Who’s YOUR Next Gleek? – A Peek at Oxygen’s New Reality Show “The Glee Project”

Have nightmares about the future of your favorite musical comedy show kept you up nights? 

Did Rachel’s and Kurt’s conversation about the “c” word, during the Season 2 Glee finale, send shivers up your spine?  (I’m talking about “college,” obviously.  Get your mind out of the gutter!) 

Have you spent the past few summer hiatus weeks writing long “fan letters” to Ryan Murphy, in which you plot out, in great detail, scenarios that will enable your favorite McKinley High characters to get left back another year, just so that you can maintain your own sanity?

If so, then you are a TOTAL NUTBALL!  then “The Glee Project” is the summer series for you!  Starting this week, every Sunday at 9 p.m. on the Oxygen channel, twelve (well . . . now, eleven) hopeful late teens and early twenty-somethings will duke it out for the chance to win a seven-episode arc on the most popular musical program on Fox that isn’t American Idol.  And as teen drama fans know, A LOT can happen in seven episodes.  (If you recall, Darren Criss’s Blaine Anderson was upgraded to a series regular on Glee, after appearing in half that amount.)

Entertainment industry nerds like me will undoubtedly appreciate the “behind the curtain” peek that this show offers at what the casting process for a successful prime time program actually looks like.  (Well . . . at least you get a peek at what casting for a successful prime time program WOULD look like, if it was done through a reality television show.)  Acting as both mentors and judges of the prospective new Gleeks’ are Robert Ulrich (Glee’s casting director) Zach Woodlee (the show’s choreographer), and Nikki Anders (a vocal coach for the series).

Ryan Murphy, himself, will also be on hand to make the final elimination decisions . . .

As if that wasn’t enough, each episode will also feature a REAL GLEE CAST MEMBER, who will basically be there to stand around, smile, look pretty, and collect his or her hiatus paycheck.   This week’s lucky guest star was the sexy Darren Criss.

Next week, we get Idina Menzel, who played Rachel bio’s mom, and former Vocal Adrenaline coach, Shelby Corcoran, during the show’s first season.

But I have to say that my FAVORITE Glee cast inclusion into The Glee Project was the “celebrity” who appeared during the “audition” episode.  Of course, I’m referring to THIS GUY  . . .

Brad Ellis, i.e. “The Random Dude at the Piano” is just the Captain of Cool, as far as I am concerned . . .

Even those of you who AREN’T Entertainment Industry Geeks, will likely get a kick out of observing the various contestants, and trying to pinpoint precisely what type of character each would play, if he or she was lucky enough to make it onto the show.  After all, stereotyping people, and making snap judgments about them, based solely on a picture and under ten minutes of screen time per episode, is what Glee is all about, right?

 Yes, that was meant to be sarcastic. 🙂 

Let’s put it a nicer way.  The Glee Project gives fans of Glee the opportunity to “play” casting director, and try to envision the future of the show.  So, what are we waiting for?  Let the stereotyping casting begin! 

(By the way, if you are interested in learning more about the show, or any of the cast members you see here, feel free to check out Oxygen’s surprisingly comprehensive show website, which features, among other things, cast bios, photographs, and audition tapes.)

In case you haven’t seen this yet, here is a photograph featuring all twelve Glee Project contestants . . .

Please note that this article WILL contain spoilers from the first episode of the show.  In other words, I plan to mention that a certain Glee hopeful has already been eliminated from the running.  So, if you don’t want to be spoiled, you may want to stop here, until you’ve actually seen episode 1.

Now that I’ve gotten that little disclaimer out of the way, allow me to introduce the twelve cast members of The Glee Project.

First up, we have Damian . . .

Damian kind of seems to have a Young Hugh Grant thing going for him . . .

First off, he’s got the accent (though HIS is an Irish Broque, as opposed to Grant’s British lilt).  This will work immediately in his favor, I suspect, as chicks tend to dig accents, BIG TIME.  Damian also has a baby face, and a sort of goofy, self-deprecating charm, that makes him instantly likeable.  Cons for Damian include his dorky dancing (Finn!  You have company!), and a quiet singing voice, that might find itself overpowered by Glee’s current cast of “belters.”

