'The Glee Project' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Let Your Gleek Flag Fly
'The Glee Project' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Let Your Gleek Flag Fly
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Welcome to season 2 of The Glee Project, the reality competition with the best prize in all of TV (well, second best, because The X Factor does give you $5 million). Here the winner gets the chance to star on Glee, following in the footsteps of Damian McGinty and Samuel Larsen (and Alex Newell and Lindsey Pearce, who each got two-episode guest spots).

As cool as the prize is, season 2 is going to be different. At several points in the premiere, The Glee Project lets us know this year is like the Highlander: There can be only ONE. Of course a Ryan Murphy promise isn't worth much, so it's entirely possible all 14 contestants will get to be on Glee next season.

Meet the Cast

The show begins with all the contestants coming into the house, seeing who else made it from the callbacks. The fact that they all seem genuinely happy to see one another is part of what makes The Glee Project so special. Yeah, it's a competition, but there's so much positivity in the cast.

While there are plenty of unique standouts, one of the biggest is Mario, the blind guy. He adds an exciting new element to the show because he encounters everyday problems I never even thought about. Right away Dani guides him through the house, explaining where everything is located so he can get accustomed to his new surroundings. And later, when the guest mentor comes out, he needs to stop everyone from cheering to ask who it is. Plus, he says things like "I need my blind man stick back," which is hilarious.

Ali (aka the girl in the wheelchair) gets the award for the best unintentionally hilarious comment of the episode. She's talking about how everyone here has had to overcome something hard. She points out that she's paralyzed, Mario is blind, Tyler is trangender and Maxfield only started singing six months ago. One of those things is not like the other. I'd hardly put the kinda handsome country boy (who has a forehead so big I could land a 747 on it) in the same category as a blind guy.

Then there's Aylin the Turkish Muslim who enjoys being surrounded by so many hot guys. Here's a fun drinking game: Take a shot every time Aylin mentions being Turkish or Muslim.

Homework Assignment: Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"

The kids need to figure out who gets to sing what part, and Lily Mae (aka the big girl) suggests using Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide fairly. Aylin wants nothing to do with this "fairness" crap, quickly establishing herself as the cutthroat villainess of the season. C'mon, girl, this isn't 24, so the Muslim doesn't need to be the villain.

Charlie, the ADHD Cory Monteith-lookalike, takes control of the choreography. If you watched the audition special, you know that Ryan Murphy is already in love with this kid and Murphy is looking for a young Finn type, so I'd say Charlie is the closest thing we have to a frontrunner.

In the classroom, casting director Robert Ulrich and Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy bring in the guest mentor, Lea Michele. That's followed by about three full hours of "OH MY GOD!" reactions from the contestants.

For me, the stars of the performance would be Abraham (the Asian with the red streak in his hair) and Lily Mae. Lea Michele kinda loves everyone, especially Dani's face (because she looks exactly like Justin Bieber) and Lily Mae's beauty (which makes her feel special because she's a bigger girl).

The winner is Shanna, which makes no real sense to me because I don't see what everyone else sees in her. Shanna just seems kinda blah to me.

Music Video: "White Snake's "Here I Go Again"

Choreography: Zach Woodlee is back, and he's as charming as ever. He's easily the best part of this entire show, and I think he should get to show up on So You Think You Can Dance as a guest choreographer. Mario is surprisingly capable at this, primarily because he works one-on-one with Zach's assistant and uses his hands to feel each movement.

Tyler is the worst at dancing because he's not comfortable in his new male body after spending the first 20 years of his life as a female. I'm kind of in awe of Tyler, because I totally believe him as male and I originally thought he was a guy transitioning into a woman, not the other way around.

Vocals: Vocal producer Nikki Anders is back, and she's super pregnant. Shanna is her big favorite, and it seems the one-on-one session with Lea Michele paid off. I honestly don't get it, because to me Shanna's big note just sounds like she's shouting and it's not pleasant at all. But I'm resigned to the fact that Shanna will be the one person this season the judges love and I hate. On the other hand, Aylin, Taryn and especially Maxfield have big problems in the vocal booth.

Video Shoot: The standout during the shoot is Blake, who the judges adore because he's hot, but in a cute, attainable, slightly goofy kinda way. He's essentially Chris Lowell (Piz from Veronica Mars and Dell from Private Practice). He's also the only contestant who actually has a TV series acting credit as he guest starred in an episode of ABC Family's Melissa and Joey last year as a football player starring in a video about the dangers of texting and driving (which is insanely coincidental given Quinn's storyline on Glee this season). You can watch Blake on Melissa and Joey HERE.

As for the worst performers, they're the same people who did poorly earlier. Tyler has no confidence and Taryn can't even close a locker properly. Meanwhile Aylin and Maxfield seem lost and confused. Shanna shines for the judges once again, but she just makes me like her even less by saying that she has to stay because otherwise she'll go back to being a broke college student, "which is just not for me." Really? Is she under the impression that some people strive to be broke college students?

The Bottom 3

Robert, Zach and Nikki gather the kids to deliver the verdict, but if you've been paying any attention, it's pretty obvious who's in trouble. Indeed, Maxfield, Tyler and Aylin are in the bottom. I'm somewhat surprised Taryn is safe, but I guess learning to shut a locker is a relatively easy fix.

Aylin - "Without You" by David Guetta: She comes out and murders the song so hard that I think she deserves the death penalty. Ryan Murphy likes her a lot and wants her to be the flirt, so basically she's a new Santana, only Turkish-Muslim instead of the Latina. He gets her to confess that she's got the hots for Blake, so at least we know she has good taste.

Tyler - "ABC" by The Jackson 5: He's terrified that being compared to Michael Jackson is a hard task. I'm guessing this lack of confidence is somehow tied to Tyler being transgender, because quite frankly I think he's kind of awesome and shouldn't be so hard on himself. He does OK, but obviously going through testosterone treatments is changing his voice and he's not the best singer. Ryan is very blunt about this, but also about how he really likes Tyler's personal story.

Maxfield - "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson: He just does a straightforward country number. It's not bad, but it's not amazing. Ryan gives him the most back-handed compliment ever: "There's something so charming about your simplicity." Ouch!

Who's Going Home?

Maxfield is eliminated. I can't say I'm surprised or sad. I think the tone of his country voice is nice and different, but since he's only been singing for six months, he's not polished enough for Glee. And when Ryan Murphy thinks you're too simple, there's a problem. On the bright side, I won't get blinded by the shine off his massive forehead anymore.

This Season on The Glee Project: Fights! Boyfriends! More Fights! Hard-Ass Judges! Even More Fights! Seriously, I can't wait for the episode where the kids have to beat the crap out of each other.

(Image courtesy of Oxygen)

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