The Glee Project Recap: The Only Thing They Had to Fear Was Fearlessness Itself

glee project fearlessnessSmiling after getting slushied. Being sexy and not knowing it. Making up words to well-known songs right after Ryan Murphy tells you to stop heeding only the sound of your internal drummer. Pushing your body to such extremes that you momentarily lose the ability to breathe.

Three of these four behaviors resulted in a brush with elimination for this week’s contestants on The Glee Project, while the fourth scored herself an enthusiastic round of kudos. And given that the week’s theme was “fearlessness,” you can probably guess who’s who in this equation.

Things kicked off with what I’d argue was the least successful homework assignment of the season to date — a cover of Heavy D & The Boyz’s “Now That We Found Love” that found the contenders “comically” presenting their backsides to judge Robert Ulrich and guest mentor Jane Lynch, and generally proving none of them are adept rappers. Nellie’s lyric flubs, Charlie’s hamminess, and Shanna’s s too-short romper get my gold, silver, and bronze in failure, but nobody really stood out for me in a positive way. The woman who plays Sue Sylvester, however, declared her love for the whole sack of potatoes, and named Lily the challenge winner.

Because the video shoot was set in a pool — and had the contestants taking slushies to their faces — there was no choreography class, but Michael and Charlie struggled in the recording booth, so you knew it was likely they’d be low on the callback list at best. Personally, I thought Abraham sounded pretty awful behind the mic, too, but vocal coach Nikki Anders dubbed him one of the week’s best, so he’ll live to bleat another day.

At the shoot, Nellie got skittish about having to wear a bathing suit, so naturally she ended up having to perform a “slo-mo sexy” exit from the pool — and for the third week running, showed off palpable sexual tension with Blake. Aylin became the first person in Ryan Murphy’s recollection to laugh after taking a slushie to the face. And despite the fact that her body “doesn’t handle extreme temperatures well” and her paralysis prevented her from dodging cups of sugary, ice water, Ali submitted to a slushie facial and wound up in a frightening situation where she had trouble breathing. She later got praised by the mentors for her bravery, but on set, their facial expressions reflected exactly what I was feeling: A combination of dread, discomfort and distress. I appreciate Ali doesn’t want anything to stand in her way from landing a role on Glee, but maybe the production could’ve been a little better prepared for her physical response to this particular set of stressors?

Oh, we also got intermittent Charlie-Aylin showmance stuff, but it felt so contrived — so, “let’s smooch because there’s a camera in the room!” — that I don’t want to dignify it with more than a single sentence.

Shanna, as usual, stood out in the finished product — a mashup of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”/”One Way or Another” that was far from musically seamless — and I also thought Blake and Aylin “popped” on camera, too. The judges, though, decided that Lily was the week’s MVP, and put Charlie, Aylin, and Nellie in the Bottom 3 (with Michael narrowly escaping the last-chance performance round).

* Nellie’s almost-tears on “If I Were a Boy” felt very genuine, and her tone and pitch continued to be beyond gorgeous. Still, the whole “little mouse who couldn’t” act is growing a little tiresome. As Ryan asked during her on-stage back-and-forth, “Does she not know she’s a star?”

* Aylin’s “Take a Bow” was the best in show, at least from a perspective of combining vocals with actual acting. She’s definitely one of the strongest contestants this season in terms of telling a story with her facial expressions, which makes me optimistic she might be able to navigate a role on the Glee mothership better than The Glee Project‘s Season 1 co-champs.

* Charlie made up his own second verse on “It’s Not Unusual” — sample line: “It’s not unusual for me to be on Glee/ Although it’s been four weeks in the Bottom 3″ — but his full-throttle ham-and-cheese menu, which involved standing on the piano bench, dipping the mic stand, and wading into the audience to flirt with Ryan left him stranded at the intersection of contrived and desperate. I couldn’t argue with the judges’ decision to send him packing, and felt even better about it after his overbaked, tearful final exchange with Aylin. Dude wasn’t diagnosed with a terminal illness, he just got eliminated from a basic-cable reality competition. Perspective, people!

What did you think of this week’s Glee Project? Did the right person go home? 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. djm says:

    I wish Nellie would get out of her head – despite what the judges are saying she is the one that stands out to me most in the videos each week.

