“It’s just a complete honor, and it makes me wonder what the heck we did right, because it’s awesome. I can’t believe it,” declared Lindsay Pearce in a conference call Monday.
What they did right – they being the Final Four on Oxygen’s “The Glee Project” – was outdo each of their previous performances so soundly that “Glee” decision man Ryan Murphy was left confounded and had no choice but to more than double the prize on the table and divide it among them all.
It was the result that no one saw coming, made evident by the stunned faces onstage and in the audience as Murphy slowly divulged his decision. Perhaps the biggest (temporary) victim of the delayed reveal was Damian McGinty, who believed he’d taken second place.
“When Ryan announced that Samuel had won ‘The Glee Project,’ you know, it’s a real sinking feeling, thinking that you got so far, yet you’re still a million miles away,” he recounted. But Damian’s fate turned around in an instant, when Murphy told him that he, too, was a winner. “It was a phenomenal moment in my life,” he said.
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Samuel Larsen and Damian each scored seven-episode arcs on “Glee,” while Lindsay, along with Alex Newell, was awarded a two-episode part. None of McKinley High’s newest additions know any details about whom they’ll play. The only discussions they’ve had about their upcoming roles are the ones we saw take place with Murphy while they were contenders in the last-chance rounds.
“I don’t know anything, but as long as I get to sing with Amber Riley, I’m all right!” said Alex.
Samuel and Damian were a bit more speculative, based on those initial discussions with Murphy. “I know for me personally he’s kind of considering, you know, me being that indie rocker guy,” said Samuel. “But he’s actually a Christian, which is really, really cool, and I hope he follows through with that.”
“Ryan said to me that he sees me going to the school as an Irish exchange student who starts off very lonely and very vulnerable but, you know, ends up kind of growing,” added Damian.
The guys have even let their active imaginations drift toward potential love interests for their characters. Samuel happily pointed out that it “would make sense that I would end up with Quinn, because she’s, like, the church girl that was kind of obsessed with that in the beginning.”
Damian isn’t so hopeful about his romantic forecast. “I actually came to a realization earlier that was quite upsetting,” he said. “If they bring me in as a freshman, which is what they’ve talked about, then me being with, like, Rachel and Quinn… It’s like they’d have to push a pram! It’s kind of weird.”
Even if their characters have been completely re-conceived – after all, those conversations with Murphy took place months ago – the boys will be thrilled just to have the opportunity to work with experienced pros. Both cited Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison as particular highlights in their future.
These budding actors all got to their coveted positions by taking in the advice of the “Glee Project” mentors and using those notes to shape out better performances. They hope to continue that learning process on the “Glee” set.
Samuel is keen to get out of his head and be carefree when he’s acting. “I think you do your best when you’re not thinking, so I think that’s something that I’d like to work on,” he said.
Alex, Damian and Lindsay, meanwhile, are focused on what it takes to switch back and forth between mediums. “I came in, you know, being quite a big performer,” said Damian, “and I didn’t really realize that that didn’t work on TV until we did ‘Firework.’ And from then… it was almost like I had to strip down the performer I had [become] the last four years and build up a new one.”
“I learned how to act in front of a camera – it’s definitely different,” pointed out Lindsay, who shouldn’t let her stage skills get too rusty, since The Hollywood Reporter reported she’ll be playing Snow White this Christmas at L.A.’s El Portal Theatre.
So now that they’re “Glee Project” veterans, do the Final Four have any words of wisdom for a future crop of hopefuls?
“If there is a Season 2, I think my advice would just be get out of your head,” said Samuel, “and don’t try to please Ryan. Just try to top yourself, be the best you you can be… That’s what it’s all about.”
Sounds like someone has really come to embody the spirit of “Glee.” Murphy’s mission accomplished.