“The Glee Project” Recap (2.06): “Fearlessness”


On to the video shoot at the pool, and the slushie times start right away with Aylin getting a good hit to the chest with the bright orange, sticky goodness. She is obviously in cold, giggly shock afterwards as the cruel reality of what a slushie fight actually feels like sets in. Meanwhile, the mentors are having this oh-so-serious discussion about how when Aylin starts to falter, she starts to laugh, like it is this horrible thing. Yes, she is flirty and giggly, often. But she just got hit with an ice cold slushie while wearing a bathing suit. How could she not laugh? I mean if it were me, I would probably choose another mode of dramatics such as getting really mad and/or crying, but the only other logical and preferred option would be to laugh.

Other than slushies, the cast are also having the pleasure of getting hit in the face with a hose by Lily, who as homework winner gets to play their swim team captain. Lily is feeling super confident after her mentoring session with Jane Lynch, and she appears to be rocking this gig. And good for her.

And now comes the part we’ve seen advertised — Ali, and the crying. And it turns out this five minutes is the most fascinating five minutes I have seen on this show.

It begins with Ali needing to be out of her wheelchair in order for them to hit her with all the slushies. Erik is double checking that she wants to do this, and Ali is aggressively affirming that yes, she really does. Even though in her one-on-one with the camera, she admits that this actually will be hard for her, especially since her body reacts poorly to extreme temperatures. Robert and Zach meanwhile across the room are explaining out loud to each other why this is scary for her: that while other contestants could move out of the way or squirm while they were getting doused, Ali will have to sit there without respite and concentrate on holding herself up.

Before the cameras start rolling, Ali flashes one of her signature megawatt smiles and says, “Get me good!” And they do, and all is well and happy for a few seconds. Then there is a moment when you see it on her face — this “Oh God, stop, stop, stop.” And then you see her force it away, and she smiles and cheerily bops her head around again for a moment. But then that’s all she can take, and her happy screams turn into screams of “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” and they carry her to the side of the pool while she tries to recover and everyone, horrified, stares. Knowing that everyone is watching, she tries to turn her terrified, breathless cries into laughter, and then forces herself to diffuse the situation by diving into the pool. Her head emerges and she smiles at the crowd.

It is one of the most fearless things I have ever seen.

OK. Need a moment to get myself together. Breathe. OK, moving on. It’s time to view the finished product from this slushie pool fest, and this video is awesome. It tells the story well, it’s fun and different, and everyone seems into their roles. Even that sexy-coming-out-of-the-pool shot Nellie was so nervous about.

I also forgot to mention that during this whole episode Aylin and Charlie have been advancing their feelings towards each other. They kiss a few times and have talks and Aylin says he could possibly be her first ever boyfriend. It’s all really cute, but I have a hard time feeling overly emotionally attached to it.

And now, the reveal of the bottom three.

Lily and Ali are the top two performers of the week, both well deserved. Lily is so happy her eyes disappear. I love that level of happiness!

There are four performers, however, that get a pretty harsh talking to: Michael, Nellie, Aylin, and Charlie, all for different reasons. I agree with pretty much everything the mentors say here, even if it breaks my heart to see Nellie cry when she gets the same criticism about being too meek, which I know at this point she is just tired of hearing. But at this point in the competition, things need to start getting real.

Michael is given a pass, and the bottom three leave to rehearse their solos.

Once Ryan Murphy comes on the scene and the mentors give him the lowdown from the week, Aylin is the first to perform. Her song is Rihanna’s “Take a Bow,” and from the moment she sashays on the stage with her flowy dress and her sassy face, I have absolutely no doubt she’ll be staying on this week. Not only does she have the confident personality for the stage, but this song really lets her show her big, strong, Glee-erific voice. Zach is so excited that he does my favorite Zach face of all the Zach faces:

Ryan Murphy’s speech to Aylin afterwards amounts to this: “I love you because you’re a Muslim girl and we’ve never had a Muslim girl on the show before so wouldn’t that be great so don’t mess it up.” It rubs me in the wrong way, even though I totally agree that we need more Muslim girls on TV and Aylin would be a perfect one to take the lead. It’s more that he commented much more about the possibility of her being a “game changer” for TV than about that absolutely amazing performance she just gave, which he in fact didn’t really comment on at all. I know that he has to be constantly looking ahead to what these people could mean for his show, but for The Glee Project to have validity as a show itself, we have to believe that these performances and hoops the contestants go through each week do matter, as opposed to prejudging people from the get-go about which cultural casting roles they could fill.

Time for me to get off my soapbox and move on to Charlie, who is singing “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. And man, does Charlie really go all out on the risky, cheeky acting factor here. He not only jumps all around the stage but jumps OFF the stage, to casually hang out in the seats next to the mentors while personalizing the lyrics to be about being here on The Glee Project.

If that wasn’t enough, he ends the song by professing his love to Ryan Murphy. Throughout all of which, Ryan Murphy is of course keeping a cool and collected stare. I fear that the cheeky factor went above and beyond cute level to the danger zone of trying too hard. But again, I think Ryan likes it, but his comments to Charlie afterwards still aren’t good. Charlie finishes his time on the stage with really earnest yet desperate-sounding pleas to stay and be on Glee. It feels raw and sad.

And now Nellie, who’s performing Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy,” who had expressed nerves at first about taking on the all-powerful Beyonce. Yet clearly, she shouldn’t have. In her practice session, she said that harnessing emotion in music is what she’s good at, and she brought it all. out. for this performance. Holy moly, this performance! So, so different from Aylin and Charlie’s performances, yet so, so powerful. So powerful that both Ryan Murphy’s and Zach’s eyes were glistening with tears throughout it, tears that Zach actually wiped away while saying, “Oh my God, Nellie!” afterward.

In the critique though, Nellie has a little too many excuses. Ack, ack. Once again, I have no idea what’s going to happen. My emotions feel like goo after those performances.

Robert announces the call back list is up. The hugs, they crying, they’re getting worse as the weeks go on. We have the first clear response from Nellie as she looks at the board, and it’s the perfect, respectful way to respond — the smallest smile of relief and happiness, and then, pensive sadness. Our girl is still here.

When Aylin looks, she is full of tears — but not for herself.

When I said I couldn’t bring myself to care much about her and Charlie’s relationship? That idea faltered a little bit when they had to say goodbye to each other. The excessive kissing in front of everyone was maybe a bit much, but their sadness was palpable. Charlie was such a dramatic person on this show that his exit felt equally dramatic, and I didn’t know when this episode started that the person who would cry the most would be me.

Oh, Charlie.

So what now? Who will be next?

A quick personal note: I won’t be recapping next week because I’ll be busy getting married. Trish Bendix will do the recap, but I look forward to seeing you again in two weeks!

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