Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gleeality - The Glee Project Finale Recap

Fourteen contestants....ten weeks... so many rehashes of songs rehashed better on Glee that I've lost count... but there can be only one winner of The Glee Project, because Oxygen says so.  Who will it be?  The world is yawning with anticipation. May Ryan Murphy choose better this year than he did last year - although, to be absolutely honest, I think that became a certainty the moment Michael left the room.

Our Final Three are on the set enthusing about how this is Finale Week on the Glee Project.  It's not a natural conversation; I'd bet money they were ordered to shoot this and they are doing improv.  Ali tells us that she is still in Competition Mode as she grabs Aylin's hand.  Blake explains to us that they are all doing Last Chance songs at the end of the episode, because... Last Chance songs are the best way to showcase yourself in front of the audience and in front of Ryan, and that's been true all year.  It is crazy that this wonderful opportunity to strut your stuff is generally offered only to people who have screwed up and need to leave.  Blake can taste the victory now; he remembers, although for much of this episode I actually forgot, that Ryan Murphy prefers men to women - and not just in bed.  Ryan is not inspired by uteruses, and it shows on Glee's depiction of all female characters.

Aylin tells us that she wants to win so that she can show Muslim women that it's not a sin to be like her. Aylin, honey, that's not why you want to win.  That's why Ryan might pick you, but it's not why you want to win.  You want to win because you want to break into show business, and that would be true if you were an Indian Hindi or an Irish Catholic.

Robert tells them  that the theme for this final week is "Gleeality", which means that they've completely run out of attributes to pretend to exploit and adjectives to mangle.  Their final homework assignment is "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray, which sends them off into fits of screeching joy.  They would have that reaction if they were told to sing a medley of nursery rhymes.  "Three Blind Mice?  That's awesome!"  They will perform for Robert and one final guest from the regular Glee cast - one of Glee's biggest stars.  Gee, I wonder if that means they will be asking the guy who plays Brad the Piano Player to mentor this week.  Fortunately - at least for me - the answer is no.   To make sure they have a killer final Homework Project, Robert has provided them with some very special back-up vocalists.  Ten of them, in fact.  (One did not come back for this.)  Remember all those people you defeated so soundly, who curse your names in their sleep?

They're baaaaa-ack!

The very first face through the door, racing even faster than pushy, aggressive Lily.... is Charlie, beaming like a guy who just found his way back to his girl.  As the three finalists screech in what I think may be actual, genuine surprise and delight for once, all the former contestants flood the room and the camera is very careful to capture the exact moment that Charlie grabs Aylin like a precious treasure.  "AAAAHHHHHH we're back, bitches!" cheers Charlie.  He may have been a pain in the ass, but it's clear here that they recognize what a character he is.  They show us Blake hugging Lily and Ali hugging Dani and Blake hugging Mario and Charlie kissing Aylin and Abraham hugging Ali and Charlie making out with Aylin and Blake hugging Michael and Aylin  escaping from Charlie long enough to say hello to Nellie.  But that's just temporary.  Aylin is so happy to see Charlie that there's a little trill in her voice, and it's all pretty adorable.

Then rehearsal begins, and Ali takes over completely.  Ah, this is what she means by Competition Mode.  She feels like she's being bossy, and she certainly is, but it's very clear she's trying to make sure she gets a big, fat showcase in this number, and really - who can blame her?  It really is, in the end, about her chance to show off so that she can win.  She's a talented girl in a wheelchair.  I suspect that chances like this are very rare for her; indeed, it could be her only shot.  Aylin doesn't even mind.  She does not know how to direct; Ali can do it, as far as she's concerned, even if Ali does set this up to showcase Ali.

Robert greets the entire cast, now back in the choir room.  I do not see Taryn, but everybody else is there.  When he says "We missed you," the camera stops on... you got it, Charlie.  Yes, we missed Charlie.  At least, I missed Charlie.

