June 27, 2012

Episode Review: THE GLEE PROJECT, "Sexuality"

Last season, "Sexuality" was a pretty big episode because it was when front-runner Cameron decided to bow out of the competition instead of compromising his morals. Unfortunately, this go round didn't have a big moment like that one, but a combination of a solid homework assignment, a fun music video shoot and Nellie coming out of her shell made for a decent hour of TV.

Homework Assignment
Over the last couple of weeks, the homework assignment has been the root of most of the show's drama, and the same was true this time but to a lesser extent. No one really fought over lines or the role of choreographer, but Lily didn't pass up the opportunity to take some jabs at Aylin and her overt sexuality (all via confessional of course).

The Wanna-Glees had to sing Color Me Badd's iconic "I Want to Sex You Up," and they actually did a pretty good job and without the obscene amount of grinding that most young people equate to being sexy. This week's guest mentor was Santana herself, and Naya Rivera had some good notes for the contestants like Blake's at his best when he's playful and how Nellie needed to be more confident in her sexuality. When it came time to pick a winner, Naya went with Charlie because he can beat-box. I suppose I understood Charlie's win since no one really stood out and his contributions were somewhat important. His reward was a standout role in the video for the mash-up of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Milkshake."

Video Shoot
While this version of "Sexuality" didn't have a shocker like Cameron leaving, it did have its share of drama when it came time to prep for the video shoot. Apparently, Charlie's win got to his head and he was too busy flirting with Aylin to take his recording session with Nikki seriously, and she had to call him out for his unprofessional behavior. Charlie wasn't the only one who had a faux pas in the booth because Michael flat out his lyrics and was such a trainwreck that Nikki had to have him leave so she could finish with someone else.

On to choreography where Nellie and Shanna became the focal points. From the get go, Nellie was uncomfortable with this week's theme which was understandable, but she was clearly having problems loosening up enough to be sexy. On the flipside, Shanna wasn't able to access the depth of her sexiness, and she would be reduced to a grinning, giggling mess.

The concept for the video was actually pretty solid this time. The hopefuls were in a sex ed class that turned into a fever dream of debauchery and singing which ultimately became a boys vs. girls sexy-off. Some how Nellie was able to let herself go and brought the hotness to the set which made her the clear standout. Things did not go as well for Charlie and Tyler who were dragged down by either their cockiness or inability to standout from the crowd.

Last Chance Performance
Since Nellie was able to transform into a vixen overnight, she was the first to make the callback list. Due to their lackluster performances during the week; Charlie, Shanna, Michael and Tyler were all asked to stay behind. Obviously, Charlie's lack of decorum was an issue, as was Shanna's natural tendency to be perky while Michael's flub and Tyler's fading into the background put them at risk. The mentors decided to put Charlie, Tyler and Michael into the Bottom Three and Shanna was allowed to live another day.

Charlie was up first to perform for Ryan Murphy, and he was assigned Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You." Now, Charlie may have a cocky streak a mile long (and I'm sure his ADHD doesn't help matters), but the boy can sing and perform. He even tried to suck up to Ryan by name-dropping him in the song, but it wasn't enough to distract the mentors from addressing his lack of professionalism during the week.

Tyler was up next to sing Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," which he somehow had not heard before his Last Chance Performance. While I no nothing about music, I felt that his performance was only OK because he sounded pretty good but he had some definite pitch issues throughout. After he was done, Ryan fessed up and admitted that he has a hard time criticizing Tyler because his weaknesses stem from his transition rather than from a lack of talent, but ultimately there are others who are ready for primetime and he's not.

Lastly, there was Michael who was given Jason Mraz's "Lucky." He started off strong, but he once again got caught up in his head and he choked in front of the panel. It was so bad that he forgot lyrics, but at least he kept the performance going thanks to some made up lines. Nikki pointed out that his Last Chance Performance was an example of his struggles throughout the week but she knows he's capable to greatness. Even Robert and Zach chimed in as a way to support him.

After the three sang and getting input from the rest of the group, Ryan decided that Tyler was too far behind the rest of the competitors to stick around despite his inspirational story.

Final Thoughts
I agree that Tyler's worthy of all of the praise and accolades because of the journey that he's on, but it was his time to go. He was in the bottom three times and didn't show any signs of significant progression and keeping him around just for his story wouldn't have been fair to either Michael or Charlie. Sure, it's sad to see him go, but he probably signed something that allows Ryan to co-opt his story anyway so we'll see him in a different incarnation somewhere down the line.

Enough about Tyler, let's talk about Nellie. She was already one of my favorites before this episode, but her drastic turn around cemented my support for her. I know that she hasn't done much up until this point, but I truly believe that she could be a darkhorse contender because she's beautiful, she has an innocent quality that could be accessible to most, her voice is unique and amazing, and she could be the total package if she continues to improve her acting skills. Nellie may not be as flashy as some of the others, but the fact that she doesn't automatically fall into a certain role could work in her favor.

While Season 2 of The Glee Project hasn't had some of the ups and downs as its predecessor, it's been more grounded and so far the cuts have made sense, so I can't really complain. Plus, I truly believe that this crop of contestants are more talented than last year's, and I find myself being entertained in spite of my better judgment.


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