The Glee Project Recap: Sexual Ceiling

The Glee Project Season 2 SexualityWhat this week’s episode of The Glee Project lacked in suspense, it made up for in peculiar delights. We got the Color Me Badd flashback we didn’t even know we wanted. We received a translation of Kelis’ “Milkshake” lyrics rooted entirely in economic theory. And we even got video director Erik White sending an unruly contestant to the naughty corner.

Things kicked off with our contenders squealing with delight after finding out the week’s theme would be sexuality. Then again, the contestants would probably squeal with delight if casting director Robert Ulrich was replaced by Jigsaw and he declared the week’s theme was “bludgeoning” or “lit matches under your fingernails during kerosene snorkeling.” Kids these days, they’re just a little too enthusiastic, you know? Michael, being an 18-year-old boy, declared himself “fairly experienced” on the subject matter, a remark that required Oxygen to label the episode Rated CP…for Child, Please.

Guest mentor Naya Rivera judged the homework assignment — a cover of “I Wanna Sex You Up” — that was remarkable for showing off Nellie’s amazing tone and the awkwardness that ensues from a large group of kids simultaneously trying to achieve sexyface. Mario, trying on a new humble attitude, decided the time had come to  let his “talent speak for itself.” (Ugh.) Thankfully, Naya didn’t single him out for feedback, instead giving the win to Charlie on the basis of his sexy beatboxing.

Then it was time to prepare for the video shoot — a mashup of “Moves Like Jagger” and “Milkshake” set in a high-school sex-ed class. I was a little irked that choreographer Zach Woodlee perpetuated the myth that smiling isn’t sexy, but Shanna’s response — that she would try to make “positive changes” while remaining true to herself pretty much missed the point of the exercise: Drop it like it’s hot, sister! Nellie, meanwhile, fretting about a “stop, drop, and thrust” dance move she’d been assigned, gave a hilarious explanation of why Kelis’ raunchy hit might literally be about ice-cream-based beverages: Our narrator has to charge for teaching her milkshake technique because the subsequent DIY shenanigans would cut into her future profits! Fair enough.

In the recording booth, Michael lost his lyrics, Charlie openly tried to flirt with Aylin, and Aylin was all “that’s flattering, but I’m trying to stay focused on winning.” (Smart girl.) The actual video shoot went even worse for Charlie, as he started directing the director and dropping ridiculous comments like “the way Zach and I choreographed it” — as if any of the pros on set would be interested in taking orders from a Glee Project contestant only four weeks into the competition. Erik White was having none of it. Speaking of ridiculous comments, Mr. Ulrich may have placed a little too much importance on the relationship between a dye job and emotional fulfillment. “Taking the red out of his hair opened him up as a person,” he declared about Abraham’s suddenly jet-black hair. Well, he did look better.

I agreed with the judges that Nellie stood out in the finished video shoot — and not just because she’d overcome her nervousness about getting in touch with her inner vixen — but I also thought Aylin and Blake were pretty compelling, too. Shanna, meanwhile, narrowly escaped the Bottom 3, and the way she sobbed at just the idea of possible elimination probably guarantees she’ll have to sing for her life in the next week or two. (Let’s be honest: The producers aren’t going to miss a chance at serving serious waterworks to the audience.)

With Charlie, Michael, and Tyler in the Bottom 3, it seemed like Tyler would be the obvious pick for elimination, but thankfully we got enough last-minute twists to cast just a little doubt over the proceedings. Charlie’s explanation for his behavior — “I tried to own roles that weren’t mine” and “I’m trying to learn where the boundaries are” — made me wonder if he’s capable of following orders and doing his job. I mean, let’s be honest: The boundaries are pretty clear. Learn your lines, pay attention on set, and don’t contradict the director. That said, his last-chance cover of “I Get a Kick Out of You” — a song he’d never heard! — was strongly sung and infused with cheeky wit. I loved how he emphasized the line “obviously don’t adore me,” and the way he worked the stage as though he was aware that, yes, ultimately this is an extended audition for Glee.

