A previously announced event at the Gallo Center for the Arts has taken on added star power with the news that performers from the Fox Television hit “Glee” will be appearing. The television show’s casting director Robert Ulrich of Modesto, and his wife, actress Kim Johnston-Ulrich of Ripon, are to be honored in April at a “Hometown Heroes” event, a continuing series at the Gallo Center that salutes area residents who have achieved national success in their fields.
Today the Gallo Center announced that three actor-singers from “Glee,” Damian McGinty, Samuel Larsen and Lindsay Pearce, will be performing at the tribute. Pearce, of Modesto, was originally discovered by Ulrich when he and his wife served as judges for the performing arts center’s “Valley’s Got Talent” contest in August 2010. Pearce won the grand prize at that event.
“Hometown Heroes: Robert Ulrich and Kim Johnston-Ulrich” will be presented at 8 pm on Saturday, April 28. Tickets start at $15, and may be purchase by calling (209) 338-2100; online at GalloArts.org; or at the Center’s ticket office, 1000 I Street in downtown Modesto.
McGinty and Larsen were co-winners and Pearce was a runner-up of “The Glee Project,” an Oxygen Network talent competition show to pick guest performers for “Glee.” McGinty and Larsen won seven-episode roles on “Glee,” while Pearce, who Ulrich had urged to audition, won a two-episode arc.
Also appearing at the tribute will be Francesca Bavaro, who was the 2011 Valley’s Got Talent grand prize winner. The Ulrichs will be interviewed on stage, in a format similar to “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” by the Gallo Center’s arts education coordinator, Dr. Jim Johnson, who will ask about the couple’s local roots and experiences, how they met, their formative years in New York, and life and work in Hollywood.
Robert Ulrich is the Emmy Award-winning casting director whose company, Ulrich/Dawson/Kritzer, works with such hit TV shows as “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Mentalist,” “Drop Dead Diva” and the multiple Emmy-nominated series, “Dexter” and “Glee.” Kim Johnston-Ulrich’s first major role was on the soap opera “As the World Turns.” She would go on to appear in such shows as “Passions,” “Cheers,” “Wings,” “St. Elsewhere,” “Murder She Wrote,” “NCIS” and “The Mentalist.”
Lea Michele‘s character is graduating this season on Glee, so it’s not the craziest idea that she re-audition on The Glee Project to return to the show.
Ah, we kid. Of course Rachel Berry will be back in season four, without competing on The Glee Project. But Michele is still going to pop up on the Oxygen reality series this summer…
Lea will appear in the premiere episode of The Glee Project‘s just-announced second season as a guest mentor. The series just began filming earlier this week, and Michele is the first of what will surely be many Glee castmember cameos to come.
She tweeted this weekend to her followers: “So excited to announce that I’ll be guest mentoring on the season 2 premiere of ‘The Glee Project!'”
The Glee spinoff searches for the next multi-episode guest star on the Fox hit, with 14 contenders vying for the final prize. Glee creator Ryan Murphy will return as a judge, along with producer Dante Di Loreto, choreographer Zach Woodlee and vocal coach Nikki Anders.
The Glee Project‘s second season premieres this summer on Oxygen.
Oxygen has renewed The Glee Project, its reality competition series that rewards its winner with a seven-episode arc on the Glee mothership, for a second season, to air this summer.
Season 2 will feature 14 contestants — two more than last year — singing, dancing, and acting for a judges’ panel of behind-the-scenes players from Glee: executive producer Ryan Murphy, casting director Robert Ulrich, choreographer and co-producer Zach Woodlee, and vocal coach Nikki Anders.
According to an Oxygen release, “second season casting recently wrapped up, with thousands of hopefuls auditioning online and in a multi-city casting tour.”
Season 1 of The Glee Project ended with Murphy naming two winners: Damian McGinty, who has already begun his stint as exchange student Rory Flanagan, and Samuel Larsen, whose arc is expected to air in the second half of Glee‘s third season. A pair of runners-up, Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell, also scored roles on the show.
