When I saw that this week's theme was “Pair-Ability”, I was very excited at first. I absolutely love duets. “Need You Now” is a great country song and I've heard it several times on the radio so I figured it wouldn't be too hard. Just a few moments later when I got the sheet music, I realized that I was paired with Alex for the homework assignment and we were supposed to be singing this love song to each other. At first I was sort of like, huh? And I'm not going to lie, I was a little uneasy about it, but then I was fine with it. I am a very open minded guy, and though I knew it would be very different for me to do this, I was looking forward to the challenge of making it believable and portraying the meaning of the lyrics. Once we performed it, I was actually quite pleased with the performance Alex and I gave. I thought everyone did a good job on the homework assignment. It was also great to see my buddy, Darren Criss again. He's so awesome.
Right after our performances, Robert and Darren announced that we'd sing duets for the music video and that I was going to be paired with Damian. I was super excited. By this point, I considered Damian one of my best friends in the competition and definitely the one I could trust the most. The song that was chosen for us was “The Lady is a Tramp”, and I actually do like that song, but it wasn't my really my style. I kind of tend to gear myself towards pop-rock with perhaps some soul and RNB in there. The Frank Sinatra genre style totally has Damian written all over it, which I thought was a great opportunity for him. During the recording session. I was scared at first because at the end of the song there is this part where there was some major vocal stylizing being done on the demo track we were given; high notes, riffs and runs, and some other cool stuff... which I thought of doing, since it was on the track they gave us to rehearse with. When I got into the studio, I listened to Damian's tracks, and had to do the harmonies on top of his main vocal leads. And damn, he sounded so awesome on the song. I was so proud of my bro! :) That genre definitely suits him and he totally has the Michael Buble thing going on for him. It's quite awesome actually. I was a little scared of doing the harmonies because I've only recently started learning how to harmonize. It wasn't something that I frequently did back in the day. So I've been learning as I've been tagging along with these awesome talented kids.
I had a blast shooting the music video with Damian. They gave us these 1920'-looking outfit, which were awesome, and these classy looking hairstyles, which at the time I thought were cool, but now looking back at the video, the style didn't go with me at all... The outfit was kind of all clunky on me and made my movements all awkward. I am a short guy so to have those big outfits and jackets was all very different to me, and I couldn't really move well in them. Damian, in the other hand, looked great. It totally works for him. Good lad! Hehe that’s what we'd always say to each other.
When the time came for the bottom three to be announced, we ended up finding out that it'd be bottom three duets. We were all nervous about it at first, but then I started to feel comfortable because Damian is my pal, and to be honest with you, I'd rather be down in the bottom singing with him, than with any of the other guys. We were always laughing and playing, but when it came down to it, it was time to get serious and work on the song that they had chosen for us – “These Boots Are Made for Walking”. I had no clue what that song was, who sang it, or anything. It took every fiber of my being to be composed and not break down. Every time Damian would look at me, I'd smile and try to be cheery so that he'd be fully comfortable and happy about performing the song. I knew that I'd throw him off if I started breaking down in front of him. Damian and I came up with some choreography and we were gonna perform the song as if we were two brothers who'd always nag on each other for everything lol. Damian decided it'd be funny if we enacted the ending with me trying to throw him a punch and him catching it midair. I'm sure that ended up looking hilarious. We also decided to wear these rain-boots, because considering the song title, we thought it’d be really funny. I was scared because I'd be harmonizing in front of Ryan Murphy and like I said before, I am new at harmonizing. I think she specifically gave me that to challenge me, which is all good. I like challenges... and though I was scared, I was willing to try my best.
It came time for us to perform and Ryan ultimately really liked it. Judging our tacky boots, he initially thought the performance was going to be a disaster, but he ultimately really loved it and was surprised with the outcome. Ryan asked me if I had been doing what he had been asking of me, which is being "sexy" and more "confident" and whatnot. I’d like to clarify something here. Throughout my entire life I've always been unsure and insecure. My mind-set started changing a few years ago, because I truly wanted to follow my dreams. But like any high school kid who looks a bit different, tons of people went out of their way to make me feel like I couldn't do anything because I was too weird. So, for all those of you out there that might be saying I'm too cocky or I'm this or that, that is not the person that I am. In fact, my struggle in the competition was demonstrating more confidence, which was ultimately Ryan's critique. Please don't confuse the character that I played with the real-life me. It hurts when many of you see me that way and judge me for it.
