‘Glee Project’: Adaptability Week All About the Element of Surprise

The Glee Project (Oxygen)

Maybe Adaptability week will teach those endlessly excited “Glee Project” contenders to refrain from squealing immediately upon the announcement of just any old theme. Somehow I doubt the shrieks this week translated to, “OMG they’re about to change everything we’re supposed to do at the last minute leaving us completely unprepared, we’re so excited!!!!”

Zach put it best when he said, “In this show we need someone that can actually learn it and perform it… within minutes.”

Guest mentor Kevin McHale reiterated the idea that the “Glee” cast members are hit with major changes on set or in the booth all the time. New lines, new songs, new steps—all to be shot or recorded right now!

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So this week’s homework performance, video shoot, and last chance round were designed to test the contenders’ abilities to quickly adjust to new directions (so that’s where that name came from!) without letting their performances suffer.

Before I break it down for you, here’s a quick status update for anyone invested in this year’s showmance: Aylin and Charlie have set new “just friends” ground rules that they sealed with a “friendship shove.” I believe Charlie’s earnest enthusiasm for transferring his energy from snuggling to kicking Aylin’s ass in the competition about as much as I believe Zach Woodlee does not like baby animals.

Catch Up on Last Week’s Episode of “The Glee Project”:

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Just to get everyone a little riled up, Robert announced that the lines each person would sing from Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” in the homework performance would be selected at random. So no more choosing the best ever string of eleven words to showcase your entire personality.

Devastating. Obviously.

But after the contenders had rehearsed the crap out of their one important line, Kevin McHale was all, “Errr, I think we should hear the whole song as a solo from each of you instead.”

My reaction to this announcement was, “Oh, piece of cake you guys, you got this.” Because how can you not know this song at least as well as you know “Happy Birthday to You”?

Turns out none of the contenders were angsty teenage girls in the mid-nineties, though, because no one appeared to know this rage anthem by heart. Most of them faked their way through it well enough, but it was awkward. I felt sorry for Robert and Kevin, who had to listen to witness it all ten full times, while we got a tightly edited montage.

Kevin thought Aylin “performed the hell out of it,” so she won the mentoring session with him. He encouraged her to remember what the songs she sings are about and what she wants people to feel. Keeping that in mind would give her confidence even when performing on the fly. It was maybe the most helpful and easily followed advice from a guest mentor so far.

The mental freakout continued as the contenders were told they wouldn’t know the song for the video until they went to record it with Nikki, and Captain Adorable would only teach the choreography on set. Lily needs to be in control, Blake needs to be well rehearsed, and Ex-Rufio gets all kinds of overwhelmed with so much new info at once.

The thing is, Nikki (whose poor eyes have become so globbed with makeup it looks like she has the black oil from The X-Files) seemed to think everyone sounded universally amazing when confronted with Jessie J’s “Price Tag” in the studio. Even though some were completely unfamiliar with the song (Shana and Blake), Abraham was the only one who struggled in the booth, specifically with pitch and breath control.

Sticking with the trend of on-the-nose videos, the concept here was carefree kids in plain white tees lure mean rich kids into being part of a bubbly dancing group free of materialism and judgment. Aylin, in her featured role, kept her stank face the longest but in the end her heart grew three sizes and she joined the others.

Blake and Nellie created minor blips on set by dancing far from effortlessly.

But the real hot messes were Charlie and Mario. Charlie created an insufferable persona for himself—Scott Campbell—and didn’t break character all day. His commitment to douchiness pulled focus. Mario was stunned that his acting was called into question by a clearly flustered Erik. He needed more physicality and just didn’t seem to get it.

When all was said and done, Aylin was first to get a gold star, followed by Shanna, Michael, and Lily.

The next curveball was that the remaining six would duet for Zeus in the last chance round, after which he would pick a Bottom Three and send one home. This wasn’t too shocking since they did this around the same time last year, resulting in the semi-traumatic performance of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” that Damian barely survived and Matheus did not.

Nellie and Blake threw together a performance of Foreigner’s “Waiting For a Girl Like You” that Murphy deemed operatic and saved them both instantly. He just reminded them to be a bit more aggressive in the competition. I’m pretty sure Zach and Nikki were both in tears over the whole thing, it was so good.

Ali (too big in the studio) and Abe (too pitchy) were up next with the sloppiest performance of “Last Friday Night” you could imagine. It looked like two people who had never met were forced to kind of sing and dance together to a song they sort of know on the spot.

But Ali saved herself by sticking out her boobs a lot so that she ended up reminding Ryan of a little funny Dolly Parton. But Abe was the worst of all six. Yet he made the callback list because….

Team Marlie performed a bizarrely weepy, depressed, and false rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” that in no way redeemed their tendencies of being difficult to work with. I seriously thought they could both be going, but in the end Mario was ousted despite being a “fabulous singer and inspirational.”

So basically Charlie is this year’s Cameron and will only lose favor in Murph’s eyes if he quits… and probably not even then.

Next week, Jane Lynch will pop in to teach the kids about fearlessness. The previews showed slushies and sobbing. This holds promise.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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