Tyler’s “Smile” — again, a song he’d never heard before! — was serviceable, albeit a little reminiscent of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

And finally, there was Michael, who missed about half the words to Jason Mraz’s “Lucky,” and despite a jauntily improvised “lucky my nerves didn’t kick in at all,” didn’t seem very engaging in his post-performance explanation to the judges. I mean, dude, you’re fighting for your very existence in the competition. Make ’em laugh, or burst into tears, or get flirtatious. Don’t just stand there all mealy-mouthed!

In the end, as Nikki offered, it came down to a “not-ready-yet problem” — or was it a “Michael would be a big draw for teenage female audiences” problem — and Tyler was cut from the competition. Yeah, he remembered all his words, but as Ryan Murphy noted, the kid’s biggest problem is that he was up against contestants who are ultimately more exuberant and comfortable at this point in their journeys. In other words, while it may take courage to expose yourself to the perils of reality TV only seven months in to one’s transition from female to male, it doesn’t mean you’re ready for a role on Glee.

What did you think of this week’s Glee Project? Did the right contestant go home? Or should Michael have paid the price for his flub? Sound off in the comments!

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. Meredith says:

    Tyler seems like the obvious choice. Because he’s at the beginning of his transition, and he’s said himself that he’s essentially going through puberty now, they have no idea whatsoever what his voice is going to sound like in a year. It could be lower, it could stay nasal, or it could be something awful and not useable. They should have sent him home weeks ago.

  2. Owen says:

    You know, Shanna’s tears to me were exactly the same as Lily and Mario’s bravado and braggadocio from the previous week. People who are so sure of their own talents that any mere criticism, constructive or not, messes with their view of themselves. I much prefer the actions of Mario and Lily. These two are fighting against odds for their place on this show. They aren’t pretty happy smiling blonde girls who got everything they ever wanted. And ugh on Mario, Slezak? Really? I’m sure you’re thinking you’re just ignoring this poor boy’s handicap and treating him just like any other kid–but you forget he’s acting this way BECAUSE HE HAS A HANDICAP, you awful excuse for a TV recapper.. You make me sick. You are just being unkind because in your world, anyone who is obnoxiously sure of themselves is ugh-worthy bad. Let alone you forget these are unformed kids. God, if I could just reach through this screen and shake you, you disgusting piece or work.

    • Yomomma says:

      ….let’s be honest, if you’re on this show being a “happy blonde smiley girl” is a disadvantage.

    • Alana says:

      I’m confused. He’s acting “this way” (arrogant) because he can’t see? I don’t see the connection there. Blind people are just as capable of humility as anybody else. Mario has aggravated a lot of people, obviously Mr. Slezak included, because he’s made obnoxious comments such as the “other people were flat too” one last week, and his comments this week don’t suggest that Mario really understands why that’s a problem. He seems like generally a nice kid aside from the arrogance problem, and I really admire him for learning all these dance routines and everything without having the benefit of vision, but you don’t get an automatic pass on obnoxious behavior for being blind. I don’t understand why you’re so angry with Slezak for being irritated by behavior that has very little to do with his inability to see.

      • Owen says:

        You honestly don’t think that a person who has a hardship during their teenage years ISN’T going to have a psychological makeup that is different than say, Blake, who things came, I’m sure, a lot easier to. These kids are processing in a different way, and the term “ugh” Slezak used toward Mario was unkind, unthinking and disgusting.

