The Glee Project aired its buzziest episode last Sunday — centered around early front-runner Cameron’s decision to exit the competition due to moral and religious discomfort during kissing scenes — but will an uptick in Gleekosphere chatter result in Oxygen’s latest reality entry scoring a second season? Executive producer Michael Davies addressed that question when Glee Project‘s producers, mentors and contestants gathered in Beverly Hills Tuesday for the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Although the show has not been “officially picked up” for a second season, Davies revealed that “talks have begun. A lot of the planning has begun. … I feel incredibly confident that we’re coming back.” Among other topics covered at the Glee Project TCA panel:
* Did Cameron really not think that maybe one day he’d have to lock lips on Glee? “I never acted before. Maybe I was a little naïve in that area,” he admitted. “I knew there was a possibility. When I got down into it, it was a very emotional time. Everything is magnified.” Despite torpedoing his own chances at a seven-episode guest stint on one of TV’s most popular shows, Cameron insisted he doesn’t regret his decision at all. “It was something I felt in my heart. It was something that really spoke to me. It’s only going to lead to [better] things.”
* Glee casting director and Glee Project judge Robert Ulrich admitted that it has not been determined how the latter show’s winner will be incorporated into the series. Nor does he know whether more than one contestant might appear on the mothership, a decision that’s left up to Glee creator Ryan Murphy. But one thing is certain: “Anything is possible in the world of Glee,” Ulrich said, and that includes the possibility of the winner’s arc being extended. “It can certainly be more [than seven episodes] if it takes off.”
* Thus far, dreadlocked contestant Samuel has yet to hit the bottom three, and as a result, he hasn’t been asked to do a last-chance performance in front of Murphy, making it a possibility that Glee‘s head honcho won’t “meet” the winner until the very end of the series. Ulrich described the process as “very truthful and realistic and authentic” to the way casting works in the industry. But he added that “there so much more that you didn’t see. Ryan spent so much time with [the contestants].” (Plus, Samuel actually met Mr. Murphy during an unsuccessful audition several years prior.)
* Are the Glee wannabes concerned about the scrutiny and occasional negative press that surrounds the show and its cast? “You’re going to get that anywhere in life,” replied Samuel. “You have to expect that with anything you would do. I personally would be totally OK with it.”
* Irish cutie Damian “harangued” casting director/mentor Robert Ulrich for a year because “Glee is one of the most amazing things ever created,” he said. But it’s not all amazing trying to cram in dancing, singing and acting under such a tight schedule. “I’ve aged quite a bit through this experience,” he said. “But it’s been phenomenal.”
* Ulrich described the elimination process as difficult. “We agonized every week,” he said. “Not only are [the contestants] extraordinary talented, they’re unique.” Ultimately, it’s about who’s made the most progress and who’s the most Season 3 ready, added choreographer/mentor Zach Woodlee.
* Not making it onto Glee might not be the end of the contestants’ superstar dreams. They all made such a positive impression that Ulrich “will keep them in mind for everything else I do,” he noted.
* This fall, one of these kids will be a star on Glee, but for now, they’re still starstruck. “Cameron and I geeked out when we saw the cast of The Office [at the NBC Universal party],” said Hannah. Thankfully, the kids still have time to get that gushing in-check. “The person who won the competition has not started on Glee yet,” revealed Ulrich. “Many of [the Glee cast members] have not met them.”