never been away from home before, or on a plane. Aylin is a Turkish American Muslim who is VERY happy the show cast so many hot guys. She loves being flirtatious, but if her old school mama found out, she’d be in trouble.
Robert arrives to reveal this week’s theme to the group. It’s “Individuality” the same as the Season 1 premiere. Lady Gaga’s “Born this way” will be the first homework assignment. The group has to put together a performance themselves for Robert and a “very special guest”. Nellie, a dark haired gamine, is so happy to see Robert. She can’t believe he picked her out of everyone to be a finalist. Michael is intimidated by the theme. He’s still in high school and describes himself as a math geek. He still hasn’t figured himself out yet.
Country singer, Max, is also intimidated—by the song choice. Guess he’s never heard those country versions of Born This Way floating around on You Tube. The kids choose their parts, using “Rock Paper Scissors” to decide when more than one person wants a particular part. Aylin is sure that air of cooperation will end soon and admits she cannot WAIT for the claws to come out.
Charlie was diagnosed at a young age with ADHD and autism, so he’s a mile a minute with the choreography ideas. How long before his fellow contestants want to punch him in the face? I’m figuring it’s not going to take too long.
Oh Noes! Ryan Murphy arrives with Robert to watch the kids perform. Eep! Ryan announces that he’ll only be choosing ONE winner (there were 4 last year). Blake, another member of the cute white guy contingent is very bummed upon hearing this news. Of course, Ryan could change his mind on that one by the end of the season, so chin up dude!
Finally, it’s time for Ryan to introduce this week’s special guest mentor. This person was the first actor he cast in Glee and his very great friend (that rules out a few of the Glee actors Hm). And it’s Lea Michele! The finalists proceed to LOSE THEIR SHIT. Lea arrives looking gorgeous and put together as always. The Glee star says she LOVES the Glee project! She watched it all last year. Lily begins to cry.
Ryan says The Glee Project is not a talent contest. He’s looking for kids who can inspire young people. “Be yourself,” he advises. “The very thing you think is the worst part about you is the thing that I, as a writer, will like the most.” Lea advises the group to “let your geek flag fly!”
It’s time for the performance. The kids are definitely lip syncing here, a fact that’s never mentioned. Both Lea and Ryan clap enthusiastically for the kids. Lea thought everyone was really great, but singles out a few for compliments/suggestions. She tells Dani she is striking and beautiful, but she needs to perform as herself. Lea tells Shanna she’s going to “rip through this.” She loves Mario because he gave his all. She tells Lily that she’s beautiful and stood out for her. Lily, who is self-conscious about her weight, can’t believe the compliments she’s receiving from her Idol. But alas, it’s Shanna who Lea picks for the one-on-one mentoring. Lily is really disappointed. So far, Shanna seems to be a favorite child.
Next, Robert announces that the big group number will be “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. The concept for the video is that they are all high school students preparing for a Glee club performance. Once the show begins, it transforms in the minds of the students into a big glitzy rock concert.
Choreography with Zach and Brooke is next. As Zach watches the group rehearse, he’s a little freaked out. He’s trying to tease out their individuality while coaching them to hold together as a group. It’s not working out so well. He asks Nellie to seduce herself and is immediately sorry he did after she spazz-dances. Mario is confident he can dance despite his blindness. He’s got moxie! Tyler says he’s the weakest dancer because he spent 20 years prior to his transition trapped in another body.
Vocals with Nikki are next. Nikki is really pregnant (She’s since had her baby with husband Adam Anders). Nellie has been performing with a big band since she was 12, but has never recorded something in a studio environment. She tells Taryn she has no confidence. Nellie sounds nervous. Shanna hits the booth and kills it, of course. Lea helped Shanna work on her high note. Lea explains that she had to practice with her vocal coach to reach the high note in “Defying Gravity”. Once Shanna is in the studio, Nikki is totally impressed by the way she attacked the big note.
Nikki is worried about Aylin, whom she feels is losing the “spunk for days” they saw at auditions. But poor Maxfield is a disaster in the booth. He can’t nail the notes.
It’s time to shoot the video with director Erik White. He introduces himself by rattling off his credits—Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Wayne. The kids are impressed. As he explains the concept, he reminds the group that they only have a couple of lines each. “It’s important that each of you pop,” he says.
Zach, Robert and Nikki are on set to observe and give notes. The team is concerned about Taryn, who seems “a little less there.” Robert tells her to put more life in her eyes. Blake has been honing his acting chops in Hollywood. Robert notices. “When Blake enters, it’s like a star has just come into a room.” Robert tells Aylin to put more fire in her performance. They LOVE Shanna. Tyler continues to struggle. Robert is worried that Max’s low key vibe will keep him from succeeding in the big Glee group numbers.
Robert feels the cast is so strong, the team will have to scrutinize the video in order to choose the bottom 3.
And the video plays back. It’s hair metal heaven! With extra, extra cheese.
It’s time to choose the bottom 3! Robert picks the person they felt gave the strongest performance this week. Of course, that person is Shanna the golden girl! She’s the first on the call back list. Charlie, Ali, Michael. Blake, Abraham, Nellie and Dani are also declared safe.
Tyler, Aylin, Max. Taryn, Mario and Lily remain in danger. Robert tells Mario that he needs to work on conveying emotions through his body since he can’t through his eyes. Nikki tells Lily she had high expectations for her, but feels like there was something that wasn’t popping. Both have got to turn it up, says Zach. Nevertheless, they are both on the call back list.
Robert tells Aylin that she lost the spitfire they were drawn to. Max seemed a little lost in the group numbers. Tyler he doesn’t need to be a great dancer, says Zach. The show isn’t about perfection. He’s got to let go. Nikki loves Taryn’s voice, but she seemed withdrawn in the studio. Robert feels her inexperience affected her—which is maybe why they give her another chance. She’s on the call back list.
Aylin, Mario and Maxfield remain. Robert hands out the songs they will perform for Ryan later. Aylin will sing “Without You” by David Guetta. Max will sing “Always On My Mind”. He knows the song. Tyler is handed “ABC.” “A child sings that song,” says Tyler, “How am I going to sing it in the correct octave?” The group splits to practice.
Aylin sings first. She’s no Lea Michele, but she sings with emotion. Ryan really loved her performance and doesn’t understand why she’s in the bottom 3. Ryan sees her as a flirt, that’s how he’d write for her. “You did so great,” enthuses Ryan.
Tyler sucks. “ABC” is totally out of his range. Ryan is very moved by his story, but not really by his talent. He thinks the other kids sing better than he does. Tyler has been on testosterone for 7 months, which is why his vocals are so flaky.
Nikki had higher hopes for Max—he was a disaster in the vocal studio—but admits he was much better here than in the studio. Max gives a laid back performance that’s very Scotty McCreery-like. Ryan likes Max’s charming simplicity. Girls will like him, says Ryan. But is it enough to advance?
Ryan briefly considers eliminating two contestants, which they will have to do at some point. They discuss the contestants. Ryan compares Aylin unfavorably to Lea who sang “Without You” on the show. Ryan was disappointed with Tyler. Although Max performed better, Ryan didn’t find him very inspiring.
In the end, Ryan chooses the inexperienced Maxfield. I’m not surprised that a boring white guy left first. Besides, if Ryan wants a country hottie, he’s already got one in Chord Overstreet, who I bet has WAY better abs. Ryan made the right decision. Although, If Tyler doesn’t step it up, he needs to go shortly. I think I’m already sick of Shanna, the wonder girl. Maybe she’ll grow on me.
“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
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