        • Alana says:

          First of all, the word “kids” isn’t really accurate, as they are all 18+ and are auditioning for a demanding job, so there’s no need to coddle them. And of course hardships affect your psychological makeup, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be held to certain behavioral standards. As someone else mentioned below, Ali has a serious handicap, and hasn’t demonstrated Mario’s arrogance so far. When you suggest that Mario’s difficulties would prevent him from behaving responsibly and maturely, it implies that people with disabilities are incapable of acting appropriately and should be held to a lower standard. I would consider this to be condescending and far more offensive than anything Michael has said. Mario may have genuine difficulty in ascertaining people’s reactions sometimes, since he can’t see visual cues, but in this case he has been verbally told, by several people, that his behavior is inappropriate and he has been unwilling to acknowledge that they might be right. He needs to learn to accept criticism more graciously, no matter how difficult it might be for him to “process” the experience.

        • Pop Vulture says:

          “Unkind, unthinking, and disgusting,” (not to mention indicating you’d like to throttle Slezak) are way more aggressive and inflammatory than “ugh.” Mario has earned his “ugh.” I’m sure he’d rather people react to him as a person rather than as a blind guy, and I doubt he’d want such a hothead as you as his advocate. Careful with all that righteous indignation – it curdles.

        • Meredith says:

          Please. A car accident left me a quadriplegic but that doesn’t give me carte blanch to be a duche. And if this experience has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me that you never know what’s going on in someone else’s world. Blake could be f*ed up fifty ways to Sunday, and to imply that someone with a disability is automatically going to be all dark and twisty to the point of duchebaggery is an insult to both the disabled and able-bodied duchebags everywhere.

          • Lauren says:

            Excuse me for my ignorance, but if you’re a quadriplegic how were you able to type out that response?

            Also if you’re going to insult someone, you should probably spell it right. It’s douche, not duche.

            But I think what Owen is trying to say is that probably as a result of his blindness, people have coddled him or given him exaggerated praise so now he’s unable to process criticism. It’s not necessarily giving him a free pass, but it is asking people to look at it from that perspective. If he hasn’t been dealt criticism before, or he was always told to do his own thing (which is a bit of what the show is all about, being able to show your “true” self to others) he might not realize the seriousness of the criticism.

          • Alex says:

            Since there is not a link to reply to your comment, Lauren, I will respond for Meredith here. First, you will probably be excused for your ignorance, but I find it interesting that anyone would be unaware of the existence of voice recognition software. It is also not beyond the realm of possibility that someone who is quadriplegic can type on a keyboard. It is not as though Meredith’s hands were surgically removed as a result of her injury. Second, she did not insult anyone. She said she had no right to behave like a douche (spelled correctly! We are all learning so very much today!) and she said there is no correlation between disability and permissible “duchbaggery (sic)” She never called anyone a douche. Not Owen, not Mario, and not herself. You need to simmer down. Finally, if Mario has never experienced constructive criticism before, this show will be very beneficial to him. It is a hard world out there, and nobody owes him anything, including patience with his rude behavior, disabled or not.

      • Anna says:

        If anyone here also watches Masterchef, you would know that there is a blind woman on there who is the complete opposite of Mario. She isn’t arrogant, nor does she expect things to come easily for her. She is thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to her and almost never complains about her handicap. So no, I don’t think Mario being blind should mean that he has the right to be an annoying brat.

        • Bryce says:

          I was just about to come here and say the exact same thing. Her name is Christine, and in my opinion, cooking is something much more difficult for blind people to grasp than singing. Mario isn’t the only blind singer/piano player in the world (Scott Macintyre, anyone?) and he needs to realize that an attitude isn’t going to get him anywhere. Christine is humble about potentially being the best cook on Master Chef, and that’s why everyone is falling in love with her. That could’ve been Mario. He had a lot of potential to be great.

    • Amy says:

      In shanna’s case, I don’t think being raised by your grandparents because your mother is a drug addict is “getting everything you ever wanted” by a long shot. And arrogance could be a direct result of Mario’s handicap. He comes across like he either has been overly praised his whole life or always gets his way so now he doesn’t know how to handle anyone questioning his voice or attitude. He is coming across as a jerk, blind or not.