I can envision Damian playing an Artie-type character, someone who is generally liked by everybody, and doesn’t make too many waves.  In terms of romantic interests, it might be fun to see Damian paired with Rachel, since his low-key, easy-going, nature might balance out her Type-A intensity and diva-like ways.

Next up is Bryce . . .

I’m actually a tad surprised, and a smidge disappointed, that this guy was eliminated so early in the competition, as he’s someone I can definitely see on the show, as a friend / rival to Puck.  Just like a certain Mohawk-sporting sexpot we all know and love .  . .

. . . Bryce has the body of an athlete, the style of a rebel, and the confident swagger of a guy who SEEMS like a conceited jerk on the surface, but who hides hidden depths.  Had Bryce won the competition, I could definitely have envisioned him as being a fun love interest for Mercedes (if the whole “Sam” thing doesn’t work out) and/or for Quinn.

Then, there’s Samuel . . .

I must say that this guy is one of my early favorites.  I already love his voice, his style, and his maturity.  (Though, admittedly, I suspect this actor, in particular, might have some difficulty passing for a 16-year old.)  If Samuel wins this competition, he could bring an element to New Directions that we haven’t seen yet, that of the “sensitive hippie.”  I can envision Samuel’s character intially butting heads with either Rachel or Quinn, and, eventually developing a love/hate relationship with either female. 

Love/hate relationships are always my favorites on teen dramas, as I tend to find them SO INSANELY HOT!  It’s high time they put one of those types of relationships on Glee.  And that is yet another reason, why I am rooting for Samuel to take it all in this competition.

My other favorite to win The Glee Project is Cameron . . .

This guy is the epitome of Geek Chic.  Sure, he’s skinny, and a bit clumsy, when it comes to “fancy foot work,” but there is something undeniably sexy about Cameron.  He plays guitar, and has a sweet mellow voice and singing style that evokes comparisons to artists like Jack Johnson or Bruno Mars.  Personally, I would love to hear Cameron sing a duet with either Mark Salling (Puck) or Kevin McHale (Artie), as I think those two voices would compliment his quite well. 

In terms of love interests, no one really sticks out for me just yet, who would be a good match for Cameron.  However, in terms of social networking, I do think a character like this could become fast friends with Artie, Sam, or even Mike Chang.

Another early fan favorite to take this competition is Lindsay . . .

The first thing that struck me about this contestant is how much she looks like a Young Carla Gugino .  . .

The cool thing about Lindsay, in terms of character development, is that she seems pretty versatile.  She’s obviously pretty enough to play a cheerleader / Queen Bee type, like Quinn.  And yet, she also has the style, and relatability, to play a more Earthy / Do-Gooder type.  Romantically, I could see Lindsay paired with any of the main male characters on the show, with the most obvious candidates for her affection being Puck and Finn.

One of the more unique casting choices on the show would be Ellis . .  .

Ellis is kind of a dichotomy, in that she looks and dresses like a middle-schooler, but has the sad soulful eyes, and singing voice of a thirty-something.  I can picture Ellis playing one of those child-prodigy types, who skipped a few grades to get into McKinley High.  Her character would be precocious, and very serious, verging on dour.  Depending on HOW much younger this character would be than the rest of the cast, I could potentially see her as a love interest for Artie.

Next up, we have Hannah . . . 

Having been voted Class Clown in her own high school, Hannah demonstrates the perkiness of Rachel Berry, the humor of Lauren Zizes, and the powerful voice and dancing skills of Mercedes Jones.  On the surface, this would seem to make her the ideal candidate to be a character on Glee

And yet, I wonder whether these positive attributes will ultimately end up working against her.  Specifically, I fear that the casting directors might have difficulty envisioning for Hannah a place within the Glee cast that is not already inhabited by other characters.

Another Gleeky hopeful who might experience the same problem as Hannah is Marissa . . .

