Glee Project Winner 'Not Who You'd Expect,' Says Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy’s résumé includes everything from Nip/Tuck and Popular to Eat Pray Love and Running With Scissors. But his latest endeavor, The Glee Project, which airs Sundays 9/8 c on Oxygen, ranks as “one of my favorite things I’ve ever done,” says the writer-director-producer. Not only will the winner of this fledgling reality competition score a seven-episode arc on Glee‘s upcoming season, explains Murphy, but the reality spinoff has had the unexpected bonus of inspiring his fictional writing, too. Specifically, Sunday’s Glee Project episode involves a shocking revelation by a contestant that Murphy says he expects to inspire a future story arc on the Glee mothership. Murphy shared some added tidbits about what to expect over the course of the Glee Project season:

If you think you’ve already pegged the eventual Glee Project winner, you’re probably wrong. | “The person that we ended up picking is not who you would expect, but is so talented that it’s really inspired us as writers,” says Murphy. “The person who wins is not necessarily the best singer or the best dancer. It’s the person who can serve Glee best. What kind of character did we need for next season? That’s the person who won.”

You won’t have to wait long for the winning contestant to make his or her Glee debut. | “Our first episode back [on Glee] is always auditions,” Murphy says, and that’s exactly when you should expect The Glee Project champ to turn up as a McKinley High student who’ll try to earn a spot on the New Directions squad “in a different and unusual way than what we’ve done before.”

Murphy didn’t concern himself with whether contestants were naughty or nice outside of challenges. | “I don’t care if you’re likable, but what I do care about is ‘Are you professional? Do you have a good attitude?’ That’s really important to me,” he explains. To that end, the first two contestants to get the boot this season — Bryce and Ellis — both had minor clashes with Glee‘s behind-the-scenes gurus during the course of the show. “The person we’ve chosen has a great work ethic, really wants to be there, and having hung out with that person now quite a bit, is actually very lovable,” says Murphy. “People are going to go crazy for them.”

Murphy admits he wasn’t a perfect Glee Project judge. | “I made a huge mistake at one point in the season,” confesses the producer, who arrives each week to see the Bottom 3 contestants perform a song, and then confers with his fellow judges about which one to cut. While editing one particular episode, though, says Murphy, and seeing the doomed contestant’s full contributions, “I was like, ‘Holy s***! I make a big mistake!’ The episode was one where that person was having a bad day, and got voted off; I look back and I think, ‘I wish I would have kept that person on.” Asked if he invites said contestant to make a return to the competition at any point, though, Murphy remains coy: “Maybe I do. Maybe not.”

The Glee Project champ got the stamp of approval from the current Glee cast. | Murphy explains that by using Glee staples like Darren Criss, Dot Marie Jones, and Idina Menzel as Glee Project mentors, he was able to get a better idea about which hopefuls had “the potential to be really big breakout stars” and which ones his current cast “would want to hang out with day to day.”

Because he was casting for an undetermined role, Murphy says the contestants’ abilities to inspire the creation of potential characters became particularly important. | “It wasn’t really just a talent competition but also a personality competition,” he expains. “Show us who you are. Let me see as many facets to you as I can. Let me be inspired by that. And thus create a character which shows off quite frankly not just the best of who you are but also your flaws.” Murphy says it’s not unusual for him to draw off the experiences of his current cast when he’s writing a script, either. “Lea Michele has learned not to tell me anything about her life because I’ll put it into the script,” he says with a laugh. “You write what you know, as they say.”

Are you watching The Glee Project? What do you think of it thus far? Who are you rooting for and against? Sound off below, and for all my Glee Project news and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. JP says:

    i think that lindsey is reaally full of herself and fake i want damian to win nd if notthen i think samual could do the part justice

  2. kat says:

    I believe that Damian will win. Ryan said that the person who wins is not the best singer or dancer, so that kind of cancels everyone else out, ’cause Lindsay and Alex have amazing singing voices and both of them and Samuel can dance.Plus, Damian is very loveable and has a great work ethic. I’m really convinced that he will win!
    Break a leg, Damian!
    (That’s theater for good luck)

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve wondered if it’s Damian who wins because U’m pretty sure that I saw Damian in the audience of the Glee 3d Concert movie.

    • Kate says:

      Damian, Samuel, Cameron, Lindsay, Hannah, and Alex were invited to the glee 3d concert movie premiere. Damian looked sooo cute talking and taking pictures with his fans, I know he’ll win the glee project.

  4. paige says:

    i went for lindsy for the hole time i really hope she will win ps gooooooooo lidsy!!!

  5. olivia says:

    who one? i dont know who i didnt watch that episode

  6. cutiegleeluvr says:

    TEAM DAMIAN MCGINTYY!!!!!!!! i am so in love with him right now :) but if he doesnt win then team samuel ;)

  7. Someone says:

    I personnally don’t give a f about who is the winner. I just want a good season 3.