      • lucy says:

        I love Shanna, she’s this year Lindsay in terms of talent! I try not to get wrapped up in all the backstories, and actually ff through all the emotional chit-chat. With that said Shanna on the surface doesn’t look like she’s suffering, but that doesn’t make her any less worthy than Mario. Mario to me is acting a lot like Alex from last year as if that’s his plan. Alex may not have won but being a diva did get him a couple episodes on Glee.

    • Nanners says:

      Hold on there Owen! Michael is the best tv recapper out there so back off! Mario has been acting cocky and needs to settle down. You don’t know that that’s because of his disability or because it’s just his personality. His statement was ugh worthy. You can’t blame that on Michael.

    • Rollin'Stoned says:

      I will assume that you are trolling because everyone knows that Slezak is the best.
      As for Mario, how do you KNOW that he’s behaving that way because he has a handicap? Are you his therapist? Maybe he’s just a self-centered jerk. Should people’s obnoxious behaviors be excused because they have a handicap? I don’t think so.

    • Emily says:

      I wanted to hit Mario last week, blind or not. I don’t see Ali brimming with arrogance, and she’s been in a wheelchair as long as Mario has been blind. He doesn’t get much criticism in terms of staging and dancing because he’s doing well considering, but if his voice and attitude isn’t up for evaluation, then I don’t know what this competition is about.

      • dan says:

        The mentors have indicated that this competition is also about what a person will be like to work with, so Mario’s attitude last week was a problem, no matter what the reason. I like that he at least tried to address their comments that week, which is a good thing, because he is extremely talented.

    • Vetle says:

      Shanna is a happy smiling blond girl who got everything she wanted? Did you watch last week, when she talked about her mother? Omg. This was not Shanna’s week, and I think she knew it. At least she wasn’t being argumentative like Mario and Lily, and all that.

  3. Sam says:

    Even though Michael flubbed his lyrics really bad he still sounded the best out of the three in my opinion and out of the three of them, he is the most appealing and has the most potential. Charlie seems arrogant to me. When he talked about himself in third person i was completely turned off. Shana’s tears were unnecessary. The criticism they gave her wasn’t even that harsh and she was bursting. She needs to learn how to control herself.

    • rachelleet says:

      Agreed…out of the bottom three Michael should go the furthest. Charlie is too arrogant. And obvi Tyler was already sent home. I really like Nellie, but I am afraid that she isn’t “different” enough to win, unfortunately. The only reason Tyler stayed on as long as he did is because of his “story” (Ryan stated that several times). I didn’t like the contestants from this season in the beginning, but now they are really growing on me. I am excited to see who takes it all!

      • lucy says:

        Charlie, Shanna, and Mario were the ones who stood out to me in the first couple episodes. Now Mario gets more arrogant each episode which makes me sad b/c I wanted him to win. Charlie looks like Spinelli from GH and I like his coreography but he just keeps taking it too far. I just want to shake him and say “honey, you are no Jonathon Groff”. Shanna’s amazing and possibly still a front-runner, she just had a bad week.

  4. Marisa says:

    I am incredibly frustrated that no one is considering that not knowing proper boundaries may be a direct result of Charlie’s Autism.

    • katie says:

      but at some point autism or not you want someone on the show that you can work with. Charlies has a mild case of autism. His flirting with Aylin was not due to autism. He was feeling cocky in the booth (because he thinks he is the greatest thing ever) and thought it would be ok to flirt. He admitted in the past people have told him he can’t take orders, so maybe he should work on it. It isn’t that hard to not argue with the director like he did. Just nod and do what he says, it is simple. everyone else seems to do it just fine.

      • schmed says:

        I will take Charlie’s inability to follow instructions over Lily’s inability to do so any day.

