Is The Glee Project Satisfying Diehard Gleeks?
While Glee‘s cast spends their summer touring the country, a new crop of hopefuls are vying for a spot on the iconic show via The Glee Project, a new Oxygen series. A reality show orchestrated by Glee creator Ryan Murphy, The Glee Project made its debut this past weekend. The premise is 40,000 aspiring thespians auditioning for 12 positions on a televised talent competition and if they score one of those coveted spots, they’ll participate in various challenges to win a seven-episode, guest-starring role on Glee.
The contestants who make up the Top 12 were introduced in the first episode and reflect Glee‘s melting pot ethos, a mix of flamboyant boys, saccharine girls, big, skinny, various ethnic backgrounds, etc—you get the idea. What they lack in commonality they make up for in their unbridled passion and newbie sincerity. Ranging in age from 18-22,the cast of the reality show have pleased critics enough already to have The Glee Project deemed a “must-see” for Gleeks, with Entertainment Weekly noting the show is “full of charm and fun as well as a showcase for some truly talented folks.” To add to the contestant’s utter glee (see what we did there?) each episode has an official Glee cast member appear as a guest mentor.
The initial competition for The Glee Project reflected American Idol-style battle rounds: the contenders were able to audition via MySpace, two open casting calls in Dallas and Chicago and industry submissions. Finalists were chosen and attended a call back in Los Angeles. Eventually, the top 12 were Skyped with the news of their being chosen to be on the show.
The success of Glee in only two seasons (a third has been commissioned) is undeniable. The series is a weekly “postmodern musical” based on a Midwest high school’s struggling glee club who perform a balance of show tunes and chart hits. Songs covered in the show are released through iTunes during the week of broadcast, and a series of Glee albums have been released also. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over 21 million digital single sales and nine million album sales. The series merchandise also includes DVD and Blu-ray releases, a young-adult book series, an iPad application and a karaoke game for Wii.
Watch the first episode of The Glee Project below: