‘The Glee Project’: ‘Boot camp’ for the big league

From left, Samuel, Hannah, Alex, Cameron, Lindsay and Damian are the final six contestants on “The Glee Project,” airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on Oxygen.
Chris Haston

No one has been named the next star of “Glee” just yet, but the contestants on “The Glee Project” already feel like bona fide celebrities. On Monday night, the final six singers walked the red carpet at NBCUniversal’s Television Critics Association party at trendy The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Los Angeles; and each of them looked every bit a star, too.

“It was amazing,” contestant Alex Newell gushed the next day. “We all love to perform, but to get recognized for what we do and what we love to do is amazing. I know that I loved it, and I know that everybody loved to be on a red carpet for the first time too.”

The downside of fame via a reality competition, however, is that only one contestant wins the grand prize of a seven-episode guest stint on “Glee.” The producers admit the process of whittling down the talent pool on a weekly basis was “excruciating.”

“Everyone is fit for the show, which made our decision even more difficult,” says mentor Zach Woodlee, who also serves as choreographer/ producer on “Glee.” “We actually had to look at this show as a trial and sort of a boot camp to get people Season 3-ready. So each week it was who is raising the bar. We would sit there and be like, who is making the most progress in this week. It’s who was ready to be at Season 3 quality of our cast on the scripted show.”

So is there any chance more than one competitor  might wind up walking the halls of McKinley High?
“Ultimately that’s up to [‘Glee’ creator] Ryan Murphy,” mentor Robert J. Ulrich says. “But they’re all wonderful enough to have that chance; and as a casting director, I would keep them in mind for everything else that I do.”

Follow Amber Ray on Twitter: @amberatmetro


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