Glee Project Episode 2: "Danceability" Recap
The Beginning: Remember last week when we said it looked like season two of The Glee Project would be spending a little more time with the kids in their downtime at "Glee House?" Episode two's keeping that prediction strong; after the kids get their homework assignment to figure out how to sing and choreograph (the Go-Go's "We Got the Beat," because last week's Whitesnake track wasn't quite '80s enough), there's a minor conflict between Mario and Ali over who gets what lyrics. Mario stands his ground pretty steadfastly about the line he wants to sing, flat-out refusing to compromise with Ali until someone offers him a better deal. It's a pretty tense, awkward moment out of such a seemingly minor thing, but then that kind of describes all of reality TV, doesn't it?
More importantly, though, when the kids start to figure out how to choreograph the song (and we should note that Charlie takes the lead in this), 22-year old Taryn kind of freaks out a little bit about everyone talking over each other and being rowdy. Taryn, remember, has never been away from home or even on a plane before; a house full of strangers is a totally novel experience for her. Soon after this freak-out we see through a grainy "dorm cam" (which has creepy implications we don't wanna get into) that Taryn calls home in tears to talk to her mom, and then some on-screen text lets us know that Taryn leaves the competition that night, walking away from a legacy of, well, not much. Two down.
The Homework (featured song: The Go-Go's "We Got the Beat"): After last week's all-stops-pulled-out appearance of Lea Michele during the homework segment, this week brings things a little closer to home with Glee Proejct season one co-winner Samuel Larsen, who also won last year's week two challenge. Samuel watches the kids perform what Robert calls the "best homework assignment ever" and, yeah, it's clear why he says that—vocally, the contestants take chances with their delivery; Blake, in particular, does some wicked falsetto that actually improves on The Go-Go's version. (I know, it doesn't seem possible.) In the end, Samuel picks out one of this column's favorites, Abraham, as the winner, granting him a personal coaching session with the dreadlocked guitar player the ladies love to love.
The Video (featured song: LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"): After two '80s songs in a row, we get a giant turnaround with this current chart-topper. As usual, before the actual video shoot we check in with the kids during choreography and their studio vocal recording. Given that this week's theme is danceability, a lot of the choreography's supposed to be highly individualized, except for a few steps Zach wants all the kids to learn. Should be no big deal, right? Well, not quite. Just like last week, recent post-op transgender contestant Tyler has a tough time here, as does coffee-shop singer Dani. On the studio side, there isn't a whole lot of effort devoted to vocal recording this week, though we do see some cracks in (professionally-trained) Lily's ability.
During this segment, we also get a peek at a developing romance. The supposedly sheltered (well, according to her mom) Muslim girl Aylin seems to be striking up a thing with Charlie, although in a talking-head interview Aylin says that she's just flirtatious and "didn't come here for a romance" but "to be on Glee." Fair enough. Let's compare that to Charlie's talking-head, though, where he says of Aylin "She's sexy. She's got swagger for days." Charlie = totes in love.
If that wasn't clear enough from the pre-video stuff, the video shoot brings this out in the open. The video, see, is set at a high school house party, and part of that party is a game of Spin the Bottle. During the game (which for some reason is not scripted; director Erik White just lets the bottle spin where it wants) Aylin spins Blake, and the two kiss for, like, a long time. Aylin actually seems to have a thing for Blake instead of Charlie, calling this kiss "one of the hottest things that has ever happened to me before" in a talking-head. When the Spin the Bottle game ends and the kids regroup, Charlie weirdly asks Aylin if she wished he had been there to kiss in front of everyone. To respond, Aylin just leans in and kisses him for almost as long a time. Then she walks away and we cut to a talking head saying that she's pretty sure her kiss made Charlie's day. Aylin is definitely this season's breakout sex symbol (and is much more lively and flirty than any of last season's potential contenders for that title); it should be interesting to see how this develops throughout the rest of the summer.
Anyway, the actual video recording's pretty rough, especially the dance parts. No one seems to have practiced their choreography, and no one can lip-synch with the track; at some point Zach and Erik just tell the kids to abandon their moves and try to look like they're having fun. Homework winner Abraham seems to have particular trouble; he can't get out of his own head. Similarly, Dani can't make herself look like she's having fun, which is a problem when you're at a party.
Last-Chance Callbacks (featured songs: Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," Elton John's "Daniel," Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman"): When the kids line up to hear who's in the bottom three this week, Zach really lets them have it, calling the shoot "an absolute catastrophe" and saying that the judges had to pick "who sucked the least." In fact, we're told that despite the kids doing the best job ever on a homework assignment, this was the worst video shoot the show had ever had.
Despite the generally bad reviews, Aylin, Shanna, Blake, and Michael are complimented for their performances. In the end, the bottom three—which isn't too surprising—is made up of Lily, Tyler, and Dani. Interestingly, when asked why she's in the bottom three, Lily talks back a bit to Zach, trying to pin her troubles this week on his faulty notes to her (probably not a great strategy for winning the game).
Dani's potential last performance is up first, and she delivers a soulful, sad performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Ryan seems to really like her, saying "your talent is without dispute" but worrying that she may not be able to step into any kind of Glee character with her more morose attitude.
Then Tyler comes back for the second week in a row with a straightforward reading of Elton John's '70s ballad "Daniel." All of the judges note that Tyler's improved quite a bit but that he still needs to get out of his head and be more comfortable with himself, which is probably tough for someone in his shoes to do. Yet Ryan thinks that he has a really inspirational story worth sharing with a huge audience… he just has to be self-assured enough to do it.
Finally comes Lily, who does a sultry and enthusiastic performance of "Man, I Feel Like a Woman." Ryan points out that she's the first contestant ever to flirt with the house band (which he thinks is cool), but wonders about her inability to take criticism. He asks if she has a history of fighting with people trying to give her direction, and she admits that she did this a lot with her high school choir coach, which is probably the last thing Murphy wanted to hear. Once she leaves the stage, Ryan wonders if she should be sent home just for having a bad attitude.
The Elimination: Your intrepid blogger did not see this one coming; I actually figured it was the least likely outcome. Ryan Murphy decides that Dani should go home; he doesn't think her energy will ever jive with the show. That's probably true, but man… Lily's kinda nasty, and Dani can really sing. Sad.
The Favorite: My top two picks both showed some weakness over the past few weeks, so I've had to recalibrate my guess for top spot. Right now that's going to Blake, the 19-year-old Miami resident who has the abilities of singing, dancing, and looking like an amazing cross between Jim Carrey and Clark Kent. He's certainly the ladies' favorite, AMIRITE?! (Note: I may not actually be right.)