  8. Samantha says:

    Samuel I think wants it more..
    Reasons why samuel should win
    He has only been in the bottom once
    He’s a great singer
    Takes direction good
    Has a different look like the bad boy type,funny,kind has always been real and will give a 110% all day everyday
    Hes a good dancer not the best but still
    He makes u feel something when he sings
    He plays alot of intruments..
    Drums etc
    Overall he’s juss awesome
    I don’t understand y people want Damian to win he’s jut not amusing to me he’s boring
    Alex he to over the top diva like give it a rest and lindsey is fake fake FAKE mean obnoxious all of the above…SAMUEL SHOULD WIN IT WOULD BE AN ABOMINATION IF HE DOESN’T!!!!!

  9. Damian Klaine Gleek says:

    Does that mean that its not like anyone else from Glee *cough* Damian

  10. Jessica says:


  11. Maegan says:

    I hope damian wins! He is soo hot. He would b amazing on glee and a lot of girls would like him on glee

  12. Amanda says:

    I hope Damian wins. I’ve loved him since Celtic Thunder and I never planned on watching the show until I heard he was going to be on it. Damien is a sweet kid who (dare I say?) a bit misunderstood at times. I love his voice and his accent (which really isn’t that hard to used to be thicker hehe). Damien’s voice is amazing despite what some haters say. I think it’s meant for more “older” songs or soulful ones and not mainstream, but he can adapt and work through it and still kick butt.

  13. Robin BUntin says:

    I truly believe that Hannah was your best pick. She had heart, guts, drive, and a willingness to give it her all!! Too bad you did not see that in her!. Good luck with the show!

    Best wishes,

  14. Alyssa says:


  15. Mehek says:

    Lindsay FTW!!!

  16. Lassie says:

    Wow, some of these comments are really quite illiterate. I’m kind of glad it’s Ryan Murphy’s choice, and not the public’s vote…we all know how terribly those can go.

    That being said, I’m hoping for Damian. He would be an interesting character to bring to the show, not really fitting into the role of a previous character. There’s more potential for originality there.

  17. janbear says:

    i really want lindsey to win!

  18. EK says:

    GO DAMIEN! He performes with a celtic group and is already a professional. Maybe he can Irish dance (like me.) Go irish dancer people!!!!!

  19. GOD says:


  20. LeRoy says:

    I think Damian should win all the way! Even if he doesn’t….put him on cast anyways. The show will be soooo much better. Also I LOVE GLEE i wish i could be on cast!!!

  21. Yay damian and Samuel says:

    Yes! Damien and samuel won! Lindsay was just a total fake throughout the entire show and liked to think she knew it all. Alex I loved him even though he was cocky, but with a voice and a story like he gas who wouldn’t be?! And Damien everyone has fallen in love with he’s sexy and just himself. Samuel I dont get but I still like him he’s better than Lindsay! So yay to the both of them!

  22. Reggie says:

    I have thoroughly been enjoying the original Glee. The stories, the music and the dancing are fabulous. Then along came the Glee Project and I got hooked on that. I am not your usual fan, as I am a Senior Citizen. There have been many good contestants on Glee Project, but I can see certain contestants (if winners) as being redundant for Glee. I am probably prejudiced toward Damian, as I followed him as a young boy on Celtic Thunder. He got cuter and cuter as he was growing up, and I think he’s wonderfully talented.
    The idea of an exchange student is fantastic, and he would be unlike anyone else on the show. I won’t put down any of the other contenders, as they are really all very talented. God Bless them all for being so lucky as to have been graced with these gifts. In the end though my vote is for Damian, with his accent and wiggly eyebrows he will not be a clone to anyone else on the show.
    Female Senior Citizen Fan

  23. Tracy says:

    Thank you Ryan Murphy for giving us a “reality” show that gave us a program that treated these young performers with kindness, humor and dignity. It was sooo refreshing to watch how this played out. Glee has become one of our “must-sees” on tv and I have to say that The Glee Project has been outstanding as well. Can’t wait for the start of the new season.

  24. Samantha Mcginty says:

    Lindsay sucks. She’s fake and has no talent. Shes just another copy of Lea Michelle but she isn’t humble.
    Samuel is unprofessional and too unoriginal. He has no personality.
    Damien is NOT bland. He’s reserved, loyal, friendly, funny, talented, and genuine. He’s professional and has been singing since he was 14. He’s also very humble and he has learned and grower the most throughout the season. HE SHOULD WIN!

  25. rhianna says:

    Well I think it will be samuel. He is amazingly talented and you could write a great character for him in glee. I HATE alex. I think he or she whatever it is should go home. If it wins im gonna be pissed off. I also like hannah she is really trying and deserves it :-) also damien and lindsey doing teenage dream…..they did so well!!!! Good luck to the last 4 :-D EXEPT ALEX!!!! >:[

  26. gay lover X3 says:

    Damian i knew you would win haha. i hear that in glee there going to have kurt have a crush on damian thats going to be very cute :3 go damian XD

  27. ryo says:

    alex&lindsay sucks the winner should actually be damian,samuel,marissa and matheus i hate you lindsay&alex.

  28. ryo says:

    i think alex should be changed with matheus because alex is so show off
    and lindsay should be changed with marissa

  29. laney says:

    ahh! i am so sad that camron did not win!

  30. jada says:

    can you help me sang a song to the wrold my name is im not alowd to say

  31. Erin says:

    hopefully Will we see Finn and Puck in season 4 at William McKinley High School
    Please keep The Orginal Glee cast on for a longer time