There were thousands of entries to The Glee Project from fans all over the world. And after extensive auditions, twelve finalists were chosen to compete for a role on the series. Now the competition has narrowed to the final six contenders, Damian McGinty, Hannah McIalwain, Cameron Mitchell, Alex Newell, Samuel Larsen and Lindsey Pearce. Who will creator/producer Ryan Murphy choose as the new face and voice of Glee?
The final competitors came to the TV Critics Association tour to tell us about their love for the show.
You are trying out for a show that is masterful at attracting positive and negative attention. What do you think about all the scrutiny that Glee continues to live under?
Samuel: I think you’re going to get that anywhere in life. There’s going to be the positive and negative, and I think our dream to be on Glee, it’s just in the media eye. So I, personally, would be totally okay with it.
Hannah: I see it as a really positive opportunity to be a role model for people and just to share your story and have people connect with it. I think that’s what’s so great about our show, we’re all so unique and we’re so different, and we offer different aspects of ourselves that other people can relate to.
Have any of you tried out in the past for American Idol, or any other singing competition series, and would any of you be up for considering doing that in the future, if you’re, in fact, not the winner of this competition?
Samuel: I did American Idol, Season 9. I think I made it to the top 49, or something like that. And to be frank, I didn’t like it at all. I think doing it was just something to check off my list of things to try. It wasn’t really like a passion to be on it.
Cameron: For me, I never auditioned for anything in my entire life. My biggest audition was singing a song for my mom in the kitchen. I saw The Glee Factor and I was like, ‘Why not?’
They were probably not looking for someone like me. But I gave it a shot, and here I am. It was the best decision I ever made.
Alex: I know for me, I probably wouldn’t audition for American Idol, because it’s just not my cup of tea. I see the show, and I see that not always the winner of American Idol wins.
Damian, why was it important for you to be a part of this as you are already in a pretty successful singing group?
Damian: Yes, I was part of a singing group called Celtic Thunder. It was an incredible experience, especially beginning at the age of 14.
But there’s nothing in the world like Glee, it’s the most amazing [series], not to mention that it’s probably the biggest show on TV right now.
I’d need to be crazy to not want to be a part of that.
It takes a lot of work. I sent my audition in on MySpace. Then I got in contact with Robert (J. Ulrich, the casting director on Glee), auditioned in his office, and it’s been quite incredible.
Ryan Murphy has to decide who to write a role for, how do you see yourself, as an Irish exchange student?
I think I’ve aged quite a bit during this experience, but it’s been phenomenal.
Damian: I’m not sure. If I got a role, I don’t think they’d take away the Irish that’s in me, that’s part of who I am, it’s part of my personality.
I think it could definitely add something, a different dimension that the show doesn’t have, they don’t really have an exchange student at all.
I think an accent would be pretty cool on Glee.
How has this experience changed you?
Samuel: I think it’s given us experience, giving us time in the studio, time in front of a camera, time under pressure. And I think that will always stick with us. It will be in the back of our minds. And just feeling very loved, really.
Lindsay: It changed us as performers and as people. And we had three incredible mentors that just constantly pushed us in the most professional and loving way, and they really rooted for us, and they still do.
To have mentors that are your biggest fans constantly pushing you, trying to make you better and trying to make you open up and see the world with a new vision, is really incredible, and I know that none of us would trade it for the world.
Do you have any guilty pleasures when you watch TV?
Hannah: The Bad Girls Club was my dirty little secret. I was like, ‘I know I shouldn’t watch this, but it’s so good.’ I do watch it; I’m not going to lie.
Lindsay: I actually didn’t watch much TV. I never really got into shows, so when they said it’s going to be on Oxygen, I said, ‘On what? What is that?’ Hannah and I actually watch The Bad Girls Club a lot.
Damian: I have to admit, being from Ireland, when I heard Oxygen, I thought, ‘Breathing.’ I’d never heard of Oxygen in Ireland.
What is it about Glee that makes it so special?
Damian: Glee has a very personal message, it really helps a lot of people, it’s such an uplifting show, and that’s why it’s so appealing to the world.