Dani on TGP 202: Getting eliminated from The Glee Project was exactly what I needed...
I was sad when Taryn left the competition because she is so talented, and she and I bonded a lot because we were both raised "in the hood.” I hope she becomes very successful with that amazing voice and the pop-sensibility she has!
I was a little nervous about it being "Dance-Ability" week because that is the area I've always been the most insecure. I'm a singer/songwriter, not a ballerina! LOL. I mean, I can bust a free-flowing move on the dance floor (and I would love to learn how to pop-n-lock really well), but I'm still becoming comfortable in my body. A lot of the other contenders are a lot more experienced with dance than I am! Regardless though, I was ready to face the challenge, and bring more of my chill vibe and style to the competition (since Lea said to be more of myself in the way I perform).
I was excited to see Samuel as our mentor, because I feel like he is someone I could be friends with in real life. When he walked in with bare-feet, I immediately thought, “I wanna take my shoes off too!!! I didn't know that was an option!”
I felt confident with my choreography going into the video shoot. I rehearsed for hours in the Rec Room the night before, and it was literally the first thing I did when I got out of bed that morning (even before brushing my teeth!).
I think I had such a difficult time with my moves during that video shoot because at some point in the day, I stopped having fun with it. I wasn't appreciating the moment, or where I was at. Instead, I was judging it, causing myself to become frustrated and resistant to the whole thing. This was all so out of my usual element, and I felt like I was missing myself a bit. I tried to bring my more observant, laid-back, chill vibe to the shoot (since that IS actually how I was at high school parties), but the mentors interpreted it as a lack of enthusiasm. They weren’t looking at it as a character choice, but they were pretty spot on. There are a million and one reasons I could come up with, but in the end, I just didn't feel like I was very connected with myself that day. I was stuck in my head, and couldn't just let myself surrender and have fun with the absolute craziness of it all.
It was very frustrating when Zach or Brooke criticized my performances, because at the time I didn't feel like they were interested in helping me understand what I was missing. I felt like they just wanted me to get it. I knew I had that dance down, and I just couldn't understand why it wasn't coming out the way I had rehearsed it (which is a performer's worse nightmare). I felt like a little kid trying to complete a math problem that I had once been able to comprehend, but had clearly forgotten a key component of (FUN). It felt like they were my teachers and they were just like, "You should know this. Just do it." It's kind of funny when I look back on it and see how serious I was about the whole thing. I guess you could say I was having a hard time exposing my vulnerability (usually I just show people the things that I'm really good at). Hahaha! So I resist being vulnerable, but yet- this is my SECOND reality TV show!! It's unbelievable. It seems like, on some level, I really wanted to learn how to let loose and not take myself so seriously. Mission accomplished.
I wasn't surprised at all to find out I was in the bottom three. After the way the video shoot went, I actually expected it.
The lyrics to "Landslide" really made me realize a lot about how I was feeling in that moment. It made me see that I had a pattern of getting to "the top of the mountain,” and then losing myself in my head, becoming self-conscious, and taking myself right back down again. I had a fear of losing what I had gained. It was that fear that made me take things so seriously. I would cling to it and end up sabotaging it all. Wow, I'm realizing so much as I write this. It’s all about letting go!
During my last chance performance, I was thinking to myself, "Just be present, put your feelings into it, and please don't forget those damn lyrics." See, even in that moment I was clinging so tightly, not to being on the show necessarily, but to being "perfect.” I didn't want to give Ryan any reason to criticize me, and in trying to avoid criticism, I was actually hiding my real self. I was hiding the imperfect and playful, quirky, flirtatious, witty and outspoken, me. Ahh! Sooo serious!
When I wasn't called back, there was a huge part of me that was sad and embarrassed. I had shown my vulnerability and now I had to leave the people I had grown really close to. But there was also a part of me that felt it was exactly what I needed at the time. I started to realize just how much I actually wanted to improve on. I wanted to get back in touch with my funny side and lighten up (I used to think I was going to pursue comedy as a kid), and I wanted to have more musical theory knowledge (and explore playing along with more experienced musicians). I also wanted to start working out regularly so I'd feel more comfortable and confident in my body. After I went home that’s exactly what I did. I cleared out all the things that had been bringing me down in my life, and started to embrace the new & improved me (a lighter, more knowledgeable, less self-conscious, somewhat buff version of Dani! Haha). Yay! And life has been absolutely incredible since. Getting eliminated from The Glee Project was exactly what I needed to grow as a person, an artist, and a performer. Thanks Ryan. ;)