Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Glee Project: Believability - 8/7/11

Only five contestants remained in the running to win The Glee Project when the episode began.

This week's homework assignment was to sing True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.

The guest star this week was Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays Tina on Glee. Jenna was chosen as the guest star because she plays a character very different than herself.

Lindsay sounded phenomenal as usual as she sang True Colors. Alex was a bit shakier, but I think that's because the song is a bit out of his range. Hannah had great facial expressions as she sang. Samuel was awesome as usual and really made the song his own. Damian didn't stand out much to me, although Tina said his performance was heartfelt. Hannah was named the winner. This was her first homework assignment win.

Jenna told the group their song this week, which would focus only on vocals and not have any choreography. The song was The Only Exception by Paramore. Hannah discussed that she understands the pain of the song. This is because of the fact that despite her crush on Damien, she knows that it won't happen because he only sees her as a friend.

In the recording session with Nikki, Hannah struggled a bit with portraying the emotion of the song. Samuel did too, and was instructed to add more confidence into the song when he sang it.

We got to know Alex a lot better before he began singing The Only Exception. When asked how he'd get into the emotion, he said he channels the feelings he has about his father's death. He said that he doesn't like opening up about it, and it is evident that it still causes him a lot of pain. His dad died when he was six years old, so he never had a father figure to look up to. I can see how this is so difficult for Alex, who has had to go through a lot with his sexuality. His performance was so emotionally charged - it just seemed like he was gaining emotional strength as he let out his pain through the song.

Lindsay sang last. This song must bring out emotions, because she broke down at the end of her performance. She said that she was missing home. At the end of the performance, Lindsay said to Nikki, "You're awesome." Nikki was not impressed because she felt those words, and Lindsay's overall performance and actions, were insincere.

In the video, each contestant had to long for another contestant. Hannah had to pine for Alex, Alex for Damian, Damian for Lindsay, Lindsay for Samuel, and Samuel for Hannah. Hannah focused on Damian, who was sitting near Alex, to channel her real emotions.

At this point in the episode, it seemed that Lindsay would go home this week. She was told that she didn't have sparkle and she'd already been criticized for her false emotions.

Samuel was told that he looked like he was staring right through the girl he loved, and I can definitely see that.

In the video, Hannah had such great emotions. Alex looked a bit down, but I think it fit well with the video. Damian had great facial expressions as well. I hate to say it, but Samuel and Lindsay, my two favorites, didn't seem to do quite as well. Lindsay was a bit blank, and Samuel came off a bit angry.

During the reveal of the bottom three, Hannah was told that she did her best ever in the homework assignment, but wasn't as on point during the main song because she looked distracted. Damian was told that he did a great job, which was notable because he hadn't acted much before. Lindsay was told that she's a great actress, but she didn't evoke emotions. Plus, in the studio, she frustrated Nikki because she came in prepared to have a breakdown because she saw others do it. Lindsay defended herself, saying her reaction was legitimate. Samuel was told that his romantic side didn't come out due to a lack of vulnerability and longing. Alex was told that his performance was too sad at first, but he took direction well and focused his longing correctly.

Lindsay, Hannah and Samuel were told that they'd be doing the last chance performances and were in the bottom three. This is Samuel's first round in the bottom three.

Lindsay was given Maybe This Time from Cabaret. Lindsay said she'd never heard this song, which is strange because she's a musical theater person.
Samuel - Animal by Neon Trees. Samuel was happy and could already imagine himself performing it for a packed audience.
Hannah - Back to December by Taylor Swift. Hannah was genuinely excited and loves that song.

Damian was tricked during this session - he was asked if he had it in him to perform for Ryan again since he'd already done it four times. Then he was told that he wouldn't have to. He was elated.

Last Chance Performances

Hannah performed first. To be honest, I didn't love her performance. She seemed a bit off key and lacked confidence. After her song, Hannah was told that she's the person people want to see win, but she lacks confidence and is not the best singer in the competition. She said her self esteem is improving, but it seems that may not be enough.

Lindsay performed second. Before she sang, it was noted that she's the best singer in the competition. Lindsay, especially for not knowing the song, sang fantastically. She was also very emotive. The only thing missing for me was seeing her move around a bit more. But her vocals, expressions and body movements were nothing short of amazing. She was 100% pure Broadway, and even gave the song a personal touch. All I can say is "You go girl!!!" Ryan told Lindsay is that she's clearly the next Lea Michele, but he roots for Lea and not for her. He wondered if she can play the underdog. Lindsay started to tear up and say that she's been taught her whole life to be strong and perfect, and not be vulnerable. She said she gets a lot of flack for that - since she's adopted, she feels like she has to live up to her parents' expectations. She feels inferior for not being athletic like many of her family members. It's finally some real Lindsay!

Samuel walked in with confidence. During his performance, he looked like a straight-up rock star. His vocals weren't incredibly strong, but his movements and stage presence were fantastic. He was even dressed as a rock star - it was awesome. That being said, Ryan said he was unrelateable. He said Samuel might be too slick and not soft enough. He said he was too 'Russell Brand' and not swoon-worthy enough. Samuel was also criticized for not wanting to play a gay part in a previous episode, which he explained by saying that his mother is very anti-gay. He said that he explained to his mom that kissing a guy wouldn't mean that he's gay in the same way that kissing a girl doesn't mean that he's in love with her. When Ryan said he liked Cameron for his Christian beliefs, Samuel quickly perked up and said that has a tattoo that says Jesus Christ on his neck. It was like he was a sad kid that all of a sudden became super excitable. I wouldn't be surprised to see his persona change a lot after that criticism.

At this point, even though I'm a Hannah fan, I thought she'd be going home.

In the end, my second assessment was right: Hannah went home. This came after a very confusing montage in which Lindsay looked like she was crying and Hannah looked like she was doing okay. I will be very sad to see Hannah go, especially because I believe others deserved it more. Although when they played the closing version of Keep Holding On, I could see why they sent her home: her singing just wasn't as good as the others'.

Takeaways

It was noted that Alex didn't seem to be portraying the wrong emotion in the video: depression instead of love. (He did improve and give the directors chills.) I have to give Alex credit because this is the first time that I've really seen some real emotion and feeling from Alex. It seems like he usually puts up such a 'diva' front and doesn't let people know of his true pain.

I don't think it was fair of Ryan to criticize Samuel for being too 'Russell Brand' and not soft enough for one major reason: his song was Animal by Neon Trees. In my opinion, that's hardly a sweet, swoon-like song - it's a rock song. I loved how Samuel played it - he was a rock star through and through. If they wanted him to be emotional and soft, they should have given him a song that would reflect those emotions. The lyrics are "We're sick like animals / We play pretend / You're just a cannibal / And I'm afraid I won't get out alive / I won't sleep tonight", for goodness sake! Hardly soft and swoon-worthy!

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