Another Tuesday, another Glee Project. And this week’s theme is fearlessness. Fearlessness on The Glee Project, it should be noted, is synonymous with confidence. I guess it’s to be expected in a show whose endgame is a cuddly, share your feelings, hug it out and do a trust fall-type program, but I was hoping for some more actual fear. Like, some Fear Factor challenges or scary masks or snakes on a plane or something. But instead we got bathing suits and slushies (the horror!). But we’ll get to that.
Fearlessness week started off with a bang — and a healthy dose of butt shaking — as the contenders put their rapping skillz to the test with “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D & The Boyz. A little gem from Abraham to kick things off, “I’m Asian. I don’t know if Asians are supposed to be rappers.” I don’t know either, Abe, but I’m guessing we’re about to find out.
Er, not so much. Clearly we don’t have an Artie (Glee’s resident rapper extraordinaire) in the bunch. Never have I ever seen so many muddled lyrics in a single performance. Oh wait, I forgot about my seventh grade summer camp production of West Side Story; but outside of that, this takes the cake. But spirits were helium-level high and, for (maybe) the first time this season, we got a glimpse of the contenders acting like real, honest-to-goodness teenagers messing around. I kind of dug it. You know who also dug it? Jane Lynch.
That’s right, folks, the super secret surprise mentor/judge this week is the one, the only, Sue Sylvester in the flesh, Ms. Jane Lynch. I sincerely love this woman. Like, OMG, I couldn’t wipe the cheesiest of grins off my face the entire time she was onscreen. On a scale of one to cheese, my smile ranked a full wheel of Gouda (whoa, so cheesy, right?). “I’m surging with caffeine and fear,” she says, and I’m in stiches on the floor. “Keep in mind, I will be judging you harshly,” she says, and I’m nodding like a Baptist congregation during the sermon. On Easter.
But in all seriousness, Jane Lynch should be a permanent fixture on this show. She brings a level of professionalism and sincerity to her critiques that I think has been lacking thus far in the series’ guest mentors. The younger Glee cast members are great, and lord knows I love Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera as much as the next kid, but they don’t really project wisdom and experience as much as showmanship. When Jane Lynch gives advice to the newbs, it is 100 percent obvious that her words stem from an open, personal place and are supported by decades in the business.
Jane’s pick for the head of the class is Lily, who showed confidence fearlessness in her performance by demanding attention and having fun with the material. Lily is so stoked, she can’t even believe it. Aylin, who was named runner-up, is a bit bitter. Chill out, lady, today’s not your day. During Lily’s happy dance to the camera, I notice for the first time that homegirl is from Cape Cod. Represent! I am myself from Massachusetts’ fair shore (shout out to MV), so of course now I love Lily more than everyone. Sorry Nellie, Lily’s my new favorite.
Jane Lynch now has the pleasure of announcing the music for this week’s video shoot. In true Glee fashion, it’s another mash-up: Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another.” And, just when you thought we were done with adaptability week, she throws in a twist. Everyone will get his or her first face full of slushie during the shoot. Oh, and one more thing, everyone will be wearing bathing suits. Womp. Welcome to every teenager’s nightmare.
NEXT: So much for “just friends.”
Before we dive right in to the pool shoot, we’re treated to a little glimpse of the ongoing Aylin/Charlie telenovela. So much for “just friends” — these crazy kids can’t keep their hands off each other! There’s really nothing like young(ish) love blooming in the face of great(ish) adversity. I’m a little worried for Charlie, though. When Aylin’s around he has a difficult time keeping his head in the game. This is about your career, boy — let’s try to stay focused for, like, five seconds.
And without further ado, it’s video shoot time. Neon slushies fly to a booming soundtrack of ‘80s rock as teen laughter ricochets off the indoor pool’s walls and all is joyous. All, that is, except for Ali. Ali wants her chance to get splashed with a slushie, but the mentor/judges aren’t so sure. Due to her paralysis, Ali isn’t able to defend herself from a slushie onslaught, and her body also reacts severely to extreme temperatures. In short, getting slushied could be dangerous. But Ali insists, and so the slushie assault begins. At first, things go great. Ali flips her hair and smiles through the barrage, bathing judges and assailants alike in the droplets of phosphorescent slushie juice that fly from her braids. Until, suddenly, things aren’t so fine. Ali’s lungs seize up and she has a hard time catching her breath. A look of real, genuine terror washes across her face and a heroic production assistant swoops in to take her away from the offending puddle and wrap her in towels.
