The Glee Project Recap: The Kids Stay in the Picture, But Who Deserves to Win It All?

A single, dramatic tear streaming down a contestant’s cheek may have altered the outcome of this week’s episode of The Glee Project.

Indeed, head judge and Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy seemed to be on the brink of booting dreadlocked Christian hottie Samuel from the competition, noting that he’d never seen the kid break down and then have to pick himself up by the bootstraps. “When was the last time you cried?” Ryan asked suspiciously. “You’re not the underdog.”

Samuel revealed that he’d actually shed some tears just a day prior when he wondered if it wasn’t God’s plan for him to win Season 1 of The Glee Project, and thereby score himself a seven-episode arc roaming the halls of William McKinley High. Ryan seemed underwhelmed by the admission, but then, as Samuel gathered to await the ultimate verdict with fellow finalists Alex, Lindsay, and Damian, it happened: The squish-squish kerplop of that tear, forming in the corner of Samuel’s eye, then journeying down his face in full view of the cameras. And despite the fact that he’d once again worn those wretched, hot pink workout shorts to dance rehearsal, Samuel was allowed to advance to the Final Three.

Wait, scratch that! Samuel was allowed to advance to the Final Four, because in this, the penultimate episode of The Glee Project season, there was no elimination whatsoever. Ryan’s “spare ’em all” decision — made with Glee co-creator Ian Brennan (stepping in for Robert Ulrich and Zach Woodlee) — wasn’t particularly dramatic, but given the somewhat arbitrary process of elimination exhibited on The Glee Project this season, I can’t pretend I’m surprised or upset. It’s all good, I suppose. Sing it for the boys! Sing it for the girls! Every time that you lose it sing it for the world!

The week opened with a homework assignment about “generosity” in which our remaining quartet had to perform “Lean on Me” in front of Kevin McHale. “Who am I?” asked Lindsay, submitting to the show’s core idea that participating in a reality television show should not only bring up a host of existential crises, but ultimately make you a better person. Lindsay was declared the winner, though, on the basis of a superior performance, as the astute Mr. McHale pointed out that Alex’s face often fails to convey the emotions of the songs he’s singing. (I wish he’d also pointed out Alex’s tendency to view songs as things that should be crushed like aluminum cans in a recycling bin, but not every dream can become reality.)

At the video shoot, when Zach told the Final Four they’d be “playing musical instruments,” my mind immediately envisioned Lindsay dressed as a violin, but that’s not what he meant at all. Instead, the contestants would form a faux rock band and perform “Sing” by My Chemical Romance while paired with children from Education Through Music Los Angeles.

“I have no idea what a bass guitar looks like,” declared Alex, further cementing my desire for him to not win this competition.

“They’re mini versions of us,” cried Lindsay of the two little boys and two little girls who were clearly not mini versions of herself and the three remaining male contestants. Then Lindsay showed her typical bone-deep bravado by noting that her pint-sized partner was just like her — “smart and really talented!” Oh gurl.

Everyone had at least one problem with the week’s workload. Damian made forced faces for the camera. (Have I mentioned that I just don’t see what’s so special, or even pleasant, about his voice?) Samuel struggled when Nikki tried to push his voice in a new direction. Alex failed to work out fun antics with his assigned child. And Lindsay messed up her lipsynching when she got too into her “guitar playing.” Oh, and there was also the problem of vocal coach Nikki Anders despising Lindsay. Anyone else notice the way her eyes go mean every time Lindsay enters the room? Someone needs a lesson with Tyra about the proper technique for smizing!

As a result of so many snafus, no one was exempt from giving a last-chance performance to Ryan and Ian. Alex was assigned “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” — a song that was played at his dad’s funeral — and had the judges imagining him playing “the love child of Kurt and Mercedes.” (Oh please, no.) Damian gave a middling take on “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” but Ryan and Ian liked the idea of his Irish accent causing all kinds of comic confusion for Brittany. (Note to Ryan: You could also hire a better actor and ask him to play a role with an Irish accent. Just a thought.) Lindsay absolutely killed it with “Defying Gravity,” and Ryan admitted he always wanted to cut her but never could. And then Samuel kind wobbled his way though “My Funny Valentine,” a song he claimed to never have heard despite it having been butchered by Tina in Season 2 of Glee.

Right down to the end, I thought it would be Samuel or Alex getting the boot, but I’ll say I didn’t see the non-elimination coming. Why go to the trouble of having Robert and Zach sit out the week, bring in Ian for a special judging session, and then keep everybody? Ah well, next week I expect no such indecision. It’s going to be the season finale, and somebody has to win! I’m rooting for Lindsay, but I would also accept Samuel. And under threat of Alex in drag, I would also be okay with Damian, I suppose.

What about you? What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you okay with the non-elimination? Who do you think should win The Glee Project? Is there anyone you’re actively rooting against? Hit the comments to share your thoughts! And for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!