    • Ann says:

      Agreed. I think she can win it if she can get over her shyness and lack of confidence. She has the best voice out of the group and we know she can act as she showed us a couple of weeks ago when she had to play sexy. She just needs to bring that every week and have confidence and not be scared that people are judging her. But you know what? Why can’t her Glee character be the shy girl with a great voice? It’s a great character and a very real person.

    • John says:


    • Mary says:

      Nellie’s been my favorite since vulnerbility week. I think she does sexy well especially when paired with Blake, but she still pops when she’s not playing sexy. I have no problem with her playing a shy character who doesn’t know she’s sexy. Her and Blake can be co-winners and Blake is the jock who helps Nelli’s character see how awesome she is.

      • KenBud says:

        Nellie! …. That duet with her and Blake a couple of weeks ago totally made the season for me.. They would play a fantastic couple on Glee.

        Also I think the remaining contestants (minus Michael … boring!) are better than the Final 4 from Season One! Blake, Shanna, Lily, Aylin, Nellie and Abraham …. that an amazing cast right there.

  2. Scott says:

    Not sad that Charlie went home. He, Abraham, and Ali — is she the one in the wheelchair? — and Lily are not going to win. Doesn’t really matter which order they leave.

    • But I would have rather had Ali and then Abraham go before Charlie. For me, he’s more entertaining and more talented than the other three. Actually, I’d also liked Lily to go before Charlie. Again, just personal tastes.

      • EmJ says:

        I’d love to see the boot order go Abraham (blends in the background), Ali (too broadway), Lily Mae (not likable), Shanna (I tend to forget about her) Aylin (If she puts her arms up and barks out “YES!” on more time…), Michael (I’m from Chicago but his voice/accent is really grating) and have Blake and Nellie win the whole thing and be cast as a couple (ever since that duet)

        • Mary says:

          I agree with you except I would swap Aylin with Shanna. Shanna’s more of a standout for me plus she doesn’t have that mean face. Michael’s cute but I just don’t get his appeal. Blake and Nellie have such great chemistry that from now on I want the videos to be just about them.

        • Will says:

          Ali is not “too broadway” and I hate when people try to claim someone deserves to go on broadway just because they don’t deliver good performances. Her voice is absolutely annoying and grating and if she weren’t in a wheelchair she never would have gotten picked for the show. Broadway is the most demanding platform for actors and vocalists, and it takes so much talent to be “broadway” and I resent when it is used as a way to excuse less-capable talent.

      • Tee says:

        I agree, Jessica. Can’t wait to see what Charlie does next! He cracks me up.

  3. EmJ says:

    I think Nellie is probably the most likable and talented person on this show (vocally at least), this includes last season. I’d love to hear her cover the cranberries, she’s got a very Dolores O’Riordan tone to her voice. It’s too bad Ryan seems to prefer divas to introverts.

    • Danny says:

      This! I honestly think they need someone like Nellie on the show. Everyone on “Glee” has been outgoing and fighting for the spotlight. Why not have a character who loves to sing but struggles to overcome shyness/confidence issues? That would be someone that a lot of people would connect with!

  4. dakine96815 says:

    At this point in Season 2, I feel like I’ve won first place in a hot-dog eating contest, and never want to see another hot-dog – ever! Perhaps the producers at Oxygen feel the same, and look forward, as do I, to the end of Season 2 and NO Season 3.

  5. kateshomesick says:

    Dear Michael, I feel you’re a little unfair about things with Charlie and Aylin. First off Charlie still has a condition (he’s obviously been handling fairly well) and they are very young. I actually believe that they’re really in love- in a “big first love” kind of way. The circumstances those young kids are under in these audition formats are extraordinary and everything is heightened. One of my best friends got into one of the Popstars bands here in Germany. She’s a really intelligent, talented young lady and mostly on the silent/shy side of character traits…but on the show she cried, fought with some of the girls …”dramatic things” happened ^^…they are basically driven to the edge by purpose. The interviewers were constantly asking them questions that were supposed to make them emotional (and that pretty much 24-7)- and everybody always reminded them on how important the process for them was and how their entire future career and life depended on this casting process. She was only 16 by that time…
    So for them everything that happened might have just felt as dramatic for them as it seemed to be fake and cringeworthy for us.