. . . with her confident attitude, perfect figure, and Pantene Pro-V hair, Marissa seems primed to play a Mean Girl.  She would also make a rather sexy romantic pairing with Puck.  But with Quinn and Santana already constantly battling one another for Queen Bee status, does McKinley High really need another Alpha Female?

Speaking of characters who would undoubtedly but heads with Santana, check out Emily . . .

Since Emily struck me as a perkier (some might say, more annoying) version of Santana, I could envision her playing either Santana’s younger sister, or her scheming neighbor, over in Lima Heights Adjacent . . .

Other viewers have suggested that Emily would make a good love interest for Santana.  But, personally, I don’t see it.  I think these two are WAY too much alike to mesh well as a couple.  In fact, it’s their similarities that may work against Emily in this competition.

Another character who may be too much like a pre-existing one on the show is Alex . . .

. . . this sweet and rather flamboyant teen, with a love for all things fashion, and a high voice, perfect for belting out show tunes is . . . let’s face it . . . the African American version of Kurt Hummel . . . and I mean that in the nicest way possible. 🙂

One type of voice Glee has genuinely lacked in the first two seasons is that of a country singer.  And, though I am not necessarily a fan of country music, myself, the need for that kind of voice on Glee was what intrigued me most about McKyleigh . . .

This Texas’ natives love of all things country definitely makes her stand out in a crowd.  In fact, I suspect the character SHE would play on Glee would be much like the person she is in real life.  It would be fun to watch McKyleigh and Mercedes interact with one another, in particular, as the two couldn’t have more different tastes and styles. 

And hey, why not take that one step further, and have McKyleigh show some romantic interest in Sam?  A little love triangle never hurt ANY show!

Daddy LIKE!

Finally, last, but certainly not least, we have the adorably diminutive Brazilian native, Matheus . . .

Of all the cast members, this was probably the one who got the most screentime in Episode 1 of The Glee Project.  There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) he has the most uplifting personal story of the group, having taught himself English just months after emigrating to the United States, and having survived a near fatal accident, that almost deprived him of the use of his limbs; (2) he won the first “homework” challenge on the show, giving him an early lead amongst his competitors; and (3) everything about Matheus is just so DARN likeable, from his short stature, to his kind eyes, to his brace-faced smile, to his surprisingly cut abdominals (which he gladly flashed to the cameras . . . TWICE), to his unfailingly upbeat outlook on life.

Though I honestly don’t have a clear picture of what role Matheus would play on Glee, he definitely seems like he would be a stellar addition to the cast, one that would immediately resonate with fans.  Oh yeah, and he has an amazing voice too!

So, there you have it, a brief glimpse into the twelve prospective Gleek hopefuls who will be competing this summer on The Glee Project.  Which one is YOUR favorite?

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

8 Comments

Filed under Glee, Summer Television Shows, The Glee Project

8 responses to “Who’s YOUR Next Gleek? – A Peek at Oxygen’s New Reality Show “The Glee Project”

  1. I’d like to make my reasoning for my favourite to be anything but shallow, but here it is: I’m all for Damian, because I am a sucker for an Irish accent (as you’ll discover when you read my first Misfits recap!)

    The timing of this post is perfect, because it is Cabaret Festival time over here in Adelaide, so I’m enjoying real life Glee almost every night, with everyone from a group called Voice of Transition (kind of like a local New Directions) to legends like Simon Burke.

    On an ever-so-slightly related note, have you noticed that Darren Criss has the most awesome pair of pink sunnies that he wears all of the time? I just love him and everything that he chooses to be, honestly! I’d put myself through the pain of going on a show like this for the chance of being there live while he is a guest star 😉

    • Damian is a cutie. Of all the cast members, he’s probably the one I would most want to take out for drinks (though, I’m not sure he’s of legal drinking age yet?). I think my favorite Damian moment of the first episode was his clearly embarrassed, yet entirely good natured, reaction to Ryan Murphy calling him out on singing “I wish I WAS Jessie’s Girl” instead of “I wish I HAD Jessie’s Girl.”

