‘The Glee Project’ Recap: Contestants Learn Theatricality, Glam Up for a Twisted Sister Number
There were 11 singers remaining on the second episode of 'The Glee Project,' where hopefuls sing their hearts out for a chance a seven-episode guest-starring role on the biggest show on TV.
This week's episode was centered on theatricality, specifically what it is (fearlessness) and what it isn't (over-the-top drama). Who needs theatricality in a performance when the show's premise offers that in spades?
The homework assignment was Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance,' which was met with plenty of squeals from the singers. Idina Menzel, who appeared in 'Rent' and 'Wicked' and played Rachel's birth mother on 'Glee,' mentored the kids.
Menzel chose Alex as the winner of the homework assignment, calling the singer both "larger than life" and "fearless," which (according to Menzel) was one of the key qualities of being theatrical. Other standouts were Ellis Wylie ("wide range, youthful and mature at once"), Samuel Larsen ("hot, cool, easy and relaxed"), Lindsay Pearse ("contemporary") and Cameron Mitchell ("stage presence and charisma").
For the group number, an '80s glam rock classic, Twisted Sister's anthemic 'We're Not Gonna Take It,' was chosen. The video treatment was a dream sequence that took place in a high school cafeteria, with students fantasizing about rock stardom. The bombast of the '80s was effectively captured in the video, which was full of glitter, big hair, smashed guitars, feather boas, fur vests, lots of pink and a first kiss. Blush!
On a side note, Lindsay is quickly becoming persona non grata and being positioned as the series villain. Come on, any good reality talent competition show worth its ratings needs a pot stirrer, and Linds was stirring stuff up with Ellis, who claimed she is attacked daily by her. "I think she's kinda mean" was Hannah's assessment of Lindsay.
Well, that's what happens when you put divas-in-training on a reality show and let 'em loose when a big, fame-making prize is a stake.
After the video, the singers were reminded that they needed to pop and Ellis, McKynleigh and Matheus didn't, so they had to do "Last Chance" performances for Ryan Murphy. Ellis was told she is too negative and focuses on saying "I can't" more than "I can," which was also the critique that Lindsay sent her way earlier in the day; Matheus was working too hard looking cool in the video and lost some of the passion that made the judges love him so he needed to demonstrate it again; McKynleigh was criticized for the disconnect between personality in her voice and her performance.
During the Last Chances, it was "attack of the little cutesy pies," so said Murphy about Ellis and Matheus. Overall, though, it was not about finding the best singer or dancer, but about inspiring the writers to write roles for them with their personality and flair.
Ellis sang 'Mac the Knife,' which was smack dab in her wheelhouse, thanks to her jazz background. She was into it, using her hands expressively while she belted out this Frank Sinatra standard. Murphy admitted wanting a jazz singer on the show and said Ellis fits the bill. The judges felt she was trying a little too hard to be nice now that she was facing elimination.
Matheus, who has been described as very "boy band," performed 'Gives You Hell,' a pop punk romp by All-American Rejects. He gave the judges hell with his performance, but he did bungle the lyrics here and there. He called himself "an ugly little dude" and then back pedaled and said he is not the ugliest, though. Murphy said he would be more interested in writing about a little person who walks in with confidence and swagger rather than one who is unsure of himself.
McKynleigh tackled Janis Joplin's heart-on-the-sleeve 'Piece of My Heart.' Murphy said she is, by far, the best singer. But he still can't cull her personality from the song, which is a huge, if not crippling, stumbling block. She is sacrificing content for form; she wants to be perfect when she sings, but she doesn't reveal much about herself when she sings and doesn't fill the songs or the performance with feeling. Murphy said he would have a hard time writing a role for her, which is the whole point of the show.
Shockingly, though, Ellis was sent home, because the judges felt she couldn't change, adapt or grow out of her tendency to be negative, which doesn't fly in this environment.
Watch 'The Glee Project' Contestants Perform Twisted Sister's 'We're Not Gonna Take It'
Watch the Bottom Three Perform