Oxygen breathed new life into Fox’s hit television show, Glee, bringing four new cast members onto the scene with the first season of The Glee Project. Contestants competed by singing, dancing and making music videos. Two winners tied for a seven-episode arc with characters tailor-made for them on Glee. Two runners-up each won a two-episode stint as well.
Robert J. Ulrich is a big part of the show as casting director for The Project. He has been the mastermind behind such television hits as Drop Dead Diva and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Windy City Times sat down to have breakfast with Robert right after a huge two-day open call in Chicago for season two of The Glee Project.
Windy City Times: Hi, Robert. I heard after Chicago you are heading to do more open calls for the show in my hometown, Nashville.
Robert Ulrich: I am and very excited.
WCT: You get to hang with Alex Newell, the winner from last season at the casting call.
Robert Ulrich: Yes, Samuel Larsen was here in Chicago, Alex is in Nashville, Damian McGinty is in New York and Lindsay Pearce and Cameron Mitchell will be at the final callbacks.
WCT: I got to talk to them all before and after the finale. Alex was my favorite.
Robert Ulrich: He’s wonderful.
WCT: I can’t believe how well-adjusted he is, performing in drag at 18 years old.
Robert Ulrich: Especially since he hadn’t theoretically come out until the show!
WCT: I was on the edge of my seat watching the finals.
Robert Ulrich: Me, too. I was there and until Ryan Murphy said the names I didn’t know. He didn’t tell anyone. Isn’t that crazy?
WCT: He’s a good secret-keeper.
Robert Ulrich: He is. Cameron quitting was dramatic and a lot of people didn’t want that to happen. What is nice about the show is everybody had favorites. You loved Alex. It wasn’t a show where there was one favorite.
WCT: You have done so many shows, such as Nip/Tuck.
Robert Ulrich: My company does Dexter, The Mentalist, CSI, In Plain Sight, Supernatural, and American Horror Story. I did Battle Star Galactica.
WCT: Your hands are in everything.
Robert Ulrich: We do a lot. We are very lucky. I have been doing this a long time.
WCT: What is your background?
Robert Ulrich: I am from northern California—Modesto. It is famous for murder and mayhem but also Gallo wine. I was an actor in New York but not successful. I moved to Los Angeles when my wife into a contract with NBC many years ago. I have been there ever since. I have had my company for 22 years.
As far as my background to being able to cast Glee, I did musicals, I was a singer, I performed at Disneyland and I had a club act in New York. I was a music major for a year so I do love music.
WCT: You have been with Glee from the beginning?
Robert Ulrich: Yes, I cast the pilot.
WCT: Are there any divas on the show?
Robert Ulrich: No, everyone is pretty nice. They are very much a family because I think with Glee what happened was most of them had done nothing. For Chris Colfer the role didn’t even exist. I brought him in to Ryan and there wasn’t even a role.
WCT: Where did you find him?
Robert Ulrich: He just auditioned in my office. He literally opened his mouth and sang “Mr. Cellophane” which they put in the show. There was originally another character in the first episode so I had him read for that and Artie. I took him to Ryan and told him there is no part for him but he is so special. Ryan thought he looked like a Von Trapp so created a character on the spot.
WCT: And then he wins a Golden Globe. Go figure…
Robert Ulrich: I think so many of them were new and even the ones with success like Lea Michele weren’t known in the television world. It became such a phenomenon and they all just bonded. They are all really nice kids.
WCT: Now with the Glee Project, did you come up with the concept?
Robert Ulrich: No; it was going to be a pilot but due to an acquisitions deal in getting syndication rights to Oxygen for Glee in 2013, the idea was born. But I think Ryan just wanted to expand the casting process and give people the opportunity to audition that would normally not have a chance. So it was not my idea and I didn’t even know I would be on the show until I showed up and they shot it. I am not kidding. I thought I was just casting the show.