Our final guest today is directly to blame for the creation of the Glee Project.  They actually come out and say that he's the inspiration for this whole mess.  Vote Unicorn.  They caught lightning in bottle once with him, and are convinced they can recapture that magic artificially as part of a reality show.  Good luck with that, folks.  This guy is not a reality show winner.  He's one in a million.   Yes, you may proceed with the hysterical screaming and jumping up and down now, Glee Project cast.  If he breaks into Single Ladies, please feel free to pass out.

 It's Chris Colfer.  "Chris Colfer is a big deal", Ali informs us.  Yep, yep, yep.  His character on Glee has touched so many people, has won so many awards, has inspired so many fanfics, has cried almost nonstop for two seasons...

Last year, the final mentor was Ryan Murphy.  Chris' position here spells out his importance to the Glee organization.  Not bad for a kid who was in danger of being turned aside because he did not fit the role he auditioned for originally.  Chris graciously tells them that he does not know how they handle the pressure - because Chris never deals with pressure or tight schedules, oh, no.  Robert reminds us, yet again, that Chris is the inspiration for the Glee Project.  He was so wonderful during a normal audition process that he inspired Ryan Murphy to write a character for him, and now they've been trying to turn a moment of magic into a reality show staple.  Yes, this is how we got Rory Flanagan, Joe Hart, and Unique.

Rory Flanagan.  Joe Hart.  Unique.  Kurt Hummel.  One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is actually a great idea played to perfection by a legendary talent.  Good luck, Glee Project winner this year.

Chris has the top three reveal themselves, and they begin to sing We Can't Stop the Beat. The song begins with a Blake solo that gets almost completely blared out by the background music.  I can't hear a word he sang.  Aylin gets her solo and it's a very little bit better; I can make out the words this time, but she's still fighting to be heard.  Then... it's Ali's turn.  She gets to deliver the laugh line, and everybody else moves aside to give her center stage as she sings her solo without any backup singers.  She's crystal clear, very easy to hear.  Yes, I see what you did there, girl.  Well played, Ali.   It might be the kind of tactic you'd find on Survivor, but if you really talked those other two nincompoops into fighting to be heard against a busy background while giving yourself a real showcase spotlight... more power to you.  For the first time, I wonder if she can actually win this thing. Then we go back to the chorus, and Blake sings with a ravenous focus and intensity that I find both impressive and startling.  I am amused to see that Ali's choreography ends with her in the middle, flanked by Aylin and Blake on either side.  She is clearly center stage, in star mode.  Ah, this is Competition Mode.

Chris critiques.  Well, no, Chris just praises.  He praises Blake's impressive intensity and Aylin's determination to be heard over the din.  He praises Ali for creating a character for herself.  And who does he pick as the Homework Winner?  Well, it's very simple, Robert.  All three of these people have won the Homework Assignment exactly once; therefore, he cannot choose one of them to win it again.  They all win!  Ryan can't say that this time, so Chris will instead!  YOU get to be mentored and YOU get to be mentored and YOU get to be mentored!  By Chris Colfer!  Now, isn't that better than a car?  Please say yes, or Ryan will force his character to cry again.  Chris is going to mentor all three of these buffoons through the last video shoot for the last song - "Tonight, Tonight. "  Yeah, OK, everybody jump up and down out of joy.  Got it.

The concept:  It's high school prom, and somebody has tampered with the votes for Prom Queen, because that is what happens at prom at McKinley... No, let's see.  Aylin is sneaking out to Prom against her parent's wishes... apparently Muslim Girls from Conservative Families are not allowed to go to Prom.  Blake is Finn 2.0 - er, Prom King.  Chris throws in a piece of snark so good it's worthy for me to steal - Blake's playing a popular but humble Prom King.... a fictional character.  Ali gets to be a flirty mean girl.  The Final Three will also get to choose the last song they want to sing for Ryan.

Zach begins the choreography session by hissing that this cast, which lacks proper Danceability, looks best when they are not dancing together.  So, he teaches them a line dance, which as far as I can tell mostly involves them dancing together.  Ali finds this dance very challenging from her wheelchair.  Zach figures out that you really can't do these moves from a wheelchair and partners her with Michael to make up for it.  Michael?!   Zach reminds the losers to try even though they aren't competing, and then asks for a group hug.