    • Katie says:

      Whatever there “showmance” made me cringe. And what also made me cringe was the amount of tongue nellie was using in the music video while singing

      • kateshomesick says:

        It seems like they’ve been a couple for quite some time now…so it doesn’t seem to only be a “showmance”

  6. M80 says:

    I think Nellie is really likable and SO SO talented. I’m just not sure she’s really right for Glee. But if she gets eliminated I really hope some music exec out there has been watching and signs her immediately. She has a fantastic voice and really deserves to be a star.

    • I agree about how likable Nellie is. I think it was Ryan who said that perhaps Nellie, and Charlie, were great singers/entertainers, but not great actors, and I can totally see that as well. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

      • E says:

        It’s an interesting comment, especially when the ‘acting’ thus far has been in a music video setting as opposed to dialog. I hope Nellie can surprise them with that up her sleeve.

    • Sookie says:

      I thought Zach was totally right about Nellie when he said it feels like they are trying to convince her to be on Glee and not the other way around. As awesome as her voice is she does not seem to want to act just sing. Not going to work on Glee.

  7. dilia says:

    Blake, Nellie, Shanna, and Aylin FTW
    michael can go. i dont see his appeal

  8. Shawn says:

    if nellie actually wins she could play a shy quiet character who slowly opens up with the help of glee club but I’m not sure if she can ever actually play the later part of the role. I would also love to see Ali win a small part as a crazed girl going after Artie.

  9. Ruby says:

    Is it weird that I’m totally shipping Nellie/Blake? But I can’t really tell if they like each other because they’re both so professional. All I know is their on-screen chemistry is HOT and that girl is sexy as hell. I wish she knew it and had more confidence.

    • E says:

      Love Nellie as well. I realize that whomever gets picked has to be able to act and pull off whatever is thrown at them, but her vulnerability and/or lack of confidence (despite her beauty and talent), is a compelling story. It might not be a physical or medical limitation (Ali,Tyler,Mario, perhaps Charlie…) , but it’s a real human condition.

      I loved Damien (as a kid on TGP, not necessarily on Glee), but Nellie, despite her confidence issue, is SO much more compelling than he or the other kid that one (name escaping me).

      I can’t recall, do they ever have a week where acting in the spoken word is more prominent?

  10. karenb says:

    So agree with everything you said about Charlie, Slezak. Surely you heard my eyes roll all the way from Florida!

  11. JR says:

    I will miss Charlie…I found him very charismatic and entertaining. He brought a lot of energy to the show.

  12. rachel says:

    there was a spoiler listed that nellie (or possibly ali) will be going home next. i think the final four will be shanna, aylin, blake and michael but either blake or aylin will end up winning. blake has been on another tv show before so the glee producers know that he can act. aylin is also really talented and she has confidence as well.

  13. Cate53 says:

    Funny that most of the commenters here love Nellie – and me too! However, she was very quiet and lacked confidence big time this week. Charlie is just unbearable and HAD to go! Imagine having to work with they guy!
    Michael, Abraham, Lily – not tht talented to me. I fine Aylin talented – great performance this week – but not likeable. That doesn’t matter on Glee itself. Damien from last year might have been super likeable but he’s anonymous on the show, whereas Alex came across as unlikable but his talent meant he worked the best on Glee of the glee project gang.
    Hopefully Nellie can show more confidence next week, but will Theatricality be her strong suit??

    • Susan says:

      I saw the music video for next week and Nellie is the weekest but I blame it on Eric. While everyone gets to dance around poor Nellie has to stand in front of fruit and do the same moves over and over again. Michael really stands out and that surprised me because typically he fades into the background. Shanna got lucky and had a really good scene/solo. Ali who I find to be so annoying is actually pretty good. Blake and Abraham were good, Abraham really benefited from the costumes. Lily was ok and only ranks higher than Nellie because the director apparently likes her more than Nellie.

    • golfgal says:

      Cate, I have to agree with most of what you said. I find Aylin very annoying. Just can’t warm up to her. And Damien from last year was by far my favorite and I’m still sad that he won’t be on again next year. I don’t think they really gave him a chance, unlike Sam and Alex (who I really disliked). I’m rooting for Nellie and for Blake this year. Wouldn’t mind Shanna either. I would love to see Glee feature some “normal” kids next season. Am getting kind of sick of too much focus on outcasts and odd balls.

  14. Molly says:

    I loved Charlie and am really sad he left. I knew he wouldn’t win though, because the editing on these kinds of shows always makes it clear who will win. I think Aylin and/or Blake will win.