WCT: Suddenly you are on camera!
Robert Ulrich: It was wonderful. I am really proud of it. It was so good, wasn’t it?
WCT: I was attached to the cast from the pre-show!
Robert Ulrich: That was the casting special. I agree. They did that so beautifully. I will have to say it was completely real. They never made me say something I didn’t want to say. I never had to pick someone I didn’t want to pick. They obviously didn’t make Ryan. As a result it was really real. That was why some people won multiple times on the homework or why Samuel was never in the bottom. Normally that wouldn’t be the way a reality show would go.
WCT: Now with the second season of The Glee Project you are casting for Glee when [The Project] has not been renewed.
Robert Ulrich: It just hasn’t been officially renewed. They usually don’t get picked up until January. It was a unique thing when Glee was picked up two seasons in advance. That never happens.
WCT: How did the casting go in Chicago?
Robert Ulrich: Chicago was great last year and this year. Several people came out of it last year. I have to go back online and take those people—all the people that send in tapes—like Emily from New York last year. Then I combine them with the open calls. I pick 80 people and they go to the callbacks in L.A. It is just crazy; 80 out of thousands!
WCT: That is insane.
Robert Ulrich: I am sure there will be people from Chicago because there were some amazing people.
WCT: That’s good to hear. They screen the people auditioning before they get to you, right?
Robert Ulrich: The way the open call works is I pick screeners and give them a whole tutorial in what they should look for. I tell them to err on the side of letting somebody through and then they send me people very night. I already have picked from the screening 300 definites so far. The screeners send the hopefuls they like onto me so yesterday I saw a couple of hundred people out of the people that they saw.
WCT: It is casting on talent, personality and so many different things…
Robert Ulrich: Yes, it is different than a lot of shows I think because it is not just about being a good singer. It is also about being able to fit into that world of Glee. That is so much of it. It is being accessible and open. It is not just about the singing at all.
WCT: Dancing, too…
Robert Ulrich: Dancing comes into it at the callbacks. Zach Woodlee puts together choreography for them. Obviously Damian wasn’t a dancer. Many of the Glee kids are not dancers. Like everything else is important but it is more important to be right for Glee and to have that appeal. I think there will be more dance auditions this season actually.
WCT: Any advice for people auditioning?
Robert Ulrich: The thing I always tell them is be yourself. We say that over and over on the show but it really is true. The second you try to be something else then you are not as interesting. On the Glee Project we are really looking for someone who can be comfortable enough with themselves that Ryan can see them and write for them. Some people at 18 know themselves and some don’t. It is harder for others.
WCT: When does this season come out?
Robert Ulrich: I guess next summer again. We shoot in January. It might be a little earlier but I don’t know.
WCT: You are still working with Glee right now as well?
Robert Ulrich: Oh, yes. I am so busy. There is so much going on in Glee. There is a new character played by Grant Gustin. I saw a tape of his and remembered him [because of] a role that he wasn’t as right for. He was on tour for West Side Story so I came in on a Saturday and auditioned him. He starts tonight and is great. We are still auditioning people all the time.
WCT: Glee has changed television in some ways.
Robert Ulrich: I am so proud of it. I have been mainly casting dramas for 28 years. The opportunity to do Glee and get to work with singing has really been a blessing.
Click HERE for all the details
Oxygen this morning officially announced that it is proceeding with casting for a second season of reality series The Glee Project. Because Glee itself has not been renewed for a fourth season, Oxygen stopped short of announcing an official second season renewal of the reality series but that is considered a formality. Beginning in November, Oxygen will hold a multiple-city open casting call tour including New York, Chicago and Nashville. After a shaky ratings start, The Glee Project grew into a critical and commercial hit for Oxygen by the end of its freshman run. The series, executive produced by Glee‘s Ryan Murphy, was conceived to complement Oxygen’s 2010 deal for the off-network right to Glee.
