Featuring more tears, tantrums, and tonsil hockey than a high school parking lot after the homecoming dance, The Glee Project launches itself firmly into the land of melodrama with its second episode. Seeing as that’s where Glee has lived for the last two — arguably three — seasons, one is wont to think that this means the contenders are rockin’ it. But, because of one itsy bitsy problem, one would be mistaken. You see, the thing is, everyone sucks. There, I said it.
The curtain rises on episode 2 to reveal Rob Ulrich ready to dish out a healthy helping of homework. The theme is “Danceability” (not a real noun) and the contenders will have to choreograph and perform The Go-Go’s masterpiece “We Got the Beat” for this week’s super secret surprise judge/mentor. The days of the kids democratically doling out lyrics seems a distant memory, as the girls take off their earrings and the guys roll up their sleeves to fight to the death for the chance to sing the very best five words. The honeymoon stage of this show is o-v-e-r, over.
That night, back in the dorms, Taryn is losing her s**t. She’s probably having an identity crisis, because Lord knows I have no idea who she is. Is she even on this show? Oh, she’s just stressed and kids are mean and she wants her mom. So she leaves. Immediately. I’m not joking; Taryn packs her bags and white titles roll across a black screen to tell us that Taryn is no longer a contender. So, that happened. Moving on.
Homework day! Rob wears his very best wig to the choir room to watch the kids kick up their heels and shake their moneymakers. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we have to meet the super secret surprise judge/mentor. Whoever could it be?? This is about dance, so my money is on Heather “Single Ladies” Morris or Harry “Abs of Steel” Shum Jr. Nope — foiled again! It’s (one of the) Glee Project Season 1 winners, Samuel Larson. Does he even count as a Glee cast member? He may be super dreamy in a Burning Man sort of way, but I’m not sure 45 seconds on Glee makes you an expert. Sammy Boy’s got some advice, though, so listen up. “Do you, but do it hard,” he whispers breathlessly behind an oppressive curtain of dreadlocks. And with that, it’s time for some Go-Go’s.
I might as well have fast-forwarded through the homework performance for all that I was able to get out of it. The editors of this show sure do love their quick cuts! All this schizophrenic darting from singer to singer really makes it difficult to decide who draws your eye and who stands out from a crowd. I think maybe Abraham looked okay, and Lily’s got a good energy, but who really knows what the bleep is going on. But when the song finishes, Rob is clapping his hands and pronouncing it the best homework assignment ever. Bold words, Rob. You’ll be eating them later. Samuel gets confused and thinks that Abraham is actually Harry Shum Jr. in disguise, so the fierce Asian wins this time around.
NEXT: What’s old is young.
Robert announces that the music video song this week will be LMFAO’s “Rock Party Anthem,” and all the contenders are excited because this means they are, like, actually invited to a party. (This totally counts, right? RIGHT? This totally counts.)
Into the hall of mirrors the contenders go for some exercises in self-reflection led by choreographer extraordinaire slash life coach (and probably the love of my life) Zach Woodlee. “Please don’t do the stupid wedding dance,” Zach pleads, to which all the kiddies say, “Who, me?” and bat their eyelashes while they surreptitiously lawnmower and shopping cart and electric slide all the way to Zach’s bad side. Lily loves to pop her chest, shake her ass, and make confused faces, we learn, and poor Tyler lacks any sort of internal rhythm. Don’t blame this on the testosterone, child, it’s not the hormones’ fault that you can only move one limb at a time.
There’s no rest for the weary on The Glee Project, as things go from bad to worse in the recording booth. Generic cute boy is up first and he is pretty bad. Then Ali thinks it’s a good idea (which it isn’t) to riff on her “Rock Party Anthem” chorus. Den mother Nikki thinks that is pretty ill-advised and asks her to cool it. Pretty Lily with the Clearasil ad perfect skin seems to have lost complete control of her vocal cords, and Nikki responds by morphing into her catty alter ego Giggles McGee on the other side of the glass. “OMG this is so bad, amirite?” she transmits telepathically to whatever assistant happens to be nearby. I’m starting to worry about Lily, folks.
