'The Glee Project' recap: 'Actability'
Tonight's theme is actability. I always thought this was a legal term, but hey, whatever works to get the kids fired up about shooting a video under conditions that would most likely result in union negotiations if this wasn't a cheap reality TV show.
Robert brings together the last five and asks them how they feel. They're excited! Not a lot of discussion about that., because Robert wants them to concentrate on acting. Michael is nervous about an acting challenge, because Blake is an actor. And a singer. And seems just a little more confident than Michael. Not that this is bothering Michael at all.
The homework song is "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer. Michael is the only one who knows it. Um, this is a really weird song choice, given that Robert Palmer and his back-up singers are practically expressionless all through that video. Seriously. Watch it.
Lily knows she has to connect. She can't just be big and brassy. No, no she can't. I like Lily, but she seems hard wired to be brassy, and while I think there is a permanent job for her in a production of "Hairspray," I wish she'd trust herself to show her soft side more often. When she does, she's magic.
Dianna Agron (Quinn) is the guest judge for the week. Blake was just, like, wow. She's so pretty! Yes, she is, Blake. Dianna tells the kids to roll with the punches, smiles at them a lot, and basks in their admiration.
Robert informs everyone their homework assignment will get a little twist. Dianna will hold up a flashcard as they sing, and they have to play the emotion written on the flashcard. So, any rehearsal is mostly pointless as far as actability. Ooh, sneaky, sneaky!
Michael is determined. He's oddly twitchy, but okay, he's determined. Lily is scared. Lily's pretty good at scared, honestly. Blake is angry. Pretty good at the angry, that Blake. Aylin is anxious. She's definitely anxious, but man, that is not a great task to give someone while they're singing. Ali gets excited on her flashcard. Of course, this is the fun one. She riffs really well at the end, which kind of makes the song.
Dianna says Michael really conveyed determination. But she thought Lily needed to go bigger. Really? I thought Lily actually did very well. Dianna thought Blake was fun. She could feel Aylin's anxiety. And oh my Gosh, Ali was so excited! But who's the winner?
For Dianna, it was between Michael and Ali. And Michael wins it. It's his first homework win. I didn't think Michael was really better than Ali, but Ali can't win everything or it's just depressing for the other kids.
The group number is "Perfect" by Pink. But this week, no music video! Instead, they'll be making a movie trailer for a nonexistent movie about a coming of age story about a group of kids in a small town. Aylin will play the Turkish girl from a conservative family who's been seeing the school quarterback and is pregnant. Blake is the quarterback. And he's a jerk. Michael is a football player who used to idolize Blake but has fallen for Aylin. Ali is Michael's sister who once dreamed of being an Olympic runner until she was injured. Lily's character is struggling because she was driving the car when Ali was injured. My head is spinning. Oh, and they'll be asked to improvise short scenes during the shoot.
Off to vocals with Nikki! Nikki wants Michael to tell more of a story with his singing. Aylin's singing sounds too sung, and it needs to be felt. Blake is a little high, then too sharp. But Ali was really great. Lily cries, as the lyrics hit home for her. She thinks she's beautiful, so why don't other people? Nikki wants her to keep her emotions at the ready, but she wants her to keep them in check. Breaking down is not so great when it means ten more takes and the camera equipment is rented.
Lily and Ali are up first. Lily emotes her butt off, but she doesn't say what needs to be said in the scene. Plus, Ali can't get into the scene given that Lily makes it all about her. I feel for Ali, as she's stuck waiting for Lily to stop blathering so she can get a word in edgewise. Acting is about sharing, Lily.
Blake is really, really good at scary and mean. Aylin keeps up and is the very picture of teen domestic abuse, but really, the scene is all about Blake.
Michael is ready to improvise, because he sat across from Dianna Agron, who told him to trust himself. I know we're supposed to be inspired by these mentor sessions, but given that we only get about a five second clip, it's more like a mentor sound byte than a session.
Blake and Michael are next. They fight! They push! They shove one another into bales of hay! Again, it's all about Blake. But Michael isn't bad at all.
For Aylin's next scene, she has to put on the Muslim head scarf, which makes her start crying almost immediately. She finds it difficult to portray a traditional Muslim, which could pay off in a very real performance. And yes, it does. This is actually heartbreaking. Michael goes all Brando in "Streetcar Named Desire" and screams Aylin's name in the middle of the street. I just wish he was wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt.
We see the trailer, and while it was impossible for them to edit out some problems (Lily hogging her scene with Ali), I would absolutely watch this movie despite the obvious cliches.
Nikki, Robert and Zach gush over the final five. Everyone cries a little. Zach wants to let everyone know the judges believe in each one of them. And yeah, two of them are going home no matter how much love is in the air.
Surprise! Ryan will bring the entire writing team from "Glee" to the call back and everyone gets to do a last chance performance. Blake thought everyone would be called back, so he's a little disappointed in the surprise, but hey, it's something.
Lily will be singing "Son of a Preacher Man" made famous by Dusty Springfield.
Michael will be singing "GIrls Just Wanna Have Fun" made famous by Cyndi Lauper, though it will be more like the version Cory sang on "Glee."
Ali will be singing "Here's to Us" by Halestorm.
Blake will be singing "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John. Blake doesn't know it. I wish I didn't.
Aylin is singing "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera. She knows it and loves it.
Everyone's nervous about performing in front of the writing staff. Psshh. They're writers.
This version of the song most likely works in context, but really, they stuck Michael with something slow and sloggy.
Still, the writers think he's the real deal. Ryan thinks he's a sweetheart. Lots of love for Michael.
Whoa, she's too smiley. This is not a smiley song. There's a real poignancy to these lyrics, and it just isn't here. I mean, great singing, but bad acting.
And yet, the writers think she's complex and interesting -- but note the acting was cloying. Ryan thinks she's been very strong willed, which is a negative. I think Lily is going home.
Before Ali can sing, Ryan admits he didn't think Ali brought it in the video. But that was Lily's fault, Robert says. Ryan snaps that Ali needed to fight for it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ali nails it, although she was a little smiley. Not everything has to be happy, guys!
The writers think she's great and she could play a bitch, too. Yay?
God, this is such a crap song. But he does what he can with crap material. Seriously, Elton John recorded this during his heavy drugging years.
To Blake's credit, he pretends to have fun singing this awful song. Although he does a weird thing with his arm.
One of the writers didn't feel his wound. She wants vulnerability. Blah blah blah. Did she see him in the trailer? Give him a non-sucky song and he can do wound.
Good, but not all I want it to be. But good. Aylin has a real shot at the finals.
They're into the Muslim thing, which hasn't been on the show. It's fresh to Ryan. Hmmm.
The writers all have different ideas. Ryan wonders if they need to do something new on the show, or just pick a star. Ryan wants to figure out who they can write seven episodes for. I think anyone who's made it this far is a star, so it really boils down to acting.
Not called back are… Michael and Lily.
I think Lily's reputation for being strong willed probably led to her being cut, and Michael has had an uphill battle for weeks thanks to Blake's heavy shadow. But I'll say it again -- they're all great at this stage. It's just about casting.
Speaking of which, as good as Blake is, it's probably down to the two girls -- at least if this is even partly dictated by the writers. Being able to write for a new type (Aylin) or an actor who's actually disabled instead of pretending to be (Ali) is just too compelling. And let's face it, "Glee" is overflowing with hot guys. I'll be interested to see who makes the cut -- but I'm actually a little more interested to see what those who didn't do after "The Glee Project." Pretty sure we're going to be seeing them around somewhere.
What do you think of the final three? What did you think of the trailer? And how important do you think song choice is for the final call back?