Lindsay Pearce says she’s not about to pretend she doesn’t have a God-given talent for acting and singing, but The Glee Project finalist also understands she has a lot of room for growth — both personally and professionally. Lindsay, whose Top 4 finish on Oxygen’s recently concluded reality competition earned her a consolation prize of a two-episode arc on Season 3 of Glee, chatted with TVLine about how she coped with the not-always-flattering way she was portrayed on the show, why she was happy to have to have her emotional walls broken down by Gleecreator Ryan Murphy, and what really happened during that “spontaneous” kissing incident with fellow contestant Cameron Mitchell.
TVLINE | You head an interesting run from the beginning of Glee Project all the way to the end…
[Laughs] Yeah, right?
TVLINE | How did you feel watching the season unfold and realizing there were instances where you were getting the classic, reality TV “villain edit”?
I had no idea what the show was gonna look like, or what my or anybody’s edit was going to portray. But I remember I called my mom after episode 3 [in which contestants had to reveal their biggest vulnerabilities], when they didn’t really give the full [story] for a lot of people. On my end and with a few others, it wasn’t actually what we had shared, and I called my mom and was like “Why are they doing this? I don’t understand!” [Laughs] I was just so upset. And she was like, “It’s gonna be okay. There’s a reason. You’re gonna get redeemed.” The people that know me and love me know that’s not who I am or what I’m like. It was a rough go at the beginning. And I had no idea it was going to be that way, but it all turned out okay in the end.
TVLINE | What was the vulnerability you actually revealed that we didn’t get to see?
I had shared — and it’s on the Oxygen blog and on my fan page — that I was abused by a boyfriend in the past. So it kind of gave me a fear of men, and that kind of fear caused me to put on that mask of “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay,” when I’d never really addressed the issue. And I wasn’t okay, I just pretended like I was, ’cause that’s how I am. You be tough, you be strong, and you get through things when sometimes it’s not the best way to handle any kind of trauma. You have to get the skeleton out of the closet, and then keep it out.
TVLINE | It’s a strange show because so much of the judging seemed to be about whether Ryan and his team could see who you were as a person, and whether you inspired them to write, as opposed to a normal casting process of whether you could be convincing in a particular role.
It was definitely interesting to find that we would have to bare so much of ourselves, when it wasn’t exactly what we wanted to do. On Glee, they do portray characters, but a lot of the characters are written around the actors themselves. Like, for example, Rachel Berry having a big nose and that being an insecurity, that actually happened to Lea [Michele]. She was one of the only girls in her area growing up that didn’t get a nose job. She could have, but she didn’t. And liking boys, I’m sure Chris Colfer went through that. So I understood it was a personal thing to have to do, but at the same time I’m sure Ryan Murphy knows a lot of intimate details about his actors. And so he chooses to pull from that actual life experience for the roles, and that’s why Glee is so relatable. The characters are in part factual, not fictional.
TVLINE | You got a lot of feedback from the judges and coaches that you were the strongest actor among the finalists, and there wasn’t really much questioning of your singing skills, either, so that had to feel good, at least.
You know, honestly, they could tell me that I was a great singer or the best actor of the group, blah blah blah blah blah. But in the end, all I needed to hear from Ryan was that he saw me and I was a light. That made me win. The minute he said that, I was like, “I’m good.” Because I’ve gone through that in my life where I meet people and they don’t understand me at first, just because they don’t take the time to look. They take the time to judge, but not to look, to really look. And every single person who’s forced to take the time, or takes the time themselves, ends up as a dear friend. It’s not hard to be my friend. It’s not. I’m open and extremely friendly. So Ryan saying to me, “Lindsay, I feel like I finally saw you tonight, and out of all of them you have grown the most. I’ve given you the hardest road and you succeeded.” That’s all I needed. He saw me for more than my talent. ‘Cause I was told the entire competition and for a lot of my life that my talent is the best thing about me, when it’s really not.
TVLINE | I suppose as a person, you don’t want to be completely defined by your career skills.
