Romanticality. After hearing the theme alone, you know this one's going to be a doozy. You can bet on some kissing, some winking maybe, definitely some intensity. But what's teen romance if not a bit too sappy and way too intense?
With only two guys left in the game, pairing up for romanticality week means that things get a little ... lesbian. Yep, plenty of girl-on-girl this week — starting with Lily and Aylin for the homework assignment, Extreme's "More Than Words." Lily wanted to be partners with dreamboat hunk-and-a-half Blake, but Blake only had eyes for Ali. Michael quickly snatched up country cutie Shanna, making Lily and Aylin the odd ladies out. The love/hate relationship between the two will certainly make for a sizzling pairing.
Who better to judge romanticality week than the Glee cast member who makes everyone, guys and girls alike, go weak at the knees? You guessed it, Darren Criss is the super secret guest mentor judge this week, and he can't wait to watch the kids get all kissy-face. And whoa do they get kissy! Michael and Shanna are nuzzling, Ali and Blake have some solid butterfly kisses happening, and Aylin and Lily are full-on going at it in the back. The choir room has suddenly turned into the Seven Minutes in Heaven closet. Once everyone comes up for air, Criss picks Blake as his winner. It's about time one of the boys wins something, lord knows it's been a while.
No rest for the weary on The Glee Project, it's straight to the dance studio to learn their choreo for the music video. Which, by the way, is a Breakfast Club remake set to Rihanna's "We Found Love." But wait, what does that paper sign say? "Choreography with Brooke"? Where's Zach? Bring back Zach! Oh, he's working on "the scripted show" (that must be code for "the real show"). I guess I'll cut him some slack this time. Without Zach, though, there's really no reason to dwell on this section. Brooke teaches the kids some steps, they learn them. We move on.
Per usual, the recording studio with Nicki and her lackey is next. She's eager to see if the contenders can harmonize. How have we gotten this far with no harmonizing? Isn't that, like, the most important part of music? And then, something truly Twilight Zone happens in the recording booth. In a complete 180 degree turn, Shanna and Blake — the golden duo — are the ones struggling. Blake suddenly sounds completely tone deaf. Again I ask, how do you not know how to harmonize? I mean, I can't harmonize, but I can barely hum.
For the video shoot, the kids are paired up again. Blake, as homework champion, was able to pick his own partner; he decided to stay with Ali. This time around Lily is paired with Michael, but Aylin is a lesbian again (still?). Fearless Aylin is into it though, whispering into Shanna's waiting ear, "Play around with me. Have fun with me." I don't know if Aylin's words rang a little too threatening for Shanna, but homegirl is off her game this week. While the other couples appear charmingly, adorably in love, Aylin and Shanna look like a teenage boys' fantasy come to life. They gaze at one another with the same look an anorexic girl gives a hamburger — you know, "I love you, I want you, don't come any closer" — and chase each other around the auditorium in a frenzied game of cat and mouse. I lose track of who is chasing whom, but suddenly the girls are rolling around on the floor, pawing at each other's faces and pulling at one another's hair as they breathe heavily into the open mouths in front of them. It's all a bit much.
The final cut of the video, though, practically makes it work. And working completely is the snuggly dynamic between Michael and Lily and the steamy scene between Blake and Ali. For just a second, I wonder if the "girlfriend" Blake casually dropped into his conversation with Darren Criss is Ali.
Choosing the bottom three must have been like pulling names from a hat. Now that I think of it, I wonder if the mentor/judges did just pull names from a hat. At the end of romanticality week, the three in danger of going home are Aylin, Shanna, and Blake. Wha? Aylin mutters, "One of us is going home?" and I can't help but think the same thing. One of them? These three kids have been flying high the whole competition, and suddenly they're on the chopping block.
Let's get down to it. The botton three performances:
1. Aylin takes the stage in a sassy dress to sing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack. There's nary a dry eye in the house as Aylin sings her final note. It hangs there, reverberating in the heavy air, and is just, lovely. She really has a beautiful voice. Zach (he's back!), Ryan Murphy, and the rest agree. Murphy takes his critique time to harp, once again, on the fact that Aylin is Muslim. At this point our brassy diva starts breaking down, just thinking about all the young girls she could inspire. Maybe I'm getting soft, but when Aylin says, "There's no one on TV who looks like me," I almost start sniffling myself.
2. Blake's next, singing "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. He is breathless as he runs out onto the stage, visibly shaking from nerves. He can barely stutter out the name of the song and almost forgets his own name. After such an inauspicious opening, however, the golden boy pulls through. His voice is just so good. Unfortunately he's got some dead eyes going on. But, for as good as he sounds, Blake doesn't quite pack the song with as much punch as it warrants. Ryan Murphy doesn't care; Ryan Murphy is smitten. "You really are the sweetheart of the competition," he says.
3. Last is Shanna, ready to bring the house down with Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger." She's wearing her f**k me heels and promises to take no prisoners. No one can deny that this girl can sing. Ryan Murphy, however, thinks she may be a little too normal for Glee. He doesn't know how to write for a pretty blonde southern belle; there's no built in after-school special with Shanna. This may be her downfall.
The list is up (Robert's favorite words). Aylin, Blake, and Shanna throw their arms around one another and walk into the deserted choir room together to learn their fates. Not called back is: Shanna. The unbeatable has been beaten. I think this calls for a moment of silence.
[Photo Credit: Oxygen]