Robert on The Glee Project 105

In the Homework Assignment this week I think all the contenders stepped up to the plate and each one gave a solid performance. All of them were totally committed and, in my opinion, related well to their partners. I think the standouts were Marissa, who Darren chose as the winner of the Homework Assignment, and Samuel, who is growing leaps and bounds in the competition. There was also a simplicity to Damian and Hannah’s performance which I personally liked a lot. I also have to add that it was wonderful having Darren back – he is so smart and gave excellent advice to the contenders. He also is a super nice guy and brings with him a wonderful, positive energy.

I loved all four of the duet music videos – I really did. I think Erik White does an outstanding job – every week the videos are so different from the week before, but they’re always creative, and they always retain the “Erik White Stamp”. I guess if I had to choose which contenders stood out the most I would have to choose Samuel and Marissa’s video as my favorite (I think Zach and Nikki would agree with that) – it was visually exciting, and they were perfectly cast and acted the song and story extremely well. However, I also loved the look, the sets and the costumes of Lindsay and Cameron’s video, as well as the fall look of the set in Matheus and Damian’s video (and I loved the cameo by Marissa). My only criticism of Alex and Hannah’s video is that I wish it could have been longer – they were so much fun, and right when it got to the musically exciting part of the song, it was over.

This week, I learned that some of the contenders need to work on their acting skills more than others. And I was again reminded how talented they all are.

Overall, this week, I was probably the most impressed with Samuel. He actually surprised me with how well he took direction, especially for someone who has never acted before. He showed he has good, natural instincts. But, not to sound like a broken record, they all had strengths. Each week I have been more and more impressed with Marissa - she has just “settled” in to the competition. She has a subtle power, and she and Samuel both pop on camera – they have to do very little to “command” a close-up. Lindsay, too, is powerful on screen (those eyes!) and once we gave her direction in the video shoot, she completely got it and tried a little something “new” every take. She is a very good actress. Hannah, also a strong actress, has a real spark, a twinkle in her eye, and she and Alex were outstanding together. Once Alex settled in to his performance, he seemed so comfortable. Cameron sounded absolutely beautiful on the song, and this was the first time he has ever sung a duet – this was basically the first time he has really acted opposite another person. There is no doubt that he has to work on his acting skills, but there is also no denying his star quality. Damian and Matheus played off of each other well, and in retrospect, I actually enjoy their video more now than I did when I watched it at first. It is fun and their chemistry is good - they have a fun energy together. Damian is also someone who has not acted before, and as I was watching him the night of the shoot, there was a moment, a flash, in which I saw more in him than I had seen before. There is a close-up of Damian, where you first see his face as he puts the newspaper down, which was the first time I could actually envision him doing an acting role in film or television which didn’t require singing. In that moment, I got a glimpse of his potential.

The remaining contenders should, again, take away from this week the importance of treating their fellow contenders with respect and kindness. The theme of “Pair-Ability” proved that when a performer is doing a scene or singing a song with another actor, they can’t only be concerned with themselves. For an actor to be completely successful in any given scene or song, they must learn to be generous, to truly act and sing with someone – to play off their partner, to listen, to be present in the scene.

As always the songs were chosen to show off each contender’s strengths and, in this case, to also show them off in pairs – to see how they played off of another person.

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Picking the bottom three is always challenging. As the competition progresses we have to take more and more things in to consideration – the choreography rehearsals, the recording sessions, attitude, growth, not just the music video. In this case, with the theme being “Pair-Ability”, we decided to pick the two most successful contenders in one music video, and therefore, the remaining six would sing for Ryan. This week Ryan chose the bottom three.

Eliminating a contender this week was really difficult. Ryan stated that all three are extremely talented; however, each of them has their individual challenges. I have said over and over that every one of these contenders is special, every one of them is unique and so, so talented. Any one of them could be on GLEE. However, this is a competition and, ultimately, there is only one winner. Every time I come home from the Final Elimination I feel so depressed, and my wife says to me “Robert, someone has to go every week”. This week was particularly hard with Matheus. I think Matheus is wonderful – so special – and embodies GLEE. He won two Homework Assignments and came close to winning others. So, you ask, why was he eliminated? It goes back to what I said – someone has to be eliminated each week and when every detail was weighed, Matheus was the one chosen to go this time around.

In addition, I think it is important to stress that, while this is a competition it is also a “master class” in performing. These contenders are so fortunate to be working with Zach and Nikki – and also so fortunate to be able to perform for Ryan Murphy and to have the opportunity to hear his helpful feedback. The contenders are having a lot thrown at them, and they are learning so much, and each of them is growing, but some of them are growing more quickly than others. That is certainly not a negative thing about any of the contenders – it’s just another part of what is considered when decisions are made. Again, seeing Matheus go home was tough – I loved watching him perform, he has a sweet, kind energy, he was one of the very best dancers, he has a cool, unique voice and I love the quality of his sound. He will be missed.
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