Who Won ‘The Glee Project’? It’s Not Who You Think…

by | August 22, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Glee, TV News

Damian, Samuel, Alex and Lindsay on 'The Glee Project' (Photo: Oxygen)

Damian, Samuel, Alex and Lindsay on 'The Glee Project' (Photo: Oxygen)

For the culmination of his venture into reality TV, Ryan Murphy decided to go out Oprah-style: “YOU get a part! YOU get a part! YOU get a part! YOU get a part!”

Glee” is a show about making stars out of so-called losers, so it was fitting that there were no losers on the finale of its spinoff competition show, “The Glee Project.” Each member of the Final Four will be getting some face time on Fox’s show-choir superhit, with Damian and Samuel scoring the biggest opportunities to shine.

The whole premise of the competition was that after weeks of solo and group performance challenges, the winner (singular) would receive a seven-episode guest role on the mother show. Each of the 12 finalists was slowly cast off (with one voluntarily jumping ship) until there were four remaining… and then judge/mentor/Glee god Murphy apparently got stuck.

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First, Murphy changed the rules so that the penultimate episode had no Bottom Three, but instead included everyone in the last chance rounds. Then he couldn’t bear to eliminate any of them that week. Did he expect the decision to get easier in the final episode? Dude, of course you’re only going to get more attached to them the longer you keep them all around!

The last homework assignment cenetered on “Glee-ality” with a performance of the show’s anthem, “Don’t Stop Believin,’” and the Final Four were surprised not only to have Murphy himself as their homework mentor, but also by the appearance of all former contenders to provide backup vocals and fake guitar playing.

Bringing everybody back is a competition finale staple, but this reunion was decidedly cuddlier and more joyous than most. The contenders have reiterated in the press how they became like a family, and the excitement and love they brought to the homework and video challenges seemed genuine.

We’ve seen a series of videos requiring raw emotions and sexual tension and abuse by frozen beverages. This rooftop rendition of “Raise Your Glass” was such a breath of fresh air. It captured the spirit of unity and, well, gleefulness that the musical numbers on the actual show possess, without dipping treacherously far into cheesy territory, as the “Firework” video did at the beginning of the season.

Basically, this simple-yet-dynamic video was a warm reminder that we have surely not seen the last of the likes of Cameron, Marissa, and Emily.

For the final last chance rounds, most of the season’s guest mentors, plus Erik White, Nikki Anders, and the eliminated contenders took seats in the Auditorium of Doom. Ian Brennan was back to consult with Murphy, Zach Woodlee and Robert Ulrich, although it was implied that Murphy alone had final say in who won.

The Final Four brought the house down with their performances, receiving standing ovations from the extra audience members. Murphy asked for help, so video director White offered that Lindsay was the best actor in the bunch. “Glee” cast member Harry Shum was wowed by Samuel’s cool factor, while Max Adler made the very un-Karofsky-like point that Alex could be a face for an under-represented community on TV. Vocal producer Anders championed Damian’s lovable underdog quality.

When the Final Four was brought back to face the verdict, it was all praise and validation from Murphy, even for Lindsay and Alex, who were gently informed that they did not win. But they were kept onstage! Ah, foreshadowing….

Murphy then announced to Samuel that he had won “The Glee Project, and the fancy stage lights started to glow a little brighter. A visibly crushed Damian stood graciously center stage as Samuel jumped around in ecstasy. Murphy caught Damian’s attention long enough to tell him that he, too, had won “The Glee Project.” The lighting got a little flashier as Damian took his turn hooting and hollering around the stage.

Alex and Lindsay were stuck trying to look happy for the winners while inside, as Alex later said, their worlds were crumbling down before them. Until Murphy said he thought the two of them were such good actors, he wanted to write two-episode storylines for each of them as well.

Cue shock and awe and lights and confetti and… wait, doesn’t everyone always complain that the cast of “Glee” is bloated enough and hardly any of the existing characters get enough screen time and—oh, we’ll worry about that later. Now it’s shock! Awe! Lights! Confetti! That’s a wrap on “The Glee Project!”

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