The cast had a weepy week in “Make me cry. Make me feel it,” featuring guest mentor Dot-Marie Jones (aka “Glee’s” Coach Beiste), as the ten remaining contenders stepped up to perform their homework assignment on this week’s “The Glee Project.”
The theme of the week was “vulnerability,” and it quickly became apparent that Jones wasn’t the only one who equated the concept with tears. The video planning session with director Erik White turned into a sobfest in the rec room, and the crying continued on set and into the last chance round.
Watch Marissa Make an Emotional Confession:
“Project” casting director Robert Ulrich explained the theme as “using your own weaknesses to make your performance more real and relatable.” It makes sense that asking the contenders to unpack their weaknesses on national television would lead to some waterworks. But they didn’t just have to talk about their perceived flaws; they had to write them on sandwich boards and wear them in a public video shoot at Universal CityWalk.
The weighty words displayed included “small” (Matheus), “fake” (Lindsay), “rejected” (Samuel), and “fat” (Hannah). As the cast wandered the shopping center singing “Mad World,” some of the acting got dangerously close to emo and caricaturish, but there were also plenty of subtle moments that rang true.
Marissa was so moved watching a particularly raw performance by Alex, whose word was “gay,” that she was compelled to change her word from the vague “flawed” to a more specific and emotional confession: “anorexic.”
But being brave and opening themselves to the world wasn’t enough for three contenders who were forced to sing for Ryan Murphy in the last-chance round. Lindsay’s over-the-top turn in the homework assignment (as well as her argumentative reaction to Jones’s critique) nearly landed her in the bottom three, but she was saved by her ability to adjust her video performance according to the notes she received from Jones and Ulrich.
That left Damian, Emily, and Cameron to fight for a chance to stay in the competition. Damian struggled with convincingly projecting his concept of “numb” in the video (which is admittedly a difficult balance to find), but his emotional connection to his last chance number saved him in the eyes of Ryan Murphy.
Poor well-adjusted Cameron was criticized for basically not having any real problems, despite being claiming to be a “misunderstood” outcast for the video. Ryan Murphy was not impressed with his “cool cat” appearance and all-over-the-place movements during his last chance song. Robert Ulrich and choreographer Zach Woodlee, whose mannerisms seem to increasingly mimic Stefon for SNL’s Weekend Update, came to Cameron’s rescue and explained that he was probably trying to dress up in honor of Murphy’s presence. They had him put on his regular clothes, stand still, and sing again.
Meanwhile, The Legendary Emily Vasquez couldn’t let go of her saucy-minx act long enough to have a breakthrough moment with the judges. They appreciated her serious side while she was singing both in the video and in the last-chance round, but as soon as the music stopped, nothing but sass escaped her lips. Murphy claimed to understand her need to overcompensate to protect herself, but in the end her failure to sustain a real connection sent her home.