If you want to score yourself a role on Glee, playing hard to get might not be the worst idea. Indeed, this week’s episode of The Glee Project found Ryan Murphy & Co. suddenly getting interested in a contestant at the exact moment he wanted to withdraw from the competition.
Ultimately, though, “no” really meant “no” for awkward-cute Cameron, a decision that caused more theatrical tears and hand-wringing than the final day of a middle-school drama camp. How did we get to a point where the early season front-runner turned The Glee Project into The Flee Project? Let’s review.
You knew Cameron was either going to experience a moment of triumphant redemption or head directly to the bottom three the moment it was revealed that the week’s theme would be “sexuality.” (Even the word made him uncomfortable, he admitted.) But the conservative Christian kid who’d previously freaked out about sharing an on-camera kiss with Lindsay dove right in to the week’s homework assignment, a performance of “Like a Virgin” in front of guest judges Mark Saling and Ashley Fink that played like a scene from a PG-13 stage production of Caligula. Lindsay leapt onto Cameron’s hips like a bachelorette-party reveler on a mechanical bull, but the challenge winner turned out to be Samuel, who delivered equal-opportunity hotness by playing off both the girls and the guys in the scene. (I had to laugh at Lindsay gasping “No!” when she yet again failed to claim top prize with the Glee cast members; she’s like that kid raising her hand and yelling “I know! I know!” that the teacher patently refuses to call on.)
The week’s video shoot focused on three separate romantic scenarios set to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Cameron immediately declared he didn’t want his scene with Hannah to be particularly sexual, which would be kind of like shooting a “winning touchdown” for a sports movie but not wanting it to be rousing, or enacting a horror-movie murder and railing against it being scary. Ultimately, though, Cameron got his way when he refused to kiss his costar, and their “flirty” food fight devolved into a grim mess that left both contestants coated in an unappealing gravy. Meanwhile, Lindsay and Damian turned up the heat in their bedroom scene — it’s hard not to focus on the former whenever she’s on screen and in character — but Alex got criticized for being too “flamboyant” opposite Samuel, even though last week the judges rescued him from elimination for donning a wig and a dress and channeling Effie White in Dreamgirls. Mixed signals much?
The bottom three came down to Damian (who offered a serviceable take on “Danny Boy”), Cameron (who offered a serviceable take on “Blackbird”), and Alex (who served drag drama — minus the drag — along with some undeniably big vocals on “I Will Survive”). But after Ryan said that Cameron’s strong convictions about religion and sex were inspiring him to write a faith-based character, he asked the crucial question that’s been percolating for weeks: What would Cameron do, for example, if his role required him to lock lips with Lea Michele, but the two of them weren’t dating? “Do you think you’re an actor or are you a singer?” Ryan asked.
Suddenly, Cameron was crying and saying he didn’t want to take away a spot in the competition from someone who wanted it more. “Maybe this isn’t for me,” he said. (Well, duh!) Ryan successfully lobbied for a brief reprieve — and for the judges to make that decision on Cameron’s behalf — but when the executive producer visited Cameron in the rehearsal space a little while later, the kid had firmed up his convictions: “I think I’m ready to go.” And so go he did, but not before telling Damian that he’d saved his dewy Irish hide. “He’s given me his shot,” Damian said. And now we’re down to five: (In my order of personal preference): Lindsay, Samuel, Hannah, Damian, and Alex.
What did you think of this week’s Glee Project? Were you relieved to see Cameron realize he’s not actually cut out to be an actor, at least not on Glee? And who are you hoping will win it all? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!