the glee project: adaptability

Mario starts the show by declaring that he’ll rock the challenge as he has to adapt constantly since he’s blind. True. Yet such declarations tempt the gods.

Kevin McHale, a.k.a. Artie, was the mentor and thought Aylin performed Alanis Morissette’s “You Outta Know” best.

As the theme was adaptability, every step of the way — in the studio and with Zach, the choreographer, the contestants were kept in the dark about what they’d have to do. We’re told that this is common practice on the actual show. Both Shanna and Michael did well. Lily was solid, Aylin was hot, Abraham cut his breath off, A felt anxious. They didn’t bother to show Nellie or Mario in the studio. Since Nellie shown in the previous episode and has an interesting depth and good voice, I felt shortchanged.

Kevin coached Aylin to build on confidence, hardly Socrates-level advice. I do wonder how long these sessions last and what got edited out. I’d hope he could offer more and better coaching.

The video centered around a group of highly stereotyped rich and poor kids. The rich kids sat around in lavish furs and such while the poor kids sang happily in white t-shirts. Charlie adopted a persona, sort of a young Thurston Howell, III. The mentors thought this was bizarre. It was a little odd, but it did fit with the theme and they chose Charlie because of his autism-spectrum condition. What do they expect? They don’t get that if you have such a condition, you can’t instantly change. This was probably the poorest video The Glee Project has made to date. It was just too stereotypical and superficial. Nothing the contestants could have done this week could have saved it.

As a further twist there were six in the bottom who had to perform for Ryan. Aylin, Michael, Shanna, and Lily were safe.  Nellie and Blake sang Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl/Boy Like You.” I think Nellie outshone Blake who seems too bland for me.

Ali and Abraham had to sing Katy Perry’sLast Friday Night” and here Ali was the stronger performer. Ryan compared Ali to Dolly Parton, which was a dicey comment. All these contestants have to respond positively to anything the mentors say or they’re out on the street. Remembering that makes me all the more happy that Cameron just left the program of his own accord last you.

Finally Mario and Charlie sang Elton John‘s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”  In the end Mario was not called back. It seemed appropriate as he was just so arrogant, so above the others. That’s an inadvertent plus of The Glee Project. In a scripted show the person who’s blind is saintly. Here that just wasn’t the case. We got a real person and we won’t miss him in the weeks ahead as he was so self-absorbed.

the glee project: sexuality

This episode’s theme was sexuality and Naya Rivera (Santana) was the mentor. The gang sang a song I can’t remember and there was a lot of sultry looks and pumping and grinding. How I long for a bit more sophistication in our culture. I don’t blame the contestants they’re just seeing what’s out there and emulating. (Porpoise of Life’s blogger couldn’t remember the song either. Not a good sign. I did just watch the beginning again and the song was “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Ho hum.)

If you’ve seen the show you can pretty much predict how a lot of the contestants responded. Aylin was exuberant, but worried about what her parents thought. Yet she doesn’t really seem to care so it’s something of a non-issue. Tyler reminded us that his transgender transition makes this tough for him, yet when Robert announced the theme he was jubilant. I guess he just got caught up in the mob response.

Charlie won the homework competition and was on cloud 9 knowing that Naya considered him the success in the sexuality challenge. Yet this turned out to be a bit of a curse as it made him cocky the rest of the week.

The Star of the Week

Nellie interested me the most this week. She was honest and admitted this was a stretch since she hadn’t even seen a guy naked. I was glad someone had a different perspective. It’s interesting to watch someone who seems so real live through this fish bowl experiment.

The video for the week’s setting was a high school sex ed class in which a dowdy, non-sexy teacher assigns the class to write an essay on “What Sexuality Means to Me.” The Glee Project did get the banality and triviality that can pervade US classrooms right, but really this is an assignment that would result in parental outcry. Why should a teacher read and evaluate students’ sexuality? Is that their job? No teacher who’s right in the head would assign something that begs parents to call and complain.

Sexiness is in the eye of the beholder

In the studio, Michael stumbled over the lyrics as he sang with Mario. He just couldn’t get them right and in the end Nikki had to ask him to leave. Still over the moon from his homework win, Charlie was flirting with Aylin while recording which just made him look immature. He needs to wake up if he wants to stay.

Then during the video shoot, Charlie let his ADD and attitude get the best of him as he tried to direct Erik the Director, who was remarkably patient.

Tyler just got lost in the crowd. Lily vamped up her performance and shy Nellie got out of her shell and excelled in the shoot.

Tyler, Michael and Charlie had to do last chance performances. Charlie did a fun rendition of “I Get a Kick Out of You,” which got Ryan and Co. to overlook Charlie’s lack of professionalism that week.

Michael sang and forgot the words to “Lucky.” I thought he was a goner. Tyler sang Charlie Chaplin‘s “Smile” which he mentioned he’d never heard although it was featured in Glee‘s first season. If I were going on The Glee Project, I’d watch all the Glee episodes again since they tend to pull TGP songs from the series since those have been cleared for legal rights. I thought Tyler did a poor job and I winced at times as he was off pitch at times.

Michael and Tyler both botched their performances. Tyler’s been in the final three regularly and always reminds his judges that he’s going through a major transition vis-a-vis his gender. It’s true and sincere, but should he constantly get excused and protected? Then blowing the lyrics twice is quite a blunder. In the end the judges decided that Tyler should go. While they liked him and sympathized with his challenges, as Zach told Charlie, “This is a job.”  Tough as it was to do, the judges sent Tyler home.

I think that was the right decision, hard as it may have been. I doubt Tyler could deal — all at once — with the physical, emotional and professional challenges he signed himself up for.

The Glee Project, Season 2 so far

The Glee Project is off to a good start this summer. The contestants have a wide range of personalities and life experiences, yet after watching 3 episodes I don’t have the same familiarity as I did with the first season’s cast.

As in season 1, Individuality was the first episode’s  theme and the week’s video would be to “Born This Way.” I was just getting to know the 14 contestants and you know that one show is not enough to show your real potential and ability. Yet someone had to go and it was Maxfield, a country singer with charm. Compared with the Tyler, the transgender teen, and Alyn, a spitfire Muslim of Turkish descent, Maxfield didn’t inspire the same story possibilities for Glee. While that reason wasn’t stated, I think that was what it came down to for the first episode. The other two offer story possibilities that inspire Ryan Murphy so it seemed to early to let them go.

Apart from my thoughts on their talent, I do begin to get some definite preferences. Lily comes across as narcissistic and shallow. She lacks concern for others and is rather open about that. I wouldn’t miss her. Alyn has a charming vivacity. Nelli’s quiet, but that makes me think she’s got depth and potential. Tyler reminds me of Urkel from Family Matters. 

I was surprised to see Dani go home at the end of Dance-ability, but then again I wasn’t. She’s a talented, likeable performer, someone who’d make a good friend, but she doesn’t fit into the bold colors and emotions of Glee. To become a Gleek, Dani would have to distance herself from all her strengths and best traits, to morph into a caricature as I’m afraid we’re seeing Sam and Damien do.

I was quite surprised and sad to see that Taryn decided to leave the show in this episode. While talented, Taryn admitted she felt it was too much to live in the dorm and participate in this show. I can see how someone could feel that way and reality TV isn’t the only on ramp for a career in music. I wish we’d have gotten to see more of her, but she probably chose wisely.