I would never dispute that I’ve been given a gift by God. That’s something I’ve been raised to believe. I’m not an idiot: I know that I can sing and I know that I can act. Am I the best? No. Do I have a lot to learn? Absolutely. Is there a lot of room for growth? You betcha. But it is nice to break out of that old skin of mine. It came to the point where I was evaluating myself just as a talent and not as a person, when I am a human being. And it’s okay to be human. And I had to remember that. For a little while, I became a machine. “Yeah, talent! Watch my high kick! Hear me belt!” Ryan doesn’t care about that. It’s impressive, yeah, but he wants to know about you. He’s like, “I don’t give a care about what note you can sing, or whether you have a split or not, or if you can make me cry with your acting. I want to know who you are, what makes you tick.” That made the experience special to me.
TVLINE | Talk to me about the experience of a “sing for your life” performance.
I remember Samuel and I talking and saying, “God I wish I was in the Bottom 3 more often, because it would’ve given us some sort of insight on what the heck to do.” We had similar journeys in the sense that we had to be tough, and were always trying to please depending on the role. We’ve been auditioning for a long time and that’s what you do: You go into an audition saying “I’m this character! This is me, and I’m the best at this character.” But while I wish I’d been in the Bottom 3 a lot more, I can’t say I look back and say I regret any of the Bottom 3 performances, because they helped me grow. In the moment, “Maybe This Time,” I remember walking off that stage and I bawled my eyes out. I was like, “That’s it for me.” They didn’t show half the stuff Ryan said to us, but I was like, “And I’m defeated. And that’s it for me. This has been great. I love you guys and I’ll miss you.” But looking back on it, I’m glad it went the way it did, because they brought me to where I was and helped me personally grow.
TVLINE | Ryan actually talked at one point about how he never found himself rooting for you.
The sweet thing is that everyone who’s watched the show says to me, “But I do root for you. And I do strive for perfection. And I do understand.” And that almost completely paints over the observation Ryan made that he can’t root for me because I strive for perfection, because that’s not what people root for, that people don’t want to be perfect. Because actually, some people do. And I personally have been getting over that need to be perfect, but the hard work will never cease with me. What I’ve learned is you don’t have to strive for perfection, but you do have to strive to be a very hard worker. There’s a big difference. Hearing it from Ryan, if you watch the episode, my face looks like I got kicked in the stomach. It wasn’t even about the competition. He said that not to push me down — that’s never Ryan’s intention — but he said it in a way to completely shatter all those walls in my brain that keep me strong and tough. That’s something I needed, but it wasn’t exactly easy. But that’s what makes him so good at what he does. He’s able to look at me and say, “You know it’s really great that you’re a great singer. But I don’t give a care! Who are you? Stop being who you think I want you to be, and be you. That should be enough.” To hear that from him, it makes me think completely differently as a performer, and as a person, too, I suppose. It made me take a step back, and go, “Wait. Time out. How can you want to know who I am when I don’t even know who I am? I’m not even 20 yet.” I was 19 during the competition. I was like, “I’m just a kid. I have no idea who I am: I can tell you my favorite color is green, and I love musical theater and the Beatles, and I like ice cream.” But it helped me grow, and will continue to make me grow. It was so monumental for me.
TVLINE | I wanted to ask you about the video shoot for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” where you spontaneously decided to kiss Cameron at the end, and he went into something of an existential and moral tailspin.
It’s so funny the amount of near death threats and negative feedback I got, when that moment was directed. They didn’t show it, but you can read our blogs or talk to both of us: [Director Erik White asked] for it. I didn’t want to kiss him. It was one of those things where we didn’t discuss it [beforehand] because we didn’t know it was going to be asked of us. And had I known he would be even a little uncomfortable… Erik was like “I just need you to kiss him, but don’t tell him.” I was so nervous, and I remember pulling away and seeing his face and being like, “Oh, God! Oh, God! This sucks.” He had my red lipstick all over his mouth, and then the poor kid gets told by Erik in the next take, it’s his turn to kiss me, and he was just shaking. I had a boyfriend, too. It wasn’t one of those “Marissa did it so I have to do it!” moments. I don’t enjoy kissing boys I’m not dating. We walked off the set and were like “That sucked!”