  15. JUSTICE! says:

    Everyone loves Nellie. So do I. And I also love Aylin since day 1, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one hahahahaha

  16. Sookie says:

    I am very sad to see Charlie go because he is probably one of the only people in the group that can act. Last week Charlie showed how he can get into a character and was called out for it. I don’t know how they are expected to show they can act when all they do is lip synche while jumping around. Please give them some acting scenes to do!!!! You’d think they would have learned their lessons with the horrid actors they picked last year.

  17. Samantha says:

    Gonna miss Charlie, but Glee wasn’t the right show for him (it’s a group show, he’s not a group actor) hopefully someone else picks him up and he still ends up on our TVs. Lily has come a LONG way from her trip to the bottom 3. She’s turned her attitude around. I’ve gone from disliking her to rooting for her. I’m worried to find out who the prima donna (or drama queen or whatever term Ryan used) is going to be next week. I’m surprised how much I like this show.

  18. JoMarch says:

    I don’t get the Nellie love. For heaven’s sake, she’s a performer who’s too self-conscious to be in a bathing suit, too self-conscious to stand out in a group, too self-conscious to act… I’m tired of her whining about how everything is out of her comfort zone. It must be the size of a marble. What is she doing in show business? Go home and raise dogs or something, Nellie.

    • E says:

      You raise good and valid points. I think in the final products (videos) she’s not suffered from being unable to perform, it’s apparently the process. But I suppose it doesn’t matter if it’s Charlie being distracting and doing his own thing, or Nellie taking too long to pull it off, it’s disrupting the production timeline.

      I thought Zach made really great points with her. They are done telling her how great she is. The timing of this week’s video was probably poor for her specific hang ups, because she did seem to know that she had to do better at standing out. I was probably a bit younger than her, but there was certainly a time where that would have petrified me (bathing suits, etc) to be in that situation. But that doesn’t mean she should get a free pass from the judges.

  19. Sookie says:

    I think I would like Nikki “squinty eyes” Anders to be sent home. She couldn’t get Charlie, WHO HAS ADHD, to focus in the recording studio? How about taping over the window? Does she do any mentoring or does she just make faces and critisize?

    • Colton is overrated says:

      NIkki does seem a bit grumpier and less patient this season. I chalk that up to her being uncomfortable due to being very pregnant as well as hormonal.

    • JoMarch says:

      We only see part of the show; maybe she has mentored him and told him to focus. Taping over the window? Come on, he’s autistic, not 5 years old. Maybe that behavior would be worked around for a star; he’s a newbie who’s a contestant on a show. He has to adapt; the show doesn’t.

  20. Heather says:

    Nellie, Charlie, and Aylin are three of my favs (add Shana to that). I love Charlie as a performer but I would rather have him go home rather than Aylin and Nellie. I watched the video for next week and I am scared that Nellie will be going home which sucks because I LOVE LOVE LOVE her voice. I could actually see her being on Glee. I def don’t think that Nellie (sadly), Ali, or Lilly, or Michael will make it to the end. My money is on Aylin or Blake for the win. I still have my fingers crossed for Nellie thought!

  21. dilia says:

    I would also put my money on aylin.
    everyone seems to think that its between blake or aylin but i dont think blake has a shot. he doesnt have a built in backstory or character to inspire ryan

  22. Tylorz1 says:

    Ryan Murphy knows he needs talented, unique singers back on the show with all the senior girls peacing, right? Can’t have another season like last. No hate to Damien, but was he really ready for this just because he’s nice? Not imho. Need Nellie, Shannah, Ali, or Aylin to win for this “reality show” to have any credibility. The show is about a glee (singing) club…yea?

  23. Kobe Busia says:

    I just re-watched this episode on Hulu and honestly, now that I really think about it, I don’t think it was Charlie’s time to go because he truly gave the best last chance performance of the night and I hate to say this but nothing could’ve been further from the truth, Nellie should’ve gone home that week, not Charlie. I get that Charlie’s attitude has shown to be rather unprofessional at times, but just think, if they gave him another week, I’m sure he might’ve improved, and what people have said is true that they always try to give Nellie a sex symbol-like role for the video shoots, even though they’re very well aware of her lack of confidence and insecurity. That’s all I wanted to say about that, and I know that Charlie never could’ve won, but they could’ve kept him on for another week or so because despite his lack of professionalism, he’s 1 of the best male contenders there and 1 of the best overall contenders from season 2.