June 20, 2011

Episode Review: THE GLEE PROJECT, "Theatricality"

Week 2 of Oxygen's The Glee Project has come and gone, and I'm still waiting to be truly impressed by the show or by its contestants. There's still enough Gleeky goodness to keep me around for a few more episodes, but I need to start caring about some of these people and fast.

Homework Assignment
So, it looks like The Glee Project's formula will be fairly simplistic. Every week the contestants will be given a homework based on the week's theme, they'll perform for some obscure guest judge (this week was Idina Menzel) to figure out who will be showcased. Since this week's theme was theatricality, the wanna-Glees had to sing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" to the guest star with one of the most awkward musical performances in the show's short history (there was no excuse for "Poker Face"). Since the whole point of the assignment was to show ones theatrical side via song, of course Alex was the clear winner, so he got to be center-stage during the video and got some one-on-one time with Menzel. It's just too bad Elphaba didn't give him any substantial advice.

I get the idea behind the Homework Assignments, but they come and go so quickly that they just feel like a gimmick. It also doesn't help that so far the surprise mentors have been medium-profile guest stars who added something to the Glee-verse, but are not main fixtures of the show. Next thing you know Iqbal Theba will make an appearance during the "Responsibility" episode. Now, if Lea, Cory, or Chris show up, then I'd be genuinely intrigued. but that's doubtful. Heck, I'd even be happy with Jonathan Groff, Heather Morris, or Harry Shum, Jr. dropping by, but I don't see that happening either.

Video Shoot
Step 2 of the episode involves the group being berated by choreographer/producer Zach Woodlee before they film a music video. This week's song choice was Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It", which was brilliant because it fits in so well within the context of the parent show. I don't think Glee's ever performed the song before, but they definitely should now. Even the music video was fun to watch, and it was appropriate that Alex was featured so heavily. It all worked in the end.

So far Zach's been one of the main reasons to watch this show because he doesn't play around and doesn't mind being super honest with the performers. Watching him tear into these kids makes me wonder what he says to Cory day in and day out. The thing is, he's also one of the few judges who seems to be enjoying the performances, which is a nice change of pace.

The Last Chance Performance
Honestly, no one really stood out this week because of their abilities. Lindsay stood out because she has a bit of a mean streak and a huge ego, but she's the closest to being a frontrunner and Rachel Berry's heir apparent. I can just see the cat-fights between her and Lea if she wins it all. Emily also stood out because she's the most unlikable person on the entire show, and I can't wait for her to be gone. On the positive side, I'm still rooting for Cameron and Damian because they seem the most genuine, and I could actually see them being interesting characters on the show.

From a performance stand point, the judges felt that Ellis was being too negative, McKynleigh wasn't showing enough personality, and Matheus was an annoying gnat or something, so they were all in the bottom three and had to perform for Ryan Murphy. I was OK with all of the bottom three choices, but I did feel bad for Ellis because she was just getting smacked around from all sides this episode.

Ellis kicked things off with the jazzy "Mack the Knife". This girl may be annoying and a spoil sport, but boy can she sing, and jazz was in her comfort zone, so she did really well in my opinion. Matheus was given All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell", and it was a hot damn mess. Honestly, I don't know how he got on this show aside from being so damn short. McKynleigh dragged her way through a nice sounding, but boring version of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart".

Ryan felt that both Ellis and Matheus were putting on shows for him and weren't being genuine. On the other hand, he was so bored by McKynleigh that he told her that he could not write for her, which is not a good sign, but then again he can't write for women to begin with so it's an unfair criticism. When it was all said and done, Ellis was sent home because they felt she would be too hard to work with or for some other arbitrary reason (kind of like last week).

Final Thoughts
Aside from Cameron and Damian, I don't want any of these people to win this competition. Lindsay's way too cocky, Emily has a toxic personality, Sam's too cliche, Hannah and McKynleigh are too bland, we've seen Alex before, and Matheus is Matheus. Marissa is the only wildcard who I haven't formed any feelings about, and she could be the dark horse, but I'd much rather see one of the aforementioned boys win.

As for the elimination, I thought it was total crap because I felt Ellis sounded great, and she actually performed throughout the entire episode unlike McKynleigh. I really feel that the producers do not want anyone who will give them any problems, and Ellis and Bryce went home because they didn't automatically fall into line like they wanted them to. I understand that Glee is not the kind of show that has the luxury of time, so they cannot play around, but eliminating those who are not yes-men seems kind of contradictory for a show that preaches individuality.

Really, Matheus should have gone home because his performance bordered on unwatchable. He didn't sound very good, his performance was all over the place, and he ended up just screaming gibberish and tried to play it off like he was being inspired. Unfortunately, I think he got a pass because he's unique looking, and someone we haven't seen on TV outside of Game of Thrones, which has Ryan Murphy all hot and bothered. I guess I don't mind if he makes it past the next few rounds, but if he ends up winning this show it's because of his height and not because of his talent.

After two episodes, I don't love TGP or hate it...I'm just indifferent about it which could be worse than out right disliking the show. Again, there are not enough interesting contestants for me to get invested in besides my boys, and watching the rest of the group bicker and complain about one another has already gotten old. What I'm starting to realize is how outside of the core demographic I really am because I just do not have the patience to watch squabbling young people tear each other down...at least not in reality TV form.


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