TVLINE | So you’re not a kissing bandit?
I’m not a kissing fiend. I’m not the quote-unquote slut of the show.
TVLINE | Tell me about the season finale, where you found out you weren’t the winner, but almost just as quickly discovered both you and Alex were getting two-episode arcs, in addition to Damian and Samuel getting seven-episode arcs as the co-winners.
I wasn’t expecting anything. I thought it would be “Sorry, but at least you got your foot in the door.” Ryan didn’t have to give us two episodes. We already had this incredible audition. There’s so much footage of Alex and I at our best and at our worst, and that is priceless for the two of us. But then to be told we’re going to have an opportunity at something we worked so hard for: Whether it’s two episodes or I’m just that awkward kick-dancer in the background, I wouldn’t care at all. It’s just something we wanted to experience. I still look back on the finale and say “Oh God, that was so cool!” [Laughs] Seven episodes or two, we all won.
TVLINE | That’s not what you expect in a reality TV scenario. You expect one person to win, and everyone else to endure a tearful defeat.
Well, it was a very Glee ending. Finally the underdogs get a freaking chance. [Laughs]
TVLINE | So, any intel on the character you’ll be playing?
I don’t know anything. It’s one of those things where you desperately want to know, but it’s all about “Let his people contact you.” I can say that I’m extremely excited, and I’ve been calling the boys and asking “Have you heard anything?” [Laughs]
TVLINE | So you have not seen a script or been told who or what you’ll be playing?
I can neither confirm nor deny, unfortunately. It’s one of those situations. I can say when the season starts, you will be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully pleasantly!
TVLINE | I understand. You’ve got a two-episode arc, and I’m sure you’d like it to go longer. You don’t want to be the one dropping spoilers.
[Laughs] I can’t shoot myself in the foot before I get in the chorus line.
Sunday’s finale of the winning Glee Project crowned two winners, two sorta winners, and a whole nation of devotees to choreographer and judge Zach Woodlee. (Call us, Zach! Call us.) But over the last nine weeks, while wannabe cast members sang and danced their hearts out, The Glee Project wound up being an inadvertent how-to guide for its parent series and not just a reality contest show. The casting process on TGP illuminated what makes Glee work, and what makes it falter. Here are three important lessons the mothership should take from its reality spawn.
Think “outsider” not “underdog.”
Each week on TGP, Ryan Murphy, who served as the reality show’s main judge and arbiter of Glee-fulness, would talk about how Glee is about underdogs, how it’s a show for and about underdogs, how he needs to see everyone as an underdog. Underdogs! But the winners of the show were Damian and Sam, both of whom are good-looking, well-liked, talented sweethearts. Damian was the show’s most conventional contestant, and Sam was the show’s front-runner from pretty early on. What TGP stumbled into, though, was each contestant’s intense — overwhelming, even — desire not just to win the competition because it would be cool, but to win because they wanted to be part of something. Glee could stand to get back to that aspect of its roots, too, and focus more on the various characters’ need to be part of a team and less on that team’s seeming inability to win contests.
Bare-bones performances are ten times as powerful as big production numbers.