      • Well, he also has severe ADHD so combined with the autism, I can see why people think he’s a jerk. Especially when they mention his disability once throughout the last four episodes and nobody on the show (at least, according to the editing) seems to acknowledge that his behaviour is probably because of his own disability. Just because he doesn’t flaunt it like Tyler and just because it’s not a physical disability doesn’t mean that the mentors shouldn’t adjust to fit Charlie’s needs as well. I think there’s a lot that we’re missing and that’s because of the editing around Charlie. They say he’s unprofessional, but they don’t say that it could be because of his ADHD and autism and they might have to adjust to fit Charlie’s needs instead of telling him that he’s unprofessional.

        And at least Charlie takes every critisism and tries to adjust instead of complaining and bitching about it, like Mario’s done. And the reason why he can’t take cues or directions (or he takes it too far) is because of his disability. If Ryan can’t handle somebody like Charlie, then it’s his own damn fault for not doing the research beforehand.

    • Kelly says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Plus, having trouble sitting still in the recording booth, getting distracted by a girl he likes, and having trouble reigning in his enthusiasm could definitely be ADHD related. I’m not saying he should get a free pass, but it is weird that the mentors raked him over the coals last night for his behavior when they have made excuses for others based on their personal issues and situations. The mentors actually seemed confused and surprised by his behavior in the studio, but what do they think Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder means? :)

      • Haley says:

        Just to clarify: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)/ ASD (Austism spectrum disorder) – not the same thing.

        • Sookie says:

          Yes, but he said he has both. And why is there a window in the recording studio? Has it always been there? And what is up with the “mentor” Nikki? She is so passive aggressive. She practically encouraged Charlie to flirt with Aylin then blasts him for it later calling it unprofessional. She was also comletely rude to Michael telling him to leave the recording studio when he messed up the lyrics. “We’re done here” How is that “mentoring”?

    • Pnkl8y says:

      Thank you! I was starting to think I dreamed that he said he had autism. Surprised that the producers are not milking that more…

  5. rosie says:

    Shana had every right to cry. She obviously was under a lot of pressure and criticism that she was not used to. And being a “happy blonde smiley girl” is a great thing for Shana considering that she was raised by her grandparents because her mom was a drug addict and the fact that Shana was bullied lots when she was younger. She was called a crack baby almost everyday. For Mario, the producers of the show did say that every person on this show will be treated equaly, so shouldn’t Mario be treated like a normal person? (Besides the way he learns to dance and brail) Mario shouldn’t get any special treatment. If he is arrogant and annoying lots of other people on the show, then he should go. His attitude is a problem. And Charlie was only really arrogant in the last episode, and I think that’s because he won the homework assignment and he was happy about that. So, yeah.

    • Sam says:

      ok she hasn’t had the easiest life but that is not an excuse. It wasn’t that big a deal she was crying, but she started crying even before she was being criticized. She just needs to act a little more professional that is all.

    • dramaticimpulse says:

      I remember in college, I was told that I “would never be sexy” because I “smiled too much.” Just like Shanna. Boy did it hurt, and at a pretty deep level. I am sure that after trying for a week to find a way to be sexy and true to herself that she was pretty deeply hurt to be in the bottom three. One *can* be sexy and smile a lot, one just needs to find the right “audience.” Ryan and crew were not the right audience–obviously they hold the same belief as the woman who criticized *me* in college.
      Shanna had as much right to cry for being judged as “not sexy” as anyone else who has been in the bottom three or four. That’s a comment not only on her ability, but on her desirability, and thus acutely personal.

      • Veronica says:

        You are absolutely right! I never thought about it that way before. Shanna has always been my favorite. She never causes any problems on set, is always an A+ in the vocal booth, and commits to the challenge 100% while still keeping her sunny INDIVIDUALITY! I hope she doesn’t leave any time soon (haha until she wins!)

  6. Shaun says:

    This show is so kitchy… kinda puts me to sleep.Bring back Lindsay for next season instead.

  7. rosie says:

    So its not okay for Shana to cry, but its okay if Lily and Mario cry the episode before…?

  8. I really, really wish that the show would institue at LEAST one week (if not more) in which the contestants did acting scenes and challenges instead of just songs and music videos. There really needs to be an acting component to this competition, because (as we can see) the music videos can be cut and chopped to make performances look passable that were clearly wanting during the shoot.

