BY: ALICIA RANCILIO
NEW YORK – Ryan Murphy, one of the creators of “Glee,” acknowledges that he made a mistake when judging the reality competition “The Glee Project,” which will pick a new cast member to appear on the show’s upcoming third season.
On the sixth episode, Murphy says he cut “the wrong person” from the reality show.
“I call it my `I was wrong episode,’” he says. “I should have kept the person until the final. I don’t think that person would have won but … I’m editing the show now and I’m seeing all this amazing footage.”
In the end, he believes the right kid won the competition.
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When he saw and worked with the contestant, he talked to the other “Glee” co-creators, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, about making that contestant a character on the hit Fox show. “We instantly came up with a name. We came up with a back story. I knew what (his or her) … role on the show was going to be. I knew what kind of songs I wanted (him or her) … to sing.”
Murphy wouldn’t reveal who the contestant was; the show is only up to Episode 3, which airs Sunday on Oxygen (9 p.m. EDT). But he does promise “a shocking revelation” on Sunday’s show, in which a contestant divulges something that greatly moved Murphy.
“I was so inspired,” he says. “I want to sort of write an episode about (the topic) next year.”
On “The Glee Project,” 12 candidates live together in Los Angeles, learn song-and-dance numbers, fine-tune their acting chops and essentially go through “Glee” boot camp. Their experience is documented by a camera crew for a 10-week series. As it airs, hopefuls are cut from the competition. So far, two contestants have been sent home. In the end, the winner will have a seven-episode role on the next season of Fox’s “Glee.” He or she will also get a recording contract and possibly be invited to take part in the show’s tour next summer.
If the character is a hit with viewers, he or she could end up returning for more episodes.
Robert Ulrich, a casting director for both “Glee” and “The Glee Project” says the contestants are already getting noticed by Hollywood.
“I have gotten so many phone calls from agents and managers that want to represent these kids. … We cast such a wide net. … There are people who would never have had a chance and suddenly there’s an opportunity.”
The 12 contestants on “The Glee Project” also seem to fit in with the characters on the scripted show. There’s Matheus Fernandes, who stands at just 4 feet and 9 inches. He looks like an atypical heartthrob but he has rock-hard abs and when he dances, he gyrates and performs like a pop star.
Zach Woodlee, the choreographer on “Glee,” says walking into the experience, he felt like it was meeting the kids of McKinley High’s New Directions for the first time.
“(When) I stepped into the room … I realized, `Oh, my gosh. There’s a lot of work.’ And in a way it almost felt like starting over with a brand-new version of misfits in their own right — just the real, live version of it. I don’t think they were even quite aware of what they were getting into.”
Mentoring a group of kids in a pressure-cooker situation wasn’t always easy. It was often like being a camp counselor. In one episode, Murphy says, a contestant has a nervous breakdown because of the stress and the show had to decide how much viewers would be allowed to see.
“Most of them aren’t far from high school and we can all relate to high school,” says Ulrich. “Everything is heightened and so important.”
Murphy says “The Glee Project” was a great experience and he’d like to do a Season 2.
“I loved it,” he says. “It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. … It’s not only good for the mother ship of `Glee’ to keep finding new, fantastic talent, but I think the fans love it because they follow and learn about people who are going to be on the show.”
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