Each episode of TGP centered on the kids making a Glee-style music video, and then the worst performers had to do a last-chance audition for Murphy, Woodlee, and Glee casting director Robert Ulrich. Those auditions — on a bare stage, with the performers wearing their own clothes and not dancing — were invariably more gripping than the videos. Lindsay took heat the whole season of TGP for being a phony, but how “real” can you be while recording “Ice Ice Baby” mash-ups? Instead, her desperate “Maybe This Time” audition and defiant “Gimme Gimme” in the finale felt real and raw and gorgeous and way better than the music-video segments that were strange at best, pornographic at worst. Alex’s “And I Am Telling You” brought the house down, but his “And I Will Always I Love You” was even more bare and impressive. Damian’s sweetness and Sam’s softer side came through so clearly onstage; there was none of the glitz of American Idol or effusiveness of The Voice or the faux aw-shucks of America’s Got Talent. The giant numbers, Auto-Tuned and choreographed within an inch of their lives, are part of Glee‘s DNA. But the scripted show’s moments of glory tend to be its purest, simplest musical numbers — think “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “For Good” — and TGP just reinforced how emotional and special those scenes can be.
Teenagers are their own drama.
Glee is a campy soap, and it should never morph into anything truly earnest or even totally lifelike. (God forbid.) But it can invest a little more in the day-to-day dramas — the unrequited crushes, the girl who’s mean because she’s insecure, the guy who’s way deeper than he seems. Even without the usual reality-editing high jinks, TGP got plenty of dramatic mileage from its contestants’ natural interactions. They ripped off bits from one another, kissed each other’s crushes, and accused one other of being fake, all with palpable human emotions underneath. There’s enough inherent tension without layering in, say, double-agent ops for Sue Sylvester to create more ostensible drama.
TGP betrayed its roots on some levels — how can a show about inclusion eliminate people every week? — but the little reality show that could managed to out-Glee Glee by patiently letting its talent win people over and ending its season as one of summer’s most darling, surprising shows. Hopefully the fictionalized singers will learn something from their real counterparts this season.
Anyone else feeling all giddy after last night’s Glee Project ending, in which [Spoiler alert if you haven’t yet seen it!] all four of the finalists secured a part on the upcoming season of Glee? I just met up with Damian, Samuel, Alex and Lindsay, and found out what they know about their characters, how Samuel’s morals are decidedly different than Cameron (the Christian who left the show), and how a love triangle is already brewing…
And on that note, Ryan Murphy, you are welcome for unearthing what is clearly your next great love triangle: Quinn, Samuel and Damian. Turns out, in real life, Samuel and Damian have been fighting over who gets to hook up with Quinn/Dianna and are ready to take that to the show!
“It just makes sense that I would end up with Quinn,” Sam tells me. “She’s the church girl, she is portrayed like that a lot and she’s into the rough kind of dudes. And being that I’d be both, it just makes sense to me.”
“But I want her too!” Damian interrupts with a laugh, while pretending to punch Samuel and then showing me a photo he snapped (like a fan!) with Dianna at the Glee 3D movie premiere. “I love her. I mean look at her. She’s gorgeous!”
“I guess we are ready to fight,” Samuel quips. And Damian admits there is a problem regarding “Quinnian”: “If they bring me in as a freshman, then her character is three years older. So it would look kind of weird if Quinn took a thing for the baby of the show, which just occurred to me literally 10 seconds ago. It’s very upsetting! Maybe my character is somebody that thinks he can shoot above his weight. I could come in thinking I’m Brad Pitt?”
People in his hometown of Derry City, Northern Ireland, would certainly buy it. Damian tells me the media have been camped outside his home today. “My parents and my brother cannot believe it! It’s crazy!” And he’s also popular among the Project cast. “I kept telling Damian it would be him all along,” Lindsay insists. “I knew he was perfect and kept saying, it has to be you.” “At the very end,” Samuel recalls, before we sang for everyone, I went into [Damian’s] dressing room and was like, ‘Bro, if I don’t get this, you need to get this.’ He’s such a humble dude.”
Despite all the talent among the final four, no one saw the multiple winners coming. “I think we all kind of assumed that there would be a winner,” Samuel explained, “and if there needed to be more roles filled in the future we might have first dibs or something, but no, we never expected that at all.”