Everyone, rightly so, is stricken. But Ali, always the professional, is trying to laugh through her pain — literally. She doesn’t want anyone to worry, and most certainly doesn’t want any of her friends to blame themselves for her reaction. She is the definition of class, this girl.
Let’s jump right to the bottom three reveal, shall we? Robert busts out a sports analogy and names Lily and Ali MVPs this week. No argument here. Also safe are Shanna, Blake, and Abraham. This leaves Michael, Charlie, Aylin, and Nellie on the chopping block. But, after a bit of a lecture, Michael is also called back. If you’ve been keeping track, this means the bottom three are Charlie (for like, the zillionth time), Aylin (who probably doesn’t actually deserve it, but the producers really want to pit the lovebirds against one another), and Nellie (who really needs to pull herself together if she’s going to win this thing like she’s supposed to).
NEXT: The bottom three!
- Aylin is up first singing Rihanna’s “Take a Bow.” She was great. We already know she can sing, but she also has an intuitive sense of how to tell a story with her song, rather than just sound pretty. Key Glee skills, right thur. It’s obvious from the mentor’s expressions that they loved every last second of Aylin’s performance. Ryan Murphy takes this opportunity to get serious with Aylin, though. “A leading lady is both strong and vulnerable,” Ryan says, and so far Aylin has been Giggles McGhee instead. She needs to focus, tone things down a bit, and learn that there is a time and a place for silliness — neither of which are on his set.
- Next, loverboy Charlie singing Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” Charlie has never heard this song before. Don’t you know anything about music, Charlie? Listen to some. During his performance, Charlie gets ca-razy and runs into the audience to properly serenade the judges. He personalizes the lyrics and just about charms the pants off of every last one of the mentor/judges. I, however, am just waiting for the crash following the high. He is so dang manic! Ryan Murphy is on fire with his critiques this week. He notes (rightly so), that while it’s obvious that Charlie is a great performer, they need to know that he can be successful during the process. Filming a TV show is work, not funny business.
- Last up, pretty Nellie sings “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé. On a personal level, I’ve never really understood this song. But that’s neither here nor there, because Nellie sure seems to get it. Her performance is an emotionally charged well of goodness. Zach Woodlee, bless his soul, tears up while watching. Dayum, Nellie. Why don’t you know you’re so good? Zach, it turns out, feels the same way. “I’m done telling you how wonderful you are,” he says as Ryan Murphy nods along fervently. The judges’ biggest critique of Nellie — again, right on the nose — is that she needs to be confident in her abilities. Constant reassurance is exhausting.
As we cut to commercial following the last chance performances, I hope with all my might that the judges make the right decision and send Charlie home. It really seems like they’re leaning towards my girl Nellie, which really just wouldn’t be fair considering how many times (four, I believe) Charlie has been in the bottom. He’s just not getting better, folks.
The list is posted, and my faith is restored in humanity. Charlie gets the boot. His exit is the most tearful thus far, due to his budding relationship with Aylin. The two share an intense, yet firmly PG-rated kiss before Charlie Bit Me takes his final bow.
Now, before we go our separate ways, I think it’s high time I give The Glee Project a little tough love. The best parts of this show are the brief glimpses we get of the kids just hanging out, shooting the s**t and cracking jokes. But, due to the jam-packed nature of the show, those moments are few and far between. Producers, hear my plea: Cut something from the format of this show. Between the homework assignment, recording studio, video shoot, and final performances, there is hardly any time to get to know these contenders. Isn’t the whole point to make America love them and drive ratings to the flailing Glee by adding someone viewers already have a connection to to the cast? Yes, Abbey, that is exactly the point. In which case, we need to see more of who these contenders are. And we won’t get that from hearing them sing pop music in a pool. My advice? Slow things down, take out a few hurdles, and let us see the closed door conversations, the calls home, the underwear basketball games. To borrow from The Real World, let things get real. And with that, I’m out.
[Image Credit: Oxygen]
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Excitement! Hormones! Squeee! It’s sexytimes on The Glee Project and holy moly there are so many giggles. And blushing — can’t forget the blushing. And, wait, do my eyes deceive me or is there some winking? Yep, definitely some winking. Jiminy Cricket, folks, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a group of 18-24-year-olds in need of more action. Obvi it’s sexuality week on The Glee Project, and these crazy kids can barely contain themselves.
