We are coming down to the wire people! It’s The Glee Project semi final. Only 5 contenders remain. Ali, Aylin, Michael, Lily and Blake will take on an acting challenge with the help of Glee star, Dianna Agron in this week’s episode.
The acting challenge is “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. Michael wins the homework assignment for the first time.
The kids will star in a trailer for a movie called “Perfect” featuring the Pink song. We’ll finally get to see the contenders act as well as sing.
All 5 contenders sing for Ryan Murphy and 6 members of the writing team
Lily – “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
Michael – Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Ali – Here’s to Us by Hailstorm
Blake – “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
Aylin – “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
Two Contenders are eliminated: Michael and Lily
Aylin, Ali and Blake advance to the finale.
I’d heard some vague spoilers about Ryan eliminating a couple of contenders this week, but I didn’t believe it. To be honest, I would have preferred a four person final with Michael making the list. There I said it. After dogging him all season, I finally got him this week. He was solid in the trailer. And I suspect there is more we haven’t seen. The editors really did a poor job developing his personality. It’s crazy to have a contender make it to the end, yet edit him out of existence.
But I was pretty happy to see Lily go. She had some talents, but I don’t think she was ready for primetime. She over performs.
Blake is probably the most talented contender left, but Aylin is the most interesting character. Ryan couldn’t have been more obvious over the last few weeks about his feelings for Aylin. Ryan loves pushing the envelope—something Aylin’s Muslim character will give him the perfect opportunity to do. Yeah, he’s done the disability thing, the LGBT thing, the conservative Christian thing, now it’s time to really mix it up. I can’t imagine anyone else but Aylin winning next week. It’s going to be rather anit-climatic.
Nevertheless I am SUPER DUPER EXCITED for the finale, because my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE GLEE STAR will be mentoring. Chris Colfer. Yes Indeed.
“Robert’s here!” The kids yell as he arrives. Everyone is old friends, at this point.
Robert introduces this week’s theme, Actability, by pointing out that it’s the most important component of the triple threat the kids will need for Glee. WELL DUH. The duo who won TGP last year, Damian and Samuel, are good performers but fall short in the acting department. Maybe that’s why the producers decided to put singing and dancing on the back burner this week in order to test the contenders’ ability to handle straight drama.
“I think this exercise is essential to the competition,” says Ali. “If you can’t act, you shouldn’t be on Glee.” No sh*t.
The kids scatter to work on this week’s homework assignment- “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. Michael totally knows this song. The other 4 stare at Robert like he’s got 3 heads when he announces the assignment.
This week’s Glee star, Dianna Agron enters the room . “WOW. She’s really pretty!” exclaims Michael, playing the part of Captain Obvious. Dianna dispenses advice to the kids. For instance, she says that one of the common mistakes actors make is to be so focused on what they have to do, they aren’t present in the scene.
The kids’ ability to handle curve balls is tested when Robert and Dianna reveal that routine they worked up for the exercise can be chucked aside. During the performance Dianna will flash a large card with an emotion printed on it. Each of the contenders will get their own emotion, which they will have to portray in the song. Michael is “determined.” He’s kind of squinty, but he pulls it off pretty well. Lily is “scared”. Blake is “Angry”, Aylin is “Anxious” and Ali is “Excited.” Eventually, it looks like crazy town on stage, with each of the 5 lost in their particular emotion.
Dianna is fairly complimentary to everyone, although she tells Lily that she wanted her to go a bit bigger. In the end, she chooses Michael as the homework winner. He’ll get a one on one with the star.
The group number is “Perfect” by Pink. But there’s a twist. The contenders will be filming a movie trailer. Robert explains that it’s a coming of age story about a group of high school kids in a small town. Erik, the director, assigned characters to each of the contenders. Aylin will play a Turkish girl with a very conservative family who thinks they have the perfect daughter. They don’t know that she’s dating the quarterback. She finds out that she is pregnant. Blake is the quarterback most of the kids look up to at school, but he’s actually kind of a jerk. Michael is a fellow football player, who used to hero worship Blake. But now? Not so much. He’s also in love with Aylin. Ali is Michael’s sister. She once dreamed of being an Olympic runner until she was injured. Lily is struggling, because she’s the one who was driving the car when Ali was injured.
No choreography this week (SADZ) so the kids go straight into recording with Nikki. Robert instructs the contenders to concentrate on their characters. There will be no script. Erik will ask them to improvise. This week, the kid’s ability to tell a story in song will be tested. Michael needs to be reminded that he’s telling a story. Aylin has some issues too. Blake is off pitch again this week. Ali is the only contender to approach her song like an actor right off the bat. Lily becomes emotional when she gets to thinking about how she knows she’s perfect, but the outside world doesn’t always agree. Nikki worries that Lily won’t keep her emotions in check enough to give the right performance.
Erik reminds the kids when they gather to shoot the video that they’ve got a lot to shoot in one day. Robert says it will be interesting to see if the kids developed their characters and have a backstory. It’s also a chance to see their improvisational skills.
The only instruction Erik gives Lily and Ali in their improvisational scene is to work in the concept that, although Ali is now paralyzed, she’s still “Perfect.” As Lily chews some major scenery, the scene becomes all about Lily’s feelings. She never manages to incorporate the “Perfect” concept. The mentors are also disappointed that Lily basically turned the scene into a soliloquy, leaving Ali hanging out to dry.