    • Cara says:

      Oh, you’re so right! Watching last year’s winners on Glee this season, you could tell they weren’t the best actors. Yes, they both perform great, but Glee is primarily an acting job…and the “acting” one does in a music video is not the same thing as delivering lines over and over and making them seem natural.

      • rachelleet says:

        Ha THIS! I loved Damien throughout TGP season 1, but watching him on TV made me cringe with awkwardness. I know he still tries, but (arg…I hate to say this) Lindsey did a much better job acting than him. There needs to be more acting components.

        • lucy says:

          I was explaining to my nephew that in the end it doesn’t matter about your talent it’s about what Ryan Murphy wants. Damian didn’t have much singing range, couldn’t dance, and couldn’t act. But he wins so Ryan Murphy can have Brittney mistake Damian for a leprachaun. Samuel had one facial expression and a decent singing voice. Yet Ryan Murphy chooses him so the Christian void on the show can be filled. I would like to see an episode where the kids are given a script to memorize and see how they do then.

          • dramaticimpulse says:

            I will note that I liked both Damian and Samuel, and that Ryan didn’t give them much of a story to work with, or many scenes (especially Samuel). I’m not sure that enough to judge them on. On the other hand, they may have been limited in their scenes not because the Glee club had grown too big, but because their acting wasn’t up to the challenge.

  9. Ryan says:

    Tyler should have gone Week 1. He wasn’t particularly egregious this week, but he was never going to win. I find Charlie so unappealing. I thought he was awful in the homework and couldn’t believe he won.
    Why does “sexuality” on this show mean “hump and touch each other creepily” instead of “be yourself”? Not everyone is so overtly sexual, so why make everyone be that way?
    Loving Nellie, Michael, Aylin, and Blake.

    • kavyn says:

      Those are the four I like the most as well. Nellie is my favourite out of the group and she really stepped up with the sexuality challenge (in which she did amazingly at). Aylin second and Michael/Blake are tied for me (I honestly can see all four winning together to be honest). Shanna’s alright too, but I don’t see what the judges see.

  10. SpeckyGit says:

    Tyler’s goodbye was the strongest thing he has done on the show. I would enjoy watching him start to unfold as a performer but wonder if it could happen in a few weeks.

  11. karenb says:

    As usual, Slezak, you crack me up. “The Color Me Bad Flashback we didn’t know that we wanted!”–now that song is so stuck in my head.

    And Rated CP for “Child, Please.”

    Where do you get this stuff?! Love it!

  12. Gabi says:

    I do think Tyler should have gone sooner (like when Dany was eliminated), he probably got this far because of his story, Ryan loved it. But he would not get to far…
    I do love Nellie, since week 2. She has something that keeps my atention, I dont know. Hope she get far.
    This season is awesome, I cant wait for the next one!

  13. Samantha says:

    I’m happy for Tyler that he’s more comfortable with himself now and that he got to have this incredible experience, but I can’t say I was sad to see him go. I really like Charlie and Michael, but I really like about 7 or 8 of the top 10, so chances are I’m not gonna like who goes home from now on. Here’s hoping Mario continues to “let his talent speak for itself” so I can start liking him again and add him to the list of contenders I’d miss.

  14. Anna says:

    I always have a problem with “Sexuality Week” simply because while that is important on the show when you don’t give the contestants direction they turn it into something it’s not. My mom really wanted Charlie to go home due to unprofesionalism but I knew Tyler was going to go home due to the fact that Ryan is fascinated by Charlie. I think Charlie has a lot of potential but his ADHD was kicking this week. Also I think Michael could be a star. I’m just sick of him saying “I’m pretty young.” Before this week that’s all you ever heard from Michael so I’d be interested to hear him talk more.

  15. Breaches says:

    I think Michael has star potential, they are casting actors right??