Though recent “Glee Project” castoff Marissa von Bleicken is proud of her work on the show, there’s one thing she likely hopes to never repeat. Of course we’re talking slushies.
“When you see someone getting slushied, I think the concept of it seems a lot more fun that it actually is,” lamented Marissa during a conference call Monday. “It’s actually very painful; it’s very, very cold – extremely cold. It feels like a thousand needles pricking your skin, accompanied by stickiness, eye burning, brain freeze…”
In case there was any confusion, she summed up with this: “The entire experience is just so awful and uncomfortable.”
Those were the only complaints from the New York performer, who seemed quite grounded and accepting of her elimination from the competition. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a surprise at the time.
“It was a little bit of a shock, just because I had been managing to stay on top throughout the duration of my time in the competition,” she said. Because of her victories in the homework assignments “combined with it being my first time in the bottom three, I expected to – regardless of if I did well or not – possibly still make it through.”
With a true artistic spirit, she respects “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy’s vision when it comes to her dismissal. “Ultimately you’ve got to know that what it comes down to is what Ryan sees in you in that instant and if he believes that he can write for you and that you’ll complement the “Glee” cast. And there’s no arguing with that.”
Maybe Marissa developed some of her stoicism through what she called a “heartfelt discussion” with guest mentor Max Adler during their one-on-one session. “He kind of really put into perspective what it really takes to make it in this industry,” she said. “It takes hard work and self-sacrifice, so that’s really what he taught me.”
Marissa landed in the last chance rounds after mentors Robert Ulrich and Zach Woodlee were underwhelmed by her performance on the music video set. She’s unsure if getting notes from them sooner about being less dynamic would have helped save her. “I didn’t hear anything about the lack of electricity until the bottom three,” she said. “But then again, that’s a quality that can only be assessed, I think, from an observational standpoint, so it’s not something I could have fixed.” She hesitated before adding, “Or… who knows? Maybe I could’ve.”
She concedes that she may have misrepresented herself to mentor Nikki Anders in a damaging way in the recording booth. “I guess I regret the wording of it a little bit. I hadn’t intended for her to think that I was slacking or I wasn’t practicing in any way, because throughout the competition I never, ever let myself slack, even if I felt comfortable.”
What she didn’t exactly explain to Nikki was that during rehearsal she tackled her most challenging sections in earnest and accidentally let a couple of things sit on the back burner. “I didn’t mean to come off as if I hadn’t practiced, definitely,” she said.
Earlier this season, we saw Marissa agonize over what to write on her sandwich board for the “Mad World” video. She said that being honest with herself about her anorexic behavior in the past was a huge accomplishment in itself. But as a reserved and private person, it was especially intense to confront the issue on television, so that everyone in her life would learn the truth as well.
“I felt relieved and also nervous about when it was going to air,” she said. “I was an absolute wreck, and I had to kind of prepare my friends and family beforehand.” Since the episode aired, she’s heard from other people with similar struggles, and she said, “It’s meant more to me than anything” to know she has inspired others to get help.
And who does Marissa think should win “The Glee Project”? Like her fellow contenders McKynleigh and Matheus, she diplomatically stated that everyone is deserving of the crown. But while they favored Sam, she’s on Team Hannah and Team Alex. “Either one of them winning would mean a lot to me,” she said. “I think they both represent what ‘Glee’ is all about.”