June 12, 2012

Episode Review: THE GLEE PROJECT, "Dance-ability"

Episode 2 of The Glee Project came and went, and while I'm still relatively entertained by the program, "Dance-ability" once again underlined the issues that I have with it and Glee in general. But more on that later.

Homework Assignment
The show tried to stir up more drama with this week's assignment ("We Got the Beat" by The Go-Go's) because the twist of having the contestants divvy up lines and come up with their own choreography was added just to get a lot of big personalities to bicker with one another and fight over the spotlight. Apparently, the move worked because Mario and Ali had a spat, and everyone wanted to stage the number so they all talked over one another. The tension was too much for the homesick Taryn to take, and she decided to withdraw from the competition and slink away in the middle of the night.

Let me be blunt, Taryn leaving the show's not a loss...at all. She didn't do anything earth shattering during the casting special, and I was a little surprised that she was picked at all. Plus, her "loner" attitude would not have worked on a show like Glee, and the fact that she was so worked up over being away from home made her annoying and unlikable. So, good riddance.

Back to those who actually are in it to win it. The wanna-Glees did a pretty decent job with The Go-Go's song, and I thought that it was a fun number, but I didn't understand why Samuel Larsen was the guest mentor when Heather Morris and Harry Shum, Jr. are a part of the cast. Sure, he won this challenge last year, but that's not enough to make him a dance expert. Regardless, he thought that Abraham stood out the most, which I kind of agree with but then no one really blew me away either.

Video Shoot
Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but you could tell that Zach Woodlee was nervous about dance-ability week since none of the contestants can move all that well, and his fears were justified because rehearsals were a mixed bag. The moments in the booth weren't stellar either, so things did not get off to a good start.

The set-up for the video was a house party where the hopefuls would be performing LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and it was pretty much a trainwreck. Most of them couldn't remember their dance steps or lip-sync while jumping around, and the most entertaining part of the whole thing was watching Zach and Nikki's heads explode while Robert tried to be the good cop. They were able to limp through the shoot, and the final product wasn't horrible but that's probably thanks to good editing.

Last Chance Performance
During the shoot, it was obvious that no one was ready to be called up to the big leagues, but some were weaker than others. Out of the remaining twelve, Dani, Tyler and Lily were put into the Bottom Three and would have to perform for Ryan Murphy.

Dani was at risk of going home because she was by far one of the weakest dancers and performers during "Party Rock Anthem," and she was assigned "Landslide" as her last chance song. While she was preparing, she talked about how it was an appropriate choice since she could relate to the lyrics, but her emotions kept getting in the way and her voice wasn't up to snuff. Her actual performance was OK, but her range was limited and it wasn't a memorable outing for her.

Tyler was back in the Bottom Three because he still couldn't get out of his head long enough to put together a usable performance. While he did show some improvement, it was clear that he still has a long way to go. Since this was his second trip to the bottom, Nikki gave him a song that was more geared to his strengths: Elton John's "Daniel." While I'm not the biggest Tyler fan (his go-to transitioning excuse is starting to wear thin), I have to admit that he was pretty decent this time around, but still not good enough to stick around in my opinion.

Lily was the last to perform, and she was on the chopping block because she was a letdown in the booth, didn't listen to Zach's direction and had an overall crappy attitude. She was asked to sing Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman." Her voice wasn't anything special, but she was the only one to actually perform whereas the others just stood around and sang. When asked about butting heads with Zach, she still tried to justify her actions, which caused Ryan to call her out on her bad behavior. To her credit, at least she was upfront about being hard to work with.

When it was all said and done, Dani was the one to be eliminated because she didn't fit into the Glee mold since she's not a pop or Broadway singer, which was a damn shame since my tastes are more inclined towards the singer/songwriter genre that she probably excels at.

Final Thoughts
My reaction to Dani's elimination was similar to the one I had when Maxfield was sent home because Ryan Murphy once again kept Tyler around because of his story rather than his talent. Now, I'll readily admit that he did a better job than Dani, but I still think that she has more upside and wasn't given the chance to grow like he was.

Ryan's bias towards Tyler's challenges wasn't what irked me the most though because that's just Ryan being Ryan. What did get to me was his justification for letting Dani go. For a show that preaches diversity and inclusion, axing someone because they don't sing a particular style of music seems counter-intuitive and misguided. Maybe Dani wouldn't be able to cut it on Glee, but we'll never know because Ryan Murphy couldn't get past his own prejudices. Hypocritical much?

Aside from Murphy contradicting himself and the poor video shoot, I did find myself enjoying other aspects. I was happy to see that some of the contestants were given some shading and depth (relatively speaking) like Aylin's flirtatious side and Lily's inability to play nice with others. They're not real people or characters just yet, but at least some of them are entertaining, so there's that.

So far, Season 2 of The Glee Project hasn't ironed out its inherent shortcomings, and it doesn't look that's going to happen anytime soon, so I'll just sit back and watch the drama and performances with lower expectations which is fine by me.


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