      Could you imagine how defensive a contestant like, say Bryce, would be if he had been caught making the same mistake? Yet, Damian just blushed a bit, and laughed it off. He’s obviously a real class act.

      I hope that, if Damian wins this competition, they let him keep his Irish brogue, and actually incorporate it into his character, as opposed to forcing him to “hide his true self,” a la Ed Westwick and Ryan Kwanten. (Though, admittedly, both actors do a FABULOUS job of embodying their decidedly American roles.) I feel like having a character with Irish roots on the show, would add a certain multi-national appeal to Glee . . . something akin massive fan response from the Eastern part of the globe, when Charice was first cast in HER guest starring role. Plus, let’s face it, Irish accents are SUPER hot.

      I can’t tell you how excited I was to see you were back on the blogosphere, and recapping a “new” show, no less! I am literally counting down the minutes until I get home, so that I can review all the “gifts” you have left in my inbox. So, much awesome commentary to read and review! So, little time! 🙂

  2. Nina in Anchorage

    It’s me again. Going through all your shows and commenting. Because I’m an entertainment industry nerd, too. Are you going to recap this show as well? I hope so, but I understand if you don’t have time. Did you watch the initial casting episode, too? Here are my thoughts:
    Damian: Love. Adore. Keep the brogue! I think he’s only 19 or 20, tho, so no drinks in the U.S. Bummer.
    Bryce: Glad he’s gone. His vision of his character as the hot male? Sorry, Puck has that sewn up and there’s no room in my heart for another one. On Glee, at least. And tho I didn’t really see an attitude with Zach (how hot is HE? Is he straight?), I did see an attitude with the director of the video, and I think that alone got him booted.
    Samuel: He auditioned for the pilot, so I was glad to see him get a 2nd chance, but I agree with you that he might be a little old looking.
    Cameron. Adorbs dorky. Probably my fave after Damian.
    Lindsay: No clue. We’ll see.
    Ellis: Her constant whinging about her looks but then acting like the age she looks is annoying. And her doing Big Spender just jarred with me.
    Hannah: My favorite girl. Keep her, get rid of Zizses.
    Marissa: No clue yet.
    Emily: She thinks her ability to flip her hair is a unique talent? I wonder if she put that under Special Skills on her resume? Buh-bye!
    Alex: The male Mercedes, and a perfect foil for her. I wonder if he’d be “straght for pay”?
    McKynleigh: Love! Only half-a step down from Hannah in my favorite female contestant line up instead of a full point. Love the fact that she does country instead of soul, and totally agree with/hope her concept of leading the way for African-Americans to do country is recognized. I admit, I’d rather see her on the show than Hannah because I see Hannah more as a replacement for Lauren than her own individual character, whereas McKynleigh is definitely her own. I could see Ryan writing for her.
    Matheus: I love the fact that such a big voice comes out of such a diminuitive body. I could see Ryan writing for him, too.
    I admit that I kinda wish the Downs-Syndrome kid that so impressed Robert and knew exactly where he’d fit in, as Becky’s boyfriend, had gotten through. I think the only reason he didn’t was that maybe he can’t sing? I don’t recall them showing that part of his audition, and I wish we’d seen what the call-backs were like. I sincerely hope Robert keeps him on file and shows him to Ryan and he winds up on the show as Becky’s boyfriend!
    I like the fact that they wanted each actor to know who they could be on the show, and that whoever wins will be based on Ryan’s ability to see himself writing for that actor. As an actress, I love that that’s so true to what auditioning really is. TWOP has commented that it’s just another reality show with judges, but while I can see that POV, it really isn’t. It’s the audition process turned into a reality show.
    OK, on to the next column . . .