To kick off sexytimes at William McKinley High, the contenders are faced with “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd. Boy oh boy, Robert, they sure aren’t messing around. The lyrics to this song are pre-tty serious. Aylin, of course, is pumped (but for some reason feels the need to remind us once again that she’s Muslim), and so is Lily (pumped, that is — not Muslim). These two have decided that they are the sexiest of the bunch and are ready to jump the bones of whosoever is silly enough to argue. Michael, too, notes that he’s got “some experience” in the sexing department. Nellie, however isn’t so sure about this alleged “sex” thing. She’s only 19! She’s never had sex! Poor lil virgin Nellie turns tomato red just thinking about the dirty, dirty act.
Before we get to the homework performance, we have to note that fierce Asian Abraham has dyed his hair. Gone is the crimson coif and in its place we find a raven black shock of spikes. The new ‘do is equally gelled, just a bit more monochromatic. The kids are diggin’ it, and so am I. Also, when my roommate poked her head into our living room halfway through the show, the first thing she said was, “What happened to the Asian’s hair?” So clearly this dye job is the most important thing that will happen this week.
The theme of sexuality presents a number of possibilities for super-secret guest mentor. Mark Salling as Puck is hot to trot, and Ashley Fink as Lauren projects that cool-as-a-cucumber, comfortable-in-her-own-skin confidence needed to really own your sexuality. But the mentor is, drumroll please, Naya Rivera. And homegirl is straight killin’ it in a beige pencil skirt. Lordy, Naya, why are you so beautiful? Can I be you? Is your hair real? How do your teeth get so white? As Mario so eloquently puts it, “She’s so hot I can see it.” (Get it, because he’s blind? Good one, Mars.)
The contenders’ performance of “I Wanna Sex You Up” makes me thoroughly uncomfortable — So. Much. Gyration. — but Naya’s squeals seem to be equal parts dismay and delight. These gosh darn kids are totes adorbs, she thinks, completely overlooking the fact that they are 22ish and not 16ish. She thinks Blake did a great job because, duh, he’s hot, and that Nellie was like a frightened field mouse, but Charlie walked away victorious because he can beatbox. And beatboxing is hot, you guys. Charlie is so excited about his win, and about being in the same room as Naya Rivera, that he has an out of body experience and starts referring to himself in the third person. “Charlie beatboxes. Charlie wins. Charlie wants to hide Naya in his special closet and love her forever and ever.”
In order to prevent Naya’s almost certain abduction, Robert distracts Charlie Bit Me and the crew by announcing that this week’s music video will be a mash-up between Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” and Kelis’ “Milkshake.” Woah. The subtle nuances and sensual undertones implicit in each of these two brilliant compositions are striking; and now we deign to merge them? You betcha.
NEXT: “Who’s he smiling at? Who’s he smiling at?!”The setting of the video will be (what else?) a Sex Ed classroom. But, so aroused by the biological diagrams of p’s and v’s, the kiddies throw down their pencils, knock their notebooks to the floor, and are driven to an intense, electric, and sizzling… boys vs girls “sexy-off.” It’s like a dance-off, but about sexiness. Ohmigod so hot, oh baby, oh baby. Good thing Lord of the Dance Zach Woodlee is back to show these amateurs what real sexy is. That is, if he can control his schoolgirl case of the giggles.
Strugglers in the choreo sesh include Shanna, who thinks that perky is sexy (which it isn’t) and self-outed virgin Nellie, who doesn’t seem to realize she has an ass. What girl over the age of 14 can’t arch her back? And, um, Nellie, have you actually seen Glee? You best learn how to sex it up real quick or you’re going to be out of here faster than you can say “50 Shades of Grey.”
In the recording booth, something seriously strange is going on with Charlie. Is that a twitch you’ve got there, sir? Mayhaps a latent form of Tourette’s? Oh I get it, he’s making bedroom eyes at Aylin in the next room. Nikki is not amused. “Who’s he smiling at? Who’s he smiling at?!” she demands to know, working her pregnant self into a near tizzy. In answer to the audience’s burning question — are Charlie and Aylin doin’ the deed late at night in the top bunk? — Charlie tells the camera, “I don’t know what me and Aylin is, but it’s fun while it’s here.” Charlie doesn’t seem to understand the importance of subject/verb agreement, but he does have a pretty good grasp on what romance is in high school.
At the video shoot, Lily proclaims that she is the sexiest of the sexypantses and caresses her face with a pencil. Don’t worry, it’s not at all awkward. Also awkward: Aylin’s come hither glances, Shanna’s attempt at sexy dancing (how can you not do a body roll??), and Mario. Just — Mario in general. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. Then, the camera pans to Nellie, wearing a cute sexbomb bralet half-shirt and, thanks to the buildup from earlier, I prepare myself for more (you guessed it) awkward. But, ho! What is this? Nellie is HOT! Oooh gurl, werk dat ass!