Vocals with Nikki - Blake begins his time in the studiio by straining so hard, and so out of tune, that I fear she's going to throw him out.  It's too high for him.  He does a little better on the verse, but vocally... he's pretty much Finn 2.0.  Nikki thinks Blake can sell a party track; they are clearly already looking at potential ITunes sales.

Aylin sounds good, but she doesn't have the lines memorized. Nikki sneers that it took Aylin a second to get there... because she didn't have the lines memorized.  Oh, Nikki, go away.  I will be glad not to see you anymore.  Blake screams a great performance out of his vocal range and Aylin took a second to get there because she did not know the words.  Bite me.

Ali squeaks her verse with all the nasal intensity we've come to expect from her. Nikki thinks she's great.  Now, let's have our backup girl group, the Also-Rans!  The boys have a similar group, the Studmuffin Rejects.  Boy, there sure are a lot more guys than girls!

Then, they get to dish about the mentoring skills of Chris Colfer.  Aylin thought he was nice and insightful.  Chris warns them that they will be singing their Last Chance sings for the rest of their lives, just like Single Ladies... No, Chris.   Their Last Chance songs were all very nice and competently done.  Single Ladies was a phenomenon for the ages.  They are not you.  And that's... it for his insightful mentoring session.  "Choose a song you like!"  Ooooooookaaaay. 

Now it's time for the video shoot. Robert informs us that everything these three do will be judged.... that's clearly never happened before. We have Aylin slipping off an ordinary jacket to reveal a sexy prom dress in the girl's bathroom; the mentors muse about how her pop voice could be an asset to the show.  Zach wonders if she can handle the prospect of being a potentially iconic Muslin character - they really expect the winner to be Chris Colfer!  I don't know how she can prove to Ryan that she can take the pressure of that situation by singing her Last Chance song well.

Blake is singing about how his girlfriend cheated on him while Robert reminds us that this kid is consistently solid and reliable.  He puts on his Prom King crown and stage dies into a crowd of extras.  Zach echoes the fact that Blake is reliable, but thinks he might be too much of a traditional leading man.  Nikki reminds him that Blake could possibly play something more.  Blake's genuinely, you know, talented.

Ali looks splendid and sexy in pink.  The mentors note that she's a great talent as an actress, and she applies the direction she's given.  Zach's afraid she will seem forced.

As we watch the entire cast dancing at the prom, Robert informs us that this is the most important group number for the Top Three.  They really are good at stating the obvious.  In the middle of the Prom shoot, Eric introduces a special guest.... it's Damian McGinty.  I am not sure how the appearance of a Glee Project winner who basically bombed and got written off the show is going to be inspiring, but this was recorded before we found out Damian was getting canned.   Damian does give them a good piece of advice.  They can't lose anything now.  They can only gain something.

In the actual video, we see a chandelier.  Then we see Shanne primp.  Prom King Blake puts on his crown as he moans about his awful week... we get the idea that the girlfriend who cheated on him was Ali.  Aylin dumps the casual clothes she was wearing for her prom dress and glamorous hairdo.  Blake bodysurfs in the crowd. All three of them.... swing.  Inside.  Swing?  Ali flirts with various members of the Studmuffin Rejects as Blake shrugs.   Aylin decides to be the DJ.  Damian appears in the video in a spotlight that's not well - defined.  The overall message is that they are all having fun at Prom, and Blake and Ali are fine singing together even though they just broke up because she's a skank.   And then we have line dancing.  I notice that they have Dani dancing in a suit with the boys. It is not made particularly clear that Aylin is a Turkish Muslim from a Conservative Family who Snuck Out of the House to go to Prom.  She's a chick who changed clothes in the bathroom.   Blake never does get his Prom Queen.  I was kind of hoping it would be Aylin, to tie her into the little drama going on with Blake and his ex-girlfriend Ali.   Aylin is a little sad when they wrap the last video.  Ali reminds us that we will find out... tomorrow... who has won a spot on Glee.

And I will finish this... tomorrow. Glee Project Recap:  And the Winner Is.

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