    • Hey Nina! So, you are an actress! That is so awesome! I am actually really jealous, as I think that is one of the coolest professions on the planet. 🙂 It definitely takes a lot of strength and courage to pursue a career in acting. Basically, what I’m saying, is I am in total awe of you right now. And I’m honored to be talking Glee with you! 😉

      I think you are right. The Glee Project goes beyond your typical reality show competition. After all, the judges on this show aren’t just run-of-the-mill “judges.” They are honest to goodness staff writers, casting directors, and choreographers for one of the most watched comedies on television today! And, as I said in my review, I really feel as though that Glee Project will enable viewers to peek behind the curtain at what goes on the “Glee casting couch.”

      As you mentioned SO MUCH of casting comes down to whether the casting director LIKES the actor, and whether the writers and producers FEEL like they can write a particular character with that actor in mind. This is particularly the case on Glee, where actors like Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, and Darren Criss, had parts created FOR THEM by producers / staff writers, as opposed to the other way around.

      Even in shows where the character already exists on paper, like TVD, what happens in the casting room can effect the course of a show. I use TVD as an example, because, in The Vampire Diaries Books, “Elena” started off as a blonde haired blue-eyed mean girl, who’s heart was softened somewhat by two very different vampire brothers. But the writers of THAT show took one look at Nina Dobrev, and knew the show had to go in a different direction. And that’s why the Elena in the television series, is much “softer,” more “down-to-earth,” and probably a bit more dour, than her book counterpart.

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who developed a little crush on Zach Woodlee. That man is gorgeous with a capital “G.” Granted, he came off a bit jerky at times, during the first couple of episodes, but, I could work with jerky. 🙂 I like a guy with a little bit of an edge to him. No word yet on his sexuality. (And, believe me, I searched! :)) I’ll let you know, if I hear anything further.

      You also took the words right out of my mouth about Hannah. I was just trying very hard NOT to come right out and say that on the blog, out of fear of offending people, if you catch my drift. 🙂 For whatever reason, the Lauren Zizes character on Glee just never sat well with me. And I don’t think that it had anything to do with her weight. I just find the character unlikeable, unrelatable, and COMPLETELY lacking in chemistry with Puck.

      I almost wish that the casting directors found Hannah first, as I think she could DEFINITELY have made for a more likeable Lauren Zizes. However, I think that the fact that Ashley Fink AND Amber Riley are on the show will ultimately be held against Hannah. That being said, while I don’t think she will win, I suspect Hannah will make it far in this competition, as she is clearly talented, funny, and likeable.

      In terms of actors who would bring to Glee the most interesting and unique characters, I think Samuel, Cameron, Damien, and Mckyleigh, probably have the most to offer. Having said that, Matheus already seems to be an early fan favorite, and he would fit in well with the Glee cast as well. So, I suspect he will stick around awhile too.

      Speaking of actors that would fit into the show, like you, I suspect that the dancer with Down Syndrome will definitely make it onto Glee. Being Becky’s boyfriend on the show, would give him a fun character arc, one that wouldn’t necessarily require him to sing. He was a great dancer though. So, I would love to see the writers incorporate that into his character. Hey, maybe he could be the first male Cheerio! 🙂

      As for Emily, judging by the message boards, I think most viewers felt precisely the way you did. She is NOT long for this show, that’s for sure! 🙂

      Given that The Glee Project airs opposite True Blood this summer, weekly recaps of the show might be tough for me to manage. However, I definitely plan to continue watching. So, you will probably hear more from me on the topic of this show, this summer. 🙂

      Definitely, feel free to stop by and post your opinions, as the season progresses. As an actress, you have unique insight into the show, that most of us don’t possess. And I would love to hear more of your thoughts on the subsequent auditions, and elimination rounds.

      Thanks again for your awesome insights and commentary! They were very much appreciated! 🙂

  3. amber

    i loveeeeeeeeeee matheus!! hes cute he can sig i jus love him

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Amber! I agree. Matheus is a real cutie! He cracked me up, last week with his rendition of All American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell.” 🙂

  4. Pingback: It’s Not Easy Being a Leprechaun – A Recap of Glee’s “Pot O’ Gold” | TV Recappers Anonymous

  5. I love to be on glee its really cool

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