I think I might actually like the Oxygen Network's awesome new show "The Glee Project," a search for an unknown singer/actor to take on a seven-episode recurring role on "Glee," more than I like "Glee" itself.
"Glee" started off as a humble but awesome concept--just a cute little show about regular kids from all walks of life, joined together by their love of music, their great undiscovered talent, and their shared overall social awkwardness. But by Season 2 it had become a bloated TV behemoth, all about big production numbers that could never realistically take place on a public high school campus, A-list guest stars, increasingly over-the-top theme episodes, preachy messaging, and soap-opera-style love triangles. Now, "The Glee Project" is taking "Glee" back to what the show was all about in the first place: great songs and the unknown underdogs who love to sing them.
Thank you, Oxygen Network. I officially forgive you for "Love Games" now.
Anyway, the diverse dozen semifinalists on "The Glee Project" are all insanely talented--it's amazing to me that we never saw any of these kids go far on "American Idol," really. But since this is basically a televised audition for the "Glee" cast, when it comes to predicting or picking who should win this show we must keep in mind who'd complement Rachel, Finn, Quinn, et al--and as "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy points out, who'd inspire the show's writers to create a unique new "Glee" character.
That, sadly, means the plus-sized funnygirl (Hannah), sassy 'n' stylin' pretty boy (Alex), Cheerios-worthy hot chicks (Marissa, Lindsay), and heartthrob jock (Bryce, who in fact was the show's first castoff) don't stand that much of a chance, talented as they may be. But here are the contestants that I think have the best shot:
THE INDIE BOYS
Cameron is the approachable, high school version of a Brooklyn hipster, and Samuel is a gorgeously feral street-musician creature, a sort of sexed-up Jason Castro. If "The Glee Project" was open to public voting, tween girls would text-block for these guys in droves. Ryan Murphy must be aware that Cam & Sam are total ratings gold:
THE SASSY LATINA
A self-described "John Leguizamo in drag-slash-Rosie Perez," Emily could be the new campus flirt/bad girl. Can you just imagine how jealous and threatened Santana and Brittany would be if Emily sashayed onto the set? The claws would come out!
THE IRISH IMPORT
With his top-'o-the-morning accent and obsession with classic crooner music of the past, Damian is the Irish exchange student of Fox's dreams. He's cute, too, which doesn't hurt. Girls would be after his lucky charms!
THE SHORT GUY
Mattheus is small in stature but big in heart AND voice. A show like "Glee," which has so openly embraced and celebrated disenfranchised characters like Artie and Kurt, could surely find room in its cast for this guy. Mattheus is the type of contestant everyone will be rooting for, because he's the type who'd never get a shot at the big-time without this show.
Check out the bios of all 12 contestants HERE, and watch the first full "Glee Project" episode below. Yay "Glee"!