Here’s a new feature we’re trying out at pchron, ‘watch this’ throws a light on some shows that may be under your radar and are worth checking out. This first feature is a little nugget on Oxygen, The Glee Project. I caught this show last summer and was sucked in. But this year with deciding that singing competitions and Glee just sort of sucked, I wasn’t sure I’d be as enamored.
What keeps this engaging is its unique slant, this isn’t a competition for the best singer, it is casting for a specific show, Glee. And with the actual casting agent, vocal coach, choreographer, and creator of Glee making the call we get insight into the reality of the process. I don’t think watching Glee is a prerequisite, but having seen it might enhance your enjoyment.
The format is jam packed, the gang starts with a ‘homework assignment’ which is basically them being given a song and doing a group number, each person has to try to shine. The special mentor (someone from the Glee cast) picks the winner who gets some one-on-one time and an extra feature in the video. Then there’s the video, first they learn choreography, then they get in the vocal booth, and then we watch the shoot. It’s always a bit of a mess but at the end of the day they piece together a pretty good video, though they are all aware of who flailed.
The mentors (casting, vocals, and dance) pick the bottom three who then get to do a ‘last chance’ performance in front of creator Ryan Murphy. The first part of the show is more about whether they can bring it while fitting into the group and keeping up with the multiple demands of the musical numbers that make up the show. This second part gives them opportunities to not only perform but share a bit of their personality for Ryan who needs to decide whether the person is someone they can create a unique misfit character for. And when I say unique, they pick people from your standard geeky musical theater backgrounds but also like to add in peeps with a good story like a blind kid and a transgendered kid.
The kids are of course a mix of sweet, and annoying, and driven and all that, and there’s just a touch of their off screen time to add to the mix. As with all reality competitions at the end of the day I don’t so much care who the winner of the next The Glee Project is, but I enjoy tagging along for the competition.
Details: The Glee Project, Oxygen, Tuesdays at 10pm.