The contenders must push their abysmal recording sessions to the shadowy recesses of their minds as they gear up for the best. Party. Ever. And let me tell you, the party they create for their LMFAO video is such a party. Such a party. There are Cheetos and 2-liter bottles of Coke and, wait for it, spin the bottle. Holy crap, how did we get to such a fun party?
I’m going to take a second here to make you all aware of the fact that every contender on this show is over the age of 18. They may be gunning to play teens on TV, but for the large part, everyone is an honest-to-goodness adult. So, explain to me, my friends, why everyone is acting like they are in middle school. Nellie announces that she doesn’t want to play (fake) spin the bottle because she thinks kissing is special, and Aylin shows off just how little her conservative Muslim parents know about her by snogging everyone with a face. First, she makes out with generic good-looking homeboy Blake, but then poor Charlie starts to sulk because he was totally flirting with her first, he even touched her wenis! Is nothing sacred?! Good thing Aylin is so nice, she cheers him up with a kiss that is equal parts pity and look-at-me-I’m-awesome-slutty.
NEXT: Does Ryan Murphy have Bieber Fever?
The spit-swapping portion of the music video is over, for now, and it’s time for some choreo. As is to be expected with this uncoordinated bunch, no one remembers his or her moves. Zach shuffles over to the corner, wrought with despair, to mutter to himself. “The horror, the horror!” he chants to Nikki’s sympathetic ear. It’s at this point that all the grownups in the room realize that the contenders aren’t even remembering to lip sync. Oops. It’s the beginning of the end for these Glee hopefuls.
The audience is treated to a viewing of the finished music video and, despite the judges’ bemoaning, it doesn’t seem that bad. The editors must have spent some late, Red Bull-fueled nights splicing this one together. But again, no one stands out to me; everyone is equally unappealing at this point (although I am pretty into Michael’s hoodie. Where can I find one of those?)
Judgment time. Zach, telling it like it is as always, announces that it’s time all the judges figure out who sucked the least. Aylin, Shanna, Blake, and Michael were dubbed the least bad and scurry off stage. Dani, Lily, and Tyler were pronounced The Worst and have to sing for their lives. Here’s the rundown of the Last Chance performances.
1. Dani sings Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” Seems not too bad. There is something so watchable about her. I want her so badly to be great. Well, she’s not great, but she’s fine. Dani reveals that she wants to be the voice of her generation, to which Mama Murphy responds, “Okay, but can you sing Broadway and use jazz hands?” Justin Bieber isn’t so sure.
2. Tyler sings Elton John’s “Daniel.” His voice sounds like he inhaled a whole bunch of helium. Everyone is being super nice because he is going through such a huge transition, but I still think his voice sounds like baby Michael Jackson. I’m just not that into him, too bad he’ll probably win.
3. Lily sings Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” Oh my, she’s stripping and dancing and singin’ it like she means it. This is fun! Too bad the judges think she is a sourpuss because she argued with my main man Zach. Mama Murphy is not impressed with her attitude. Lily then breaks the No. 1 rule of job interviews by telling Ryan Murphy that she argues with authority figures a lot and generally thinks her thoughts are more important than everyone else’s. Murphy does not like that one bit.
As the heartfelt voiceovers begin, I realize that since Taryn left on her own volition this week they technically don’t need to send anyone home. This could be the lucky break Dani or Lily needs (because anyone who has seen a promo ad for Glee knows that Tyler is guaranteed to make top 5). In fact, I’m so sure that everyone is staying, and so smug about figuring out the twist ending before everyone else, that I almost don’t even watch the callback list reveal. But as I head to the kitchen for another cookie, I see Dani’s sad, beautiful face out of the corner of my eye. Turns out Ryan Murphy just doesn’t have Beiber Fever. Avril Lavigne swells in the background, as it does each week, while Dani makes her final exit and everyone cries — including me (almost); I liked Dani bunches.
Previews for next week show more tears from the contenders and tough love from the mentors. Nikki drops some knowledge on the wide-eyed and bushy-tailed crew, “Not one of you is ready to be on Glee.” Bam. After more winners than they could handle last season, could this season go the way of Making the Band and dub no one victorious? Only time will tell. In the meantime, just remember to always do you, but do it hard.
[Image Credit: Oxygen]