Upon hearing that the theme of the week would be "Theatricality," I was excited and nervous at the same time. Growing up, I had never had any sort of experience or training in musical theatre, singing and acting. Naturally, I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to successfully pull off theatricality as well as some of the other contestants who have had years of training in that realm. But you know me--I'm always up for the challenge and while I may not have ever been in a stage production, I love theatre and musicals. I was excited to dig deeper into the heart of theatricality and to continue on growing as a performer. Plus, if last season served as any indication, I knew that it would involve some pretty stellar costumes and one hell of a performance. So I was definitely excited!
When Grant Gustin was announced as our guest mentor and walked into the choir room, a part of me died, haha. I think he is so talented, and whenever his character, Sebastian, graced the scenes of GLEE, I was so excited because he was such an evil (and talented) little critter, haha. I also knew that Grant had a lot of musical theatre experience prior to his start on GLEE so I knew that he would provide us with a lot of valuable insight, which is what I sought at this point. And plus, I honestly think he is one of the most beautiful men alive and I happen to have a little man crush on him, so yeah, I was excited, hahaha.
For this week's music video, we were told that we would be playing different musical icons throughout history and lo and behold--I was given the task of playing David Bowie! Quite frankly, I was ridiculously excited because whether fans of this show may know it or not, David Bowie is glamour rock to the umpteenth degree. I also knew that compared to Boy George and Elvis, David Bowie was a bit more theatrical, to say the least. So I was up for the challenge and excited to develop an upgraded and slightly more modernized version of David Bowie. I just wanted to bring that character to life in the music video.
Ever since the horror that was Dance-ability week, I knew that it was really important to get the choreography right. I am my own worst critic and ever since Dance-ability week, I was determined to not let a tragedy of that sort ever repeat itself again. Having Zach stress this point didn't worry me at all, to be honest. I think that I had claimed that while I may not be an experienced and trained dancer, I am very capable of learning choreography and delivering it on command, so any worries I had during Dance-ability week were long gone and I was excited to prove to Zach that I could do him proud.
As people may or may not know, I had been bullied throughout my life for people's assumptions of my sexual orientation, so when Nikki made that "androgynous” comment right before I started singing in the recording booth, I was honestly sort of shocked and mildly irritated. It brought up a lot of those memories and on top of that, I didn’t understand the point. Why bring that up right before I start recording and then dismiss my answer, which I believe to be the truth?
I want to make this explicitly clear: anyone on the show can, and will, testify to this when I say that I support everyone's notions and beliefs regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. I am a heterosexual man, whether people want to believe it or not, but I will never be limited or constrained by what people consider to be gender norms, which are socially constructed in my view. I will shuffle to "Party Rock Anthem," play up my mysterious masculinity as I did during Sexuality week, or belly-dance like Britney depending on what the performance calls for. If anything, being able to blend both the masculine and feminine is not only something I do in my performances, but also my life--and I do believe that it is liberating. I am never going to be limited by gender constructs and will be me regardless--and THAT is being free whether people believe it or not.
Having said all of that, do I think Nikki meant any harm when she asked me that question? No. If anything, I think she was merely making an observation about me as a performer and trying to get me into the character of David Bowie who was known for his androgyny onstage. I get it--and I respect and love her for it.
Moving right along, when it came time for the video shoot, I was determined to not be shaken by my time in the recording booth or any of my own insecurities. During the shoot, I actually told Zach, "Thanks for making me wear the 4-inch platform boots" to which he responded, "If anyone can pull off dancing in them, it's you." Damn right! You bet I did.
The music video was an overnight shoot and the outfit, including the wig, was really uncomfortable, but I was playing David Bowie and glamour requires discomfort, haha. I felt so in my element and delved in so deeply to my character that I did things that I didn't think I could do. Coming out of that freezer, I really did feel like it was an unleashing of the beast. Everything from the choreography on top of those small counters with my boots, freestyle dance in the shopping aisle, acting as both the bagger and rock star--I poured all of myself into every single moment and I am so incredibly proud of my performance in this video. I hope that the fans like it and are proud of me as well.
When it came time for the bottom three announcement, I honestly did not believe that I would be in the bottom three. I mean, the only significant note I had received during the week was during the recording booth. Nikki still noted that it was good, but not as good as it should have been considering that the pop track is perfectly within my niche. To me, I rocked everything else throughout the week, so when I was in the bottom four alongside Nellie, Lily, and Michael, I was still pretty sure that I would be safe. And when Michael was called back, I'm sorry because I love Michael so much, but I was shocked. I felt as though Michael's repeated notes throughout the weeks and his performance during choreography and the video shoot compared to mine would land him in the bottom three, but… no. But hey, I'm not about to sit here and whine about how he should have been in the bottom three in my stead. It happened and I was going to set my mind on redeeming myself in front of Ryan and delivering a performance that would make him remember me in the best way possible.
Before I comment on my last chance performance, I thought it was sort of hilarious how Samuel was my guest mentor during Dance-ability week and there I was performing "Stereo Hearts"--the first song he ever performed on GLEE! Anyway…
I was pleased with my last chance performance. As you guys may already know, rapping is not my strongest suit and I was sort of disappointed that I didn't have an opportunity to have a power-ballad to showcase my vocals (ahem, "Someone Like You"), but I tinkered around with it and made it my own. I was determined to make people forget the hot mess that was "Last Friday Night" and it was nice to receive such nice feedback from Ryan and the mentors regarding my performance.
Walking up to that callback list, I didn't feel as though I was going home. There was this inner calm and I felt at peace. However, when I saw that Nellie was going home, my heart literally broke into pieces. Not only is Nellie my favorite voice in this entire competition and one of my closest friends (she's practically like my little sister), she's also what GLEE is all about in so many ways. No, she may not pop as much as some others or be as outspoken about their fight as much as others, but just like so many fans of the show, she has insecurities. She has her quirks. She deals with personal issues every day and I believe that all of these are sort of what makes GLEE… GLEE!
I know that people will be outraged by her elimination from the show. I know I was. But I also believe that there is so much in store for Nellie. She is so ridiculously talented and has so much heart and soul behind her music that is not often found in today's entertainment industry. She is a rare voice and to me, she is also a rare friend who I am so ridiculously thankful to know and call one of my closest friends. So Nellie, I love you. I really do. And I believe in you that much more, so rock that bend-and-snap, murder that beautiful song of yours and show this world what you've got.
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