Anyways, Ryan asked me if I was doing the things he wanted, and right when I was about to answer him, Damian jumped to my defense saying that whenever I'd try to act more confident, some of the rest of the contenders would shoot me down. As soon as Damian said this, Ryan turned towards me and asked who. I told him that I didn't want to go into that. But he pressed on and asked me who had been doing that. And to add to that story, during the music video shoot, when Alex would mention his high note, I also mentioned something about trying to master some high notes and he shot me down. So then he started hitting a high note and I proceeded with a higher note, then he went higher, and I went higher, and so on and so forth. I know two wrongs don't make a right. But afterward he was calling me cocky and whatnot, and who is he to say that I am cocky when in fact the thing that Ryan criticized me for was my lack of confidence? I had to play the sexy character he wanted since that was what the show was about. Ryan's critique for Alex was in fact the same thing that Alex was accusing me of. Do not get me wrong, I really love Alex. But I was fed up with some the condescending things he'd say or do. I personally think he has the best vocals out of all of us, hands down. But I don't think that gives him the right to put others down. It's one thing playing a diva character on TV, it's another thing when you do it in real life and you put someone down. I went through that my whole life and I wasn't about take it from him, especially on this show which is all about embracing everyone who is an underdog and might have suffered some of the same things the characters on GLEE go through in high school.
After the whole thing was all said and done, I did feel extremely guilty... because Ryan wasn't pleased with the way Alex had been acting and Alex kept trying to guilt me every time he'd mention that he probably would be the one leaving. This whole episode has been intense for me and through most of it I was fighting as hard as I could to not break down, but when all this happened with Alex, I just couldn't hold myself together any longer. The possibility of him leaving me because of the things I told Ryan hurt me so much and I didn’t want him to leave in those terms. Cameron was also in the bottom three with me and Alex, but he's incredible so he ultimately stayed in the competition.
By that point I had a feeling I'd leave, and when it came down to it, Ryan chose to send me home. I thought I was prepared for it... but I wasn't. When I saw my name on the "Not Called Back" section, it felt like the carpet was pulled from under me. Like I was ungrounded. My heart... I don't even know how to describe it. You can be focused on something you want to achieve for so long... on something you dream, and then all of a sudden, within seconds, it's gone. I'm not going to lie. It hurts. I was tested and no matter the efforts and all the crazy stuff I had to do, it wasn't good enough.
I'm not going to leave this in a somber statement like that though. I feel so honored to have participated in this show, I truly do. The amount of talent there was immense and I feel honored to have been in all of their presences. I made some amazing friends which I hold dear to me like family. The experience that I got from all this was incredible. I went from being a boy in high school who used to be insecure in his own skin to someone with a much better perspective of life. I always dreamed of performing and doing something like this, but doubted myself. Now I don't doubt anymore. This isn't the end of the line for me and I will strive to reach my goals and make you guys, my fans, proud. I want to thank everyone who was involved in this project for giving me a shot at achieving my dream. I also want to thank Robert Ulrich for being one of the most genuine people I have ever met and for believing in me, Zach Woodlee for trying to help me learn some of those awesome choreographies of his, and Nikki Anders for showing me some great singing techniques. Finally, I want to thank Ryan Murphy, for creating a television series that shows people that it is okay to be different.
Last but not least, I want to thank all of you who accompanied and supported me throughout this journey and looked beyond your television screen to find out who I am as a person. I love all of you.
I hope you’ll still be by my side while I embark on this journey to achieve my goals and become an artist. And remember, we are all made a certain way for a reason. Don't let anything ever stop you from going after your dreams.
Click here to see Matheus's extended exit interview.