Real-life Gleeks Compete for a Role on ‘Glee’

by | June 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Glee, TV News

"The Glee Project: The Final 12" (Photo: Oxygen)

Let’s set the record straight right at the outset: This isn’t “Glee,” it’s “The Glee Project (italics added) – and it’s about to test just how far a successful TV franchise can be stretched (or, as some might put it, exploited).

The real “Glee” – the one on Fox – is only two seasons old, but it is a bona fide pop culture phenomenon. Not only do its episodes score healthy ratings (more than 10 million viewers per episode this past season), but it’s so popular that the world’s top music stars (well, most of them) are clamoring to have their songs featured on the show.

The show’s almost weekly storyline – in which hopeful high school singers and musicians apply their talents to helping them rise above their “outsider” status and feel good about themselves – has apparently struck a chord among millions of real-life teens struggling to do the same thing.

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Meet six of the 12 finalists on “The Glee Project”:

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These real-life teens watch “Glee” and then, they too, dream of becoming performing stars. Or more to the point, they dream of actually joining the cast of “Glee” – which is what this “Glee Project,” premiering Sunday night on Oxygen, is all about. Yes, you guessed it – it’s another talent-competition series, which proves, if nothing else, that America teems with talented youth, 12 of whom have made it to the “finals” of “The Glee Project.”

And that’s where this series actually begins this Sunday (June 12) at 9/8c on Oxygen. While that hour marks the “official” premiere of this summer series, it will be preceded by a kind of introductory special called “The Glee Project: The Final 12” (at 8/7c), which will delve into the backgrounds of the finalists and also reveal how this show was developed by the producers of the original “Glee.”

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Meet the other six hopefuls right here:

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Certainly, the prize to be awarded at the end of the show represents a new wrinkle in reality competition shows: The winner of “The Glee Project” will earn a guest-starring role next season on the show – which is no small thing. And it’s not just for one episode either – it’s for seven, which happens to be about one-third of the upcoming season.

In that respect, it represents a new wrinkle in the casting process for prime-time television as well because here you have a new character for a very important prime-time series being chosen from a group of young amateurs with little performing experience (and that includes acting) besides high school musicals and choruses. And that means “The Glee Project” holds risks as well as rewards for all concerned.

“The Glee Project” premieres Sunday night (June 12) with a preliminary special at 8/7c and then the first episode at 9/8c on Oxygen.


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