Glee Project Episode 4: "Sexuality" Recap
The Beginning: Once again Glee Project gets right to the action with Glee casting director Robert Ulrich—who always seems happy, have you noticed?—coming to announce the latest theme/challenge for the contestants, which happens to be sexuality. As you might expect, this season's breakout flirt Aylin's "ecstatic," as are a bunch of the other kids. On the other hand, last week's homework winner Nellie is pretty nervous about this, admitting in a talking head interview that she's never had sex and has never even seen a guy naked before. The latter of those is honestly pretty surprising… I mean, that Internet, right?! Tyler, too, admits to having trouble with the theme, confessing that it's too early in his transition from female to male to really be comfortable with his sexuality.
The Homework (featured song: Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up"): You know this band means business because they put two Ds in their name. Was that a badd business ddecision?
Anyway, Glee Project again goes A-list with their guest judge for this week's challenge, grabbing Glee's ultra-sexy Naya Rivera, aka Santana Lopez. Everyone knows Naya belongs here, even Mario, which leads to a kind of awkward but funny talking-head where the blind contestant proclaims, "She's so sexy I can see it!"
Before the Glee Project contestants dance for her amusement, Rivera offers them some advice on sexuality. "It's all about confidence," she says, and "less is more." Her actual notes for the contestants don't always jive with this; she tells challenge winner Charlie "I like how hard you worked at it," which seems to be the opposite of "less is more." She tells him she finds beatboxing sexy so I hope everyone who thinks Naya Rivera is attractive remembers that. It actually seems kind of strange that Charlie wins this assignment; watching the performance, it looks like Mario, Shanna, and Tyler all turn in performances that pop a little harder, but hey, I haven't been on Glee for three seasons, so what do I know?
The Video (featured song: Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger"/Kelis' "Milkshake" mash-up): It's always pretty special when Glee does mash-ups. It's one of the rare times when the show can be 100% original musically—one of the best things it ever did was season one's "It's My Life"/"Confessions" Bon Jovi/Usher marriage. This particular pairing works really well, making it seem like the songs really do belong together. So, good job on this, Glee Project.
The actual video's pretty cool, too, and mostly the contestants do well, except that this episode definitely doesn't make any bones about oversexing the show's contestants… when you see how Nellie transforms for the video, hoo boy (though to her credit, she does really well). The concept of the video: it's a high school sex-ed class that turns into a "boys vs. girls sexy-off," because that always happens. It's really not any more ridiculous than the high school house party from a few weeks ago, though.
As always, before we get to the video, we get to watch the contestants learn their choreography and sing the song in the studio. The choreography segment's pretty brief this week; the only thing we really learn is that dance coach Zach thinks Shanna—who to this point has performed pretty flawlessly—needs to dial back her perkiness a little bit when she's trying to be sexy. Maybe some of us think perky can be sexy, but probably none of us are Zach Woodlee.
The recording studio's another matter; some serious drama unfolds here between vocal coach Nikki and Charlie, who can't stop goofing off in the booth. In particular, he keeps making eyes and joking around with Aylin, which Nikki is not a fan of. As far as an actual relationship between Charlie and Aylin, both contestants tell the camera that they're not really sure what they're doing, though Charlie seems to be more into it than Aylin, who's very competition-focused. Ah, to be young, in love, and on camera all the time.
Also showing his first signs of trouble in the booth is Michael, who actually forgets the words to his part of the song and is dismissed by Nikki… something we haven't seen before. Michael's really thrown by this, and it will certainly come back to get him.
At the actual video shoot, everyone does a pretty good job except for Tyler, who just can't find a way to stand out in big group numbers. Also, Charlie has difficulty accepting direction from Erik, who is, you know, the director of the video. Charlie tries to run his part of the video shoot and is eventually shot down by Erik, who's never been this frustrated with a contestant. Yikes. So much for winning that homework, Charlie.
Last-Chance Callbacks (featured songs: Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You," Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," Jason Mraz's "Lucky"): This week, a lot of the contestants who've had trouble this season are in the first group of kids saved, including Lily and Mario—which probably came as a disappointment to the people who were unhappy with their attitudes last week. It's also worth noting that the person who receives the most compliments here is Nellie; Zach weirdly says that she was "the sexiest thing in the room," forgetting both that Nellie's 19 and that you shouldn't call women "things."
Once a group of contestants are dismissed, we're left with four potential last-chancers: Charlie, Shanna, Michael, and Tyler. It's really surprising to see Shanna down here; she's dominated this show previously, but we already mentioned her trouble getting into a "sexy" character. Despite that, she too is saved for another week, leaving the bottom three as the out-of-control Charlie, the forgetful Michael, and the unstunning Tyler.
For his last-chance performance, Charlie delivers a lively rendition of the classic Cole Porter song "I Get a Kick Out of You," made famous by Mr. Frank Sinatra. His showmanship wins over the judges, even if his attitude this week didn't; Glee producer Ryan Murphy really lays into him for his behavior, and Zach tells him that he doesn't treat the show like a job, which he should. Regarding his situation with Aylin, Ryan puts things clearly: "If you have feelings for a girl on this show, the best thing you can do is do the opposite of what you did this week, because then you're out." No ambiguity there.
Tyler's up next with a performance of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," which, we learn, is one of Nikki's favorite songs. Although the judges don't explicitly call attention to this, Tyler has real trouble with this song; when he has to use falsetto to hit the notes, he's just all over the place, proving that although he's a compelling person to watch, his talent's just not on the same level as many of the other contestants. Ryan tells Tyler that although he can't criticize the young man personally—he's got to be comfortable enough to hold his own as a performer. This seems totally fair, and you can tell Ryan doesn't love being hard on the guy.
Michael comes out last to sing Jason Mraz's chill "Lucky," a performance that starts off great and then—catastrophically—falls into the same trap his performance in the recording booth did; he forgets the words again! This time to "cover" it Michael makes up a little ditty about how he, well, forgot the words. It's cute, and gets a laugh out of Zach, but Ryan and Nikki aren't pleased. "When I saw your name on the list I thought there was no way you'd be going home," Ryan says, "but now I'm not so sure." Ryan thinks that Michael's issue is totally one of confidence. "You need to know a little bit better how good you are."
At decision time, Zach fights for Michael. Ryan, meanwhile, stands up for Charlie. He's a hot mess, Ryan admits, but fascinating, and someone who always turns in great performances. The judges say this might be the hardest choice they've had, though they tend to say that a lot.
The Elimination: This episode could've been anyone's to lose, but the eventual decision makes sense: Tyler goes home. He's just not ready. He seems pretty okay with it, though, and had a great attitude and spirit throughout. Best of luck, Tyler.
The Favorites: What can hurt Blake? I mean, seriously… dude's built. Despite her stumble this week, I still think Shanna's really strong. Nellie really comes out of her shell here; we best watch her closely. And from a purely fun-to-watch standpoint, Aylin is still great.