It’s time for “Darth Blake.” Ryan wanted to see Blake do more than just play the likable jock and he gets that and more. Blake becomes totally immersed in playing that guy with the anger problem in a scene where he catches Aylin being comforted by Michael after a fight. The mentors are impressed. Aylin is also very good in the scene, playing scared as Blake intimidates her. Zach calls him “American Psycho.”
Dianna stresses to Michael in their one on one that in order to improvise effectively he really needs to work out what his relationships are to all the other characters. He must have taken her advice to heart, because in an intense fight scene, he totally holds his own with Blake. “It was really impressive,” says Robert.
Aylin wears a headscarf for a scene, and begins to cry when she puts it on. She’s spent her life fighting against the stereotype. Erik tells her that he knows it’s hard, but she can tap into the difficult emotions for the scene. Michael does his best Marlon Brando as he calls out after her as she’s whisked away in a car by her parents.
The resulting video is probably the best piece of work produced during the series. All of the remaining contenders can act. The biggest surprise is Michael, who up until this week, often appeared wooden and non-descript in performances.
It’s time to choose the bottom 3. But first, Robert, Nikki and Zach want to let the kids know, that no matter what happens, they’re all going to make it in their own way. “It’s been incredible working with all of you,” says Robert. “I’m so proud of each and every one of you.” The very pregnant Nikki sees qualities in each of them she hopes to have for her children. Oh. Now the tears begin flowing. “I don’t want any of you guys to think we don’t believe in all of you,” says Zach. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to get you guys to this point.”
“We love you all so much,” says Robert. And you all deserve an equal shot.” So, ALL 5 contenders will perform for Ryan Murphy and the Glee writing team. Robert presents the decision as a gift to the contenders. The ones who were nervous are relieved. Blake, who probably figured—rightly I suspect—that he was a shoe in to avoid bottom 3 this week is NOT SO HAPPY. BITCH FACE. “I wasn’t expecting that,” he says tersely.
Nikki hands out the songs. Lily will sing “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield. She seems pretty happy about that. Michael will sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” but the ballady version that Cory Monteith sang on the show. “Cool,” Ali responds when she learns that she’s singing “Here’s to Us” by Hailstorm—despite not knowing the song. Zach’s awesome laugh can be heard in the background (I LOVE HIM). Blake is assigned Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” which he doesn’t recognize. Oy. These kids are so young. Aylin gets “Fighter” by Christine Aguilera, and she’s delighted. The kids are really nervous to be performing for the writers. Michael thinks the assignment will be really difficult.
Last chance begins. THE ROOM IS FULL. Michael kicks things off with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” sounding the best he ever has. Writer, Ross Maxwell, finds him natural and unaffected. Lily is next. Robert explains that she’s become a nuanced actress over the course of the competition. Wow. But not tonght. She totally overbakes her performance of “Son of a Preacher Man.” She’s trying way too hard. Co-creator and writer, Ian Brennan thinks she’s really interesting and complex. But, he found her performance cloying (YES) and wonders if she’ll be able to take direction well. Nikki mentions that she’s had trouble taking constructive criticism.
Ali is next. Based on her acting in the video, Ryan doesn’t think she brought it. Zach explains the problems with Lily in their scenes together, but he seems unconvinced. Oh noes. Lily was the worst of all the contenders in the assignment. This needs to be made clear to Ryan. Ali gives a full throated, convincing performance. Oddly, Ian thinks Ali would be good as a promiscuous bitch character. Seriously?
Robert shares that Blake’s performance in the video was like a masterclass in improv. His performance of “I’m Still Standing” doesn’t really show off his talents, but Blake is charming and does the most he can with the jaunty tune. Writer, Matthew Hodgson, thinks he’s a star. But Ali Adler “missed his wound.” She’s not seeing the vulnerability.
Aylin wraps things up. She pretty much kills it in a good way on “Fighter.” After, the writers all seem VERY KEEN on Aylin’s Muslim backstory. Writer, Michael Hitchcock, believes America is curious about Muslim cultures. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa adds, tellingly, “She really hasn’t been on the show.” Ryan agrees. “We’ve never written about THAT,” he says. OMG Aylin so has this. The group pays lip service to finding a star first and foremost, but you can see them all chomping at the bit to write to Aylin. Unless she really screws up next week, SHE’S SO GOT THIS IN THE BAG.
Ryan drops a bomb. He really wants to cut to the chase. He feels it’s pointless to advance contenders whom the writers don’t feel confident writing a 7 episode arc for. It’s time to make some hard decisions. Ryan says making decisions at this stage was easier last year.
Robert arrives with the call back list. The contenders have NO idea that Ryan decided to do a slash and burn this week, and are shocked when they make their way to the list–no doubt surprised there is more than one contender not called back. Aylin begins to celebrate. She’s obviously called back. The camera reveals that Michael is not called back. The camera lingers…then pans down. Lily is also going home. Ali and Blake will join Aylin in next week’s finale. Michael is proud of his “incredible journey.” The duo sings us out as they walk out the door hand in hand.