If there's one thing every actor needs in the crazy world of "Glee" it's adaptability.

But before everyone settles in for their homework assignment, Aylin and Charlie have something very important to share. They've set "ground rules" in their relationship and resolve to be friends without flirting. And Charlie is hyped: "We take all this energy we used to put into things like...snuggling...and put it into kicking each others' asses. It's making both of us better."

This week's theme: Adaptability
Homework assignment: Alanis Morissette "You Oughta Know"
Guest mentor: Kevin McHale

According to Robert, this week's theme is "really crucial for a performer on 'Glee.'" That's true, just ask Dianna Agron. But she's not the mentor, it's Kevin McHale...

McHale is as honest as he can be: "You never know what you're gonna get on 'Glee.' Every day is different. You may show up to work one day thinking it's gonna be something and then it completely changes." Yeah, we watch the show, we know.

In keeping with the theme, there's a twist to the assignment: Instead of the usual group number it's now a solo. One by one, each contender has to sing the whole song. We only see a few lines from everyone, but that's more than enough.

Pity poor Kevin McHale for listening to all of these performances. Even though Blake sounds terrible, Michael adopts some cringe-inducing gestures and Ali is really off, McHale isn't up for criticizing anyone. Instead, he singles out Aylin, Charlie, Ali and Shanna as his favorites.

Kevin's pick for homework winner: Aylin

By now it's starting to feel impossible for anyone except Aylin or Nellie to win. Or at least deserve to win.

This week's music video: Is a mystery. Because it's adaptability week, the contestants won't know what they're singing until they're in the recording studio and they won't learn choreography until the day of the shoot. Will they crack under pressure?

It's not long before they all meet Nikki at the studio and she reveals the music video song is Jessie J's "Price Tag."

Aylin is thrilled, but some of the others -- including Blake and Shanna -- have no idea what the song even is. Shanna picks it up right away anyway.

Then Nikki lies and claims Michael is "on fire." Not knowing what the song is in advance has loosened him up and supposedly he delivers his best performance so far in the recording booth. That's possible. It's still bad.

Aylin preps for her solo spotlight by getting some advice from Kevin McHale: "The most important thing you can remember for this week is confidence. The show from day one has been about heart." She brings that into the recording booth, and Nikki is impressed.

Abraham was less impressive, Nikki noted he's "more pitchy than usual, he had problems with timing, just not his day." And Ali flat out bombs.

At the video shoot, Charlie decides he'll "stay in character" the whole day. His character: Scott Campbell, a rich jerk. But at least he has a character, Mario can't even pretend to be bothered about acting. As he explains to the camera he knows he's an excellent actor, so obviously he's not doing anything wrong.

Zach has the task of teaching everyone choreography on the spot, which proves to be especially problematic for Blake and Nellie. If Nellie has a weakness, I guess this is it.

At the evaluations, Aylin gets the most praise. "Your acting's just getting better and better," Robert tells her. So she's safe along with Michael, Lily and Shanna.

That leaves Ali, Abraham, Mario, Charlie, Blake and Nellie. It turns out none of them are safe. In another "Adaptability" twist, all six will perform duets and Ryan Murphy will pick the bottom three.


Blake and Nellie
Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You"

What Ryan says: They're both really great but they both need to be a little more aggressive in wanting to win. Then, once they're left the stage, he adds: "He's really got something, so does she." [The truth is Nellie blew him out of the water, but Blake has a borderline competence that apparently qualifies as "talent" because he has the right "look."]

Ali and Abraham
Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night"

What Ryan says: "You had a little bit of a word problem with the song." About Ali: "You're a little Dolly Parton, a good comedienne." About Abraham: "When he forgets about it he's fascinating and riveting." [I have no idea where he's coming from praising Ali's bug eyes and goofy expressions.]

Mario and Charlie
Song: Elton John and George Michael's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"

What Ryan says: "It's interesting how sweet you were with each other." [Interesting is one way to put it. Deeply creepy and uncomfortable to watch is another.]

Ryan picks the bottom three: Abraham, Charlie and Mario

The reasons: Abraham was overshadowed by Ali, Charlie continues to be difficult to work with and Mario's acting in the video wasn't up to par. [Also, they're all various degrees of terrible/completely wrong for "Glee," but Murphy doesn't say that.]

There's not much deliberation, Ryan knows what he wants to do. And that decision is...

Not called back: Mario

Thankfully the show squashed this problem before it got too big. Mario hopes when people think of him they won't just think of a blind person they happened to put "The Glee Project." No worries, there, everyone's going to remember that obnoxious attitude more than anything else.

What do you think of the season so far? Would seeing any of these contestants say goodbye actually make you sad?

Geoff Berkshire lives in Los Angeles and writes about film and television. His work has appeared in Variety, the L.A. Times, and Premiere, among other publications. He is the former national entertainment editor and film critic for Metromix.com.