Since Charlie won the quickfire challenge earlier, he is made director of the music video. Well, not technically, but he certainly thinks that’s what happened. Looks like he took Naya’s advice to heart: “Act like a lion,” she purred during their one-on-one sex lesson. I thought she meant that everyone likes it when you roar a bit and sing “Hakuna Matata,” but clearly Charlie took her words to mean, “Be a total asshole.”
Eric tries to regain control of his set and Charlie says (I’m not making this one up), “Well, the way Zach and I choreographed it… ” Ummm, excuse me? Zach and you? Step back, bitch, don’t you dare try to take credit for work created by the Lord of the Dance. All this divaliciousness is sure to earn Charlie a well-deserved place in the bottom three. Side note: Nikki loves Abraham’s new hair. “He looks so masculine!” she coos. I bet he will be just thrilled when he sees that made the final cut.
NEXT: Someone clearly doesn’t actually watch the show he’s trying to be on.When the video is all put together, it’s totally fine. People look competent and rhythmic and seemed to finally have learned how to lip sync. There’s only one thing missing: Ali. Poor Ali never gets any screen time on this show. Firmly in the middle of the pack and sweet as can be, Ali is often ignored so we can spend more time fawning over Aylin or hearing douchebag proclamations from Mario. It hardly seems fair. Next episode, Ali should beat someone up. That’ll teach ‘em not to put baby in a corner.
Following the video, it’s time for some “honest feedback” from the mentor/judges. Here’s the rundown:
Winner: Sexy Nellie! Zach says, “You became the sexiest thing in the room,” and Lily’s pencil begins to cry.
Safe: Blake, Mario, Aylin, Abraham, Ali, and Lily.
Also safe: Shanna, who suddenly has bangs and, we learn, is not a cute crier (sorry, girl).
That leaves a bottom three of: Charlie, Michael, and Tyler.
Onto the last chance performances. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these solos are the best part of this show. This is where you get to see just how talented the contenders are, as well as how they perform under pressure. I propose a week of just these solo performances. Forget about the video tomfoolery, give the kiddies a mic and an hour to rehearse and let them have at it. You listening, Murphy?
Here’s how the bottom three performances went:
1. Charlie sings “I Get a Kick Out of You” by Cole Porter, made famous by Ol’ Blue Eyes. Once we get over the fact that Charlie has never heard this song before — where were you, living in the cupboard under the stairs? — I have to admit that he does a nice job. He’s got a rich, velvety voice, not dissimilar from Sinatra’s. Charlie does have a bit of a crazy eyes thing happening on stage, though. Murphy’s critique, understandably, is not about Charlie’s performance but about his unprofessionalism. “I just have a childlike enthusiasm,” Charlie pleads, but Zach says, “Oh hell no,” and states that people have been sent home before because they’re not easy to work with.
2. Tyler sings “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin. Again, how have you never heard this song? First, it’s a goddamn classic. Second, THEY SANG IT ON GLEE. Someone clearly doesn’t actually watch the show he’s trying to be on. Regardless, Tyler’s performance is meh. During judgment time, Murphy notes that he has a hard time criticizing Tyler because he loves the fact that he’s transgendered so much. I think it’s at this point that Murphy realizes that what he really wants is a transgendered character on the show, but he doesn’t necessarily need Tyler to play him.
3. Michael sings “Lucky” by Jason Mraz. I love this song. It’s so beachy and sweet, and just perfect for a dreamboat like Michael. Until, oops, Michael forgets all the words. Considering this is the very reason he ended up on the bottom, I’d say things don’t look good for Michael. Murphy wants to know why Michael keeps choking and basically tries to scare the nerves out of him. Zach is a proud member of Team Michael, though (I’m 98 percent positive I’m Team Zach), and the remainder of the critique turns into a pep talk. If they send Michael home now it will be just cruel.
So, who goes? My money’s on Tyler. Tyler’s been in the bottom three times now, and neither his voice nor acting skills are getting any better. Not to mention, they need to keep Charlie Bit Me around so he can make puppy dog eyes at Aylin, and Michael is just so darn telegenic. So Murph, you’ve got to cut the cord. Don’t prolong the agony; let Tyler go in peace.
Callback list is up and the weakest link is: Tyler. Everyone is crying — mostly Abraham — but Tyler keeps a straight face while he says his good-byes. He knew it was his time, bless his soul. Such a good sport. Until next week, keep on keepin’ on, Projectors. (I just created a new nickname, how do you feel about it?)
[Image Credit: Oxygen]
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