Samuel says he’s guessing his character will be an “Christian indie rocker type,” and he has no problems dealing with the love scenes that might come his way, unlike Cameron, who quit The Glee Project. “You definitely have to prep yourself to deal with doing things that you might not thought that you would do,” he explains. I personally know I’m willing to do anything on camera basically. Aside from porn. [Laughs.] Playing a character, that’s not me. Of course there are certain times where you have to put your morals in but I’m just very—I understand the difference between acting and real life.”
Alex has an idea for his character: Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) brother. “Amber and I, we are so much alike,” Alex says. “I took a picture with her and we are so similar. I showed my mom the picture and she’s like, ‘You look like you are brother and sister.’ I don’t see it but everybody says, ‘you look like you are brother and sister.’ So maybe.”
And Lindsay says of her character: “I keep getting told, ‘You are in the Lea Michele mode. You could be a foil for Rachel.’ But at the same time I don’t want my character to be that one that comes in and hurts somebody else’s feelings. I feel like it would almost be like another Sunshine. Some fans were like, “Send her to a meth house instead of a crack house.” So maybe I’ll be going to a meth house. Which is hilarious because I’m from Modesto which is the capital of meth and car theft. It totally makes sense as to why I’m insane, right?”
For the record, all off-screen or on-screen love triangle aside, Damian and Samuel seem thrilled to have scored the seven episode arcs on Glee together. “I’m just stoked to share it with him,” says Samuel. “It’s like the first day of school but you’ve got a friend to go with you.”
Before I post the article, can I just say that I have fallen in love with this show? I was SO skeptical at the beginning, didn’t watch it, didn’t blog about it, and just kind of ignored its existence until a few days ago when I sat down and watched the entire season in 1 day. I love it. And I have to say, I’m not unhappy about the outcome. Read the article then let me know what you think!
SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT!
After a 10-episode competition that saw contestants quit and a finale with four finalists competing instead of three, Oxygen’s The Glee Project crowned its first winner.All four finalists won – in some fashion: Damian McGinty and Samuel Larson each won seven-episode arcs, while fellow finalists Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell will appear in a pair of episodes of Glee.
In the penultimate episode, Murphy and Brennan opted not to send one of the four final contestants home, and with all four contestants going head-to-head in the finale, the Glee duo wanted a little bit of everyone for the Fox hit.
While there’s no word yet on what role each of the four will be playing, Murphy in recent episodes has taken a liking to Larsen’s Catholic background — his tattoos include a few Bible verses.
Murphy also dubbed Newell “the best singer” among the four finalists, and called him the “lovechild of Kurt [Chris Colfer] and Mercedes [Amber Riley].”
For McGinty, Brennan said he’d likely come in to the show as a freshman. How Pearce will come in, however, is more unclear.
Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter in July that the writing staff was in the midst of scripting the part for the winner and that he was open to having more than just one contestant from the series appear on the Fox hit.
“Some of [the contestants] are so talented,” he told THR. “We’re in the middle of writing Glee Season 3 and I don’t want to have a lot of guest stars this year, but we’re writing a lot of kids’ stories and I’m thinking, ‘You know who would be good for those two lines is [eliminated contestant] McKynleigh, who got kicked off might be good for something like that.’ It’s definitely being discussed but we haven’t done anything yet. We’re also writing the part for the winner and it’s quite a great role. They’re all talented and I think they all fit. They’re all part of the Glee family.”
Glee casting director Robert Ulrich — one of the three mentors on Glee Project — told The Hollywood Reporter in May that all 12 of the contestants could likely appear on the Fox series.
“I do think that all 12 of these kids could not only be on Glee but they will go on to do other things,” Ulrich told THR. “We will see them all around whether it be in music or in acting, stage or film and theater. I’m hoping that we see more than just the winner on Glee.”
Oxygen has not yet renewed the reality competition series for a second season, but executive producer Michael Davies told reporters at this month’s Television Critics Association’s press tour that talks were under way for a new season. The series has continued to gain ratings in key demographics, further building its case for a renewal.